Episode 80: The Truth About Being a Family Man in Today's World
Prefer to read podcasts? We now offer a show transcript!
Just slide the toggle to show or hide the transcript.
Hey, thanks for coming. Welcome to the Love Shack.
Hey, welcome to the Love Shack. It's a little a place where we get to get together and explore some fresh perspectives, eavesdrop on juicy conversations and discover the things that really matter while having a little bit of fun along the way. This is episode number 80, the truth about being a family man in today's world. This is a conversation that is near and dear to my heart. And I feel like is long overdue.
Absolutely. It can be hard to be a father and a lover in today's world. And you want, you want to be there for your family and your partner, but it seems like work and other obligations always get in the way, because you're trying to be the very best provider you can be very often, you feel guilty that you're not able to spend more time with your kids and your partner. And you worry about how the lack of time is impacting your relationship with them.
Today. We have a wonderful author who wrote the book, dad on purpose, Tim Dunn. He's joining us on the Love Shack today, and he's here to explore with us what it's like to be a family man in today's world. And together we're gonna discuss the challenges and difficulties that men face while trying to connect with the ones that they love the most. And talk about the many struggles and secrets that men wish they could share with others. I'm essentially going to be asking some questions as the female voice here, of the men in the room. And we wanna hear from you. In our society. We talk a lot about feminism right now. We talk about a lot of support around helping women become financially viable and how to marry the, the work-life and the kid life and how there's a tremendous amount of support and conversation that's going on there. And not too many conversations in support of the male role. And often times that voice gets very much discounted. It's almost like there's been a flip, as I see in our society in the last two decades where, you know, the woman's voice used to be kind of down on the down low, and now it's kind of changing. And the men's voice I see very much in my practice is kind of on the down-low. So today we're gonna have this conversation.
So I would just ask men, are you feeling alone and misunderstood most of the time? If so, like Staci shared this episode is specifically for you.
Yeah. And if women you've ever wanted to know what men struggle with and why it is that they do some of the things that they do when, to you, it seems so obvious what they should be doing well, then this is a great episode for you. Stay with us as we open up a new level of communication and give you some answers that are sure to improve your understanding of men overall. We'll be right back.
Ad Man (02:53):
I met Staci and Tom about two years ago. I was at a point in my relationship where I was ready to file for divorce. Not that I wanted to, but I just felt hopeless and helpless. I'd been through other counseling and coaching and didn't find any success. With Staci and Tom's methods. I was able to eliminate insecurities, set boundaries, plant my flag, and eliminate rabbit holing. I was separated from my wife for a year and I have since moved back home for the last six months now. I still refer back to a lot of the teaching that Staci and Tom provided and it's helped me. It's well worth it.
Advert Man (03:30):
Learn the simple three-step system to rescue your struggling relationship by registering for Staci's brand new free workshop. Reserve your seat by going to Stacibartley.com/workshop.
Ad Woman (03:45):
Hi, I'm coach Debbie from storyU talk radio, and I wanna encourage you to write your book weekly. I offer topics about style and storytelling. I take your questions on our live show every Thursday at four o'clock, or you can subscribe to storyU, that's capital U on any of your favorite platforms.
Staci - ad (04:13):
Hey babe, did you know that the average couple spends only two hours a day with each other? And the majority of that time is spent eating, watching TV, and surfing social media rather than connecting with each other. And if children are involved, my gosh, it's even less time than that.
Tom - Ad (04:27):
I know, babe. That's why you created our conversation cards for connection, cuz they're the perfect conversation starter. So the next time you're sitting on the couch rather than turning on the TV or grabbing your phone, pull out a card and get ready for some good old-fashioned laughter and love connection.
Staci - Ad (04:40):
Yeah, you can get your cards at Stacibartley.com.
Advert Man (04:42):
Giving local voices a chance to shine alternative talk 1150.
Welcome back inside the Love Shack. We are Tom and Staci Bartley. If you're new to the show, thank you so much. Along with our engineer, extraordinary Eric Ryder at the helm of our spaceship, KKNW up in Seattle. We're gonna jump right into the heart of the matter over the last two decades or so society has changed the expectations for men. It's overdue to talk about why men often struggle to connect with their families. The common narrative currently is some kind of a version. All of these things wrapped in one, provide a nice lifestyle for our family, be emotionally available and be the Don Juan lover and rock of my world and rock of your world. So that is a very tall order.
Allow me to introduce you to Tim Dunn, author of dad on purpose. He is a father of boys and girls twins and singles and toddlers and teenagers. Tim has learned humility and tenacity from a wide variety of parenting missteps while working as an insurance executive for the last 25 years. He has also coached his kids, traveled with his family, and dadding, which I love. I think that's so great. He understands firsthand the importance of balance in being a husband and a father to his family. He's the founder of dadathon.com a community dedicated to helping fathers achieve balance and strength across all aspects of fatherhood. And as you maybe heard me say in the intro, I could not be more thrilled that people are stepping up to give men the support that they deserve and need, and in this changing world, Tim, welcome to the show. It is so great to have you here.
Thanks so much, Staci and Tom, it's a pleasure to be here. Really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you guys.
We've gotta ask the question right outta the gate of what it is behind the story of you that led you to write your book and create this community. So there has to be something within you that inspired this and brought this to light. We'd love to hear that as we get started in our conversation.
