tired dad

Confessions of a Tired Dad

It feels like it’s been a long week already, and I’m tired. Work takes its toll, so does relating to my wife, much less the work of parenting. I know. Love is a gift; so is being a parent. But they do take hard work, right? Sometimes, even these good things can wear me out. So it’s been a long week. A long month, maybe; and depending on how you look at it, a long few years. I’m tired. I get to the end of a day like this, and it can feel like my loftiest goal is quiet Netflix and my favorite beverage. Is anyone with me here?

This is for tired dads, from a tired dad. It’s for guys who haven’t got it all figured out yet, from a guy who often doesn’t feel like he has a clue. It’s for husbands trying hard to get it right, sometimes fighting to make their marriage a place of joy, sometimes feeling like throwing in the towel, and sometimes, truth be told, not really bringing their all. This one is for the flawed guys, who bring a load of inadequacy to the table, more failings than they care to admit, less ability to control the things around them than they’d like. This is for the husbands and fathers who sometimes get scared. Me too. In fact, here’s what I’d like to say: just because you find yourself writing articles for All Pro Dad, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are All Pro.  This is why.

Tired dads and flawed dads, semi-pro dads and all pro dads, D-league dads and “I don’t even know what the rules are” dads: guess what? We’re a mess. Each of us. We get impatient and irritable. There are limits to our energy, our resources, and our abilities. (That’s Tony Dungy and Mark Merrill too. They’ll tell you the same thing.) But we are called to be dads, nonetheless. As a mess, married to a mess, parenting beautiful little messes. If you’re not paying attention, this could be taken as discouraging.

It doesn’t have to be. You need to know that it’s OK to be tired, and it’s OK to not have all the answers. [Tweet This] It’s OK to not be the toughest, the smartest, the best at handling money, a master at tackling tough conversations, or the world’s number one lover. I’m saying this even as I need the reminder myself. Sometimes, we each need validation that reminds us how draining life and responsibility can sometimes be. I’ve had really great dads come into my office and say something like, “I’m tired, man. I work. I go to my kid’s practices. I try to spend time with my wife and show her I love her. I try to help out around the house. I’m working on being a good person and getting better, but I’m tired.” And I’ll look at that man and say, “Sounds like you’ve got good reason for it, there, my brother.”

What about you, All Pro Dad? You need to hear this too: Good work. You’re doing it. You’re allowed to make mistakes. But keep going. (Isn’t this what coaches and teammates do for each other? Celebrate, encourage, challenge, and then go alongside?) Being a dad is really hard work, not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, and sometimes double, when you’re trying to make changes. But here you are. You’re reading. You’re looking for answers. You’re growing. Now how about taking one more step today by participating in a bit of dialogue with other tired dads? Have you got it in you? Use the space at the bottom of this page. Write a word of encouragement. You know how big a difference that can make. Or share a small slice of your tired story. You remember how much it can help simply to know you’re not the only one who feels the way you do. Let’s take a minute, dads and husbands, to cheer one another on. And then, after that, go take a nap. You probably need it.

Sound Off

What word of encouragement or "slice of tired" would you like to share?

  • Ryan C

    My girl woke up at 430AM last night my wife is a stay at home mom. I got up and took care of her. I got to work at 7AM today and am going to crush it all day. I just know that with a 1 and a 3 year old it is a season of life that I will never get back. Sometimes I remedy it with a 5 minute nap and I always try to get my mind right before I get home (6:15PM today). Fight through the mental laziness and be the best you can be…at the end of your life you will have no regrets

  • John H

    I beat myself up a lot for what I don’t do or what I could have done better. That’s Satan’s favorite tool to use against me. Reflect on the positive things you do and the impact you make on your loved ones! God bless you today!

    • ckdestef

      John, I feel you man. Same struggle. I need to remind myself often that the Lord is the author of our faith, and our kids. He loves them more than we can, and has a plan for their lives. We do the best we can as dads, but despite our failures, the Lord WILL accomplish His purposes in our kids, and He will get all the glory. We cannot bear the burden alone for the outcome of their lives, and we cannot take the credit for their successes. Be still and Know He is God. Psalm 46:10

  • Thomas

    My desire to be a really good day is both a curse and a blessing. The enemy wants me to believe I’m not good enough and constantly tries to replay my mistakes inside my head. But, I know in my deepest heart that God loves me and chose me as His own. I am redeemed. I am blessed because I know Him too. And I can live to fight another day, one day at a time, without fear that my failures will ruin my family!

