One of the great achievements of the Women’s Movement has been the raising of consciousness about the ways in which society has oppressed them. There are ways that society has oppressed men too. That is often overlooked since men are the gender of “entitlement” in so many areas. The expectation that men are to provide financially and be emotionally available and have a sense of stability and calm, pressures men to meet this expectation with little room for self doubt. I think this pressure to meet these expectation as a father makes men vulnerable to feeling that they have to get everything right….and in their desire to do so seem frustrated, impatient and angry at times.
In this 5 part series on “patience” step one is to make a connection of what is expected of us as a father. There are the expectations of our wives/partners and those we inherit from our social up-bringing…think both of societal expectation for men and what our families taught us about being men/dads. Talking with your wife you can discover together what your new “roles” as parents are. You can discuss what you need to do for each other to help not only your family develop but also so you can find joy and pleasure in being parents!
How we raise our consciousness as men about the family and societal roles we are “supposed” to fulfill is more difficult. And let me say here …this is what leads to our greatest frustrations and lack of patience. Many men are unaware of the pressure they feel to “be perfect” and meet all the assumed and unacknowledged responsibilities they feel when they become dads. So this is the “key”….(it does open a door) that men/dads beginning to understand, that the pressures we put ourselves under is what “fuels” a sense of impatience….how do we learn about this? My experience is it is a “peer to peer” experience that helps men understand how this pressures effect them personally. Being with and talking about fatherhood with other dads allows them to learn together about the forces on them as men…understanding the pressures that lead to being impatient with those they love and most profoundly with themselves. This is where to begin….in dialogue with other dads and it is what helps them become more patient with themselves and the ones they love.
“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow-that is patience.”