5 Reasons Why Dads Need to Spend Time with Their Mates.
Being a dad is quite special and no matter how hard, scary and exhausting it can be from time to time, it’s still the essence of life and the best thing that could’ve happened to you. However, although you love your child to death, you still need some alone time. It’s not an excuse, nor a chance to skip your responsibilities, but just a way to stay sane and in touch with your true self. I know that my “me time” makes me a better father and spending time with my friends always teaches me a thing or two about parenting. Here are five of the most obvious reasons why all dads need to spend time with their mates.
1. Talking to your peers
When you’re young, you become friends with someone who shares your interests, has the same taste in music or prefers the same movies, and you can’t spend time with anyone who isn’t like that. The same goes for adults as well, and I find myself most comfortable spending time with my old pals who are now dads too. We share the same experience, come from the same background and can, therefore, understand each other better than anyone else – someone even our spouses – can. That’s why these informal groups are so important and you need to cherish them unless you want to become one of those men who are basically alone in this world.
2. Understanding your kids better
Children don’t come with a manual – at least my kids didn’t! – and, unfortunately, you can’t always have all the answers and know how to react to their behaviour. But, having someone to ask is a major game-changer for all those inexperienced dads out there, and what better source of unlimited knowledge than older pops who’ve already seen it all and know what kids are all about. Science tells us fatherhood is never easy and there are lots of misunderstandings that can ruin a relationship with your child, so trying to comprehend these difficulties and working towards resolving them is beneficial on more levels than one.
3. Developing new skills
Another benefit of spending time with my friends is broadening my horizons and developing new skills. Yes, some of these might not be as useful to my children as I thought they would be, but others really made a huge difference in the relationship I have with them. Namely, since a few of my friends are into sports, I started playing basketball with them twice a week and it really did wonders for my shape – now I can run after my kids more easily and play with them longer than I did before. Also, I regained my peace of mind through helpful cardio kickboxing exercises some of my buddies introduced me to, and not only did it help us bond on a deeper level, but this is also something I will share with my children in order to teach them self-defense.
4. Blowing off some steam
If you’re spending more than forty hours a week at work and trying to be a full-time parent at the same time, you’re probably quite an exhausted man. You’re also a man who has no time for himself because he divides his attention between work and family. And while this is more than honourable and something your children surely appreciate, it still leaves you no time to chill, relax and recuperate after a long day at the office. The problem with working fathers today, according to the researchers, is that they need as much self-care as their wives, which means that spending time with your friends instead of family helps you stay relaxed instead of being uptight all the time, which ultimately makes you a better father.
5. Avoiding depression
While everyone talks about postnatal depression and how it affects mothers, the fact is that something similar is ruining the lives of millions of fathers as well. After having children, about 20% of men suffer from depression, and they experience at least one depressive episode in the first twelve years of their children’s lives. The reasons behind this depression aren’t clear and can’t always be seen, but it’s definitely something we all need to talk about because some of us feel these things without even realizing we’re depressed. Having kids is stressful, especially for young fathers, and things can go from bad to worse quite quickly, which is why some of the aforementioned things – the support groups and regular physical activity – are vital for your mental health as well.
Again, having a child is really something special, but being a father means you’ll be dealing with a ton of responsibilities day after day, so you need to find a way to channel stress properly. In the end, spending time with your friends keeps you relaxed and cool, but also helps you understand your child better.
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