Read this if Being a Dad is Hard Right Now
Seek Satisfaction, Let Go of Happiness
“Satisfaction from a Job Well Done.” There are no truer words in the world. Happiness implies ease and lightness. It doesn’t reflect the struggle, confusion, false starts and seeming failure of parenting. Expecting happiness is a recipe for disaster as a parent.
Satisfaction implies that you’ve earned the results you’ve achieved. You put the WORK in. Giving it your all, you applied yourself fully to get the result you wanted. There are road blocks, setbacks and you fall short sometimes.
You earned the result because you did your best.
Every Vision You Have of the Future is Wrong
Every time I try to project what my kids lives will look like 5 years into the future, I’m wrong. 5 years pass, and the reality looks far different than I projected. Believe it or not, this is good news.
Neither your wildest dreams nor your worst nightmares will come true. Your kids will learn what they need to and their future will fit them better than you can see right now.
How It Went For Us
My son was scared of swimming and anything that made him “uncomfortable”. He would throw a fit, scream and yell and dig his heels in when faced with a new challenge. During these episodes, he was unmovable. It was this way for years.
Now he rides a dirt bike and competes as a Varsity Water Polo Player. Water Polo, if you don’t know is the an amazingly physical sport that requires super-human stamina and drive.
My daughter hated rowing. We “forced her” to try it in the Fall of her Freshman year. She came home from practice each night complaining and telling us she “hated” rowing. She decided we were “mean” because we told her HAD TO row for a season. However, we could see the confidence she was building physically and friendships she was developing. We also heard she was having fun that she DIDN’T tell us about!
She was hooked after a single season.
Her rowing has defined her teen years, and given her confidence amazing fitness and a sense of direction. She has a strong network of friends. She’s rowed 4 years of High School and will be attending a Division 1 Rowing school to compete there.
You’re Right Where You Need to be
Where you are right now, especially if you’re struggling as a parent, it’s exactly where you need to be, and your kids need you to be right now. I know it doesn’t feel right or good, but by being elbow-deep in parenting and DOING THE HARD WORK, you will reap the benefits as your kids grow and emerge as young adults.
You Are Building Resilience in them AND You
“Leaning In” is the process of being engaged for all that parenting has to offer. The difficult times create profound personal growth. I discovered I have more compassion than I knew. I have more reserves of patience than I knew. We are there for the hard times, for the arguments about bed times, friends, dating, electronics, and behavior. Wading in means to do the rudimentary stuff; to remind them about table manners and “using more words, not less” and chores.
The time you invest in being there for “hard work,” makes it that much sweeter when I get to be there for the laughter, the tears, when they need a hug, to decompress from a long day at school, or to complain about their teachers. I also get to hear what they’re excited about, they’re newest music obsession or the funny thing that happened in the cafeteria.
Your Work Now Teaches Life Skills That Matter
To get ready for the Big World out there, our kids need us to teach them the skills that will make them more rounded and ready. What you stand firm on today will have value they may not see for decades to come.
In Our Home
Our kids know they are listened to like their voice matters. They are expected to stand up for what they believe in. My kids learned how to pitch an idea, argue a position, and share what they need. On the way they learned how to change a tire, go camping, set a table, make a bed, take the trash out, and stay with a project even when it gets hard.
No Regrets Parenting
When your kids leave home, you won’t have any regrets. You’re putting in the work TODAY that ensures they will be confident, well adjusted and capable of so much on their own. For myself, I am excited to deliver fully formed, curious young adults into the world ready for adventure, ready to make their mark on the world.
You got this, thanks for doing the hard work.