  • Bobby Mann

    Sometimes i will come in and just be flat out honest with my kids and say, “hey dad hada really hard day, let me take a 20min nap and ill get to talk and play with you”. Those “power nas” can give the lil burst of energy needed to make it to bedtime. Then before im resurrected from my nap (haha) i think of how in just a few short years my kids will be all grown and out on their own and will look back and just want one more day to talk and play with them. After that im ready to tackle, tickle, and talk! Keep fighting! Keep fathering! Keep being their hero!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

  • Roy Chase

    Where to begin…this article really touched home with me today…I love being a dad (and a grandpa!), but I’m tired too! Here’s a typical day for me lately…Wake up at 5:30 try to exercise so I can keep being a positive influence on my family for many more years, get ready for work, kiss my wife, hug my kids and take off for work, work 9+ hours a day, go straight from work to my son’s baseball game, or practice, or boy scout meeting, or church youth activities (depends on the day), grab a bite to eat somewhere along the way, and try to be back home by 9 p.m. Try to have a conversation with my wife (if we’re in the same place at the same time), catch up with the kids activities for the day, get ready for the next day…if there’s time, maybe I’ll get to sit and watch a quick show off the DVR with my wife while she naps from her equally long and hectic day…

    But you know what…every night I’m home with my kids, every night they hug me and give me a kiss before going to bed, every night we pray together, and I marvel at how incredibly blessed I am and I think, I can’t love more than I do today, and tomorrow, I’ll love them all so much more! So, yeah, I’m tired, but it is all worth it and I wouldn’t change it for anything!

  • Devin West

    Life is tough. Parenting is tough. Our families depend on us daily. That is the motivation for being a great dad. The satisfaction of knowing that one day the hard work will pay off. Being rewarded as a dad isn’t about the loud accolades. It’s about the smile and hugs from your wife or daughter or son after they realize that it was you that helped then achieve something great! Silent and awesome are the rewards we get for being great dads!

  • ckdestef

    This post brought a tear to my eye. It’s good to be reminded that there are other dads out there, pushing hard, sacrificing best they can, but coming up short on occasion and tired. Deep in my heart I know the Lord sees our struggle, but that soon and very soon He will usher us into eternity, welcoming us with “Well done good and faithful servant”. I admit, it can be exhausting at times, but press on brothers in Christ. 2Cor 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

  • Kris Van Schyndel

    I work far too much. Leave home around 530am and rarely get home before 630. My wife stays at home to raise our three little ones (1, 2, and 5). Thankfully she understands that the income is needed to provide. When I get home, I’m almost always exhausted, but I know time with my children is limited, so I do whatever I can to be with them, I’ll take them for a walk, to the park, or just in the backyard. Once we get them to bed, we clean and tidy, wash the dishes, and finally sit to watch a show, just me and my wife. Then get to bed around 11. I know I don’t get enough sleep, but it’s only for a couple years…until the kids are old enough to move out on their own.

  • Carl

    Hey guys, I’m going to be the hot mess this morning. I feel like my life is out of control. I took on a new project at work that’s great for my career, but it’s taking up a lot of time; I work from home 50% of the time & it doesn’t work so well with the kids, my wife (who stays home with our 4 year old and 9 month old boys) just started selling an at home party company which is taking all of her time, she’s working so much that a lot of my “free” time is spent helping her, we are struggling with our marriage and trying to find us time (ha!), and we are trying to do as much outdoor stuff as we can as summer is quickly running away from us. I’ve tried to make time for myself and hang out with a few buddies, but you all know how well that works. Just struggling

    • CJ

      Praying for you Carl. The enemy finds so many ways to distract us from what is truly important (not that I am saying work isn’t important). From a man who has been married 22-plus years, finding that quiet time each morning to start the day with Christ and the Word and through prayer is so important to set the tone for each day. Then you need to protect your marriage next. I wish someone had told me how to prioritize this myself earlier in my marriage and family life because it has led to some devastating consequences over the past 5 to 6 years that will take a lifetime to correct (God willing) in my marriage and family.

      Keep fighting the good fight, Carl. Set your eyes on Christ first and let Him give you the strength and wisdom you need to be victorious!

