There are so many great things about being a dad, and then there are tough things—things dads do that we’d rather not sometimes. But if doing them means our kids grow up better, fuller, more mature, and well-rounded with a stronger sense of self, then it’s worth it in the end. Here are 5 things we hate to do but need to do as dads.
1. Work out.
Yes, this is the number one thing we hate but need to do as a dad. We as dads have all kinds of excuses, one of them being time. While every dad has their own schedule, find some time that works for you. In the age of WFH, we should all be able to go to the gym at lunch and work out, even if it’s just for 30 mins. Nothing sucks when you seem out of shape doing the simplest tasks. It was as if my metabolism fell out of my body. Working out gets way harder as we get older, but if we don’t, we run the risk of leaving our kids without a father. You don’t need to work out as if you are training for a marathon or plan on participating in a body building completion. Work out just enough to keep your body in a healthy state. If you want to watch your kids graduate, dance at their weddings, and play with your grandchildren, you need to work out, plain and simple.
2. Create fun.
It’s better to be the fun dad than the disciplinarian dad, right? However, creating fun takes a lot of work and energy. And if you are like me, it actually takes thoughtfulness. Being a dad is already stressful. You’re juggling details, providing for the family, and answering questions amongst other things. I can let the responsibilities of fatherhood make me grumpy and overly stern. I have to ask myself sometimes: When was the last time you laughed with the kids? When is the last time you planned something special to do with them? Have fun with them because before you know it, they won’t be kids anymore.
While I was at the movies recently, I was sitting next to a boy who was around 10 years old. He took out his phone (which at 10, I am not sure why he even had one), which started to make loud noises. His father, sitting two seats away, told him to put it away. The boy turned to his father and said, “No!” The dad didn’t follow up and the kid kept using his phone. It’s not easy to hold boundaries with consistency and firmness. It’s probably one of the hardest things dads do. But if we don’t discipline our kids, they run the risk of being entitled, disrespectful, and self-centered. You’re the parent, they are the kid. Be firm and stand your ground.
4. Answering 1,000 questions.
Speaking of answering questions, our kids have a ton of them, and they never ask at a convenient time. Typically, they come at bedtime after a long day—when all you want to do is sleep or when you are driving, and you are just hit with one after the other. You can say you’ll talk about it the next day, which I’ve done. But you will miss an opportunity because it’s likely they won’t ask again. So, take every question they ask and answer it because if you don’t, they will seek answers from someone or something else. And if you really do need to put it off, make sure you at least initiate the conversation the next day.
Having our way and satisfying our wants and desires is easy. Sacrifice is difficult for anyone. Putting the well-being of someone else before your own take’s commitment, courage, humility, and a strong will. But it’s among the most important things dads do. The reason it’s so important is it communicates to your children that they are worth more than all the other things that would captivate your heart and mind. Let them know how valuable they are by your sacrifice. While we as parents sacrifice for our kids, never sacrifice your own needs as well. Not to say put yours before them, but don’t forget about yourself. If you don’t take of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else.