I’ll never forget Men’s Fortnight. Two weeks that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Just to clarify, these two weeks had nothing to do with the wildly popular video game nor did they have anything to do with men.
Men’s Fortnight is what my 8-year-old son and I call the 2 weeks that he and I spent together last summer. My wife and daughter were in Australia, leaving my son and I to fend for ourselves. We went to bed when we wanted. We woke up when we wanted. We ate what we wanted. Which meant a lot of Chik-fil-A nuggets and pizza.
We went swimming every day, played lots of one-on-one basketball and watched movies from the fort we built in the big bedroom. The time. The laughs. The fun we had during those two weeks was what every father dreams of.
This sounds nice.
And my son and I did spend 14 days awesome days together last summer. But Men’s Fortnight isn’t the norm. I wish I could say it was. But it’s not. Don’t get me wrong. I try to spend quality time with my son every day. But it doesn’t always happen.
There are days when I come from work exhausted or with a headache and all I want to do is veg out and watch Netflix.
My son often asks me as soon as I walk in the door, “when are we playing Daddy?” My usual response is a lackluster, “A little bit later buddy. Let Daddy rest for a little while. He just got home.” All the while, I’m hoping that one of his friends from the neighborhood knock on the door. Essentially letting me off the hook.
And while I am off the hook, I do feel bad for not playing with my son. I mean, I want to. I really do. I just get lazy some days.
Why am I sharing this with you?
It’s not to relieve myself of some guilt. I still feel a little once in a while. I share this because I want you to know that you are not alone. And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with resting when I get home from work. And there’s nothing wrong with hoping my son’s friends ring the doorbell so they can play with him.
Here’s why I am worried.
Most of what we see on social media are people’s best, happiest and most sensational moments. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that. I mean I don’t go on social media to see stuff that makes me sad or depressed or anxious.
But that’s exactly what’s happening. We see what someone posted on social media and we compare it to our own lives. These picture-perfect Hallmark moments cause us to wonder what is wrong with us. We begin to question ourselves, our self-worth and suddenly we feel like crap.
We must stop doing this. I have guilty and I still am from time to time. But here’s the thing. Each one of us has our Hallmark moments, our Men’s Fortnights, our highlight reels.
We just don’t have them all the time. Nobody does. Not Beyonce. Not Tom Brady. Not Michelle Obama. Nobody.
But there is something that we do all have in common.
The time in-between.
The late nights.
The failed attempts.
And so on and so on.
It is the in-between that helps us have the moments that we cherish and crave. But we mustn’t ever forget that without the in-between, there is no Hallmark moment, no Men’s Fortnight and no highlight reel.
So hang in there and know that your moments are coming. You may need to grind a little more and you may need to suffer a few setbacks. You’re certainly going to make mistakes along the way.
You’re not alone.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of us are in the in-between at this very moment. And that’s okay. Because before you know it, you’ll be having one of those moments that we’ll hear or see on social media. And we’ll be happy for you because we’ll remember that like us, you spend most of your time in the in-between and that’s okay.
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