Or at least they should. Let me explain. It was brought to my attention by my loving wife and also by at least one commenter on my recent blog: 7 Ways to be a Better Dad (aka: “Stop and Smell the Diapers”) that I had left something important off my list. So, here is that missing guideline on how to be a better dad: HAVE FUN!
My other blog listed the areas I felt we dads find challenging and where we need to focus in order to be better dads. I went into some depth on spending quality time, showing affection, treating your wife with respect, talking to your kids, staying calm, and ended the list with “stop and smell the diapers”. I wrote that not because I think I’m such a great dad or because I do it all perfectly. I don’t.
I wrote them down as a reminder to myself of some things I need to focus on every day to be just a bit better as a father. You can go read that blog to understand those points, but in all my earnest seriousness I left off a very important guideline for dads. We need to HAVE FUN… we need to have fun with our kids, we need to have fun with our wives and we need some time to ourselves to just have fun doing things we love.
I hear you saying, “but daaaddddyyyy, I’m too busy and tired working to provide for my family to take time for fun.” And I hear you, really I do. Here’s the thing, what good are a few extra few bucks compared to the happiness of a child… your child. When I think back to the best times I remember when I was a kid they were the rare times my dad played with us. I remember them all.
Speaking of your children’s happiness, what kind of example are you providing to your kids about how to relate to their future spouses if you don’t have fun with your wife, in front of the kids? If you teach them (by your example) that life all just serious business they will likely believe you… and if you teach them (again, by your example) that life is a blessing and a joy they will believe that, too.
Lastly, if you try to be the perfect dad (back to my original list of seven things) and leave off this last guideline, then you’ll also likely not be taking the time you need for yourself. You need guy time. Maybe that’s an hour for a beer with a good friend or maybe that’s some time in your man-cave (and I don’t mean 10 minutes in the hall bathroom).
If you want to be a good dad… be sure you make time (put it on your calendar if you need to) to have fun. Your kids will be happier (now and when they’re grown), your spouse will be happier (I guarantee this will pay you back many dividends)… and dude, you will be happier. So do the other 7 things in my original list… and then HAVE FUN!
I love that quote! SO true. You are a wonderful daddy- and the pumpkin is so lucky to have you! That said she and mommy are always up for more fun!!
I’ll work on that sweetheart, I promise. Hugs and kisses and giggles and laughs back at ya! Unfortunately my lunch break is up, so back to work for now. More fun later.
I totally loved the same quote as Shan and had it copied to paste again but that would be redundant, and I’m a Type 4 so I hate redundancy 🙂
So true, kids learn everything so if they learn how to love, and how to fight fair and how to communicate and how to help, and how to have fun safely. ALL Great things to teach just while being you:).
So you decided you’re Dressing Your Truth type is 4? I haven’t read Carol Tuttle’s book so I’m not completely sure what that means, but I’m a fan of redundancy… such as telling you how much it means to me you stopped by and commented. You’re right, of course, kids are little sponges, especially at this age (27 months). She remembers everything. It’s amazing and not just a little bit scary. Big responsibility for us parents. Have a great day, D!
Great post and I totally agree. I think that sometimes we too easily make the excuse that we don’t have time, but life is too short for excuses. We all work hard, sleep, and we should also have fun and lots of it. Even learning should be fun!
As a Learning Coach of 3 children enrolled in Colorado Virtual Academy that’s great you focus on making learning fun as well as effective. I’m in distance education at a large state university, so want to talk to you about it sometime. Thanks so much for dropping by, Lori.
Kewl you should come up with that. Ecexlnlet!
My hubby and I do something “fun” each weekend. You are so right, the kids really look forward to our “Family Dates” and remember the minute details of all of the outings! I love that, in spite of his busy schedule, every Saturday morning, he is ours!
As busy you and the hubby both are it’s great you make time for something fun every weekend. I’ll bet the kids just love that. And it’s great that he makes himself all yours every Saturday! Thanks for stopping by, Rachel.
Yes…having fun is very much an important element in being a good dad. It is important that children have both the stable and strong example of their parents, but they need that balance of fun mixed in as well. I’m certain you are a wonderful dad as Shannon said…I could not imagine you being anything but!
Yep, it’s all a balancing act isn’t it. I find myself often too serious and am working on lightening up. As with the other blog 6 Ways to be a Better Dad, this one was as much a reminder to me on things to focus on as it is advice to others. Great to see you, Mitzi. Hope you all are having a great week.
Love this post too. So many great quotes but I really love the one about having fun with your wife in front of the children! That is something that is sometimes lacking in our household. I know he works hard and is tired when he comes home but I miss that and I know she needs to see us happy together, not barely talking.
You are such a great dad and husband! At least you know what needs to be done to make a happy family! Your daughter is going to love reading this when she gets older. It shows her how much you worked and tried to be the best daddy she could have!!
Now I hope I will remember to come back and read your reply… sorry I don’t get back here often enough, been making Christmas gifts and been busy. =(
Thank you so much for the compliment, Nicole, but I think the operative phrase is “At least you know what needs to be done to make a happy family!” Figuring out what’s important is just the first step. It’s applying these things I’ve figured out in a consistent way that’s the hard part. I find writing them down like this serves as a good reminder… and I’d seem a pretty big hypocrite if I didn’t do my best to follow my own guidelines. LOL. Oh, and no worries about finding time to visit peoples blogs. It’s a busy time of the year, and I know I have been remiss in visiting my favorites lately. Have a great day, and if I don’t talk to you again before next week, have a great Thanksgiving!