Yeah, of course. It really, it really is simple. I just to back up it's I realize in the introduction when I hear it, it sounds like I have like 14 kids, but I have four kids. It just so happens. We've got a single then boy, girl twins, and then a little guy. We've got two boys girls, and two twins. So it's a good sampler platter, but and we've got an 18-year-old, two 16-year-olds, and a 13-year-old, but at various times we've had, you know, three kids under three, and then now we're kind of entering, well, we have three kids in college pretty soon. So but the basic idea was a number of years ago. I wanted to get into shape and I wanted to I was running for a while and I, that was tough on my knee. So I thought I would try a triathlon and I'd never done one before and I trained for it and it was a short little baby pipsqueak triathlon, but I'd never done anything before like that. And there are just different muscle groups like swimming and biking and running. And they're so different, but you need to have balanced strength across both of them and it dawned on me as I was thinking of that as a metaphor for, for my life, you know, just being a husband and a father and being someone who wants to provide for my family, but also connect with them. And then also lead a life that's fulfilling and worthy of itself, similar to the triathlon, it felt like just different muscle groups. And I didn't feel like I was really all that spectacular in any of them. And I thought it was worth pursuing that. And so that's kind of where that came from. And then as COVID gave us all a little bit more time to reflect in sort of perspective on life I started pursuing that for my own reasons. And that just developed into a project that I thought maybe, geez, if I'm struggling with some of those things maybe some other folks are too. And I wanted to put together a list of things. A lot of, I think men and a lot of people, but, you know, men and dads is kind of my experience want better, but just to really have a sense for what specifically do I do? You know, what are the options that I can do today or tomorrow, or this week to connect better or to provide more effective or to live a better life. And so that was kind of the Genesis of where it came from. And that's where dadathlon cause it's like triathlon except with dad instead of try. So those are the three muscle groups of deadness connecting, providing, and living. And that's where sort of that brand of dadathlon comes from.
So yeah. And I just wanna give a shout-out to your book, I've read it. And I just want our listeners to know that in your book, you cover those three things, connecting, providing, and living with health, joy, and wisdom. So it gives is this place where we get to jump in and we get to talk about, I see in my practice, you know, and the reason why I've been so excited about this conversation is that as I said in the intro, there's a tremendous amount of support for women, you know, as they're trying to find their voices and they're stepping into the workplace and they're wanting equal rights, and those are all really good things. And in that conversation also because of the work that I do, it's important for us to be mindful that in that conversation, we also don't minimize the men because it's gonna be very easy for us on the world, in which we live in of contrast and polarity to have those roles flip to where now the man's voice is being minimized and being labeled more commonly a narcissist or control freak, right? And they're the problem now, as the women are finding their voice and rising, and it's very indicative of what you just said about the triathlon. There is a place where we all can have our place of strength and our place of contribution, and we don't need to do it at the sacrifice of one or the other. And really that's the opportunity that I think I'm so excited about in regards to where we are as a community, as a society now is as we give voices, it's a place for us to find balance in that. So I wanted to bring this conversation to light to our listeners because it's a very important conversation to bring these conversations about what it's like to be a man in today's world. And the narrative is very much flipped even in my lifetime about what that looks like, what that's supposed to be, what that entails. And there is more and more pressure on both sides to say, okay, how are we gonna do this thing? How are we gonna co-create right? And what are the pros and cons of each? And we all have our expectations and assumptions that we bring to the table around this conversation. And so, as these are unfolding, I would love to hear how you as a man are interpreting this and what you do with it. And I think it's gonna be a wonderful conversation. So, you know, without further ado, what is it that's most difficult about this triad for each of you personally, right? In the connecting, providing, and living aspects. And I would say living is more of, you know, you enjoying your own life, right? Because there's so much contribution that goes out to family and lovers and, and community. And so I think that's an important piece. And I just wanna give a shout out, Tim, I loved that you threw that in there. So again, what is it that you find the most difficult in that triad as you, as personal as personally, you know, what, what is it you personally find difficult in this triad?
I mean, for me, I mean, I think the hardest thing I think for me is balance in, in achieving, you know, cuz it's, I think there's a lot of guys are really good at one, maybe one, maybe one and a half or two of those things like, oh, I'm providing, I, you know, I work 80 hours a week and I, all that I do, I, my job is the provider and therefore maybe I'm not as connected with my kids as I should be, or maybe I'm not very healthy. I don't have time to take care of myself. I'm too busy trying to pay for college and working 80 hours a week. But when you back up with perspective, maybe just a widen the aperture a little bit, I think you know, one of the sorts of thought experiments that I think is useful is to look back on your life from the perspective of you as an 85-year-old man, you know, how would that person grade how you're living today, you know, sort of that sort of Ebenezer Scrooge Christmas, Carol sort of thing. And I think it's easy in the moment to be like, I got the mortgage, I got this, but I think that balance is the hardest thing. And I think this, the sort of corollary to that related to the voice that you were talking about there, Staci, I think men don't talk about things as, as readily or as comfort as women do. And so there's a, I think there's a flavor of isolation that they just, they go, they sit, they work, they put the [inaudible] on, they stay in their lane, they do their work. And it reminds me, I don't know how recent it is because you go back and you listen to you read Thoreau, you know, most men lead lives of quiet desperation, which is a line by Thoreau that really resonate with me. And as I've talked with some of my buddies, it's one that's resonated with them as well. And I think just kind of shaking the shackles off of that and being like, it's okay to connect with people with your buddies, with your wife. Well, certainly with your kids. I think balancing for me, if I had to summarize it in one word, that's the trickiest part. I don't know, Tom, if you would, if you would agree with that or what is your thought?
Absolutely. That was the word I had honest to God that wasn't, I didn't know. You would say that you know, so yeah. Balance and as we know, that's a verb, just like other things, you know? And yes. I've been self-employed my whole life. So only be, I think that just adds another level of challenge to the balance. You, if you will, not that, you know, not that working for an employer is easier or harder, but I would say absolutely Tim you know, I could not agree more. And then yes, I don't, it doesn't seem to be. Staci and I were blessed and grateful to spend five and a half weeks in Italy, right before the pandemic at the end of 2019. And my point in sharing that is, we saw, I've never seen so many men our age and older in every single Piazza that we went to in the evening. There were as many of our age men and older sharing, sitting on a bench park bench talking to each other. I turn to Staci and said, you never see that in the states. You don't, you don't and gosh, what a, you know, that's sad because I think that's, you've, you know, we, where does one go as, as a male just to share, just to share?
Think you're absolutely right. I think there's something sort of culturally unmanly about sort of just letting that as the pressure builds in the tank and it builds and builds and the most important thing, have some kind of help to let that pressure out before the tank explodes. And I think men, at least in us, or at least sort of in my experience, don't seem to be very good about that. Whether it's social and fun, like yeah, you go, you know, golfing fishing with your buddies and that's, that's a flavor of that, which is good, but yeah. You know, sharing some of that or, or talking to someone about that or being open with your wife or with your children, you know, about what you're struggling with or your mistakes. And I think there's something just, culturally sort of unmanly about doing that. And I, I don't think it is. I think on the contrary, it takes quite a bit of, confidence and grit. And not that those are unique to men, but I just mean the things that are traditionally thought of as being manly. I think it takes a lot of courage to be open and vulnerable and let that pressure out. And I think that's also better health, better for your health physically and emotionally as well.
I 100% agree. I see it in our couples were usually the wife is coming in with a long list of complaints and the man's sitting there going, oh, ah, you know, I'm, not quite sure how to handle this. I'm very uncomfortable. And the minute we can normalize the conversation and say, everybody has a contribution here, and everybody has a voice that deserves to be heard, right? And, and we start the conversation with what's working for you and not working for you. And we let each person talk and reflect that voice. There's a place where, oh, I'm so glad I can set this down. Right. I'm so glad that this is a safe place where I can let this go. And it's not a conversation about, you know, pointing out all my flaws and all my missteps and all the places that I can't emotionally connect. And a lot of us don't realize the history of where it is. We have traversed through in our relationships, male and female know historically right. Males have been programmed and taught and actually conditioned to not be connected to their emotions. Years ago, thousands of years ago, it was necessary for war, right? Boys were pulled from their mothers at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old. And they were conditioned to be warriors to protect the tribe types to protect the community. And mothers were left behind to protect their children. And this conversation continues to get handed down again and again and again, to where ideology and all of our marketing and our pictures, etcetera, are men being strong and protecting us as women and children and providing for us as women and children. Yet men we fail to remember are just as emotional and have the capacity to be just as emotional as women. It's just, that's not a side of us that we develop or that they've been given the avenue to develop. And now we're in a time where we get to, you know, we're banging on them, be emotional. Tell me how you feel. And they're like, Ooh, I don't know. I don't know how to go there. And women, if you ever wanna know what that feels like, just try on a man saying to you, Hey baby, do that pole dance and swing around and do that sexy thing for us because we are generally very uncomfortable in our bodies. And the emotional experience of that is the same, right. Men are very ill-equipped and don't have a lot of practice in regards to talking about their emotions and women. We have a tough time talking about their physicality and accepting our bodies and what they are and what they can do, and that place of sensuality. And there's a cross-pollination that happens there, right? Where we can understand the other, because everybody's going, oh gosh, I gotta work late. I gotta pick up the kids. Ooh. And it's about expanding our capacity to step into some of those emotional conversations that I think is critically important. And not only that, whose time has come. So I wanna ask both of you in this regard, is it still difficult? Is it still something that you find, a resistance in when somebody says, just tell me how you feel about this, Tim? Like, just tell me how you feel about this, Tom. Can you go there more easily now that you've practiced?
I think I guess I have two ways of answering that one is when it comes to emotions or emotions or stresses that I'm struggling with. I feel, I mean, I'm very fortunate. My wife is fantastic and I am not strong enough a word to articulate how I'm married. So it's, I'm very fortunate in having a partner that can communicate and is supportive of me in that regard. And that's huge, I think. And so when over the course, we're married almost 25 years come December. And we've learned how to kind of, communicate that and that hasn't been a smooth ride as, you know, you make mistakes. And I think I've gotten comfortable expressing I think the first key is being able to express some sort of negative emotion at all, or some dissatisfaction or stress, and clearly, and respectfully in like, this is how I feel. So yes, I think I've been growing and how to do that. I'm not probably where I should be, you know, but, but then the second key way I'd answer that is, I think sometimes I think there are times where men aren't really thinking anything all that mind-blowing, you know, I, there's a Seinfeld skit where he talks about, you know, women. Do you wanna know what men are thinking? I'll tell you. Nothing. We're just walking around, looking around and you know, that overstates it too, but that's not false either. There are times when we're just like, eh, basketball, you know? I mean, so I think when it comes to the real emotions, I think you need to be comfortable expressing those, especially when they're negative or challenging or vulnerable. And it's okay. I think it's okay to not always be thinking something if the answer's like, wow, no, I don't think I'm just cool. You know, so I'm not sure if that's a good answer, but I think there's two, there's two. I'm not sure, Tom, if you would agree with that assessment as well, or, what do you think?
Yeah. I would you know, I think you have to, like, you just shared Tim having a partner, you know, that has created this, we say in our body of work, really what you absolutely have to have for really any relationship to flourish is permission and safety. So you just described that. So especially for us men, if you're gonna ask us to step up and we, when we are having these vulnerable thoughts, especially when they're not maybe top shelf and we're not feeling all that special and warrior-like, and to be able to share that you, you gotta know that your head's not gonna be taken off and question, oh, that's not how you really feel really well. That's how I feel, you know? I mean, so, you know, you have to have that and I too am blessed like you, Tim, to have that. So you have that knowledge that I can bring up anything and maybe it's no, I'm good. I'm good. Maybe I seem like I'm off, but I'm not, I'm good. As you say, I'm excited about the game tonight, you know, and it's all good. Do you know what I mean? I've always had a lot going on. Staci knows that but if it's abnormal, you know, she'll ask me and I'll just say, no, I'm good. Do you know? Or I'll say, no, here's where I'm feeling off. Can you support me? What do you think?
Women, something that you need to know is when we ask our men too, be vulnerable with us, sometimes we don't think about, are strong enough to handle what I'm about to say. And so if I'm taking everything personally, right, and everything you say is personalization, and you can't say boo, without me going, oh, does that mean you don't love me? You don't think I'm sexy. You don't, oh, you, ah, the truth is out. There is no way that a man is gonna be able to open up to you because there is no safety and permission present in the conversation. And if they're going to go there into an emotional nature and they're gonna essentially reveal to you, they need to know that you're strong enough to handle it, or they're not gonna go there. And so there's this misnomer where it doesn't mean that you need to be more emotional as a woman. It means that you need to show your strength so that you say I got you. It's okay for you to need support. And it's okay for you to need help. And you can lean on me now. And we don't think about that as a woman, you know, it's all about right. Kind of the opposite conversation of you is supposed to be able to collapse and have an emotional hot mess. And, and then you're supposed to be able to, you know, not need support and regain the strength to go on and get back on your horse and be your warrior. And then tonight you're gonna rock my world. Right? You're gonna make me how the moon, and, and then it's gonna all replay tomorrow. And I, I just wanna bring that to the table, right. I have a, a tremendous amount of love and respect for men. For reasons, we can talk about if we get there, but Tim, you say like, you look like there's something you wanna say, and I wanna give you the opportunity to say that.
I just was gonna, I was agree with everything that you said. And I think the one thing I would add to that is that that that conversation of, of vulnerability itself, doesn't happen in a vacuum. You know, you have to sort of kind of fertilize the soil and that you build that trust and that safety you know, and that may be by, you know, making sure we, you know, take the opportunity to validate, you know, Hey, you look great today. You look cute today or, Hey, I really like how you did that, or the great job with the kids here or in both directions. That's not, you know, just male to female or female to male. So that, that sort of builds up that foundation of, Hey, you know, I know she's got my back. It's okay for me to be like, Hey, I'm a little nervous about this, or I'm struggling with that. And I mean, personally, one example that I've had in the last year, I mean, I wrote this and put it out there and, you know, that was something that I struggled with from a, you know, confidence perspective. I had, I thought I had a lot of things that were valuable to say, but you don't know that when you're the only one who's looking at it yet, you know, and showing her the first draft that was very scary for me, even a great foundation in, in a relationship that we have. So I think the one thing I would add is that it's just important to fertilize the soil along the way, and specifically with making sure we validate and support the other 90% of the time, so that when we need to have the conversation that is stressful or more real, or that we need to kind of be good,[inaudible] for, because it's gonna be tricky. We're in good shape for that conversation.
Well, and I love that you bring that up because a lot of us think, especially women because we're so good about talking about this, the joke I have is that look if we have a problem or a challenge or a stressor if we can't figure it out, we've got 30 women who are gonna sit around, you know, the table at one, we're gonna pound that stuff into powdered us. We're gonna come up with an answer. It may not be the right answer, but we're gonna come up with some kind of an understanding and explanation.
An answer will be manufactured in that conversation.
It will be absolutely without thinking, Hey, really, your answer's gonna be off the face because you're not talking to the person that you're maybe having that challenge or that struggle with. And that this idea of safety is built over time. And it's much easier to maintain it than it is to create it. And the metaphor I love is the analogy of blowing up a latex balloon. It takes a lot of blows, you know, to get it inflated and very little to maintain it, right from time to time, you gotta put a little air in there, but man, if, if you violate the said safety, if you criticize, minimize, manipulate, coerce, degrade breakdown, right? And in order to get your needs met or to validate yourself, it's gone and you're back to square zero of trying to put that safety in place. And that really does create the space where we can share. If you want your man to in more, I would say, you've gotta create that foundation in order for them to open more and to be strong enough to hear what it is they have to say without taking it personally. And that's probably gonna take some skills and some practice, right. That's probably gonna take some new understanding and learning so that we can better support our men. We're saying be emotional, but then we're falling apart. As we're saying it, you know, we're doing some things that are sacrificing the safety as we're baking and pleading for them to just tell me how you feel and they're going, oh yeah, no, I cannot do that right now, based on what I'm seeing as a demonstration, you can't handle what I have to say. That can be quite an interesting dichotomy. What do you guys have to say about that? Have you guys, have you Tom or Tim been in a place in maybe even a past relationship where you felt like you couldn't say what you needed to say and what was it that came up that caused you to go, yeah, no, I can't go there?
I've thought to myself, I was in, I couldn't say certain things, but then once for reasons that didn't have anything to do with, you know, with my wife, you know, we've been together. She's really kind of been my, my only real relationship. So I don't have previous data on that to go on. But I think when you're young and, and don't feel that great about yourself maybe yet, and have sort of gotten your sea legs about your adultness. It's easy to be scared of having that conversation. And so I've had that before. You know, you have an argument, we've had arguments, you know, where that on both sides, I don't think goes exactly as according to plan, but I think I've been, I've been fortunate that once I did have that conversation, a conversation where I put myself out there and was very vulnerable, I was very fortunate to have Erin who's my wife, you know, handle it well, and I didn't have that. I put my hand on the stove and while that's the last time I do that kind of a thing. So I think, I think I'm very lucky in that regard which isn't a very helpful answer to your question even though it's a blessing in my life.
No, I think that's incredible. And I so appreciate you being honest about that. And it sounds like you and your wife have done a really great job, I love how you said getting your sea legs about you and your relationship to the kind of grow and lean in together. Right. Like we're in this together and that co-creation continues to be the focus and the vision of your relationship, right?
Yeah. I mean, to suggest that it's been, you know, all perfect. No, we've had like, it's had its Rockies along the way, but not in a real sense. I mean, I just, I don't wanna make it sound like a, you know, we're just, [inaudible].
The whole time and I would add that, you know, as you should, what's important to remember just like in, in like using the triathlon, I mean, the way that a triathlon a triathlete gets successful as in any kind of athletic endeavor is through practice. And for some reason in the relationship world, this is something Staci and I talk about all the time is great love and great relationships are available for everyone. And the ones that I notice and witnessed and blessed to be a part of or whatever is because of the practice and the commitment to the practice. Right. Same as a great triathlete, same as any athlete. Yeah. So for some reason, there seems to be a disconnect and we talk about this. If you're listening to our show over and over, this is a skill-based journey, just like every other thing. And in my view, it's the most important skill-based journey we're ever going to undertake. So then we need to behave like it's important by putting in the time for the practice. So having these difficult conversations and other things that Tim talks about in his book, it's skills then, you know, you've laid out beautifully in your book. Okay. But then it's up to us to take the time to practice it because we're not born lovers. That is a story that's make-believe. And it's a good one. We've all been on, but that's a fairytale, right? That's a fairytale. So I would say the practice is, crucial.
And the skill that you talk about is funny, but just reflecting as you're talking, just kinda reflecting about, oh boy, we're lucky. And we are lucky my wife and I were lucky, but I think the one skill we learned and began implementing early that I think helped us along the way is when we did get into arguments, we learned early to frame things in terms of, I feel rather than you are. And so the so rather than, you know, you're so selfish when you do this is, gosh, when you do that, it makes me feel, you know like you don't care about me and that may not be what you're thinking, but that's how I'm feeling it. And we, you know, again, I think how we frame that, we learned that skill early in learning that early and practicing it along the way think has been something that's served us well in terms of how we've had those conversations. Combined with the thing we were talking about earlier, like having that foundation fertilizing the soil of supporting each other, you other 90% of the time.
No, and I would totally echo that. As the expert in the room, I would say absolutely what breaks our relationships down, we don't realize is, is any form of manipulation, which is criticism, belittling, minimizing, coercing, and we all do it. We're all little human mess-making machines and our society is based on the foundation of manipulation. So we have to tell that truth, like most of us grab our chest as humans and go, no, I don't do that. I'm gonna say, huh. Yeah, you do. Yeah, you do. We just don't realize it because we don't understand that skill of manipulation, but we intuitively have been taught to do it. And if that's the case, then it's absolutely gonna suck that safety out. Right? And that is the safety that is so critically important. And, and funny, it's such a cliche, you know, in the business world or in the, I come from a, a beautiful family of construction and I've worked in as a painter, etcetera, in my previous life and safety first. Right? That's but it's so true. Safety first in your relationship. That's the one thing that you need to protect and honor.
I was just gonna add one last little thing to Staci what you were saying. I was nodding my head the whole time. But, and when there are times where, you know, one of us says [inaudible] mess the bed. Yeah. Like, you know, it's important to just to own that I was wrong. Like, I own that. And if you do it, you know, if that's something that you do in front of the kids then own that in front of the kids so that they, you are modeling, look, I was wrong. That's not the way dad should be speaking to anyone, you know, and this is what I'm gonna do differently. And I think that's part of safety. Part of safety is healing the wounds from the accident that just happened and committing to a better place going forward. And I think that that needs to be something that you need to be comfortable with to be able to do. Because I remember having a conversation with someone who was having a hard time kind of getting there. And I didn't, this is not my formulation. And I don't know who invented it, but someone said, you know, well, do you wanna be right? Or do you wanna be married? And you have to sort of sometimes just look at the bigger picture, be like, no, I was wrong and I need to own that because I value this relationship more than my ego.
I love that. And you're talking about the ability to clean up a mess, which is another skill. You know, I see that I've made a mess. I see how I could improve. And I love that you said do it in front of the kids, or when is part of the mix, because then it teaches them how to improve and get better. And often times we don't realize that we're doing so much teaching while they're watching. It's really more about that than it is the things that are coming outta your mouth. Right? And that's a powerful demonstration.
So speaking of kids, this is a, a place of great, you know, passion for me share with us, Tim, you know, how men can more easily connect with their children and their partners, you know, emotionally connect, what, you know, what's your, what's your take and your perspective on that?
I think the simplest answer is to just decide to make it a priority. I think it's easy to just go through the routines of daily life and you just keep doing what you always did cause that's what you always did and you keep doing it, which the whole sentence is circular and your whole life is I think, deciding that you want to connect with your daughters and your sons and your wife. But for me, I think the three things that should inform me are to come up with, I come up with things that are regular, purposeful, and exclusive for each of those things. And in the book I talk about, you know, I mean, this just so we're clear, the book is not Tim guru dad. The book is Tim learning dad, trying to find ideas that I can do. And that I can do to be a better dad. So it comes from a place of humility. I open the book early on with many of the mistakes that I've made that I wish I didn't just so we're clear, but I think those are the things that we, we really should try to do is come up with a list of, and that's what the book is. It's like a menu like here are some ideas you'll, you know, with, you know different sorts of dates with your daughter or things to do with your son or ways to connect with your wife. But I think those three elements of regular purposeful and exclusive are a great recipe to shoot for.
Yeah, I totally agree with you. That's incredible. And that was one of my favorite parts, and that was the first part piece that you step into is that conversation around connection, right? How do I connect, and what are some simple things that I can do? And there's a wonderful idea on there. Listeners. They are wonderful ideas in Tim's book about how to do that. So if by chance you're a listener out there, who's struggling with how to create a connection with your son, your daughters, and your partners. I highly recommend that you just read Tim's book, it's incredible, and it's full of a lot of wonderful ideas in order to make that happen. It's a great place to begin. And I just wanna remind, you know, all of us that we're human first, regardless of what gender we are human first. And we do have the capacity to expand in whatever direction we need to, whether that be logical, right, and more calculating a strategic, and or emotional and logical. The only thing that's gonna stop you is this thing between your ears.
Well, and that just those three, I love that regular purposeful and exclusive, you know, my experience either on the giving side or the receiving side, if we just know that there's been a little bit of intention put into that moment that we're choosing to spend with our loved ones, like you shared Tim man, the return on investment is unbelievable. I mean, would you share that? Would you agree, Tim?
Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And it doesn't that doesn't have to be these huge grandiose gestures. Yeah. You can do something where you go away for a weekend with one of your kids. Great. But like, Hey, I'm gonna go to the grocery store, come with me, you know, let's just go get coffee, you know, or let's just listen to some dad jokes on Alexa while you're getting breakfast, you know, little tiny things that are purposeful, that are little moments that you can kind of weave into your day pretty easily, you know.
