4 ways to stay in the moment with your kids even when you are constantly worried about working hard enough to provide for them.
We’ve talked a lot on The Good Men Project about the pressures men experience to be “the provider” for their family. It’s not that they can’t be good dads, first and foremost. But our culture often defines men by their financial success. And a man who cannot provide for his children is not much of a man, at least according to the current narrative.
It’s little surprise, then, that even when dads are spending time with their kids that they also have part of their mind on their work. How else can you stay competitive in this 24/7 connected world? The pressure to be ever more successful as a provider and yet stay connected with your kids as a good dad can be enormous.
Here are some suggestions for staying present with your children even with the pressures to be a work provider:
1) Do activities with your children that require your full attention, mind and body. Playing football, going camping, playing board games, biking, swimming — all, for the most part actually require you to put down the phone, walk away from the computer, and stay present in the moment.
2) Do things with your children that you yourself love. What type of activities do you get so lost in you forget everything else around you? Is it basketball, gardening, theater, excercise? Almost anything you are passionate about can be introduced to your children at a very early age.
3) Let the child within yourself come out. It’s difficult to concentrate on that spreadsheet or incoming email when you are laughing, walking on curbs, or singing as loud as you can. The more childlike your activites, the less apt you are to slip back into “office mode”.
4) Work as productively as you can while at work, knowing the reward is the chance to take time off for yourself and your children. Do the most difficult tasks first every day, to get them out of the way. Don’t waste time on emails that aren’t really needed. Go to every meeting prepared, so they can be short and efficient. Don’t waste your collegues’ time, and you’ll find they won’t waste yours.
MyDaddyCool is a new web forum for dads that has all sorts of discussions, tips, and advice from other dads who are struggling with the same problems you are. It’s all about how to be a better dad and balance your work life and family life. Check out MyDaddyCool today!