So I’m trying my hardest to be a good dad, but at the end of the day at work I’m so exhausted and have barely any energy to deal with anything. I actually can’t wait for everyone to just go to sleep so I can sit on my porch and just breathe. My boss is very demanding and sometimes I need to put in extra time to make my day to day at work flow better. I like my job and feel that I make a difference in the world with what I do but I’m not the same guy I was six years ago when my kids just needed their diapers changed. Now they are much bigger and my wife needs so much help everyday with them. I don’t what or how to do to make this thing work better, am I doomed?
Hold up man it sounds that your are swamped. Let’s get some better time management going. Let’s think about your drive home from work, you are probably complaining most of the time or pseudo looking at the good in life but not really. Did you ever just try screaming at the top of your lungs in a silent way. It’s a Chasidic trick called the Silent Scream, I wrote an article about once:
Anyways try it when you can’t take it anymore. It’s okay to be in pain but you need to release it man, otherwise it pops up when something triggers your anger at home. Try getting back into the music you used to love that made your heart feel happier, or better yet discover new songs that touch you. My personal favorite song this month is Cry by Gryffn an amazing DJ and music producer:
I can’t take it, I feel so different. I used to be really observant but over the last few months, m workload has taken on such a load that I find myself hanging on by a thread. I miss minyan because it’s so early and my mornings are extremely hectic. I barely crank out morning prayers and then rush out to work with three small kids to take to school. It’s so stressful and it’s not even 8AM. I haven’t even started the workday which that in itself is extremely demanding but I do it because my family needs me to. Sometimes I feel like quitting and at the end of a long day to come home and deal with the attitudes of my kids can push me to the edge. I am not angry at them or my wife but just don’t know where to turn or what I can do to make it work better.
Dad in the Dumps
Photo: Rosie Kerr – Unsplash
Dad in the dumps
Dear Dad in the dumps,
I know how you feel and have been there myself. First of all, you sound like you are holding your ground and are probably going through one of those strides in your career where you have to put in extra energy but will pull out of it. I often as a teacher go through the same things where every few months there are large tests that the students need to do in each grade and it takes a lot of extra hours just to maintain. As far as your observance goes, the mere fact that you aren’t complaining and are still holding up your responsibilities is amazing. Remember that you aren’t the same guy when you had more extra time on your hands. Try rejoicing in the mere fact that you are a Jew and that this is what occupies your mind, to connect to G-d in the digital age is something so praiseworthy. Try seeing the good in yourself more. To keep yourself in a good mood you have to stay in shape. Even on those long days, find yourself an extra no mater what five minutes of push-ups, stretching, and pull ups. Plan ahead your time and stay ahead of your work schedule, that way when you are with your kids, you are truly with them and not on your phone. Try to do what you can to have a free mind to be with your wife and not worries. Get what you can get done at the office and come home knowing you did what you could, and now you are free to be a husband. Notice that I mentioned in this article try a few times, that is the main thing and don’t forget to ask G-d for help. Most of the time the challenges are there to bring us even closer to him than before. Finally in your effort of hanging on to your Judaism, try making smaller and more consistent goals instead of comparing yourself to your past self. Try setting a goal of learning one halacha every day of the week after you put on tefilin. That might seem small but it comes to 7 a week and 42 a month if you learn Sunday through Friday. On Shabbat review them! That’s a huge success from just one halacha a day. Recommedations could be the laws of Shabbat or Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Get to it!
Hey what’s up, I’m reaching out because I really have no idea what happened. Normally my two little kids are getting along. The past three weeks however, it has been sooo hard at my house with them. Whenever they are together fights break out, jealousy rises, and I’m so angry at them. Lately they don’t listen to anything I say and I feel sooo down. I don’t know what to do. I am trying to just keep that connection going and not to overreact when the fights break out and just hope this stage will pass. Any tips?
Dad in Israel
Dad in Israel,
Hang in there, you are not alone! Every family has kids that go through stages where the kids are getting along better than at other times. It’s a normal process, but you are doing the right thing by not reacting out of anger- that would only ruin and push them away further. If you are looking for a quick fix, anger might help but you’ll pay a heavy price down the road.
It could be that they feel they need extra individual attention apart from one another. Check to see that you are spending enough time with each one separately. As far as your reactions to the fighting, do your best to keep the cool, it will have a huge impact and you won’t regret it afterwards. If you need to have a glass of red wine at the end of the day but don’t over do it. Better yet, get a short but consistent exercise program that can get you the energy you need to be the best you can be.
My personal Rabbi taught me that when you are in the heat of the fight and you feel that you are going to overreact to isolate yourself for a few minutes, and pray that G-d help you. Then go back out there and be the cool and calm parent. Hope this helps!
We only get these years once. Let’s make them the best we can. Investing our time with our kids and helping them develop. Giving each one the space and time that they need with us. It’s great to take the kids out together but really they each all need us alone here and there. We may be busy at work and up to our ears in demands, but add some prayer and ask The Creator to be there for you. He gave you your kids for you to take care of. If you feel the need, request that He help you.
“Hashem thank you for my children, I’m trying my best to give to them and to be the best I can for them. At the same time I am stressed with work and my different obligations, please help me with everything going on so that I can have a clear head to help my kids.”
In Gordon Neufeld’s “Hang On To Your Kids” best seller it basically sums up what I always felt inside. If we want our kids to go on a positive path, let’s make sure we make the connection as strong as can be before molding them. This will prevent that nagging syndrome. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or foolproof. But short term strict parenting approaches often backfire with the kids eventually not wanting to be around. This requires a lot of deep breaths because it doesn’t come easy but pays off big in the end.
Instead of reacting from the gut, respond from the soul.
To all those who joined my interview a huge Thank You! It meant so much to me to share my story with you. I appreciate the time you took to be with me as well as the questions you asked. It meant the world, if you have connections with schools or other youth groups who may be interested in a similar Q&A please send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to check out the interview the link is: