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:

  • Presence
  • Patience
  • Preparedness

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".

Too many Dads are waiting until they’re ready to be brilliant. Stop waiting. You are brilliant already.

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.

Father now.

And I’ll try to do the same. Promise.

Photo credit: James Pond on Unsplash

Matt Hall