It’s ok to be a selfish parent. There, I said it. It felt wrong, but I’ve come to realize that when it comes to adventure, exercise and outdoorsmanship, prioritizing yourself sometimes can be quite selfless. I know it seems paradoxical, but taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your child.
As an avid outdoorsman, I like to go out and hike, climb, ski, surf and skydive in my free time. However, as a parent of two kids under the age of two, there really isn’t much “free time.” For the first year or two I struggled with this conundrum. Being in the outdoors is part of who I am, and so is being a great father.
Having my dad taken from me at a very young age, I feel the burden of having to give my children all of the attention, love and life lessons while I can. I felt guilty every time I chose time away from my kids to climb a mountain, or go jump out of a plane. At first, I started saying no to opportunities for adventure, in lieu of spending time with my children. It wasn’t until six months ago, when we had a newborn in the house again, that I realized it wasn’t working. I started getting frustrated at little things, I was depressed over basically nothing, and I’d throw temper tantrums that would put my two-year-old to shame.
Yes, I was suffering from PMS. Post-kid Me-time Syndrome (that was a stretch). The lack of me-time wasn’t making me a more present father like I’d hoped. It was making me an angry person. I take care of people all day long. At work, it’s my staff and my members. At home, it’s my wife, my kids, my neighbors, it’s never ending. What I wasn’t doing was taking care of myself.
Taking the time to recharge by doing what you love to do will make you a better person. It teaches your kids that it’s okay to make room in life for things that make you happy, that challenging yourself athletically and connecting with the outdoors is fulfilling, and that fitness is a priority. When I come home after a three-hour surf session…I am a happier, calmer, more present dad, husband, boss, and coworker. If you want to call it selfishness, then I say: Be selfish, it’s ok sometimes.
Want to give a crazy cool father’s day gift? Or join my next adventure yourself? Let’s jump out of a plane together. Summer Days of Axistence Skydiving: July 15. Learn all about it.