Teach them to be Not Okay
So...it's #WorldMentalHealthDay again. I think this probably the first time in my life that I'm taking this day seriously, because this has been a year of hard lessons, and even harder acknowledgements of self-truths.
One of those was acknowledging that I am Not Okay. Maybe you are someone who is also Not Okay, but is terrified of what it would mean to admit it, as I was. That's understandable.
There's fear that if you admit that a part of the building of your life is loose, the whole thing will collapse.
I'm here to tell you that it won't. Dads - this is for you. Your job is NOT to teach your kids how to pretend that everything is okay. It's NOT to teach them that they should always be happy and amazing and perfect. Your job is to teach them that they aren't broken if they're sad. It's to teach them to speak up when they feel something is wrong - especially on the inside. It's your job to teach them that they don't have to be afraid of their feelings, good or bad. A big part of how you teach them this is by doing it yourself. So, dads, if you feel like something isn't right, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, or inexplicably down, or unhappy, or panicked, or anything else that you wouldn't want your children to feel, especially in secret, get some help. And soon. Talk to a friend, a parent, a partner, a therapist. Find the help you need. I know it's hard - trust me on this one, I really do know - but even if you can't find the strength to do it for yourself, do it for your kids.