On Becoming a Father

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Originally posted on Dad Camp

Until 5 years ago all but a few fathers I knew were 30 or more years older than me. That’s because the simple fact that most of my friends had no kids so the only fathers I knew were their parents. Since those fathers were 60 plus and I was 30ish I didn’t put myself in the same category as them.

When we’re young we have a crazy concept of age. For instance when I went to day camp I thought all my counselors were about 30. I realized I was wrong when I was a counselor there at 15.

But that warped sense of age stuck with me when it came to fathers. In my head since I am so much younger than the fathers I know, I can’t be one myself. Maybe it was a really simple way to look at things but it was keeping me from putting myself in the category of father. I knew I wanted a kid one day but it just seemed so far away.

To add to my mental block of fatherhood, I thought of myself as just a normal guy. My conversations with other guys were about things like snowboarding, design, photography and such. Maybe most guys would switch football out for photo and design, but I make my living as a creative director. I didn’t of course talk about baby stuff.

But things changed. More of my friends have kids so I’m seeing fathers that I can relate to. And as Staci and I prepare for the baby we’re talking about baby stuff, maybe to the despair of some of our friends.

Last week at work I found myself in a 20 minute conversation about strollers. Granted we were talking about their design, form over function and which is more important for a stroller, but I was having a conversation about baby stuff and it felt right.

Five years ago I never pictured myself having that kind of conversation and enjoying it. Actually a year ago I never thought I’d be having that conversation. To be totally honest a few months ago, even after we found out we were pregnant, I didn’t think I’d enjoy a conversation about strollers.

That’s when I realized that there was a sea change going on in my mind. I made the switch from normal guy to father. I also found out I didn’t actually change much. I could still Kenny and just add the title of father instead of having the title define me.

I’m still having the same conversations I had before but with minor tweaks. I used to geek out on Eames chairs, now I get to geek out on the chairs but also the Eames Elephant for kids. I get to add to my list of things I’m digging. Pretty cool.

Maybe for some it’s a no brainer but it took me some time to realize that I can be a normal guy and a father.



4 comments:

  1. I know absolutely, positively what you mean. I am constantly looking at the parents of the children in my son's class as "grownups". They will ask me my opinion on something, and, while answering, I will think, "what the hell are you asking me for, I don't know anything". I have to keep reminding myself they are my peers, not my parents. It still doesn't feel right to me, though.

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  2. Yeah, it's weird. I'm 36 but I still feel like a kid. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Just found you on Ohdeedoh... I like this post. I am only 30, but have a 3 year old and a 9 month old...
    I felt/feel this way too...Glad to know I'm not alone.

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  4. Katy, glad you found me from Ohdeedoh. I still have that "holy shit" moment when I look at Miloh...because I still feel it's weird that I have a son...awesome but weird.

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