Dad Life: 8 Things Holding You Back

The life of a Dad can be a difficult job at times but there are definitely things that are holding you back and stopping it from being easier.
Here I will briefly touch upon eight of them and how you can overcome them. Let’s begin…
Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash

1. Fear of failure

How many of you can say that you’ve experienced this in some aspect of your life?

I know I can.

Whether it’s: business, marriage, an exam, a sporting event or being a father, fear of failure is always there.

Some cope with these negative thoughts better than others.

Some even use the fear of failure to fuel them.

But when it comes to fatherhood, these fears can be huge because you’re responsible for another life.

Think about that again for a second.

You’re responsible for another human life.

More than likely, they’re your own flesh and blood. A mini version of you that you have to take care of, until they’re old enough to take care of themselves.

It can be overwhelming at times.

  • Not wanting to make the wrong decision in fear that’ll mess your kid up
  • Being too afraid to do things because of fear of any future damage
  • Hoping that you’re shaping them correctly

With so much content and resources at your disposal nowadays, it can leave your head spinning and if you’re not careful, it can leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and susceptible to isolation.

You may want to overcome these fears on your own through feelings of pride or embarrassment.

This can leave you in a lonely place, which I’ll talk about later, but this is another reason I’m such a big proponent of finding your tribe.

A good way to combat this fear of failure and avoid any feelings of loneliness is to be prepared.

Prepared for where you want to be headed; the direction and path you want to take.

Prepared for as many eventualities as possible.

Prepared with research, data and studies but also prepared for a lot of trial and error.

You need to be prepared so you don’t project your fears onto your children.

Don’t let your fears effect your kids.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

2. Lack of creativity

Kids will make you learn to be creative, quickly.

Unless you’re not interested in spending quality time with them.

In which case, just switch the TV on, stick them in front of it and go do whatever it is you do.

But I’m sure the reason you’re reading this is because you want to be more present for your child.

So, how can you stop your lack of creativity from holding you back?

Here are a few answers, and the first one is simple, yet dismissed because it’s not viewed upon kindly as a developmental tool…

Act like a kid again.

More specifically, remember what you used to enjoy doing when you were a child.

Think of the games you used to play and the activities you used to do.

Climbing trees, building forts, running laps, creating giant artwork, reading books in funny voices, playing with Lego.

There are so many things you can do if you stop to think.

Another way to look at it is, and also quite simple, do the opposite to what the “easy life” version of you is wanting to do.

I tweet about this so often because it’s an easy trap to fall into:

  • You want to pick up your phone – pick up a paintbrush instead
  • You want to stick them in front of the TV – stick on your boots and go for a walk
  • You want to watch the football game – watch them play football with their friends
  • You want to grab your beers – grab a book instead

You don’t want to neglect your kids when they are in your direct presence.

Sure, it’s good for them to be bored, especially in such a technology and possession driven world, as this is when their imagination kicks in and they end up creating some wonderful games but what you don’t want to do is ignore them.

Don’t just palm them off to external distractions when it’s unnecessary and easier to just engage.

This will lead to problems in the future.

Photo by SHTTEFAN on Unsplash

3. Too hard on yourself

Stop beating yourself up.

It’s unbelievable the amount of Dads I speak to that say how bad they are at being a Dad.

You need to stop with that mentality.

It’s a big change and something that will take a while to get used to but you don’t have to do it alone:

  • Join a Men’s only group
  • Join a Dad’s only group
  • Join Dad Man Talks discussions

These are places where you’ll be able to discuss your progress, compare stories, get tips & advice and see that you’re no doubt in the same boat as the rest of them.

I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job and you need to tell yourself that.

Positive affirmations regarding your parenting are a good place to start and you’ll eventually stop that negative thinking.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

4. Not enough patience

How many times do you lose it when your kids don’t do what you say?

How many times do you lose your temper far too quickly?

If they don’t do something at the first time of asking, do you lose your cool?

I’ve said it before, kids are great for finding out where your mindset is truly at. Or where your mindset weaknesses are.

Sometimes you just need to remember that you were a child once and that they’re testing boundaries, being rebellious and trying to make Dad angry is all part of the process.

I’ve talked about this in my newsletter before but the power of pausing in moments of impatience is a real life saver.

This is something that will become more natural to you over time but try to practice it early on in your journey.

And, look after yourself and practice self care.

This is very important.

If you are not at your best then you are more likely to snap at your kids or your wife.

