By Eric on June 15, 2012 5

The Intentions of a Family Man

 If you’re not careful, your intentions of providing for your family can cause them to resent the hard work you do.

family man

Becoming the husband of my wife 5½ years ago was one of most honoring feelings in the world for me.

She’s mine.

Not in a possessive kind of a way, but more like, I have the privilege of making her happy for the rest of my life.

And when Rooney was born, I was quickly reminded of that honor as a first-time parent.

I have the privilege and honor of being her father. I get to teach her about life, watch her grow, watch her stumble and teach her about how to get back on the proverbial horse when she falls off.

If husband and father are two of my primary roles in life, what am I doing to ensure that I perform at my best in those roles?

Well, we should be doing things for our family, right? Get out there, work hard and bring home the bacon. And not just the microwave-ready bacon that’s pre-cooked. Bring home the really good stuff, the premium thick cut bacon.

Only the best for my family!

The trade-off here is that, for most of us, bringing home the best bacon means a sacrifice of time away from the family. We want to feel as though we are accomplishing something, so we assume the role of the doer.

Groceries? I’ll pick them up on my way home from work.

Dishes? I’ll do them while you feed the baby.

We do things to do things, and, before we know it, we are feeling on top of the world. After all, getting things done is what it’s all about! Or is it?

I’m all for being intentional with my time, and being productive and efficient satisfies my soul. But does it satisfy my family? Not always.

Most of the time they don’t see the hard work we put in to get all these things done. They just see an empty chair at the dinner table.

This revelation didn’t come easily. It took a good two months of my wife asking me to slow down, let the to-do list wait, enjoy our time together as a family.

Sadly, I ignored her for the first month. I was ignorant in thinking that it was her emotions getting the best of her. I so desperately wanted to get back into my routine and feel productive that I didn’t adapt to the situation very well. I was hung up on getting things done. But, she was right. The things I thought I was providing for my family could have waited. It was my time that they craved.

They had everything they needed, except my presence.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson through this experience, and it’s brought some clarity to what it means to be the man of the house and how to really be an intentional family man.

4 Ways to Be Intentional With Your Family

  • Work hard. You must work to provide, so work harder and smarter when you are away from your family. In that first week I went back to work, I had a new focus. Get as much done in 8 hours so I could get home to be with my family (that is, when I didn’t have something on my after-work to-do list).
  • Be flexible. Before the baby, our routine was pretty established. But a baby changes everything, and that includes your routine. Decide which parts of your routine are most important. It’s not that you can’t do them, it’s that you might have to get smart and change the time you do them. Our daughter goes to bed around 7 p.m. every evening. That leaves ample time to check things off the list after she goes to bed. I also used to exercise in the evening after work, but decided to sacrifice even more sleep and instead run in the morning, before my wife and daughter are awake.
  • Be aware. Pay attention to the needs of your family. As the man, you are more important than you may think or know. When your wife needs you to be home to spend time with the family, do it.
  • Be patient. Having a child is a MAJOR life transition. It will take time for things to settle down, and be assured that life will never be the same. It’s not bad, it’s just different. Accept the challenge with an open mind.

This list is as much for me as it is for you. We must choose to lead our families in a way that reflects what’s important to us. And spending time with them is the most tangible way to show the love we have for them.

In what ways are you intentional with your family? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Eric

Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Your posts are always so nice to read, they seriously make my day. You guys have an incredible little family and as I build my relationship and life with my fiance I am using you guys as my role model, so thank you for your always lovely posts!

  2. It’s a never-ending learning-cycle. You are doing a wonderful job providing for your family :)

  3. I love this! I think everyone has quite a bit of adjusting to do after having a child. We certainly did! We also quickly realized that the to-do list can and will wait and that it’s the quality time that really matters. These special days are numbered and they grow up way too quickly! Rooney is such a doll and Dylan (and us too) can’t wait to meet her!!!!

  4. One thing I would add to your list is to be present at home. Getting sucked into a smart phone or computer while “playing” with our daughter is a common hazard at our house. I’m a habitual multi-tasker and I have to remind myself to focus on one thing at a time, espeically if that one thing is playing with, reading to, or exploring with my daughter.

    In our family, my husband spends an hour or two (from ~3:00-5:00) each day caring for our daughter on his own. It’s been a great time for them to bond, play and get to know each other. I feel so blessed to have a husband who is so intent on being there for his daughter. I am jealous of the play/ park time they get together.

    As a mom who also brings home some nice bacon, it’s really comforting to know my little one gets that dedicated love and attention from a parent each day.

    Happy (first) Father’s Day!

  5. This is such a helpful perspective as a wife, Ric! My husband and I have identified this very issue but more at the surface level of “this is an issue.” It’s so helpful for me to get a sense of WHY some men might do this and can now stop to ask my husband his own feelings about his urge to do, do, do. Thank you for sharing!

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