being a dad

The Toughest Parts of Being a Dad

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Being a dad isn’t easy. I’ve been a parent for two decades now. I still remember the feeling of holding my first daughter in my arms in the hospital and never wanting to let go. My body was thinner, my hair longer, my attitude more idealistic, but that feeling of wanting to protect her forever has never changed. She was born in August, and by the time autumn and winter came, one of my favorite things to do was carry her inside my warm jacket. Nothing could harm her that way. Eventually, she grew too big to carry. But in my heart, she’s still right there, safe in my grasp.

One of the toughest things about being a dad is letting go. In all these years, I’ve learned a great deal about sacrifice, patience, and fear. It’s been worth every single second. When my first daughter left our home to pursue her dreams in college, there weren’t many days when I wasn’t thinking about how she’s doing and if she needs anything. One of the toughest things about being a dad is letting go. Here are 3 of the other toughest parts of the job.

Endless Concern

When they are babies, we are worried we’re somehow going to break them. Then they start crawling, walking, and getting adventurous, and we worry about whether they’ll break themselves. When my oldest started walking, we had a two-story home. We gated the stairs for safety, but one day, when the top gate was removed, my daughter found the steps down. I tried to grab her but was too late. I scooped her up in my arms as she cried. She was fine after her fall, but we were both temporarily terrified. The knowledge that we are always one mistake away from catastrophe makes me constantly fearful. All these years later? I still have the same endless concern.

Being Confident in Your Parenting Style

We live in an open society. And freedom is great. But I have a traditionalist parenting style. I believe in curfews and insisting on knowing what my children are doing. I’m open to allowing them space to explore and grow as individuals. But rules are in place and will be followed. During the teen years, I often felt like the only parent alive who still gave curfews. So many times my frustrated daughter came home at 11:30 and told me how embarrassed she was to be the only kid who had to leave. Sorry, kiddo. It was for your own good. Dads can stand strong in this. We most certainly are not alone.

Saying No

Children have ways of getting what they want—daughters especially. They can break your heart if they want with a calculated tear. A dad has to use wisdom to govern his melting heart. Not caving to the strings children pull is a must-have skill for parenting. If we always gave in, our bank accounts would be empty and our kids spoiled rotten. We have to say no sometimes, even when other parents say yes. It’s really hard to look your sweet little girl in the eyes and tell her she can’t have what she wants. Don’t cave. But do spoil kids with love. They’ll thank you one day. Until then, keep toughing it out.

Sound off: What do you think is the toughest part of being a dad?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the toughest part of being a kid?”