ambivalent father

The Ambivalent Father

Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is almost two and being a dad has been the greatest experience of my life. But lately, I look at my child and feel absolutely nothing. What’s wrong with me, and what can I do to get my mojo back?

A: Over the course of the 20+ years I’ve been writing about parenting, there have been only a few things that I’m not sure I want my kids to see. This may be one of them. But you can read it if you promise not to tell them

In this column, my books, and other work, I often talk about the joys, anxieties, fears, and intense feelings of love that are all part of being a father. Like most men, your experience—despite the ups and downs—has been overwhelmingly positive, and you wouldn’t trade it for anything. In fact, being a dad has become such an integral part of your life that you probably can’t imagine not being one, right?

But then came that day, completely out of the blue, when you looked at your child and realized that the intense love you felt just the day before had been replaced by a numb, hollow feeling. And the delight you took in raising her and being part of her life had been supplanted by completely and utter ambivalence. You’re overburdened, underappreciated, and you can hardly remember the last time you had a conversation with someone who knows more than 40 words. And now, you feel like chucking this whole dad thin and starting a new life somewhere else, as far away from your kid as you can get. Does that sound about right?


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Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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