This is admittedly weird: I feel actual guilt over the fact that I can’t draw my son a daily picture for his lunch. What?
I totally do. But I’m here to say that I’m becoming okay with it. And if you’re struggling with a similar emotion, I want you to feel okay and that your ability as a dad isn’t being judged because you aren’t drawing Superman for your kid every day.
All the pieces for me doing a daily lunch doodle were in-place: I’m a creative guy. I love drawing, doodling, and sketching – especially with my son. I have talked to and about countless dads here on 8BitDad who create really impressive lunch notes, napkin art, lunch bag art and stuff like that. And every time I talk to someone or see a project like it, I think “when my son starts a real school, I’m going to draw him something everyday.”
Day1 of kindergarten, I drew my son a little Batman doodle.
Day 2, nothing.
Day 3, nothing.
Day 4, nothing.
Day 5, you get the idea.
But here’s the thing: I feel bad. I feel like I should be doing it. I wonder how these other creative guys have the stickwithitism to do years of lunch trinkets, and how I just retired on day 2. I wanted to do something that we could keep forever in some popsicle stick box and be mentally burdened with not having #15 and #73 because my son was either sick that day or destroyed the doodle with his Cheetos-encrusted hands.
I know, I shouldn’t feel guilty. Some guys got it, and some guys don’t. And it’s okay to not got it.
I’m sure this is what the Pinterest parents feel like when they just want to phone-in a round of birthday cupcakes instead of handcrafting them and styling them after their children’s most recent movie obsession.
I feel like even though I constantly complain about parents “over-specializing” their kids – that is, making every single little mundane day-to-day thing overly-special and unique – I still feel weird that I’m not able to do that one special thing. I mean, I hate-hate-HATE Elf on the Shelf. But I wanted to do a daily lunch superhero sketch thing. Flawless logic.
So, I’m slowly emotionally accepting it. I do plenty of fun and special things with my son. We play games together. We take photographs together. We go to the comic store together. I have to fight the urge to feel like I’m not good enough or modern-fatherly enough just because someone else is drawing superheroes for their kids every day and I’m not.
See, when I typed “I’m not,” I totally felt bad again and thought “well, it’s not too late, I can start tomorrow!”
The human brain’s funny like that, I guess. If you feel even a teensy bit bad that you’re not drawing something for your kid every day, chin up. No one says you can’t randomly surprise your kid from time to time with a doodle.
Until then, deep breaths. It’s gonna be okay.
(header image made with a photo from Jimmy Etelle)