The 8 Lies You Tell When You're A Father
When you’re a dad, you spend fat swathes of your life lying through your teeth. There are the lies you tell your children, like: ‘No, we don’t have any chocolate’ and ‘Sorry, YouTube is broken today’. There are the lies you tell yourself, like: ‘Four hours of sleep is plenty’ and ‘You’ve still got it.’
And then there are the lies you tell the world. These are the big lies that you daren’t verbalize, or even admit to yourself, for fear of judgement. Well, you know what? I’m going to verbalize some of them. This is going to be either very brave or very stupid of me.
Lie One: ‘I love my new baby’
Fine, some dads might actually get that surging whoosh of purpose that we’re all supposed to feel as soon as we clap eyes on our newborn child. But I’ve had two of them now, and it hasn’t exactly happened like that. Yes, as soon as I met them both I wanted to protect them, but that feeling was laced with so much other stuff—concern for my wife, uncertainty about my parenting ability, the crushing weight of sudden irreversible lifelong responsibility—that it took a little while for me to see them as something other than simply a duty to be fulfilled.
Lie Two: ‘My wife is the love of my life’
My wife was the love of my life. But then we made two kids between us and, quite frankly, they’re way better than her. They’re funnier. They’re happier. They’re better looking. And don’t feel bad for her, because she feels exactly the same way about me. She’d be the last person I rescued if our house caught fire tonight, and I’d be the last person she’d rescue. That’s a strange feeling to get your head around, especially when discussing someone you’re actually in love with. My wife used to be my favorite person. Now she’s just my favorite adult. That still counts.
Lie Three: ‘Sure, I’d love to go on a playdate’
Of course I wouldn’t love to go on a fucking playdate. Are you kidding? Playdates—especially when they’re with parents you barely know—are a non-stop lunatic hell ride of unstoppable misery. You end up spending an afternoon saddled with a complete stranger whose sole point of commonality is the fact that they happened to knock their wife up within the same year that you knocked yours up. Playdates are like actual dates, but with any prospect of sex replaced with the dismal prospect of having to make even more soul-destroying smalltalk with the same unbearable dullard again in a fortnight.
Lie Four: ‘I’m pleased men don’t get pregnant’
I’ve never said this out loud before, because I honestly think I might get beaten to death for it, but I reckon I’d be amazing at being pregnant. Parts of it I’m not so keen on—I’m not a dainty vomiter, to put it mildly—but wouldn’t it be amazing to feel an active biological link with your child while it’s still growing inside you? Better yet, just before it comes out, you get to scream the C-word over and over again in a hospital at the top of your voice and nobody minds. Being pregnant sounds like the dream.
I imagine not having kids all the time. I imagine how fresh-faced and thin I’d be, and how much hair I’d have left.
Lie Five: ‘We need a holiday’
Stop right there. You’re not going to have a holiday for the next 20 years. Fine, you might occasionally go on a plane and then live in a different place for a week, but that isn’t a holiday. You’ve still got the same old day-in-day-out wall of crap to deal with, only with less stuff. In September, my brother is getting married in Bali. Everyone else will be having a nice time, but I’ll be drowning in the same old bullshit that I am at home, except worse because I don’t need to take two young kids on a 17-hour flight to stay at home. You do not need a holiday. What you need is a shed with a lock.
Lie Six: ‘I couldn’t imagine not having kids now’
Really? I imagine not having kids all the time. I imagine how fresh-faced and thin I’d be, and how much hair I’d have left. I imagine being able to read a newspaper all the way through. I imagine having nothing to do. I imagine sitting in my living room—my clean, tidy living room—and it being so quiet that I can hear a clock tick. I imagine having a sexual identity. I imagine getting drunk without fearing the lake of diarrhea that is parenting with a hangover. I imagine seeing a tractor in the street and not having to fucking point at it. I love my children dearly, but that doesn’t mean I’m always thrilled they’re around.
Lie Seven: ‘Fatherhood hasn’t changed me’
This is the big lie. This is the defiant roar of the reluctant dad. “I’m still me,” you’ll say. “I’m more than just a dad.” This is garbage. Being a dad has changed every single thing about me. I look different. I dress differently. I’m more focused. My time is much more precious than it ever was. The only people I fancy any more all present CBeebies. I eat my main meal while Pointless is still on. Work was once what I was, but now it’s just the thing I do to feed my kids, and honestly I’d much rather not be doing it at all. Pre-baby me is a distant memory, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been, so why would I want to change back?
Lie Eight: ‘I didn’t piss in the sink’
I totally pissed in the sink. Our toddler had been sitting on the toilet for 20 minutes and I was busting for a wee. Of course I pissed in the sink. You’d piss in the sink too if you had a penis.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.