Some Thoughts on Life and Being a Man

By Guest Writer: TJ Garvin

TJ is my brother-in-law and one of the greatest men I know – Ellie and I love him more than he will ever be able to understand

Life is tough.

No that’s not right, life is largely a pain in the ass.  Everyday most of us have several roles to fill.  I am a husband, a dad, an uncle, son, grandson, brother and among many other roles I fill on a daily basis, I am a man. Not exactly in that order.

Did you know that 60 percent of American men report that they’d be willing to take a male birth control pill if available?  Interesting stat in my mind, seeing as I am 31 years old, I have 2 children and another on the way.  My son is 3 and my daughter 2, they are a mere 14 months a part, similar to the Harbough brothers who will be coaching against each other during the Super Bowl this Sunday, February 3rd and are 15 months a part.

Since I have had kids, I have never slept through the night.  Even when I am on vacation and extremely intoxicated, I have not slept through the night.  I am the night nanny of our children, because honestly, my wife does enough during the day with these little animals, that to ask her to get up and sleep in the hallway with a crappy couch pillow and old, but extremely comfortable blanket, just so our daughter will stay in her bed for an extra hour or two is an unreasonable request – in my opinion.

The point is not the lack of sleep that I get, or that I want to be a great husband.  The point is that life has become unnecessarily difficult for many people, starting from the 1960’s until now.   My narrow-minded viewpoint on our society is one of laziness, selfishness and inconsiderate abatement of personal responsibility.

When people have had enough of something, they quit and give up, regardless of consequences.   Such as having children, or trying to stop your sperm from working after having sex with the 5th random girl this week just so you wont make a baby, and when you do get a girl pregnant you find it acceptable to walk away, or when your marriage is not working, you just get a divorce, or kick your kids out of the house, or forget about your parents, or your siblings, your co-workers, your friends, or your house.

Maybe it’s just me, but just because women have more rights now doesn’t mean that men now need to be bigger assholes.  Right?  Being a man should still stand for something. Regardless of your personal wealth, career accomplishments, race or sexual attraction.

According the 2011 US Census Bureau, over 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers, that is 33% of children in America.  To put that in perspective, in 1960 only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes.  Not all fathers are perfect, nor are mothers, but this is a personal problem that can be avoided.  I have felt like divorcing my wife several times over our 5 year marriage and I am sure I will feel that way again, and I would bet money that she wants to divorce me on a daily basis.

It’s our nature to be different, have different opinions, viewpoints, and positions on parenting or finances.  Every aspect of the life needs work, and needs nurturing.  Marriage is hard work.

Being a father is hard work.

Being a son in your 30’s with 2 children, and a wife is extremely hard work.

Being a son-in-law who to often allows their children to touch the windows or curtains with dirty hands is extremely hard work.

I am a man.  A man raised me, but a woman also raised me to be a man.

Being a man to me is not about how macho you are, how many beers you can drink, how many girls you f*ck, or how you can watch your wife raise your kids then throw your shit on the ground and expect it to be cleaned.

It’s not about beating your kids into submission, so they do what you say, or expecting them to be something – but you are never around to teach them.

Life is a give and take, like the penny thing on the counter at the convenience store.   Some nights I do the dishes but you will never find me doing laundry.   I take the garbage out, but do my best to never change a poopy diaper.  I can’t find the reason, but somewhere along the way, men gave up on being men and people gave up on trying a little harder to make things work.

A great example is my sister-in-law and my niece.  As it stands now, her father will not get to see her pee her pants, throw a screaming fit, unravel the toilet paper or vomit in her mother’s handbag after drinking to much.   He gave up before her life even started.  He will miss out on my holiday cocktails, my prolonged bathroom trips so I can play video games on my phone, my grandmother-in-law cleaning up our glasses of water before we are even done drinking them.  He, like too many other men, are unwilling to be accountable for themselves.

It’s ok though.

We get to raise that little girl as a family.  She gets to experience life, spoiled and   with her cousins.

My niece is lucky to have one parent, and an entire family who didn’t give up on her.  At the very least, she will have a chance to have her heart broken by a boy (or a girl) in high school, have her first kiss at the 8th grade dance (probably sooner), be a bridesmaid in my daughter’s wedding and date my son’s friends.  She is fortunate that my sister in law has the ability and the drive to do the work of two parents.

Too many times we hear about tragedies like the Newtown shooting, young teens overdosing on prescription pills or heroin.  Maybe it’s not the kids’ fault or the guns fault.  Maybe we need to look at the way we treat each other and where most of these problems get their start.

So the next time your kid flips out about her clothes being to tight and your son is super excited about his poop looking like a spaceship and then your wife wants a new car with a bigger trunk, and more room but refuses to get a mini-van or your mother in law is mad that you used her $11 off at CVS, and your mom needs you to convince your wife to go to NJ for the weekend, and your sister-in-law constantly needs attention and help with her blog – I suggest taking a step back, breathing in deeply, rubbing your ears and getting after it.

Get some loose comfy clothes out, take a picture of that giant spaceship, research all available SUV’s, make fun of your mother-in-law because she shops too much and tell your mom you love her.

Then get outside have some fun.