The Internal Battle – A Dad’s Mental Health

Being a dad is the best job in the world. And one of the most challenging, which often weighs on a dad’s mental health.

There are plenty of times when no matter what you do it feels like it’s not enough. Or not good enough. Or you’re not enough. And no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to be a calm and confident dad.

I know those times too well. Over the past nine years, I’ve felt all of the challenges listed below in one way or another.

This post is about the battles in our heads and a dad’s mental health. And more importantly, ways to overcome them and come out with your well-being intact.

#1 – I Feel Like A Failure

We’ve all felt like we’ve let our whole family down.

We don’t have enough money, a nice enough house, and our kids don’t have everything they want. I’m not far enough in my career. I’m not as successful as the neighbors.

We all have a tendency to make mountains out of molehills in our heads. As a result, we feel like we’re failing more often than we actually are – and then beating ourselves up over it.

Instead, reframe it and look at it this way:

We have a roof over our heads, we’re getting by, and the kids have what they need. I’m able to provide. And stop comparing yourself to everyone around you.

Odds are you don’t truly care about their opinion anyway.

Do the best you can and be proud of that.

#2 – I’m Always Worried About Money

How are we going to make ends meet when we have to pay for the house, gasoline, groceries, the kids’ sports, and save up for a vacation?

And on top of that deal with 7% inflation.

You may need to get a little more tactical on this one.

Sell some stuff on craigslist or eBay. Look at your monthly expenses and cut back where you can. Understand that a frugal life is a good life. And avoid catastrophic thinking.

#3 – I’m Inadequate

The following thoughts have crept into our minds at one point or another:

  1. I’m a bad dad.
  2. I’m not enough.
  3. Work should fire me.
  4. I’m a terrible husband.

But here’s the thing:

If you were inadequate, you wouldn’t have any of these things.

Your wife loves you because you are enough. Your kids love you because you are enough.

#4 – I Don’t Do Enough

No matter what you’re doing, it feels like it’s not enough.

That there’s more you could be doing. Plus, that to-do list isn’t exactly checking itself off.

Do this exercise:

  • Grab a pen and paper and write down all the things you do on a weekly basis for your family, your job, and your community.
  • Be honest and write down even the little stuff.

When you’re done, you’ll realize you do enough.

#5 – I Don’t Have Enough Time

There are only so many hours in the day.

How in the world am I going to find enough time to work, coach soccer, grill dinner, help with homework, get the kids to bed, and actually get a decent night’s sleep?!

Learn to say no. And do it without feeling the need to give an excuse or explain yourself.

Ask for help. There are plenty of people who will help carry the load.

Lean on your spouse and your friends.

You don’t have to do it all.

#6 – I’m Burned Out

Dads are the epitome of burning the candle at both ends. Work. Kids. Stuff around the house.

It all adds up quickly and leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

Take time for yourself.

You’re not being selfish when you do that.

In fact, if it’s helping you recharge your batteries and be a better husband and dad, your entire family needs you to do it.

(Plus, there’s the added benefit of seeing your work performance improve.)

#7 – I Need To Set A Better Example

I’m constantly screwing up and doing things I know I shouldn’t be doing.

How can I expect my wife to respect me when I don’t respect myself?

How can I expect my kids to control themselves when I can’t say the same for myself?

Take a deep breath.

One mistake doesn’t make you a bad husband, dad, or person.

Accept what’s done. Let it go.

Be the example you want to be going forward.

And remember all of the wonderful examples you’ve set previously.

Conclusion – Dad’s Mental Health

Despite the narrative that we’re supposed to be the tough ones, a dad’s mental health is often challenged by all of the duties and responsibilities we take on. Unfortunately, this can lead to men becoming absent fathers.

Please remember that you don’t have to struggle on your own.

I know I mentioned it in the post but it’s worth repeating: the world is full of good people who will help you out.

Reach out to them and ask for their help. Or find support groups comprised of other dads.

Consider seeing a professional therapist and treating the root cause of these issues.

You’re a quality husband, a doting dad, and a good man.

And that’s enough.

Remember this.

Leave a Comment