Dads need to take time to sharpen their ax. What I mean is that you need to find a way to rest and refresh yourself. This can be very difficult but is paramount for your abilities and attitude. My biggest problem is usually an attitude issue. When I am exhausted, I’m not the best person to be around. I am less sympathetic, empathetic, and just a cranky young “old fart”. I have to schedule times of quiet if not an outright nap.
I did some research on famous people that were religious nappers. Here are the top 10 that I found:
- Winston Churchill
- Salvador Dali
- Albert Einstein
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- John F. Kennedy
- Thomas Edison
- Ronald Reagon
- Margaret Thatcher
Getting a nap or rest time can be very difficult. Most of the time it takes some very active planning. Whether this is with your spouse or place of work, you need to find a way to recharge.
One of the ways that I found to make this scheduling easier was to seek out to be a source of relief for others. For my wife, I would arrange a time to “take the house”. This meant unless the house was on fire, I would deal with all issues and needs. Whether it was for a mid-day nap, early bedtime, or sleep in day, I would make sure that my wife was undisturbed and the house was as quiet as possible. Just the effort and willingness to do so made it naturally easier for me to rest, both in the mind of my wife and mine. For work, I would seek to give others breaks. This made it very palatable for them to respect time for me to recharge.
Your environment has a way of dictating to you your options for rest. At work, you have to be creative. I would usually fire down a sandwich on the way to my resting spot, a meeting room that was never being used. I used a lumbar support pillow that I kept in my office chair for head support, put my phone on airplane mode, set an alarm, and laid on the floor. I would put my feet and calves into a chair to flatten out my back. For me, this worked. I told the key people that needed to know where I was should there be an emergency. Note – you don’t have to announce your naptime to the world.
I have some friends that go out to their car and crash. Personally, I don’t want to sweat while napping, so unless it was cool weather, my abandoned conference room was perfect.
Whenever I had/have days off, I still get up early before the rest of the family. Many times I will cook and serve my wife breakfast in bed. I do this very often. Henpecked you say? I call it genius. It makes a nap time later in the day indisputable. It’s like Calgon take me away…without the tub. I just think I showed my age to those of you that got that.
Being able to take time to recharge and unplug really does help you refocus and get another level of energy. I personally believe that it is just as important as your eating habits. We can discuss diet later. Does it affect the way you “dad”? Yep!
I don’t care for the phrase “you owe it to yourself”. I prefer “you owe it to your family” to do whatever it takes to maximize your performance during the day. You know the levels of stress and the demands on you. Let me end this with my favorite illustration concerning rest. It has to do with 2 lumberjacks. They are trying to get a job with a lumber company, so they are given a cutting contest. Both men are given a large ax. The competition was simple. The winner would be the one that could fall the most trees in 2 hours. The first man went at it with a vengeance. He went from tree to tree, swinging the ax constantly. The second man would stop after every 3 trees to sharpen his ax. This also gave him time to catch his breath. The second man ended up cutting with a sharp ax all the way through the challenge. Although he paused, he won and got the job.
Dads, take time to sharpen your ax. Figure out a way to unwind, recharge, and replenish yourself. Do this to be the best dad possible.