I'm Going To Be The Worst Father EverCommentary • Family • Opinion • children • pregnancy • ISSUE 37•01 • Jan 17, 2001 By Jim Jarrell Jim Jarrell Well, Trish is now eight months pregnant. Before you know it, I'm going to be the father of a strapping baby boy. And you know what? I just know I'm going to be the worst father ever. First of all, I'm not ready for this. Making another human being the center of my universe is not something I want to do. No doubt, I'll take my frustrations out on him. Not overtly. Just in lots of little passive-aggressive ways that undermine his sense of self-esteem and well-being. One day, in about 20 years, he'll trace it back to me while on his therapist's couch. But by then, it'll be way too late. That won't be my only shortcoming. When it comes to discipline, I'll be weak and inconsistent. If he asks for candy right before bedtime, I'll say yes right after his mother says no. He'll quickly learn to come to me when he wants something he's not supposed to have. And, on the off chance I actually say no to something, I'll change my tune if he whines or throws a tantrum. That should help me lose his respect, not to mention undermine his mother's hard-earned authority. Man, am I going to suck. My kid's going to have all the things I never had as a child, whether he wants them or not. He'll take piano lessons, even if he'd rather play the trombone. He'll play Little League baseball, even if he'd rather play tennis. After a while, he'll become so resentful of my forcing him into things, he'll reject everything I try to give him, even the stuff he likes. Sure, at first, I'll spend lots of time with him. But after the first few years of being a father, the novelty will wear off and I'll leave it to Trish to do the bulk of the parenting. While she's busy teaching him how to tie his shoelaces or build a snowman, I'll be hiding in the basement with my model boats. By the time he's in high school, it'll be too late to make up for all the lost time, so I'll overcompensate by smothering him with attention. That'll further drive a wedge between us. As for the birds and the bees, forget it. I don't even want to think about teaching him the facts of life. Hopefully, he'll learn what he needs to know from friends or Hustler, because I'm going to feel extremely uncomfortable talking to him about any of that stuff. The teen years are a difficult time, and in addition to not having the slightest idea what he's into and what his interests are, I'll be fighting with him all the time. Unfortunately, once he's finally old enough that I can reason with him, I'll have resorted to yelling things like, "Because I'm your father and I said so!" I'll start snapping at him and harassing him about what he's up to and who he's hanging around with and what he's doing with his life. After all this, I'll still be surprised when he moves out right after high school and hardly ever calls. And I haven't even touched on how I'll fail to teach my son life lessons through positive examples. Or the high probability that he'll wind up a child of divorce. Or how my growing drinking problem will make the emotional chasm between us even harder to bridge, eventually causing him to take up the bottle himself. Or how all of this will make it almost impossible for him to have healthy relationships with his own kids. Oh, well. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Trish wants the next one to be a girl.