It’s Not You, It’s Me – A Break Up Letter To My Son

Break-up - The Rookie Dad


Look, I have to say something to you.  This isn’t going to be easy.  To be honest, this is probably going to hurt me more than it will hurt you but this needs to be said.

We need a break.

Look, it isn’t you, it’s me.  Get used to that saying, because it won’t be the last time someone says it to you.  You might even say it to a stage 5 clinger in the future, more on that when you are older.

I haven’t been the best dad lately.  I have been easily frustrated, angered, which would lead to many time-outs.  Time-outs that I wish I did not have to give you.  There has been an internal struggle with me lately, a fight between something that you do not quite understand that has been interfering with me being a good dad.

You see, I’m unemployed.  This is not the easy on a person.  I have felt like failure each and every time I would get turned down for a job, which would lead to more frustration, anger and time-outs.  I’m sorry.  I really should not let it out on you, because you have not done anything to cause this.

So see, it isn’t you, it’s me.

There is more to the story and another reason why we need a break. I love being a stay-at-home-dad. I would drop everything to be one in a heartbeat, but, our family cannot afford to do that right now.  Once your mother becomes a hot shot lawyer, sure! I will be able to full concentration into you becoming the next Nolan Ryan.  For now though, that has to wait.  I need a job, to help support you and your mother.  Without a job, you will not become the next Nolan Ryan and your mother would have no way to become the lawyer that she wants to be.

Today though, I come to you telling you why we are going to take a break.  Remember, this has nothing to do with you, it’s all me.  Hopefully, with this break, I will be a much better dad, you won’t be in time-out as much, and your mother can continue the dream of being a lawyer.


Great, right? For me, it is sort of bitter sweet.  I don’t want to end our time together but you need to go to preschool to learn.  You heard me right, preschool!  Damn, you are growing up so fast. I can see your lower lip sticking out right now as I tell you this because you want to stay home with dad and play trains and superheroes all day.

I am fighting back tears as I remember everything that we did together and thinking about what we won’t be able to do all day.  We won’t be able to sing The Fox song with you at the top of our lungs.  We won’t be able to run around the house talking like a pirate trying to find you in a game of hide-and-seek (you need to work on hiding by the way… when I say “where are you” it’s best not to respond with “right here”).  We won’t be able to spend every morning together at the park, as I watch you try to impress the ladies with your impressive ABC skills.

All of those things mean something to me. Something that is almost impossible to put into words. Sure, we were growing a great relationship but this break will build and even stronger relationship.


We will make it through this together.  You know why?  Because, I’m not going anywhere.  I’ll still be home in the evenings ready to teach you to be Nolan Ryan.  Ready to show you how to stick play-doh up your nose. We will still be able to go out and catch grasshoppers and frogs together. More importantly, teach you the life lessons when it comes time to make a clean break with your girlfriend.

We will both benefit from this break, trust me, we both need it.  Even though I won’t be there all-day, every day, I will be there for you. I am still your dad.  You are still my son.  That is a relationship that will never EVER go away.


About The Rookie Dad

I am husband and father foremost. Secondly, I am a PBS producer and contribute to Traveling Dads and Dads Round Table.

Posted on October 14, 2013, in Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Congrats on the job!. I’m also job hunting and can understand some of the feelings you expressed here. Parenting isn’t easy but I’m sure your son will understand. Especially when this breaks helps to take some of the stress off. Well wishes.

  2. No mention of how much what you are facing is controlled by two factors you do not control: The crazy world employment world for many and the need for a “Little bit of luck.” I assume you are hoping as I do your blog will be read by your child as a grown up. Good luck on that. Much of how a child the age of yours reacts is how parents deal with their negative feelings explains the increased time outs when you are grumpy.Not bad as I see you are a more than good enough Dad. Commercial now. You might want to dip into my book Parent Are People too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents. Believe me, the older your son grows, the more you will need to stay in charge of your negative feelings. Hope the new job is fulfilling as well as bill paying.

  3. Great post. You deal with a number of serious topics in a moving and at times comical way.
    Congratulations on the job and good luck to your son in preschool.

  4. Great post. I feel for you on the looking for a job thing I’ve been there but congratulations on finding one. Hopefully everything works out for you and your family.

  5. Stage 5 Clinger! Made me chuckle! I think it will be good for you to go to work. As much as I complain about my job, it makes the time I get to spend with my son that much more special. I honestly don’t think I could be a SAHD. It really takes a special person to do so, but I do know its a growing trend. Good luck!

    • Thank you! I would be a sahd in a heartbeat but it is the struggle of wanting to support my family that is driving me back into the work force.

      • In today’s society, families really need that dual income. My wife and I both have respectable careers and make a decent living for only being 28, but we still have our struggles. I can’t imagine trying to do it on just one income. Good luck!

  6. I’m sure there are mixed feelings there, but I often think I could have been a better dad if I weren’t with my kids all day. Good luck! (And congratulations on the new job)

  7. This, like so many of your posts, will be one for your son to treasure when he’s old enough to really appreciate its significance to you and to him. He’s a lucky kid.

    And congratulations on the new job!

  8. I am a part time stay at home dad. I have gotten various part time work (juggling 4 companies right now) to help bring some income into the house. It’s tough not spending all day with the kid(s). But a job is a good thing, and as long as you can make more than the cost of daycare, you’re golden. Good luck!

  9. Great post, it all felt very frank and heartfelt. I’ve not been a stay at home dad, but it did feel a bit odd (and kind of difficult) being back at work again after my two weeks of paternity leave. Good luck with your new job and change in routine.

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