6 Times I Didn't Suck As a Father

by Jon Helmkamp
Originally Published: 
A father in a blue, burgundy, and yellow checked shirt holding his child in a white shirt

I sometimes feel inadequate compared to the moms around me. I mean, between my wife and our nanny, I’m pretty much surrounded by superheroes. It can be hard to live up to. There have been many instances along this journey of fatherhood where I have fallen flat as a father – forgot to bring milk for the baby, didn’t put diapers in the diaper bag, etc – and you know what, I’ve learned to roll with it. On the opposite side of these moments, there have been times when I didn’t completely suck as a father. Here are six of those moments.

1. The first time I properly warmed a bottle of milk. Seriously, I don’t know why I struggled with this for that first week home with the baby, but it seemed like the milk was always cold, or boiling magma hot. No middle ground. You better believe I fist pumped the first midnight feeding where I perfectly warmed that bottle to baby consumption temperature. Dang right I did.

2. When I didn’t forget her pants. That’s right, look at my little baby – she is fully clothed, with pants. She is warm and snuggly and ready to handle any weather condition thrown her way, because I, as dad, equipped her to do so. I am completely unashamed to admit that there have been times when I have taken her out without pants. Parenting messes with your brain. Don’t judge me.

3. When my wife went out for a girls’ night. Mom certainly needed it, and being the loving and supportive husband and father that I am, I watched the little lady for an entire night. And guess what? Nothing broke, the baby didn’t die, and nobody had to call the fire department. So all in all, I totally crushed it.

4. When I played Otis Redding for my daughter. When it comes to introducing my daughter to good music, I’ve got it on lock. My house will be a house with good music. This will be a house that appreciates the finer things. As a father, it is your job to raise a child that knows the difference between good music and garbage. There will be no Miley in this house. Ever.

5. When I didn’t kill us in the car. I was scared out of my mind the first time she was in the back seat, and I swear I looked at every single car on the road with intense feelings of rage and protectiveness. Merging into the lane in front of me? NOT ACCEPTABLE. Stay away from my baby, you maniac! It seemed like everyone was driving at insanely high speeds until I looked down and realized I was only doing 40 miles per hour on the freeway. But hey, I got her home safe, so I think I did OK.

6. When I woke up before my wife. I would like to point out that this has happened more than once, but it is entirely too often that my wife hears our daughter crying before I do. I swear there is nothing as strong as mom radar. So, when I hear those tears in the baby monitor and spring up to realize my wife is still asleep, a small part of me wants to shake her awake to gloat about the fact that I got up before she did. But that’s just mean, because mom needs her sleep, and it also completely defeats the purpose of me waking up first.

So far, I think I’m doing OK as a father. My baby is healthy, the house is still mostly intact, she’s learning about good music, and most of the time she leaves the house fully clothed. They say fatherhood is about accepting that you aren’t perfect and trying to grow, so if that’s the case, I must be an alright dad.

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