Happy Father’s Day! Whether this is your first Father’s Day or your 40th, I’m sure it brings with it a wide range of emotions. Before reading this post today, you’ve likely already seen TV commercials, or social media feeds demonstrating how Father’s Day is “supposed” to look. As a proud father of a five-year-old daughter, I also look like those “Insta” families – some of the time – but, definitely not all of the time.

“I find that my parenting journey has only challenged that lived experience even more”

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, uncertain, stressed, and most definitely anxious.Because I have lived experience with anxiety, I find that my parenting journey has only challenged that lived experience even more – far more than I ever anticipated.

Men’s anxiety is an area of passion for me because I know that most men are unlikely to talk about anxiety or mental health in general, and most still won’t ask for help. Men aren’t “supposed” to ask for help, we are expected to figure things out – we fix things. Yeah right.

“This Father’s Day, celebrate your contributions; know you are making a difference”

This Father’s Day, celebrate your contributions; know you are making a difference for your child (children) or your spouse. Be confident that you are doing your best and that your best is good enough. Parenting can be a very fulfilling experience, with many rewards. It can also be selfless and all about someone other than yourself.

Be sure to take some time this Sunday to do something for you, or as I often refer to it (inaccurately) – be selfish. Go golfing, watch the US Open, ride your bike, hike, workout, read a book, surf the internet, or just listen to music. Do something that is just for you. To be a better father and to manage my anxiety I have had to make each of the enjoyable experiences listed above a greater priority. At times when I am doing these things I feel guilty or feel that I should be directing all of my attention to my daughter or my wife; however on this, my sixth Father’s Day, I’ve started to learn that a balanced life is of utmost importance. So this Sunday I will read a book, workout, walk our dog, and watch the US Open. But I will also play dress up, Shopkins, watch Frozen for the 53rd time – and find that balance that I strive for every day.

I hope you are like me and enjoy a good life. My family is healthy; we have good friends, and I have a job that I enjoy. But anxiety doesn’t make it feel that way every day. Parenting has brought tremendous highs and challenging lows. This will continue I am sure. Enjoy the good days, work through the tough days, and find what makes you happy.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about AnxietyBC and its resources, visit https://www.anxietybc.com/adults/introduction for more information.

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