Imagine that I’ve got this tank inside of me – if you could see me you would probably imagine that I’ve got quite a huge tank inside of me – but this is an emotional tank. It gets filled up by fun and encouraging stuff, and drained out by tiredness and put downs and hard work. I feel worse with an empty tank, and people around me feel worse too. I know when my own tank is empty I’m a grumpy husband and Dad. I retreat from my kids and I discipline in a reactionary way.
That’s why I want to give some unusual advice – if you love your family, get away from them. Just occasionally.
If you want to give your family the best, you might have to take up golf. If you want to be an involved father that really helps his kids, you might have to leave them behind once in a while to get in a weekend’s fishing with your mates. If you want to have the energy to be a fully engaged parent, you might have to drop them off at your own parents’ place while you go off for a movie and coffee.
You are an important part of your family, and so you need a bit of maintenance – fun, leisure, time out, time away, time with your spouse, and time with your mates.
You might be thinking you would be such a selfish, neglectful parent if you did that. No. Tired, bored, burnt out parents are selfish and neglectful, even if they are with their kids twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Your kids deserve switched on, energised parents – with enough in their own tanks to top up theirs.
Look after yourself… and I hope I’ve topped you up a bit too.
For more, check out John’s corner.