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Busting the Myth of the Insta-Dad this Father’s Day

Author: TC Carling

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 nine-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 35-years of 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.

Those of us with anxiety are searching for certainty. We long for assurance that things will be all right. The Covid-19 pandemic has been anything but certain. Every day we are faced with challenges that we have not experienced before. That uncertainty has made men and their families more anxious, stressed and at times lonely. You are not alone in these feelings.

“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 tenth 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 karaoke, do an art project, watch Frozen for the 37th 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 Anxiety Canada and its resources, visit https://www.anxietycanada.com/learn-about-anxiety/anxiety-in-adults/ for more information.

Watch On-Demand: Parenting with Anxiety with Kelly Hrudey

What do you do when your child starts to show signs of anxiety or opens up to you about their anxiety? How do you support them while managing your own stress and anxiety?

In this 35-minute virtual speaker series, Radio Broadcaster Buzz Bishop leads the conversation as Hockey Night in Canada Studio Analyst and Anxiety Canada Champion Kelly Hrudey and his daughter, Kaitlin Jones, share their experiences managing anxiety as a family.

Joined by Anxiety Canada Scientific Committee Member and Registered Psychologist Dr. Robert Selles, we dive into the recommendations and resources available for parenting a child with anxiety and how to parent with your own anxiety.

TC Carling

TC Carling is a dynamic senior executive with a proven history of empowering staff to exceed goals and objectives. On February 1, 2021, TC was named the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) President & CEO. He lives with his family in North Vancouver, BC, and is an avid sports fan who enjoys hiking and exploring the North Shore trails with his family and friends.