The Biggest Mistake I Make as a Father
The world of fatherhood is littered with potential pitfalls. Both literally (that sharp piece of Lego on the playroom floor) and metaphorically.
This week I asked a range of Dads' groups what was the biggest thing they struggled with as parents.
The overwhelming response was three-fold:
I identify with all 3 of them. They are spot on.
The first two I had already seen in myself.
Presence: for me this is keeping my mind in the the room and not in the iPhone.
Patience: for me this is about remembering that 5-year-olds don’t leave the house quickly. They are consumed by curiosity in the present and for that I should be grateful (and envious).
The third, however, was a total curveball and really got me thinking.
Preparedness. Or more accurately, a lack of preparedness. "I'm not ready".
Dads talk about waiting for their son to grow up a little, waiting for their finances to settle, waiting for their partner to be a little less in charge, waiting for work to settle down.
I totally identify with this. Too many times I have pressed fast-forward in my head and thought, "I’ll be more hands-on when they’re teenagers", or "it’ll be easier to engage when they are all 5 or older", or "it’ll be easier when we actually sleep an entire night through, then I can step up".
Meanwhile, their childhoods are galloping past us. Time doesn't wait.
Too many Dads I have spoken to and work with are waiting until they’re ready to be brilliant. Stop waiting. You are brilliant already.
And I’ll try to do the same. Promise.