    • Mitch Beaverson

      Hey, Carl – i hear you … have been there myself, though I’m now closing in on the last few years of directly parenting my kids while under my roof (parenting never ends as long as we have breath!) My best advice to you is this: don’t let career aspirations outpace your family’s need for dad to just ‘be there’. (“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” Prov. 15:17; I’ve also had Proverbs 28:20 and Philippians 4:4-7 posted before me at work as reminders.) Also, remember that this is a very short season, friend. The pain and struggle of fighting for those things which are most important will soon be erased. It’s only a few years and then they’re gone. Be strong and, between the difficult times, enjoy the moments that you can.

  • CJ

    My youngest son (13-year-old 8th grader) just asked me last night when we were driving around why I was being grouchy lately. Our family has been in crazy turmoil for the past year-plus now selling our home of 10.5 years in January, my oldest two off to college, house-sitting for a missionary couple for five months and now we are living temporarily (indefinitely) with our friends until we find a new place to live. On top of all that, my wife off 22 years and I are trying to repair a marriage relationship that has been torn asunder over the past few years due to life (I’ve been unemployed twice, went through bankruptcy and are now looking for new jobs outside of our state and my wife’s disconnect with me that led to a ton of marriage counseling and prayerfully some day reconciliation — whatever that is going to look like).

    So to look over and tell my son and tell him I am sorry that my attitude has not been the greatest lately wasn’t easy. I want to be the father that my family can enjoy and rely on, even though the last few years have been the absolute roughest of my life in every way, shape and form from my individual relationship with God, to my marriage, to all my relationships to my career. I can see God’s hand at work in everything, but at the same time it is an absolute struggle to get out of bed in the morning and recharge the spiritual, emotional and physical batteries to just keep breathing.

    Praying for myself and for all men/dads out there who get to that point in life where the rubber truly meets the road, the tensions are high, the valleys are low and God is all you have to cling to each day just to keep your head above the waves crashing all about you. It isn’t an easy road, but the alternative is a horrible disaster as marriages and families must not be broken apart. As men, husbands and fathers, it is our duty to put on the full armor of Christ every morning and find a way to be victorious and stand in the gap for our marriages and families — even when we feel we don’t have another ounce of strength to fight the good fight!

  • Mitch Beaverson

    After filling in for our youth pastor at our church’s jr high camp, I had to pull over on my 5+ hour drive home last night for one of those ‘power naps’ because I was falling asleep at the wheel. So tired. When I got home, before I could even get into the house, I had to settle an issue between two of my daughters. My wife was tired and irritable and didn’t even seem happy to see that I’d made it home safely. Yeah, man, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s really hard.

    And as I pressed into life driving into work, I celebrated the strength within my by listening to Big Daddy Weave’s The Lion and the Lamb … on repeat. Walking in, I was reflecting on how hard it can be, how much I want my marriage to be stronger, and how much I want to be the man my family needs me to be. And through the song, I was reminded of the victory already achieved on my behalf by the Lord of the Universe who knows my every struggle and who’s already claimed the victory on my behalf. ‘Be faithful, and find your rest in me as you simply do what you can.’

    Then God essentially told me, I’ve got your back. Upon my arrival at work, I received a belated note from one of my kids saying “happy Father’s Day” (ha! here it is after 4th of July!). But her words of thanks were exactly what I needed. To know my efforts for the King and for my family are not in vain. “Thank you for being the strength for our family. Thank you for being our anchor, and keeping us together. For persevering when it would be much easier, and even “acceptable,” to quit. Thank you for standing firm in the truth against all difficulties and for teaching us (me) every day through your actions. For prioritization in life, and for the regular, daily sacrifices you make to be our (my) father. Thank you for your willingness sometimes to just have a blast … 🙂 And so, so much more. …” Of course, next, I opened my inbox and found these great words of encouragement from friends at All Pro Dad. Thanks!

    GUYS, DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t give in. Stand firm, and be faithful. Even when it feels like we can’t keep going, let’s remember that this is a very, very short life in light of eternity. Be encouraged by my daughter’s words to US as dads. I’ve got five other kids who didn’t send me that letter, so I understand if it feels like they just don’t get it. But some day they will … IF we remain faithful.

    Strength and courage to you this day!

