Dads, we can't live with them because they somehow have the ability to drive us up the wall. Yet we also can't live without them simply because they are truly the pillar of strength in our lives. But before receiving the mantle of being a father, they are first and foremost a human being --an imperfect one at that-- trying their best to be the perfect role model for their kids. Think the super dad from The Incredibles trying to look after Jack-Jack.
Dads, there have never been any manuals whatsoever for them to refer to. They have only their own instincts, experiences (and at times weird suggestions by their wacky friends who are, too, trying to be a good dad to their own children) to rely on.
So amidst all the chaos, spit ups, tantrums, runny #2s, sleepless nights, ups and downs of fatherhood, how on earth did they ever pull through with their sanity intact?
Here we have compiled 20 short stories of how 20 dads, who have barely hung in there, have pulled through to see the dawn of a new day. Their names have, of course, been changed to protect these shy superheroes from being thrust into the limelight. You go, dads!
20 Work > Kids
Simon was not born a workaholic. I mean, whoever was? He even had his fortune read as a child with the wise old woman telling him that he would have a life filled with fun and enjoyment. But boy did things turn out differently.
Now a father of 2 kids, Simon who once loved clocking out on time does not hesitate to stay back in the office to tie up whatever loose ends he can get his hands on. His life of fun-filled excitement and adrenaline rush meant watching his kids scale the fridge and weekends at the park. Yes, he would accompany his kids to the playground but never without his trusty smartphone with him for him to check his office e-mails and get his mind off his wailing one year old and death-defying four-year-old.
19 YouTube And Facebook Scrolling
After a long day of battling it out with his three kids (one at 5, the middle one at 3 and the youngest just turned 5 months old), Louis would feast his eyes on his favorite YouTube channels. One after the other, he would devour them.
It wouldn't matter if his eyes were screaming for him to take a wink. He was fixated on getting his 'me time' and to have some entertainment in the form of watching America's Got Talent and CNN late into the night after the kids have retired to bed (albeit unwillingly). YouTube was his saving grace and the fine thread of sanity that he hung dearly onto in the journey of fatherhood.
18 Nice Cold One
Tommy, a father of one confessed to turning to beer (just one can each night) in order for him to chill and relax after a stressful day filled with a cranky baby who only wanted to be carried and cuddled. Oh no, don't even think of putting the baby down lest the baby cries a river and wakes up the whole neighborhood.
He swore the can of ice cold beer helped soothe his nerves and enabled him to sleep better at night (much to the chagrin of his wife) so as to recharge him for another challenging day after dawn. Well, if a little sip of alcohol can do wonders, then why not? So long as it does not endanger your health or your loved ones, then it's fine.
17 Food, Food, And More Food
Ever wondered why men in general gain weight after they get upgraded to becoming dads? No, it's not entirely because they have to eat their children's leftovers. The main reason as sworn by William is that once you have kids, you will barely have any social life. So what do you do when you are left with little to no outlet to express your frustrations and bottled fits of anger? Well, you eat of course.
William loves Chinese takeouts and a good plate of sushi. And while his choice of food may seem healthy, they have nonetheless succeeded in expanding his waistline. Not that he minds of course because the tamagoyaki and fried oysters with egg are just too delicious to pass on. Especially after a harrowing day with his twin girls who coincidentally have joined the terrible twos.
16 In another world
Jason, having survived the terrible twos, troublesome threes, frightening fours, fantastic fives, savvy sixes and sarcastic sevens (you name it, they've coined it), is now what you would consider a seasoned dad. So how did he survive the ordeal of the first few harrowing years of fatherhood? The answer is simple. He played computer games.
In his now neater looking home is an Xbox. One which has been his best friend for a long, long time. There were days and nights when he would sneak into the living room when the kids were either sleeping or at playschool where he could let loose in front of his favorite game. It did him wonders, in fact, he believes it helped him more than his five hundred dollars shrink (whose only advise was for him to inhale and exhale whenever the kids tore the house apart).
15 Nights Out With The Boys
Fuzhun, a father of two to a sweet little girl of five and an active boy of three (man, what is it with parents having only two kids these days? Our forefathers used to have a dozen and we don't see them running around screaming profanities...wait...or did they?) keeps his sanity in check by meeting up with his gang of friends for a drink at least once a fortnight.
Sure, they wouldn't be pouring out their family woes or wear their hearts on their sleeves but just chilling out with one another and not saying more than ten words (hi, how you doin' included) was somehow more therapeutic than any pep talk Fuzhun could ever ask for. He would go home from his night out with the buddies feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the next two weeks battling it out with his munchkins.
14 Mini Vacations Just For Him
Having to raise his two kids alone with his wife without anyone's help took a toll on Michael's temper (they lived far away from their parents). Both husband and wife argued constantly in front of their children so much so the kids could roleplay out their fights.