The point is, if you’re not looking after yourself then how can you expect to look after anyone else?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

5. Easily distracted by other things

How many times do you pick up your phone during the day?

I spoke about this in the creativity section, but as a society we are far too easily distracted.

That’s because there is so much going on.

  • Constant social media notifications
  • Work phone calls and emails
  • 24/7 news
  • YouTube videos, TikTok
  • Text messages – WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal

All this could mean that you’re not giving your full attention to your kids.

Whilst your kids are looking for you to play, read, draw with them, you’re too busy looking at what some Instagrammer had for breakfast or reading what that guy from school did on his latest holiday.

Try:

  • Having your phone in a different room from you & your kids
  • Having it on silent
  • Not allowing phones at the dinner table
  • No TV on whilst the kids are awake
  • Emails to be written before they wake or after they go to bed

You could also try setting some time aside each day or every couple of days, or whatever works for you, that your kids know you’ll be unavailable to them so that you can use your phone or do your emails / work.

This way they know that when you are free, you’ll definitely be free from distractions.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

6. No confidence in your own abilities

Self doubt is something that I used to suffer with badly, and although I’ve gotten better, it’s something that creeps in now and again.

What I have to keep telling myself is, I’m doing a better job than I give myself credit for.

Men tend to suffer from the “shoulda’s”

  • I shoulda done this
  • I shoulda done that
  • I shoulda done better here
  • I shoulda stopped them doing this

Whatever it is, we appear to have no confidence in our own abilities.

Much like in the business world, if you’re not confident, your kids will sense it and they’ll exploit it.

Now I say that in jest, but also with a slight hint of realism, as if you’re not confident in your approach, in your execution and in your ideals then you’ll either end up giving your kids some mixed messages and allowing them to take advantage of you or having no confidence in your abilities as well.

  • Make decisions and stick to them
  • Set boundaries and stick to them
  • Be consistent
  • You know what is best
  • You have life experience
  • You are there to guide them

Don’t forget that.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

7. Forgetting your need for camaraderie

As I mentioned earlier, as Men you need to surround yourself with other Men. Same with Dads.

It’s easy to isolate when the pressures of parenting take over every thought and action but that is when it is especially important to talk to people.

You need some male camaraderie.

Something to keep you sane.

When you forget to do this you become that guy who your friends never see.

We all have one of those friends.

But whereas you may not have seen Jimmy for ages because he’s obsessed with Fortnite, at least you have a good reason!

The point is, you still need to have an outlet, a proper outlet away from your kids, your wife and your house.

Trust me, it’s important.

Parenting can be frustrating sometimes but imagine if you had no one to share those frustrations with… you would probably end up venting them straight back at your kids and taking it all out on them.

Why should they suffer?

Photo by Sean S on Unsplash

8. Negative media agendas against fathers

Fathers don’t get the respect they deserve from the mainstream media.

It’s sad to see.

Yes, some Dads give the rest of us a bad rep but many of us are doing a great job raising our children.

The role of the Mum is important – some would argue that it is the most important – but some parts of the media would have you believe that Dads are unnecessary and that we’re all bumbling idiots that have no place raising kids.

It’s so wrong.

It’s unacceptable.

In recent times, there was a crusade against Dads from the media suggesting that “Dad Bods” were sexy and women would suddenly be all over you if you had one.

Do not believe this.

This is the media trying to mold you into being an out of shape loser.

Then when we all have Dad Bods we’ll suddenly be told that “modern day Dads are useless, out of shape losers… women, you need to ditch them”

It’ll come back to bite you if you buy into these agendas.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you and only you, are holding yourself back.

Your mindset dictates your trajectory in life.

Negative and positive.

With a negative mindset, you will be stuck in fear and lacking all creativity because you’ve taken the easy route of TV & computer games. You’ll have no confidence in your parenting skills and will have isolated yourself from your friendship groups.

With a positive mindset, you will have a rough plan for how you want to parent and be prepared for different outcomes and scenarios. You will be able to think of creative games & exercises that’ll stimulate your kids & yourself and you will have a solid group of Men / fellow Dads to lean on if you’re struggling or in need of some advice.

What other things would you add?

Take care and #KeepInspiring,

Roscoe @ DMT

Did you enjoy this article or find it useful?

Feel feel to leave a comment below or give us your own views, on what topics you would like us to explore within the realms of dad life/ fatherhood, men’s health & dad social @dadmantalks


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