Family comes first is a phrase often heard, but not always understood. It sounds relatively simple, but when you think of all the elements that come together to make up your life, it can feel extremely stressful to try and put family first above everything else in life, especially for a man. A man is supposed to be everything to everyone.
They are supposed to be providers for the family, working all the hours they can to ‘bring home the bacon’. They are supposed to be champion hide and seekers, exquisite DIYers and they are supposed to be able to step up and be fantastic father alongside it. It’s a lot of expectations for a man, but one of the biggest priorities comes when a baby is born. Having a family shifts the priority greatly from himself to the needs of the family overall and that can be a hard mantle to carry.
A happy family is one that is made up of happy parents. You can find so many articles online like this one about how a mother feels after a baby is born, but it’s often – and unfortunate – that Dad gets left behind a little. It’s not something that’s intentional at all, but men are assumed able to cope. Imagine trying to juggle six different balls, when three is difficult enough – hard, right? Work, home, children, relationship, self; all of these elements need to be juggled so that the world can move forward smoothly. The thing is, the house and the housework will always be there, will always need attention. You’ll always need to change the lightbulbs and call someone in for blocked drain clearance or gutter cleaning. You’ll always need to wash the dishes. Work will always be there. Even if you change jobs, the actual act of going out to work will always be ahead for you to keep living and earning money. What won’t be there, is the children. They won’t always be tiny babies, wrapping a hand around your finger to fill you with pride. They won’t always be tugging on the hem of your shirt to take them out to play. They grow up, and if you don’t put your family first before anything else, you’re going to miss it.
Whether you are the CEO of a huge corporation, or someone struggling to climb the corporate ladder, you will always be called to work. Day in, day out, you will be away from the home. If you then spend all of your free time managing projects at home, you are going to let the precious years of your children’s lives pass you by. Parenthood is so fast and it’s gone in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, you’ll always be their parent, but missing the days of the wondrous looks on their faces at butterflies and ladybugs just cannot happen. The future of the children you have is shaped by how they live their younger years. The new shower fixtures in the bathroom, or changing the pipework under the sink can either wait, or it’s time to call in the professionals.
Why take the time away from your family if you can afford someone else to do it for you? Sure, you may be working to a budget and that’s the right time to sacrifice some time. However, if you can avoid it you absolutely should! Men can wear many hats; father, provider, handyman, protector. You can share the responsibility equally for each of those hats, and not have to compromise on anything just to be able to connect with your family. You can dedicate time in your career, but as long as you remember that your career is not going to be the thing that welcomes you back home with open arms. You can spend hours whiling away your Sunday planting flowers in the garden, but the garden isn’t going to have you holding your stomach for laughing because of the mud pie that got thrown at you.
Precious moments with family cannot be replaced, and while they won’t make you money or up the value of your house, you will get something better. You’ll get admiration, love, the feeling of being wanted. All from the small people you have created yourself. The family you create is one you can guarantee will be there for you forever, so be there for them while it counts.