Are You (and Mom) Running on Empty?
One of a father's key roles, from the moment he becomes a dad, is resource management. It's part of the vital task of providing for his family.
Typically, we think of provision in the context of finances—earning an adequate salary to help meet the family’s needs, or perhaps caring for the kids while mom works. That’s a stark reality that confronts a new dad right away.
But in addition to that important area, there’s another physical resource that a dad should be paying close attention to as he seeks to provide for his children’s well-being: energy and stamina for himself and his children’s mother.
Maybe you’re a new dad and your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. Or your toddler is teething, has an earache, or is seemingly hungry all the time. Maybe you work long hours, and your kids expect you to play—and play hard—the second you walk in the door.
When the kids grow older, being a good dad requires more mental and emotional energy—though there’s still plenty of physical exertion. But with very young kids, the physical demands are non-stop. You often feel worn out, and mom is likely even more exhausted.
If you and your kids’ mom are physically running on empty, you’re less likely to initiate fun activities with your kids and do things they want to do. And you’re more likely to lose your composure, badger and exasperate your children, or even lose it and start yelling at them. You’re also more likely to father from a distance—maybe from a comfortable chair—instead of engaging them where they are and on their level.
As a committed father, part of providing for your children is being tuned into the balance of your physical resources—both yours and your children’s mother's. If the two of you are always tired, it’s time to find a workable solution.
If Mom is the main caregiver, a wise first step is to give her the support that she needs. Make adjustments so that both of you can get the rest you need and have opportunities to get away from the kids on a regular basis. At-home moms especially need this. For yourself, remember that your children deserve a father who’s active enough and healthy enough to help them discover and become all they were created to be.
Dad, make sure your wife gets enough rest—and you do too! Schedule those regular workouts on the trail or in the gym. Make it a priority to spend one-on-one time with your spouse. Give yourself every advantage as you try to be the father your children need.
- Add some habits to your schedule that require more physical activity, including things you can do with your kids.
- In this challenging economy, take another look at your budget and financial goals and discuss them with your wife. Are there any adjustments that need to be made?
- If you’re a new dad who's married, realize that having a child around will change your marriage in some ways. Be ready to make adjustments with patience and humility.
- Serve your wife by doing the grocery shopping, giving back rubs and foot rubs, going to get her favorite food—whatever she enjoys most—and doing your part to care for the kids.
- When your children are fighting or frustrated, pause what you’re doing, go to where they are, get on their level, and try to help using a calm voice.
- Ask your family members to tell you which of your routines or habits are not the best use of your time. Decide on one thing you can give up, and replace it with a regular activity with your children.