  • Donald Makonye

    To all the dads out there, it’s so true that being a dad can seem insurmountable, just remember that only you can be the dad for your kids, the husband to your wife, and the leader of your squad. God designed it that you be that guy, not anyone else but you. So hold on because Christ has the way forward in the midst of those exhausting days. You are the dad for the job.

  • Jeff Diritto

    This is great. One thing to think about when you look at your situation; if you are tired from doing, that is perfectly fine and should be expected.. make sure you are not over-doing and consider dialing back if you are able and your situation shows there is a need.

    If you are tired yet have little doing, that is not good and it would be especially beneficial to look into your lifestyle and see if small scalable healthy changes (more healthy food, less junk – more quality exercise, less TV and sloth) can help bring back your youthful energy.

    Just a thought for those in need; better to busy than bored and remember the world was and will continue to be built by the doers

  • DrawnAndQuartered

    I’ve gotten in the habit of passing over the All Pro Dad emails in my inbox, but for some reason took the time to click on the link in this one.

    Six kids, new job, and troubled marriage. You’d figure after 22 years we’d sort of have it figured out. Lots of talking but nothing ever changes and so I feel powerless and defeated.

    • Rocky

      Hey D&Q –

      I know that thought. The one that says “if I’m getting better at this, isn’t it supposed to get easier?” Life is HARD! It’s getting HARDER! And it’s very easy to see that it will get EVEN HARDER from here. But we aren’t called to “have it all together” we’re called the LEAD our families through this mess of imperfection and trust God to bring good out of our very imperfect attempts to do so.

      Keep at it my friend. On of the greatest gifts we’ve been given is our staying power. The ability to keep walking forward after we thought would have passed out miles before. God will honor even the attempt.

      Praying for us both today!

      • DrawnAndQuartered

        Thanks Rocky for the encouragement and the prayers.

        Intellectually I know these things to be true. Emotionally, though, I don’t feel it right now. And while I pride myself in being more intellectual than emotional, because I’m so tired my emotions tend to dominate.

        What I pray for is peace — not the fake peace of quiet and lack of stress — does that even exist? 🙂 — but more of the comfort and confidence that comes from the knowledge of God’s grace that leads to joy, even in the midst of the chaos and stress that is my life. The kind that helps me stay positive and avoid the conflict. The kind that helps me accept not only my own flaws but also the flaws of those around me, most especially those in my family.

        I think of it like the difference between someone caught in the surf being tossed by the waves vs one who knows how to body surf and ride the chaos. Same waves, different results. Can’t seem to catch the waves and surf — instead I just keep getting knocked over.

        But I can’t — won’t — give up. I try to focus on Romans 5:5-7

        “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

        “Hope does not disappoint” — a mantra to repeat these days.

  • Ted Mendenhall

    Yes! I sat down just the other night with my wife. We were both frustrated with our poor communication, lack of time together, and a messy house. As we talked it out we got down to the most important things which were that we still have each other, our family is healthy, and we are trying…TOGETHER we are trying. God was in that moment with us and we both came away encouraged.

  • Nick Hull

    I have been feeling this way lately. Mainly when I project into the future, I think; “There’s no way I have enough energy to keep going…I’m at the end”. I continually compare how I feel to how others look like they feel. That’s a recipe for disaster. Life (fatherhood, manhood, relationships, work, etc…) looks easy for other men and it crushes my spirit sometimes. I have enough experience in life to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it isn’t true…but I still get deceived sometimes. Thanks for this. When I get tired, I am more likely to think about mySELF, and mySELF is what makes me the most miserable. Self pitying, self analyzing, self improving , self soothing, self motivating, self driving, self realizing….and so on forever. The worlds curtain has come down and I see no hope left in attaining for self. I am at my best, and at my most, when I am at my least. I am tired…but Jesus is not. Today I will deny mySELF and call on His power, strength, and guidance to be the best Dad and husband and man I can be.

    “To do this, I work and struggle, using Christ’s great strength that works so powerfully in me.” Col 1:29

  • W.P.

    I’m a divorced dad who unfortunately co-parents with someone who has no interest in co-parenting. I honestly believe she would completely remove me if she could and has done everything in her power to sabotage my relationship with my daughters. The sad part is my daughters have bought into her antics. My youngest daughter is 15 and very defiant which makes parenting extremely difficult. Talk about being tired.. I have done the right thing by not sharing negative thoughts or comments about their mom with them even though she has and continues to do this to me. I try to take the high road believing the God will straighten all of this out in the end. It just gets so frustrating and tiring since that day of “revelation” seems so far away. Never have I encountered a woman who is upset at a dad who “wants” to be a dad and has done so since the beginning. Shouldn’t that have the opposite effect? I could understand if I were a deadbeat, but I’m far from it.

