Book 18 of 52: Where Were You When I Needed You Dad? A Guide For Healing Our Father Wound by Jane Myers Drew

Impossible?
 

Ever since I split from my ex wife and left the family home I feel like I have been drifting further and further away from my son. The everyday contact that I used to have, combined with my travels around the world to write about poker, have contributed to a very upset son and a very upset father. It seems too easy to just quit my job and head back to the valley to start working at trying to be father of the year. But this time I am not allowing my heart to make the decisions for me; this time the head is in charge. I know it is a matter of balance, I am just not sure how to get the scales to stay at an even keel and how the hell to explain any of this to an eleven-year old boy who just wants his family back.

In the past few weeks I have written about my feelings on the subject in Pick of the Week: The Absent and Distant Father and Pick of the Week: The Fatherless Son. I have been confused, scared and upset and as usual have turned to books to try and find a way out of the mess I am seemingly created for myself. To my surprise there was very little literature in the marketplace to help fathers who are absent from their children’s lives, and nothing about fathers working abroad. In the end I settled for Where Were You When I Needed You Dad? A Guide For Healing Our Father Wound by Jane Myers Drew.

So what did I think about the book?

Firstly, the book has really helped me to diagnose myself as an absent and distant father. It has been really beneficial to understand that my problem was two-fold – vital in fact. If I had just thought I was an absent father then I would have sorely missed the point and never truly learned a lesson that would improve my standing as a human being. I will write about being absent, and distant, in the coming weeks so you understand the difference.

The one thing I didn’t like about the book – but normally do – was the amount of exercises that it contained. I think a book needs the right balance of knowledgeable content and exercises and this was was a little bit wonky on the exercise side. When I am reading 52 books in 52 weeks I cannot stop to carry out each exercise step by step and so it doesn’t work for me. That being said I imagine if you take your time and go through the book – exercise by exercise – then it will be beneficial. I will complete most of the exercises on a weekly basis after I have finished the book.

So I would recommend the book to anyone who has been hurt by their father, or believe they are hurting their own children. But that being said I really hope there is better material out there, especially for parents who work away from home, as this is a common societal problem.

Do you know of any good pieces of literature that can help me gain more knowledge in how to be a work away from home father? Let me know if you do.

Photo courtesy of the fantastic k.hoppdelaney (cc & flickr.com) or www.koppdelaney.de

Comments

  1. Why do you think you are a bad father ?

    I’m in a similar situation being divorced and see my boys every weekend for a night and one of the days plus 2 hours 2 evenings a week (luckily I work close enough). For me, it’s still not enough !!! I miss the day to day stuff that you just can’t get in our situation, but you just gotta do the best you can. If your like that, it’s easy to feel guilty when pressure is put on you to do more, by either your kids (probably worse) or even their mum (as I get approx every other month).

    All you can do is be the best you can be in your given situation, keep the communication channels open with your kids and try and keep it ammicable with their mum.

    It took me a while and I still get really down about it sometimes, but what can you do ? You can’t beat yourself up about stuff all the time, though definately think you should always be self analytical (not you as in you, but people in general). As Dory says in Finding Nemo ‘Just keep swimming !!!’

    Good luck
    Coggy

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Coggy,

      I don’t actually think I am a bad father. I think I am a father who could have done more for his son when I lived with him, and now find myself in a ridiculous situation where I cannot seem to satisfy anyone. My son believes I am a great father, but he believes I am choosing my job over my duties as a father. Obviously, it’s all about balance (I have just finished a 15-hr shift, have 5-hrs to sleep and then back up for another 15-hrs) but I find it difficult due to my work abroad, reduced access rights and the fact that my son is eleven and would rather play with his friends than spend time with his old man.

      I am positive I will get there in the end and these posts and my drive to find more education on the subject is really helping (as do these types of replies so thanks).

      Lee

  2. I totally understand your first part there. My boys are 6 & 10 (well, in the next 6 weeks) and very different in their interests so even my time with them it’s hard to please both. I left when my youngest was 2 and so basically my oldest had 4 years of me completely to himself before his brother came along and I don’t feel he’s since had enough of me and him time as he’s just so laid back and cool. Whereas youngest is mad and a total lad so takes more effort and I loves that as he’s like me but my main issue is I feel like me and my oldest have drifted a a bit. When we do get a few hours the 2 of us it’s awesome.

    FWIW – You sound like a top dad and top fella to have aknowledged where you went wrong and for trying to make amends/change things for the better for all concerned. Can’t look back, can only change what’s in front of us. No regrets as even the stuff that was ‘wrong’ has moulded us and we all make mistakes.

    Cheers
    Coggy

    • Lee Davy says:

      Coggy,

      I get upset when my son doesn’t want to talk to me or be with me. I then get upset with myself because I cannot differentiate between how much of that is just being eleven, and how much is tied in with the fact that I am no longer with him as often. I have so much built up anger about the way fathers are just sent packing when it comes to child minding duties and then criticised for not being there. I am not willing to just pack in my job and live in the Valleys where my son resides and for that I will also receive criticism. So I suppose a lot of it comes down to my worry about how I am percieved by others which is ridiculous in itself.

      Lee

  3. Lee,
    Maybe this is your cue to write that book you yourself are looking to read?

  4. Lee

    Why can’t you go back to your wife now you have given up drinking. Your son just wants you to be at home? Sorry if that’s a stupid comment, but …..

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Carrie,

      I separated from my wife over three years ago and have since fallen in love with someone else and am very happy in that regard.

      My ex wife and I realised that we weren’t right for each other. There were lots of reasons for this, but one of the crucial ones for me was my need to be with someone who didn’t drink.

      It’s just not something that I want in my life, and when I stopped drinking I became a different man, and my ex wife didn’t like that man as much as the one she originally fell in love with.

      This is fairly common when people give up addictions.

      Lee

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