Care for Your Dad – Self to Care for Your Family

John Holmberg

Research Associate Professor at The University of Denver, Dad and Advocate for Dads & George Davis – V, Dad and Co-Chair of Fathers Building Futures at Clayton Early Learning

John (left) and George (right) of Fathers Building Futures at Clayton Early Learning.

Dads don’t have warning lights like your dashboard.

Any of these warning lights on for you?

If you had glaring light on the dash of your truck, you wouldn’t just ignore it until you were stranded. You’re not surprised when your team’s coach sees his team is winded and calls a time-out.

Why is calling a dad-time out or focusing on self-care so foreign for dads?

George Davis of Fathers Building Futures at Clayton Early Learning describes dads running thin in another way:

“I am in my work-boots all day. If it were up to me, I’d wear them through the soles to be sure to provide for my kids. Most dads would. But my wife reminded me, ‘you’re wearing those boots for us’. If you don’t take care of your boots (yourself), you can’t take care of us!”

Reasons dads avoid self-care include – stigma, avoidance, and barriers, oh my!

It is hard for many dads to be open to focusing on themselves.

George summed it up as –

“Lots of dads are going through lots of things. They really need help too. Small changes can help. For example, it only takes a moment to be mindful, to notice and soak in how much your children grow because of and learn from you. Reflecting on that is powerful! It puts a smile on my face and warm feeling in my heart. Nothing refills me like that.”

To really be there for your partner and your kids, learn to tune-in to you – mind, body and soul.

Self-care is:

Self-care is not:

Just like you wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who only works on electric buses, you are the only expert on your self-care needs. Pick a few items from the menu below to focus on each month and see how you become a better dad for it.

Areas on a Dad Self-Care Menu

“Chasing the kids around the playground while growling and grunting makes me breathe really hard and I just forget about everything else that was on my mind!”