COVID-19 has us all on edge. If you are a father, the “edge” created by the pressure of keeping your family healthy and happy can be a rather sharp one. A father must realize that he may be the person that the entire family looks to for a source of strength and stability. This being the case, make sure that you, as a father, have YOUR head in a good place first. Only then can you offer the steady reassurance that your shorties need. You can do this by waking up first and finding whatever it is that gives you peace and resolve. Looking at pictures of your children when they were younger or at a picture of you and your partner while on vacation in the past are a couple of suggestions. Go to a place where you will not be disturbed. Find your center and then? Come out like the man that you are and start this “You led” day!
Here are a few things to keep them all content, secure and fever free:
1. It may seem like the simple first step is to just keep them inside. There is a step prior to that however. You must make sure that everyone knows why it is important to stay inside. Otherwise, it will feel like imprisonment and will foster discontent and possibly resentment. The situation outside of your four walls seems to change daily. Make sure that you share the latest information without freaking them out. In regards to children, here are some suggestions on how to talk to them. Most importantly, make sure that you make it clear that your top priority is their safety and every action that you take and decision that you make is with them in mind.
2. MAKE THEM STAY INSIDE! There are many conflicting theories out there right now regarding coronavirus and how to not contract it. Wear a mask…Don’t wear a mask. Wear gloves…..Don’t wear gloves. You can interact with people as long as you are six feet away….You can not interact with people at all. There is one thing that is irrefutable…. You cannot contract COVID-19 if you are not exposed to anyone or anything that is contaminated or infected. Once you are confident that your home is not a source of contagion….Why leave it unless absolutely necessary?
3. Create activities and plan them out before they wake. This is YOUR job, Dad! So lay out a framework that can be discussed and decided upon. You do not have absolute authority to make decisions for 5 or 6 people but DO lay out the framework. Doing this adds structure that humans need without having the rigid work or school schedule that your family is used to. Having a “game day”, whether it is board games or Xbox games or spades is a great opportunity to bond and keep smiles on faces that their cell phones or news networks have a knack for erasing lately.
4. Talk to everyone. You are normally consumed with “Making the doughnuts”. The next big business deal or managing that problem employee are no longer your concern for the time being. So find out what girl your son has that crush on and give him advice on how to woo her. Find out what your wife’s anxieties are about this whole thing and make her feel like “You got this.” and together, you both “Got this”. You should find that your family will appreciate getting to know you without your work or dad “game face” on all the time. Use this time to just communicate with everyone. You might be the head of the family but you are also PART of the family. Let them know it.
This thing will not last forever. Have a goal as a father to have your family emerge on the other side of this as a stronger entity and, and most importantly, a closer one. One thing that this episode in history has taught us is that life is finite.
Be closer to the people that you love. THAT is “Man talk”.
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