One of the ways that children change a marriage is easy to identify: they require us husbands to grow up and become their daddies. Unfortunately, some husbands are not willing to pursue this change. Many children grow up in homes where daddy often acts like a big baby. I know a guy who accuses his kids of ruining his life. Actually, he’s been ruining his own life since he was a teenager. I suspect that one day; when this man’s children are older, they will encounter their own problems and wind up blaming their father. It’s ironic. Men can’t raise kids if they won’t grow up. (I’m talking about the men growing up, not the kids.)
Growing up is hard to do.
Speaking for myself, I recall how easy it was for me to get away with childish behaviors in the early years of my marriage. I enjoyed being the center of attention most of the time. I was able buy all kinds of cool toys; and I never had to share with other people. When I got really upset, I could fuss and pout—usually without creating a great deal of collateral damage. Once upon a time, my wife put up with these immature antics. We used to joke about them. I thought that they were kind of cute.
And then a real baby moved into our marriage.
When that happens, husbands are shoved into a new role that comes with an unbelievable spread of difficult responsibilities. In my opinion, mommies usually inherit most of the early work; but daddies often feel like they’re doing most of the suffering. This is because we no longer get to mooch the benefits of our wives’ maternal disposition. They used to play along (for awhile, at least) when we acted like little boys. Once their dealing with real babies, however, wives will respond to our fussy whining by saying something like: “Would you grow up!?”
Maybe we do; maybe we don’t.
It’s not up to our wives.
It’s not up to our kids.
C’mon guys—let’s face the facts: it’s entirely up to us.