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!