tired dad

Confessions of a Tired Dad

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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.

You need to know that it’s OK to be tired, and it’s OK to not have all the answers.

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. 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.

Huddle up with your wife and ask her what makes her tired.