In order to keep both his and Mrs. Michael's cool, they agreed to take turns to go on personal mini-vacations (without the other partner). Once after an extremely heated argument (wife had jumped out of the car in the middle of a traffic jam and refused to go back in, their kids were cheering them on, taking bets on whether mummy or daddy would win this time around), Michael booked an impromptu trip to Osaka in Japan. He came back after a short 4 days trip feeling zen-like and argued a lot less with his wife.
13 A Raise/ Promotion
Sometimes at home, it can be hard to gauge how one is doing as a parent. There is no clear-cut way of parenting so this can oftentimes be a source of stress to many.
Christopher found it particularly hard being a single dad, looking after his one-year-old son. Junior seemed to push his button every single time and when Chris said 'no', Junior would buckle up and cry so much the Nigeria Falls would hide in shame. At times, Christopher did not know whether what he was doing was good or bad for his son.
It was extremely depressing. But blessing came in the form of a promotion at his office and Christopher was suddenly promoted to team manager. That boosted his confidence, not only in his work but also his outlook on parenting. 'Heck, if I'm doing it right at work then I should be doing at least a few things right at home too no?' That would be his mantra whenever he felt unsure of his parenting philosophy.
12 'Special Treatment' From Mom
After a long winding day of entertaining his son, Alvin would usually look forward to a mini rendezvous with his wife to spice things up.
It didn't matter if they had to hide in the closet or sneak under the kitchen table. In fact, all these weird spots made it even more exciting for Alvin. Once, they acted out a scene from Fifty Shades in their little closet. This left Alvin all pumped up the whole week. Baby Dylan crying over spilled milk? No problem! Daddy will help wipe them and get you a big new cup. Baby Dylan pooped on daddy's shoulder? Doesn't smell that bad. We'll just wash it off. Oh, the wondrous effects of special treatments from a spouse.
11 Words Of Encouragement
Almost everyone who comes back home from work would love to be able to sit back and relax. But almost everyone who is a father will know that that is practically impossible.
So every day, after a day of office politics and customer complaints, Stephen would come home to his little girl and wife. The missus, being an extremely submissive housewife would greet him with a tantalizing plate of a deliciously home cooked meal while his daughter would offer simple words of encouragement like, 'daddy I love you' or 'daddy, you're the best'. Simple words like those somehow managed to get him through the darkest of days.
10 Seeing The Baby Grow
It is said that the days of parenting are long, but the years are short. And these are the very words Baron hung onto during the early days of fatherhood. Having become a father at a very young age (both he and his wife had a shotgun marriage in high school), he sloughed through nights of diaper changes and baby flu while his peers were hi-fiving at the local bar watching football.
Often times he would feel like giving up, especially when his kids (yes, kids...they ended up having two in the end) were misbehaving or downright rebellious. But he would often look at them and tell himself that they were his responsibility and that it was a blessing to watch them grow.
From a helpless little infant to one graduating on the podium from high school. Now, at only forty, his eldest is on her way to her first year at university (he would constantly nag at her to use a condom just in case history repeated itself ) and his youngest is already a high school junior. These days he and his wife get to travel the world while his peers cry a river and carry their eye bags from sleepless nights looking after their newborn. Waaaaaaaa!
9 Never Missing A Day To Exercise
Charlamange decided enough was enough after his second child turned one. Looking at his flabby thighs and bulging tummy, Charlamange finally opted to put a stop to such a depressing state of appearance. After all, he was once crowned homecoming king in his high school. Surely a former king shouldn't be looking too worse for wear? (He was unabashedly self-conscious about his looks, heck, he owned more mirrors than his wife)
So every morning right before the kids would wake up, Charlemagne would ride his bicycle around the neighborhood. He didn't care if the neighborhood dog took him for a thief and chased him around the block. He would cycle rigorously regardless of the weather. Nothing could stop him, he was a man on fire. And every evening after the kids had surrendered to bed, he would do at least 50 crunches without fail. Ten months later he was as fit as a fiddle, with abs to envy. He even befriended the neighborhood dog who would accompany him for his cycling every morning!
8 Never Missed A Chance To Sleep
While some chose to battle the insanity of fatherhood head-on by exercising, Allen chose the other way around. He slept.
At any given opportunity (when his baby girl was napping, or when she was in the bathroom being bathed by mummy, or pooping), Allen would sleep. He didn't need a deep sleep. A little cat nap here, a wink there and even a 5-minute snooze helped to boost his energy in caring for his daughter. He claimed to be able to 'recharge' from even the most minute of sleep. So if anyone wanted to look for Allen, just take a peek in the bedroom or on the couch. He was bound to be either one of those places quietly snoring away.