Well, and share with us. What is the distinction between connecting with your daughters and connecting with your sons?
I think the way I break it down, in the book are, you know, different, you know, things to read together, watch together, play together things you can write to them, and how you model. And I think just you, obviously, boys and girls are different, so, you know, you know, the sorts of things. And I've been one of the things that I've one example. I found a book that I do with my daughters. And it's gosh, I can't remember the name of the book, but it's conversation starters with your daughter and it's you get coffee or lunch, you know, once a month or so, and it's little props and you can ask her questions and they go back and forth and sometimes it's awkward and it's uncomfortable, but they love it. And my boys would not. And, you know, so with my boys, it's other things that are a little bit more physical, you know, we've gone to a couple of concerts, you go hiking and, you know, and again, it's not so much a statement about boys versus girls or masculinity versus femininity, but you know, your child, you know, my child, who's a boy wouldn't like that kind of a and many boys maybe in that same boat. So so that's a little bit of the thought process there.
And give us some ideas in regards to connecting with your partner.
I think the idea there too, let me just move this around a little bit here. I think, you know, again, the little of things that could be as simple as, you know, putting together a nice slideshow, you know, of pictures for the kids or just being, writing something super thoughtful, that's not a hallmark card, but like, you know, why did you fall in love with me? And I've, I've got, I sent emails out a couple of times a week and have little prompts, you know, that kind of before Valentine's day was like, here are some questions that you might answer, you know, in your words, to kind of really make your wife feel special things to fill her cup, or again, easy, simple things like, you know, making her lunch for the day and put a little post-it note with a heart, you know, you know, a post-it note with a heart takes three seconds and all, it's just, I'm thinking of you and I love you very small, very low effort, but me meaningful in terms of the effect. And there's a lot of little ideas like that sort of woven in and out. But the idea there is to just make it decide that it's something that it's important to do. That she's important enough to do something purposeful and regular for her to make her feel special because she deserves it.
Yes. And I wanna make sure that we leave sometimes, the pressure to provide. I would love for both of you to speak to that just a little bit. I think sometimes we as women take that piece for granted especially when we've been stay-at-home moms, right. And there's a lot of conversation between couples about I work all day and the guy comes home and is exhausted and I work all day and, you know, there's a tremendous amount sometimes of headbutting there about who's working harder and who's doing what. So I wanna with the last, you know, few minutes that we have here in our conversation, let's, let's talk about the providing piece for a minute. And, and have you share with our listeners, what is it you would want women to know about what it takes to provide and, and what your experience there is?
For myself, I mean, that, that probably is the single largest source, some stress in my life that I feel, and I don't think men are probably all that different from me who have kids and it's, it's, it's societal, it's generational. I think back to, you know, I promised my father-in-law, I would take care of his daughter and then his grandkids would want for nothing, you know, and then you look left and right, and your neighbors are going on vacations. And, but you got like, it's three-dimensional stress, just soaking its way into your liver every day. And I think I had a conversation with Erin once my wife about this. And I'm like, and I think I started to express it like this. And she's like, I had no idea it was that much of a weight for you. I'm like, yeah, it's the thing that wakes me up at three. At one point I talk about the book you're running, trying to pay for college, holy cow, the ER, and you wake up and you're like, okay, if I fall asleep right now, I'll get three more hours, you know, before six o'clock. And that, again, that's not unique to men either, but that's the source of, of the stress, I think about, about men trying to fit 10 pounds of work in a five-pound week and accomplishing six pounds of work and feeling crappy that you didn't get 10 when you did 20% more work than was feasible in that week. And then that becomes stress and a source of failure, like, you know, just constantly moving. So I guess that's how I would answer that.
What about you, babe?
No, Tim and I seem to be wired very, very close to the soul, if you will. Yeah. And then on top of all that, then how about like me? How about me feeling good about just me, you know, I mean, I've shared with you many times. I feel like a lot of my life again I'm has been interrupted. Well, could I just have a little quiet time for myself? You know, I, you know, we shared on our show here, you know, you're a large package, Mrs. Bartley. I mean, you know, so not only.
Baby I'm worth it.
Oh yes. Oh yes. But I mean, so there's a lot that, that I stepped into and look, I fully, but I understood, but I didn't understand. And so little did I know what was, you know, just as well, I didn't know when you, and I said that we're gonna step in and, and let's do this, you know, so, you know, we've got eight children combined in 13 grandkids. So you know, that's 21 human beings. You just run the numbers, I'm a numbers guy, invariably, someone's gonna need something, you know, I mean, you know, and so yeah, to the pressure you know, and I just come from an incredible lineage of very responsible men that provide for their family. And this is a place of great importance for me because I was blessed and grateful to have it. And my father died when I was very young but left us with life insurance. And the, most of my influence comes from my whole mother. But nevertheless, you know, we, it just seems to be embedded in our DNA and my family lineage that this is, you know, and so, yeah, I just, I couldn't have said it any better than you, Tim. It is, it does wake Staci knows. It wakes me up. She'll say you didn't, you weren't sleeping last night, tell me what's going on. And I said you don't need to ask what's going on. You know.
