Judaism has always succeeded in reminding us of the fixed nature of observation; Shabbat was created so that our collective people could stop to rest at the end of the week. Instead, most of us spend Saturday on the soccer field, at birthday parties, at school functions, fundraisers or festivals.
While these are all worthwhile, valuable and yes-fun at what point does our cup overflow? One thing that improves my resilience with my kids and wife is carving out fixed time for myself, often gathering with other dads. My favorite is an annual Sukkot Jam session, hosted in our backyard for hours past bedtime. It gives me an opportunity to deeply connect with the holiday and my friends. Twice a month, I attend a men’s group, focusing on self-improvement. It has helped me develop my relationships with my family and other men in my life.
Last year I started a dad’s group at The Womb Room a local yoga studio and parenting resource. The group provided a safe space for dads to explore parenting methods, hear from other dads and support one another. I realized through this group that I was not alone in my struggles to be the best dad that I can be. These things in my calendar become a fixed item, which can’t be swapped out for other events. I don’t celebrate a traditional Shabbat, but I do find space in cultivating time for myself to recharge and re-energize, which makes me a better dad.