    • Tony

      Hang in there, it really sounds tough but stay the course. God will bless you and your relationships with your daughters. Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    • Tony

      Hang in there, it really sounds tough but stay the course. God will bless you and your relationships with your daughters. Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according t their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

  • Hmmmm

    I gotta say that, at least for me, the whole dad/husband thing is like my golf game…(i really suck at golf however i love going out and enjoying the day). I can play for hours; slicing, hooking, triple bogeying, picking up the ball and moving on, etc. But every now and then miracles happen; beautiful drive, chip into the hole, birdie, etc. When these things happen i know i can do it again and i am on my way to the pro circuit. My point is that in all the frustrations, all the tiredness, all the self-berating (little foxes) there are moments of exquisite joy, moments when you nailed it, moments when everything was right. These are the moments you focus on. This is what gets you on the course the next time.

  • TN

    Man what a great topic! I’ve been having a rough few weeks, work, stress of work, making mistake after mistake and really doubting myself. I was coming home beat, mentally and physically, and trying to find the extra energy to be there for my family, wife, kids. And I kept finding myself too tired to be in the “present ” moment. After talking with my wife, needing words of encouragement from my teammate, praying, and allowing myself to feel these feelings, a calm came over me and the negative self talk started to slowly disappear. Every now and then it’s good to be reminded that we are still vulnerable, not invincible, and that we are still good fathers, good husbands, and even good employees. I am so grateful for my family!

  • Mark Roberts

    Perfect timing. After a long hard day at work and a tough work out in the Texas heat, I just wanted to sit in my chair under the fan with the AC turned low.

    But my 16 year old is about to nail his “trey flip” on his skateboard. He wants me to come watch him…outside…in the 100 degree heat. I went and it meant a lot to him. Just the fact that at 16, he still wants me to watch him achieve his goals is awesome.

    Then, my 17 year old asked me to go help him check his trot line out on the river (yes, outside in the heat). I went and watched him independently throw a casting net to catch bait fish, take catfish off the line and repair and bait the hooks. He did it like a champ! And I am the one who introduced him to river fun years ago.

    They crave my attention still. It’s on their time table and their interests. But the days are short before they are no longer living at home.
    This article affirmed that my fatigue is legitimate. That is all I need to keep going for these escaping years!

    Thank you!

  • Eric Walker

    Powerful and timely article for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lee Lingbeek

    As I was reading this it made me think about the last 15 years of being a dad. I was brought up 35 years ago to work, work and more work. My dad and I had our share of misunderstandings. As I look at where I am in my own life that work is fine however my daughter is only home for so long then off to college. Work will always be there, she will not. I need to be there for her and help where I can. Life is not just work although some people who don’t have kids at home have a hard time understanding that.

  • Charles P. Akins

    On the even of another Father’s Day, when the true grandeur of appreciation will once again be forgotten, I enjoyed reading the reminder that no one is perfect. Better still, I enjoyed the sound of a rallying cry. We men must learn to effectively suppprt each other. That is an area where in we have failed. This blog is a great start to that, as well as a testament to my point. We know what we face with each day. We know we receive little thanks, but more expectation from family, and the world at large.

    My encouragement is, for all of you Dads and husbands feeling as unappreciated, underachieved, overworked, or just plain flunking out in some aspect of being the Head of your Home, hold on. You are doing a better job than you think! The mere fact that you have contemplated this issue says you are ahead of the curve. Life makes us tired all on its own, do when you add the complexities of individual family relationships it is easy to see why you find yourself feeling leads than “Awesome” some times! I Samuel 16:7 reminds us that while man eagerly anticipates your successes by the outward appearance as they did King David, our God looks upon uour heart in all things!!! Be sure your heart is in the right place and keep on pushing.

    God knows that we love our families gentlemen! God knows everyone of our hearts, and our intentions! You can do it, i know that ypu can, and more importantly, God knows you can! He made us fearfully, and wonderfully, and equipped us to handle this pressure, pain, good times, and sorrows all in a day’s work! So here is to all you Superdads out there, even wjen you don’t feel super, you are!!!

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