Save the Best of You for Those You Love the Most

Posted on August 14, 2012

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Life is a lot of work.

At least the way I do it. My average day looks a little like this:

5:25 Get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, don’t make a sound for fear of waking the kids

6:10 Drive to work

7:00 Arrive at work

7:00-11:30 Work

11:30 Go to the gym

12:45-3:30 Work

3:30 Drive home

4:15 Spend time with the kids

5:00 Prepare dinner

5:30 Eat

6:15 Give baths

7:00 Read stories and put kids to bed

7:45 run to the store for ice cream and wine….I mean, milk and bananas

8:15 talk about day with Caryn

9:30 start feeling sleepy and stop being a good listener

9:45 go to bed

A few days ago, as I was trying to get dinner on the table, sweet, sweet Eden asked if she could help me. I responded by asking her to back up and stand on the carpeted section of the floor so I could open the oven. Not an unreasonable request, but my tone was a bit harsh and more forceful than it needed to be. I had spent the day pouring myself into work projects, trying to get people to work together, trying to organize and plan and predict the future. I was tired and stressed and hungry.

Why am I polite to complete strangers and my co-workers but emotionally dump all over my family?

Why do I feel the need to be kind, patient, and understanding all day long to grown adults but can say and do whatever I want to my 4 year-old daughter who just wants to be helpful to her daddy? Why do I need to weigh and measure my words to people twice my age for fear of offending, but can say anything to someone only a fraction of my age without much thought? There is something seriously wrong with this equation.

This is why I am going to save the best of me for those I love the most.

This means that I may not be the best, hardest-working, most patient employee. I need to save some part of myself for when I get home and play with my kids. I may not return your email as quickly as you might like. I need to email my wife to tell her how wonderful she is. I am not going to go the extra mile on that project that really would make a big difference because I need to have some mental stability at the end of the day so that I don’t drop in front of the television from exhaustion without the energy even to read a book.

I am no longer going to spend my time and energy on the things that don’t matter.

If you are over the age of 25, you need to get yourself together. It is not my job to maintain your emotional stability. Get some counseling. Keep a journal. Do what you need to do to pull yourself together. If I need you to do something or have a suggestion about your work, I shouldn’t have to treat you like a little kid. Grow a pair of whatever anatomical feature will give you the ability to stand up for yourself and not get crushed that I didn’t like your first attempt. Accept that fact that you’re not perfect and I don’t expect you to be. I can’t treat you like a little kid and still have enough energy to treat my little kids like little kids. They need my help. You do not. At least, you’re not going to get it.

I am renewing my commitment to do what I want to do. I am not going to apologize for remembering that I have obligations outside of work and that these obligations are going to inform my attitude and actions while I’m at work. I’m not going to feel guilty for saying, “No” to that church small group, or to leading Children’s Worship, or serving on that committee.

I pledge to always let my children help me cook dinner. I promise to take the necessary steps earlier in the day to make sure I have the patience and energy to be the best dad and husband I can be when I get home.

Life isn’t going to slow down any time soon. But I will remember what is important and I will act accordingly.

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Posted in: Family