Yes figuring out how to keep it consistent is the hard part. It still hard for me and I have been home with Mad for the past 2 years. lol
It does help writing it down like this so it is a great reminder. I do that a lot on my other blog. 🙂
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving too!
Hmmm, but the hall bathroom is the closest thing hubs has to a man cave. Maybe if we put an Xbox in there it could count? 🙂
What, you don’t have a wood paneled manly smoking room or study at your house? Something with overstuffed leather chairs and maybe a pool table? Yeah, neither do we. I actually do have an office that’s pretty nice, but it became a storage room a few years ago and I’m pretty sure if I went in there you’d have to send a rescue expedition to get me back out. So, yes, the hall bath is a man’s final domain… our man cave.
There’s a time to be serious as a parent. there’s a time to be loose and spend time having fun with your child. Just pretend you aren’t an adult and let loose. you and your family will enjoy and benifet from that behavior.
That’s one of the joys of having a young child, the ability to access our often long buried ability to experience spontaneous fun. Thanks for weighing in on this Rosie! Have a wonderful day.
Having fun is great advice for dads, but also moms need to hear another dad say this. It used to bother me a little when the hubby would go out and have his daddy time, because I was so used to us doing everything together before the kids. But now, I love it. I get mommy time when he’s away, especially when I get the girls to bed. Turns out Daddy time is a mixed blessing.
Hi L. Eleana. You’re right, Daddy time is a mixed blessing. We’ve worked our schedule so that Mommy sleeps in and has they whole day on Sunday to herself, and Daddy (me) has the same thing on Saturday. The problem as you mention is that doesn’t give us time together. Recently we’ve started (as our comfort with leaving our wee one with someone has grown) having dates just the two of us. It’s great. This weekend we have reserved seats to see the new Harry Potter movie for example. Have a great day!
See this is the main reason I like reading your blog. You bring the daddy education to us all where I just blog about crazy stuff that means nothing to how my children can make me a better person. One thing I can not be accused of when it comes to me and the kids is NOT having fun. That is all I do…I think that is a reason Tracy loves for me to come home at night. To get the kids all wound up.
Keep it up…Please, I love the FREE parental lessons
I think the first time I met you, Scott, I said you had “a great voice”… now I haven’t heard you talk… so I’m talking about your writing style. It’s waaaay different from my rather buttoned up (read: anal) style of communicating my points, but between us I think we communicate the breadth of fatherhood pretty well. And dag nabit (I’m not swearing either) all of us guys together have tons of stuff to learn from each other. Thanks for the kind words. And good luck tonight, if you know what I mean… and I know you do.
This was a great post. I especially like the part about modeling how to have fun in a relationship/marriage for your children. Our children definitely do watch us to see how we interact as a married couple in front of them. The examples we set will have an impact on how they conduct themselves within their own marriages and towards their spouses. It is really important that they see all of the wonderful things that come from sharing your life with someone whom you love and who is truly your partner.
Thank you, Maria. The idea for this post came from something my wife said about my earlier one about 6 ways to be a better dad. She said I’d left one out. As I started thinking about the idea of having fun… I realized it served many purposes including the one you highlight in your comment. Well put. I’m still working on all seven. I guess that’s all any of us can do… try to be the best we can be. Have a great evening.
I think a father is a child’s first example of what a husband and father look like. I am so blessed to have a good role model for JDaniel.
Hi Deidre. Yes, we parents make such an impact… sometimes more subtly than we realize. Kids see everything. Our two year old is such a sweet sensitive little soul. I’m glad JDaniel4’s got such a good male role model, and clearly has a great mom.
You are sooo rare! Love it. Following and I found you through Blog Frog!
I love this post!
Hey, Ro. So nice to meet you. So you dropped by from Mom Loop on Blog Frog. That’s a great community. I appreciate the kind thoughts here, but please understand it’s way easier for me to write this stuff than to remember to consistently apply it. I’m working on it, though.
Love that post & for me having fun especially with my wife & children is by far the most important. Whether it’s going sledding, swimming or just playing a board game, together fun time is best time.
I am not the wild man I was in bygone days,but I still manage to have my fun, be it watching sports, a bike ride or reading.
You know some of the best memories I have of my dad was my little brother (about 3 or 4 years old) and I piling on top if him and sledding down the hill behind our house on a flexible flyer. It really is important and great that you are doing it. Swimming was another great memory I have of my dad. Thanks for stopping by again, John.
Such a lovely, lovely message.
Thank you so much, Megan! Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. My wife and daughter have the flu, and work is crazy. Actually I think of lot of us are experiencing challenging times? Hope all is well with you!
This is a great artcile. Humor is very important, as is being present and loving with your kids. I have found that my daugther models after me so the more i am living my purpose the more amazing she becomes.
At the end of the day, what will your kids remember about you? its those little acts of kindness, the “Experience” you created with them and for them, that is what you will be remembered for.
You’re absolutely right, Carl, and not just because you agree with me, though that does help your case. 😉 Our kids see and remember everything. They are like little sponges and I’m always amazed the things that come up weeks later that I never even thought my little girl noticed. Anyway, enough of my rambling. If someone else is reading this, go read what Carl and the others say. There’s always time to learn and do things just a little bit better… and the smallest changes help. Oops, I’m still talking. Sorry. 😉
This is a great post and a great reminder! I’m sharing it with my husband! He’s a great dad but he often works too hard and doesn’t give himself the time he deserves to have fun!
Thanks so much, Sarah! It’s easy for parents, both moms and dads, to forget that we have needs too, and that it’s not at all selfish to have fun, with and without your family. Setting healthy, happy examples for our kids is the better way to teach them than lectures. Have a super day!!