It’s Saturday morning and I hear these words coming over the baby monitor “dada … dada … DADA!”
I look at the clock and realize it is not even 6 am. Why are these kids awake? Can I just get one day to sleep past 6 am?
I make a feeble attempt to get them to go back to sleep but it doesn’t work. I get them out of bed and make them some breakfast.
Monday through Friday I put in my hours at work, cook some dinner for the family, and then try to salvage whatever time I have to spend time with my family, which isn’t much. The weekends are typically the only quality time I have to spend with my kids.
As a dad, there are so many expectations. So many stereotypes and roles that dads are just assumed to carry on. Responsibilities and jobs that are assigned to you as a dad.
Dads are expected to be the breadwinner
I don’t necessarily disagree that dads should be the main source of income in a family. But the expectation is draining. There are times men hate their jobs and only cling to them because it brings home enough money to pay the bills.
Dads are expected to be the strong ones
Everyone expects dads to be the ones to have their heads held high and fight back tears in the face of adversity. We are expected to “suck it up” and “get over it”.
Dads are expected to be the example
As a dad, everyone looks to you as the shining example of what a good person should be. They expect you to be the leader and always on your best behavior.
Dads are expected to take care of things around the house
Is the toilet clogged up? Well, get dad to plunge it until it unclogs. The grass needs to be mowed. Guess dad will be out there tomorrow to mow the grass. Mom, the sink is leaking. Don’t worry dad will fix it.
But sometimes dads are tired.
Sometimes dads have anxiety.
Sometimes dads want to be goofy.
Sometimes dads just want time to themselves.
But we try to hide this. We suck it up and we push on. Some men even chastise other men when they show any sign of weakness. And this pushes dads even further down a hole that no man should ever have to deal with. The expectations for dads are so high that it drives some of them to leave the home. I see it all the time where new dads are just so nervous that they will fail.
But what I say to them is this:
The only thing dads are expected to do is love their family
When everything else fails love will always be an option. Even if you can do nothing else you can love your wife, love your kids, and love those around you.
It doesn’t take a fancy house
You don’t need a big house or a really nice vehicle or the best clothes. Stop trying to be someone else. The only thing your kids need is a dad that is around and loves them.
It doesn’t take a well-paying job
Your kids need a father, not a man that lives in the house to pay bills. If you work 80 hours a week can you really say you’re doing everything to care for your kids? Switch careers if you have to. Work flexible hours so you can spend time with them and work when they are asleep or in school. A well-paying job and working tons of hours do not make you a better father.
You don’t have to be the strong one all the time
It’s ok to cry. It’s ok if you have to see a therapist. It’s ok to let your wife handle things once in a while. Find God and give it to him, find support groups and get help. But don’t live with the idea that you always have to be the strong one.
You can always have alone time after they go to bed
You may have to sacrifice a little sleep but if you need that time to yourself then stay up a little later than everyone else. Work on that hobby. Play that video game. Plan your next road trip with your kids.
Just use your time effectively and don’t waste a minute of it. Because when they get up you need to be spending that time with them.
The only thing expected of you is to love your kids and love your wife. And if you are not married then those kids need to be a priority above all else.
Being a dad is a struggle. The older you get you will think it gets easier but if you start over it doesn’t get any easier. Even with kids out of the house you still worry about them, you still feel the need to take care of them. And that is ok. Just because they don’t live with you doesn’t mean they are not your kids.
Show them the love they deserve and everything in life will work out.
Are there any expectations of being a father that bother you? Let us know in the comments or follow us on our Facebook page.