And so ladies, if you're listening to this conversation there's a mindset out there that if I earn money, it's my money and I'm gonna leave the providing and all the bills and all the responsibility to my, my man. Okay. And if you wanted to give your man a, if you truly wanted to rock his world, you would step in and say, how can I contribute? How can I support you? And how can we maybe tag team this conversation around providing and money, right? We are very willing admittedly. So to bring dreams and hopes and things that we wanna do and accomplish for our children and for our relationship and for our family at large. But sometimes as a woman, we don't think about what that takes to provide. And if a man hears, we wanna do this, and then we're gonna do this, and then we're gonna do this. It's been my experience that all of a sudden, and you guys confirm this for me, they start running the numbers. Okay. That's gonna that's how am I gonna, and then there's the time component to it. It's not just so much the money and time. It's, how am I gonna take the time to step away from work, right. And Tom being an entrepreneur, you know, that's always a battle. He's always saying to me, Staci, you're expecting me to pay for it and then show up at the party refreshed and, and able to have a wonderful, fantastic time. I'm sorry. I just have a difficult time going between those two worlds. Right? And so if we really take that to heart women, that is a huge gift we could bring to the table of saying, I wanna participate in this with you. You know, we are coming into age, thank goodness where we can earn, or sometimes out earn men in this conversation. And so we've got to get over the mindset and think about what it might be like to wear shoes on the other side of the fence. Do you wanna take care of all the responsibility and pay for all the bills and make sure all your hopes and dreams for yourselves and your families, and your children get taken care of while you go and have fun and spend all the money that you're making on the other side of the equation? Would that be a fair assessment? I would assert that we would go crazy. We would go, oh, that's so unfair. Oh, that's so not. Right. And I get to see this first hand as a divorce mediator. If the primary breadwinner is a woman idea of spousal support or helping somebody get back on their feet is like, how could you, you low life piece of fill in the blank. But if the roles are reversed and the man is the primary breadwinner. The females are going, okay. Okay. We all know how this is gonna go. You know, how much are you gonna pay me? Let's calculate the numbers, right? There's no judgment there. And so we need to think about that. I just wanna bring it as a thought to the table about, okay, if we say we wanna be equal, then let's show up and behave like, and find some balance together. And co-creating this life. And that would be one of the greatest gifts in my opinion, that you could give the man, you say you love is, Hey, let's tackle this thing financially together so that they're not bearing the pressure of that on their own shoulders. How does that sound to you guys?
Yeah, No, that's, yeah, I agree. That makes sense
That if I'm earning the right, would, it not suffice to make common sense that I would contribute and not think that everything I'm earning is just money either to do what I want for myself and, or to have fun?
I think every relationship probably is different in that regard and again for us, we, you know, it's, you know, that, that isn't you know, my wife works as well and it's sort of, it all goes into a community bucket and we share that as well. And that's our experience and I know that's not everyone's experience. And so I think I don't have the particular challenge that you articulated earlier, or at least I don't know that I do. But I think that's one, if I were in that position, I think how you characterize that would certainly be, be something that would be a meaningful amount of support. But I think just, I think in my position, just recognizing that God, this is hard and this is taxing and it really is a so, or of stress in my primary motivator. And I think it's the thing that allows me to not take care of myself. You know, it's the goose and the golden egg. I keep trying to get the golden eggs and my, well, my goose gained 30 pounds two years ago. And you know, I think we gotta make sure that the goose is gonna be around to walk his daughter down the aisle. Like, you know, so you can't afford to take care of yourself because you're going after the golden eggs.
So well said any final takeaways as we land this?
No, I think that that's perfect, you know, con conclusion as we land, this is, is, is balanced. Just like you said, you know, you know, and it's a constant thing. And, and to have some of these other attributes brought in, thanks, babe, for your, from the woman, you know, to, to be able to leverage with your partner, not against leverage with your spouse is unbelievable. Cause I get to do that all the time. And so Tim, I know you've graciously and very generously you've set up a special resource for our listeners. Could you share that with us, please? Yeah,
Of course, of course. It's so it's my website. It's www.Dadathlon.com/loveshack - and people, I think men wanna know where do I start? You know, which, which connecting, you know, whenever I start with one thing, you can take a dad quiz that I put together. That'll give you guidance on where to start, but when you do that, there are three free giveaways. I'm giving away chapters one, two, and three of the book for free to anyone who signs up as well as a free movie finder, cuz we are always at Thursday or Friday night scrolling through common sense media and 50,000 other places looking for the perfect movie and you spend a half an hour doing that and then no one wants to watch a movie anymore. There are over 200 movies down there. And then finally it's a subscription to our newsletter. It's like two or three times a week short, punchy, and helpful. And for your listeners, if they're interested in buying the full book, there's an offer, there's no pressure, but there's an offer to get it at a discount. It's $15 on Amazon, but for the next week or so if you order it through here, I'll give you $5 off an autographed copy that I'll send you. And father's day is coming up. So, you know yeah. Putting that out there.
And I highly recommend that you do that and step into that. Tim, thank you so much. It's always such a pleasure, very memorable conversations. And here's another one to add to the list. Have a joke you wanna share with us before we part about being a dad or a father or?
Know, I guess a dad joke would probably be the best way to go. And we do those in the mornings. And so I like to say mucho to my Spanish speaking friends. It really means a lot to them. Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate it.
We're gonna take a really quick, fast break. And we'll be right back.
Staci - Ad (00:49:33):
Hi, I'm Staci Bartley. The author of my new book, feeling like marriage is dead. A divorce mediator's guide to ensure a lifetime of love. And this book, I integrate a no-nonsense grip on reality with a compassionate understanding of human behavior, to provide you with a systemic approach to marital bliss that is easy to understand and implement in your life. Read this book to find out how to make marital magic happen. And you can do that by go, going to lifetimeoflove.me. Again, that's lifetimeoflove.me.
Ad Man (00:50:08):
Make us part of your daily routine. Alternative talk 1150.
Well it's time for a little bit of fun, right, babe. And I've got a really good one this round. I'm gonna tell you what it's called a secret kiss. So when you say goodbye to your special someone in the morning, coming up here soon, say to them, I have a secret that I wanna share with you later tonight. Next, you're gonna call or text them in the middle of the afternoon. And you're gonna say, Hey, just wanna remind you to make sure you ask me about that secret that I have to share with you. I really have something important that I wanna share. All right. And then, and then you're gonna come home and over dinner, you're gonna say, Hey babe, by the way, you remember, you made a big deal about the secret that you have. What's that secret you have? And this is the moment where it gets really juicy. I'm gonna bend over and I'm gonna give you a kiss and I'm gonna whisper in your ear. You are the secret. I want you to know that I love you. And you're amazing to me. And here's why, and I'm gonna give them a little bit of fairy dust. If you're in our world, you know what that is. If you're not, it's gonna be acknowledgement of, I appreciate you for, you know, all you do for being here for me to listening to me do this. And, and I love you and give them a kiss on the cheek that then can quickly move to, you know, the lips long, slow passionate. I call it the secret kiss. What do you think?