7 Shopping It Out of his system
Whoever said that shopping was a therapeutic experience was definitely right. Nolan's father, a gentle but quiet man of little stature could often be seen huddling over his phone after a tiring day entertainment his son. Sometimes he would browse an online shop for electronic gadgets like a magnetic phone holder for cars, or a mini vacuum cleaner for his laptop keyboard.
Other times, he would physically visit the DIY section of Target or Walmart and buy a seemingly useless item which would surprisingly end up a rather useful tool. Occasionally though, when Nolan had been extra difficult to deal with, his father would visit the men's section and actually purchase a polo t-shirt or khaki pants. And if Nolan was a top-notch brat that day, his dad would actually end up with a nice little gift for his mum. So secretly the mother would always wish for Nolan to be extra naughty just so she could get surprises from the husband.
6 Washing it all away
Roy found out that washing his car off dirt and grime actually help to rid his bag of emotions. He would always feel much better after spraying the car and shampooing it. Waxing would often follow suit. Somehow making his car sparkly clean enabled him to take his mind off things (read: son accidentally breaking the best chinaware in the house or son scribbling his company laptop with permanent ink).
So anytime he felt like exploding (literally from all the stress), he would just fill his bucket with water and start washing his car. He washed his car so much that one day his neighbor started hinting for him to help wash their cars. To which he willingly obliged. Much to their delight and slight embarrassment.
5 Getting Friends To Help
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Mark and his buddies (all barely hanging in there dads) live by those very words. They tried to take turns to babysit each other's kids so at least one of the fathers could have an afternoon off. Mark and his friends called this the 'rotating shift ' where each dad and another friend would look after the kids while another dad got to relax and unwind.
Of course, it helped that their kids were of about the same age group and we're familiar with one another. Once in a while, Mark would also rope in a good buddy of his who remained childless (by choice) to keep an eye on his kids while he ran an errand or two. Not that his buddy minded. It served as a reminder of his choice not to have kids in the first place. Heh.
4 Simple Dates With Mom
Takeshi's kids slept early. They would usually be tucked away in bed by eight and that gave Takeshi and his wife ample to clean up the mess in the house and even have a little date in front of the TV.
Sometimes his wife would prepare a plate of an assortment of cheese and wine and the couple would cozy up to one another, sipping deliciously sparkling wine while watching reruns of either the Zoolander or something more profound like the Shawshank Redemption. Other times, both would dress up and meet in the kitchen and prepare late night snacks for one another. A simple egg sandwich with avocado or even an apple salad would do. Both would sit across one another while eating and would chat about their day, just like how it was when they were still dating. Awwwwww.
3 Special Magazines And Videos
Sometimes you just gotta do something rebellious and a little bit sinful. Mike had a lovely family of four. A wonderful wife (who was a great cook and an even greater mother, but who had very little energy left at the end of the day to pay attention to the husband) and three kids (who could be angelic at times but also drive him insane at other times).
Oh, he loved his family but there were times when he just couldn't stand them and wanted to escape from everything and everyone. So what did he do? He would do what naughty teens did, feasted his eyes on pleasures of the flesh and fantasized about himself being surrounded by the bunny girls in a great big mansion before 'poof!' baby Mike wails and tugs at daddy's pants. Oops...back to reality.
2 Thinking of the future
There's light at the end of this tunnel. This is what Lee Hyun would tell himself every day whenever his five-month-old baby boy cried and threw his pacifier on the floor. Lee Hyun would look at his son with love and say,' one day you're going to grow up and I can kick you out of the house '. Kidding! But seriously, Lee Hyun would envision the day when his son would finally graduate from high school, wearing his gold tassel after completing university.
That would be the day Lee Hyun would open his precious wine bottle (he had bought one on the day his son was born. It was initially meant to be a celebration wine but he later decided to keep it for when his son grew up and moved out. That would be an even greater cause for celebration, he reasoned much to his wife's amusement) and throw a great big party.
1 Learning To Take Responsibility
Wayne was a party boy in his youth. He would dance to the beat from dusk till dawn and always walked with a swag. He was meant to be the world's greatest DJ. But then fatherhood came calling and he had to trade nights at the club for nights of diaper changes and baby spit ups.
It felt like hell to him at first. He felt smothered and trapped. He had no idea how to handle the wriggly, wailing thing called 'the baby'. But as the days dragged on and 'the baby' learned to smile, laugh and giggle, Wayne started to change. He felt unconditional love for his daughter and decided to own up to his responsibility as a father. These days, evenings are spent reading stories and playing dress ups with his little girl. At times he would teach her a dance move or two (just in case she wanted to be the world's greatest DJ when she grew up) before putting her to bed and thanking God for having blessed him with such a beautiful gift...the gift if life.
References: Wikipedia and 20 dads who are hiding behind pseudonyms.