Over the last few years, the “mental workload” of motherhood has become a hot topic. But sometimes we women lose sight of the very real mental (and emotional) workload of fathers, an invisible bravery that deserves our respect and gratitude:
- The drive to keep the family afloat during times of crisis, struggle or bereavement in spite of personal feelings of overwhelm.
- Going back to work first after a change in the family, often without enough paternity or bereavement leave.
- The strong and persistent desire to protect their family, and at times, the feelings of failure when no amount of Hurculean effort could save their loved ones from harm.
- The social expectation to be strong in the face of any obstacle, any suffering, without tears or fear.
- The pressure to be the fixers — from leaky pipes to tear-filled eyes — they feel the burden to fix it all. Even when there’s nothing that can fix the situation.
- The need to protect us, even from their own feelings at times, as though by holding their hurt in they could simply “take one for the team.”
They are Dads
They are the holders — holding our hands when we feel unsafe, our hearts when ours are broken.
They are the keepers — keeping routine and normalcy when nothing feels routine or normal and may never again.
They are the builders — building dreams and homes, and then rebuilding when those dreams and homes fall apart.
They are dads…
Bereaved dads. Step dads. Foster dads. Adoptive dads. Granddads. Men facing infertility. Men who long to be dads. Single dads. Good dads. Dads with children in their arms. Dads with children in their hearts. Dads with children who have grown.
They strive to protect — from chasing the monsters under the bed to chasing after our hearts when they are hurting or overwhelmed.
They strive to provide — from making sure there is enough to meet all our needs, then doing all they possibly can to meet all our wants.
They strive to love — deeper than society says they can, fiercer than any storm that may come, longer than even life itself.
They are tender warriors, championing for their loved ones, fighting to overcome everything from impossible work deadlines, impossible finances, impossible circumstances, impossible hurt.
They are dads …
Strong and weak. Fierce and tender. Brave and often hurting. Independent yet not alone. Striving. Always.
To these fathers we give our love, adoration and respect.
Thank you for loving and leading through all the ups and downs life brings.
Thank you for your invisible bravery.