Love it. Yeah.
So your secret, you have a secret for me?
No, come on. The other way around. I'm gonna be holding you to that. I'll let you know how this goes next episode, ladies and gentlemen. For sure.
Hey, we have a song for every single episode and this song, I always say this, always say, oh, it's the best song ever, but it really is the best song ever. Callum Scott and Leoni Lewis, they sing a beautiful duet called you are the reason. And in all the conversations that we've had whether there were men or where women in this conversation and we're trying to decide how to better dance and co-create together. It really is. You are the reason that I'm up at night, trying to figure out how to give you what it is you ask for. You are the reason that I'm up at night, trying to help you understand how important it is to express to me how you feel. You are the reason that I, I want this to work, right? And as we make messes, and as we make things that we would say are broken, it's finding our way back to those that drive us right as human beings. And there are ways that we can turn it around. And there are ways that we can come back to having the experience of feeling safe and connected in our relationships. There are ways to make that happen. And if by chance, you're struggling in any of those areas, that's what we do. That's what Tom and I dedicate our lives to. And quite frankly, we do it because it keeps us on our a game in our own relationship. So there's a really wonderful side benefit there. Reach out to us. We would love to help and support you in any way that we can and the song sings it beautifully and elegantly. And I love that. It's a duet, babe.
And I, you know, we say this all the time, what we find, and it just continues to be confirmed every day that we're blessed and grateful. And there's a, if you're watching, you know, we've got the visual up there is don't wait. You know, I mean, hoping and praying that something is going to go away, especially in our relationships. We know that it doesn't happen. Usually, it escalates. So, you know, if there's anything you took away from is don't wait. You know, and if you're a man listening, I would say we have an equal amount of men that come to us. Men seem to really resonate with our frameworks and our skill sets because they're very practical.
The song says you're the reason I'm losing sleep in my, mind is racing. Please come back. Now I'd climb every mountain just to be with you and fix what is broken. Cause I need you to see that you are the reason.
And we watched the Staci shared with me, Staci sometimes we pick the song, Staci picked the song and we watch the video, you know, and it's an incredible video, I mean, in a beautiful song.
So I'm just gonna remind you that we have a playlist on Spotify and you can gain access to that on our website. There's a song for every single episode that we've done from way back in the beginning because music is something that helps us feel what it is we're talking about. So, okay. I guess that's a wrap. Fastest 56 minutes on the planet.
A special thank you to Tim Dunn, Tim. It was awesome to have you I'm sure. We'll have you back. Author of dad on purpose, check out that incredible resource that Tim, you know, set up for us. You know, I was very generous. That will be in our show notes. Just so you know, on the radar, everything about the episode and every episode is on our website, on our podcast. Part of our website our daughter, every episode or our most recent ones is transcribed. If you don't wanna listen to us or watch us, you can read it. So everything, you know, is there again, so you can take full advantage of this episode in all our prior episodes.
Yep. And if by chance you have someone in your life, it could use some help or regarding our conversation, today don't hesitate to reach out. Don't wait. That's the mistake that we all make. Come on back next week and join us along with our engineer, Eric Ryder, for another edition of Love Shack live, where we are sharing things to help you improve your love sex in relationships today.
See you soon.
Have a great week. We'll see you next time.
Thanks for joining us today in the Love Shack, we hope you came away with something that made your toes tingle. To learn more about everything you heard on today's show, go to Stacibartley.com/podcast. Love the show? Help us spread the love by sharing the show with others. Okay. Everybody time to go. We gotta close the doors to the Love Shack for this week. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Come back next week though and join us for another edition of Love Shack live with Tom and Staci Bartley.
It can be hard to be a father in today's world. You want to be there for your family, but it seems like work and other obligations always get in the way, because you're trying to be the best provider you can be.
You feel guilty that you're not able to spend more time with your kids and partner, and you worry about how the lack of time is impacting your relationship with them.
Tim Dunn, author of Dad On Purpose, is joining us this week in the Love Shack to explore what it's like to be a family man in today's world. Together, we'll discuss the challenges and difficulties that men face when trying to connect with the ones they love the most, and share some of the secrets that they wish they could share. Have you ever wanted to know what your husband is really thinking about? Men, are you feeling alone and misunderstood most of the time? This episode is for you!
We're going to discuss how society has changed the expectations for men and why they often struggle to connect with their families. We'll also provide some advice for women on how to better understand and support the men in their lives. Join us as we open up a new level of communication that will improve all of your relationships.
After listening to this episode, you'll have a better understanding of the challenges and difficulties that men face when trying to connect with others. You'll also be armed with some great tips and advice on how to build stronger relationships with the men in your life.
As a father of boys & girls, twins & singles, and toddlers & teenagers, Dad On Purpose author Tim Dunn has learned humility and tenacity from a wide variety of parenting missteps. Working as an insurance executive for over 25 years while also coaching, traveling, and dadding, he understands first-hand the importance of balance to a father and his family.
He is the founder of DadAthlon.com, a community dedicated to helping fathers achieve balanced strength across all aspects of fatherhood.
In this episode, we're covering several key topics about the truth about being a family man in today's world, including:
- How the saying "grown men don't cry" has forced men to emotionally shut down.
- How men can more easily emotionally connect with their children and partners.
- What women need to know to understand why the men they love struggle.
- Secret truths men wish they could share.
Listen in live Thursday at 1 pm PST/4 pm EST -- and don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Links mentioned in show:
- Check out Tim's work here and take his Dad Quiz to get three free bonuses!
- Get your copy of the book now!
- How To Stop A Fight In 20-Seconds Or Less. Get Your Free Cheat Sheet Here.
- Relationship Check-up - tired of re-hashing your issues with your partner without making progress? Schedule your check-up today!
- Get on the fun list here.
- Check out our Love Shack Live Playlist for all the songs we play on the show.