My son tugs on my arm. I pull away from his little grasp, “Just a minute, Bubba”. I have to finish my post on Facebook about my dad feat of the day. He looks up at me, for what must be the billionth time, with the same sadness and disappointment filling his eyes as every other time I tell him just a minute to do something on my cell phone.
There was a time, when I first started my page and the subsequent blog, I was on top of everything. Comments, other blogs, all of it I read and responded to with due diligence. Lately, you might notice I don’t answer anything. I fell off the social media landscape.
The reason is simple. I stopped feeling like a genuinely good dad.
Punk Rock Papa is a space I can revel in the joys and mishaps of parenting and growing up in general. It has been my place to boast about my kids and things we have done. I got to be a real parent, with other real parents, talking about the day to day and the awesome journey that parenthood is. It was about being involved, both in my children’s lives and in the parenting community, giving my triumphs and failures a voice, along with other parent’s who valued honesty about the bad days just as much as boasts about the good days.
There is a balance, I am sure most other bloggers with families must have to find, where it is important you are spending enough time in the real world as you are online. Unfortunately, I had reached the point where I lost my balance. Social media was becoming a full time job. Messenger pinged, comments flowed in on my page, on my blog, all the while I stayed with face glued to screen while my sons were learning to just do stuff without me.
Looking at it, I was sitting there talking about how much of an involved dad I was, while being completely uninvolved. The only genuine thing I was doing? Being a pretty genuine piece of shit to my kids. Awhile back, after looking into my son’s eyes and seeing I wasn’t being the good parent I purported to be, I stopped pretty much all of it. I stopped responding to people online, privately or publicly. My blog promotion went way down, as did my traffic, while I took back my children’s time for them. I stepped back from the groups and the chats and commenting to focus more on my family I had been ignoring.
Yes, I still read comments. Occasionally, you might catch me in a lull in my house where I might even respond to them. Sure, it takes a good thirty seconds to respond to one comment.
Thirty seconds per blog comment. Five blog comments would be two and a half minutes. If four decide to respond? Another two minutes. A back and forth on my blog goes from thirty seconds to answer a comment to a half hour conversation.
That is just my blog, on my page I have over 3,500 followers (Who are all wonderful people. What brown spot on my nose?). I ask a question and get anywhere from twenty to sixty responses. Let’s say I only get twenty responses, that I only have to respond to, say, twice. At thirty seconds a response, we have twenty minutes I could have spent chasing my sons around and wrestling with them, filling my house with laughter and joy.
I would rather take the traffic hit on my page and blog (which I have, enormously actually. My views and reach have been cut in half. Now I am that person crying about their “stats”. Oh well.) than make my son pull on my hand trying to play with me for twenty minutes before giving up on his old man and writing a fresh stanza to “Cats In The Cradle”.
So, while my numbers may not grow anymore, I can sit comfortably genuine in giving myself a pat on the back for being an alright dad today. I am sorry if I don’t get to anyone’s messages, we have a crazy kitchen dance party coming up that will just take up all my time. I am proud of my fellow parent (Ick, I identified with you) bloggers who are able to maintain there balance. This Punk Rock Papa just hasn’t been able to do it.
Besides, if I wasn’t busy with my kids making amazing memories, I wouldn’t have any stories to write and share with you. I thank everyone for their comments, even if I don’t respond to them- they are read, I just am not sacrificing my children’s time to play online.