I’m done with apologizing.
Sorry (dammit), let me be clearer. I’m done with apologizing for:
For some reason, ever since I became a dad, I've found myself saying sorry whenever I had to say no to something because of family responsibilities, especially when I’m saying no to friends who don’t have kids. I guess I always feel the need not to look like a no fun, boring, middle aged, married dad of two, even though there is NOTHING wrong with that.
I suddenly realised that this was a bad habit I picked up when a friend messaged me this week. He was hosting an open-mic comedy show that evening, and he wanted to know if I was keen to give it a try.
Here was my response:
“I know this is going to seem like a ridiculous excuse...but I have to make a birthday cake tonight
That might be the most dad thing I've said”
He responded immediately:
“That's the most wholesome, untoxic, wholesome dad thing I've heard all day”
To him, me doing my dad thing was great. It was fantastic. It was something worth honouring. And I was making it seem like it was just in the way of a good time. This is ridiculous for three reasons:
I don’t feel like that. By now it should be obvious that I LOVE being a dad. I love making cakes and wiping snotty noses and giving hugs and making supper and listening to my boys tell me about their school day, and building lego and kicking a ball around and answering every philosophical question they can throw at me. So why do I pretend that being a dad is just responsibility for me? Is it just so that I don’t look like some old fuddy-duddy? It’s stupid, is what it is.
My friends who don’t have kids do NOT expect me to do this. I have never said no to something and then had one of my friends say, “Boooooorinnng”. In fact, I think they are pretty impressed with my dedication to my family. I might even say that are pretty chuffed to have a friend who is a good dad.
Regardless - they have never put pressure on me to choose a social event over being a dad, and that is a blessing I should appreciate more.
If a friend of mine who is a dad says he can’t come out because of family stuff, my response is always, “No worries, totally understand! Do your thing”. So why don’t I extend the same courtesy to myself?
See? It’s just ridiculous. I have an awesome family who I love being with, so from now on, just know that I’m not sorry.
Now I just work out how not to feel guilty when I would rather hang out with friends than with my family...
By the way, the friend who dropped some knowledge on me is Phil De Lange. He’s a brilliant Cape Town comedian and watching his shows will make you life a little bit better. Find out more about him here.