Everyone has problems, struggles, and issues that they are dealing with. As a man, a lot of the time we are apprehensive to ask for help even if that help is from our partner or one of our best friends. It is time to move past that! Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a man, it makes you MORE of one. The other day when chatting with a friend of mine the old African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” popped into my head. Having kids can be tough, no matter what the age, and my main focus with this site is to have a support group of like-minded dads that can all count on each other. I feel lucky and honored to be in the midsts of so many other fathers who share their experiences, feelings and emotions with me and our readers daily. We are definitely moving in the right direction as parents and that’s what makes this time so unique.
Sometimes though, being a parent is downright brutal. It is times like these especially that we ask for help! We want to do what is best for our children but occasionally between work, and everything else on our plate something gets lost in the mix and we could use a hand.
It really does take a village to raise a child. We have teachers, friends, relatives, and many people who positively affect our children’s lives. When things get stressful why not reach out to those family and friends? Life is easier when you are a part of a network of friends and family. We have to start somewhere though, and that’s with ourselves. Here are a few tips to make your friendships with others into a “village” instead of being alone on an island as a parent.
1. Offer to watch your friends children to let them go out on a date. Spend time with out your children every once in a while just to have a short break so you can be more present and aware when you are with them.
2. Offer to meet your guy friends at the park with their children. This is great fun and socialization for both you and your children.
Years ago moms at the park would remark how great they thought it was to see a father play with their child, as if it was such a rare occurrence. Now I see just as many fathers as mothers at the park with their kids. It’s amazing to be a parent in this time.
3. Check in with your friends from time to time. Shoot them an email, a text and ask them how they are hanging in. Especially for new dads this small opportunity to vent can be pivotal in their parenting. Let them know that you have been through it as well, and it does get better.
4. Join a sports team, a social group, a gym, or start a weekly activity where you can hang out with some other dads. Sometimes it’s just nice to take your mind off of all your responsibilities and just hang out with the bro’s. Community is the key.
5. And family-friendly events. Positive inspiration is the key to being a positive parent. By attending family events you are already part of a community of people on your wavelength. Church events, festivals, concerts, etc. It’s pretty easy to connect with other parents around you, and they will probably appreciate the conversation as well.
In closing, just to be there for each other. Especially for new parents this is a huge change. Just knowing they have support from family and friends can really make or break them in this important time. If they are having a tough time with the sleepless nights and and less diapers, offer to bring them some dinner, invite them over and take the baby off their hands for a minute. Let them know that you two have experienced a mile high mountain of poopy diapers on two hours of sleep. It’s been said to love your neighbor as nice self, and this really is key in parenting. A little goes a long way.