Good Dad Project Larry Hagner admits that, as a dad, he struggles every day with patience.
I have been a Dad for seven years. I am blessed with three amazing boys from seven years old to eight weeks old. I have a loving wife whom I have been married to for just over 10 years. From the outside looking in, I feel extremely blessed.
There is a small part of me that struggles every day as a father. I always wonder if I am doing the right things, saying the right things, disciplining the right way, showing enough love, and making positive lasting memories.
Patience is what I struggle with most.
I whole-heartily confess that Patience is my “Achilles Heel” of Fatherhood.
When I say I struggle with Patience…it’s not just Patience with my kids.
Kids will be kids. They act out, test their limits and boundaries, and make mistakes. As parents, our job is to give them a safe environment to make mistakes and learn from them.
The “Patience” that I am talking about is the “Patience with myself.”
As a Dad, I can be my own worst enemy. At times, I am not the best at handling a really bad day at the office. At times, I am not the best at handling the “curveballs” that life can throw my way. It’s during those times of high stress, it becomes difficult to be the Dad I really want to be.
It’s hard to enjoy something when at times you feel so incredibly lost and overwhelmed.
I can be moody with my kids. I can be crabby to my wife. Overall, at times I can be pretty unpleasant to be around. To make matters worse, I have a really hard time opening up.
When my wife asks:
“What’s wrong? You don’t seem yourself.”
I have been known to respond with:
“Nothin … just fine.”
I haven’t been the best at recognizing her attempts to connect and reach out.
Don’t get me wrong … I love being a Dad. I love being a Dad more than anything. There are so many moments of joy and happiness. However, sometimes stress can get the best of all of us.
Since I have started this project, I have gotten the opportunity to talk to so many Dads. I have found that I not alone with this struggle.
How Do Dads Handle Their Stress? … We internalize.
As Dads we are pulled in so many directions. We have the demands of work performance, finances, family time, homework, kids’ sports, quality time with our significant others, quality time with friendships, our health, and the everyday demands that “pop up.”
Not only are Dads pulled in several directions, but we also internalize our own personal struggles. We don’t talk to anyone about our challenges and fears. We don’t talk to our wives about our stress and struggles because we don’t want to be a burden. We don’t talk about it with our friends because we don’t want to be viewed as weak.
If we want to enjoy life, fatherhood, and our relationships we cannot internalize our challenges. Internalizing our challenges, struggles, and stresses is Kryptonite to our Patience.
The more we internalize, the less Patience we have.
The less Patience we have, the more difficult our journey as Dads becomes.
So what is the solution?
1. Don’t internalize your struggles … talk about them with someone. It can be a friend, a family member, a counselor, someone from your church, etc. Find a support network. Chances are you will find out you are not alone.
2. Talk to your wife. When she asks, “What’s Wrong?” Don’t respond with “Nothin” and dismiss her attempt to reach out. If you are stressed, trust me, she knows it no matter how much you try and hide it. Work on the concerns together.
3. Take a minute before walking in the door after a long day at work. A few deep breaths. Maybe even say a prayer. Take time to refresh your mind before walking through the door.
4. Give yourself a break. You are a Dad, but you are also only human. You are most likely doing a better job than you think.
The Journey of Fatherhood is amazing. Sometimes it can be challenging with all the twists and turns of life….but in the end its all worth it.
Originally published on The Good Dad Project.
Photo courtesy of author