It’s not easy being a dad. I feel the weight a lot of time.

Trying to balance providing for a family, raising kids to not destroy the world, and somewhere in there finding your purpose and time to do what you love.

I don’t know that anything quite prepares you for it. Especially when you have a Saturday shift with the kids and your wife is gone for the day.

Nothing makes me appreciate her quite like those few hours of a terrorizing toddler and a screaming baby.

All I can think about by 11:30 is how much I can’t wait for Monday to go back to work for a break.

Hah, can I say that out loud?

Lately, our oldest – a hyperactive 3-year-old has been constantly asking me the same question all the time:

Daddy, you play with me?

When I walk in the door from a stressful day working. When supper is over. Right before bed. When I wake up on a Saturday morning.

It never seems to stop.

Doesn’t this kid realize that I need some time to sit down, decompress and see what’s happened in the world today?

So I try and push him off. “Do you want to watch a movie? Netflix? Your iPad?”

Nope.

He wants me to get down on my knees and play balls, hide-and-seek, or pow wow with him.

I don’t really want to. But I do it reluctantly anyway.

As much as I try, I can only get about 30 seconds out of the sweet ball hockey set he got for Christmas. I guess I’ll need to invite my friends over later to play with it.

If I’m honest, I feel the pull the whole time of the phone in my pocket. When I feel like he’s distracted, I quickly pull it out to check the likes/comments on my latest Instagram pic. I know that I’ve got a few great videos waiting for my in my YouTube subscriptions. I’ve been tagged in someone’s Facebook post of some photos I did for them.

Wait, what am I doing?

Here’s a human being that I’ve been entrusted with. He wants me to play with him. He been eagerly awaiting these precious moments and wants some quality time with his dad.

The news of the day can wait ’til 8 o’clock. The satisfaction from seeing the response to my latest photo can wait. The funny picture, latest gossip, and world news can stay on hold.

It would be easy to lose years to being checked out “decompressing” when I walk in that door, get busy with supper, and put a kid to bed with no quality time.

I don’t want to be that kind of dad. I want to have a genuine relationship with my kids. I want to be the kind of dad whose kids say they’re dad is awesome and still hug him when they’re teenagers. Maybe that’ll never happen.

But my chance starts here. On the carpet at 3 years old.

I want to be the kind of dad that, when he hears, “Daddy, you play with me?”, my response every time is:

“Yes”

So lately I’ve been trying to leave my phone upstairs. I don’t always do it. But I do sometimes.

And I know that decision is the best one I make all day – being present for my family.

 

 

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