By Leo Babauta
Being a dad is messy … not just the many spills and broken dishes and dirty kitchens and finger-painted walls you have to clean up, but messy because nothing ever goes as planned.
It’s messy because you start out with the best of intentions, hoping to be super dad and loving and perfect, and then it all goes to hell.
Things get said, tempers flare, feelings get hurt, you get mad at each other. Kids never turn out as planned, and neither does your life. You hope for one thing, and get a wonderful mess in return. How I love the mess I’ve gotten.
I never planned to be the dad of six kids. I had two with my first wife, and I love them desperately. I married my second wife, and inherited two more, and I love them with all my heart. Then we made two more, and I love them all so much I am overwhelmed when I let myself feel it.
Being a father is about uncertainty. You create a kid, and you are flooded with uncertainty, because you don’t know how to do any of this. You don’t know how your kids will turn out, and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. All of a sudden, you’re up to bat, and the pressure is on you, not just to provide, not just to keep a fragile human being alive, but to be their role model, to shape them, to make them happy. And none of it comes with a manual.
They have problems, like a kid teased them at school, or bullied them, they’re struggling with motivat…