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Do You Ever Feel Unappreciated in Your Family?

Greetings! Fathers can often feel unappreciated in their families. Usually what this means is that they’ve forgotten a fundamental rule of being successful in their family relationships. If you ever feel unappreciated in your family, this article might be just for you. Enjoy!


I’d had about as much as I could handle for one day.

My computer was frozen, I was tired from a weekend with little sleep, and I was working in a yard that would soon need a scythe to cut it. Kids activities were crowding an already crowded schedule, and there seemed like no time to relax.

When do other people find the time to do all these things?

As I entered my house, I marveled at how sore a human body could get from yard work. I was still annoyed that my kids had left stuff in the backyard after repeated requests to pick them up. And, I’d been noticing that the rest of my family had done their share of relaxing while I toiled in the yard. I needed about a month to get caught up, and I was not ready for any more to be put on my plate.

“Honey, will you make dinner?” my wife called from the family room.

A very angry voice appeared in my head, saying things to me which weren’t supportive of maintaining a kind, loving family. I considered a few suggestions from this voice, before discussing the dinner plans with my wife. It became clear from this discussion that my wife had her own issues going on.

I swallowed hard, and went into the kitchen to start dinner. The angry voices went with me. “That’s some gratitude for you!” I said to myself. “Does anyone notice how hard I’m working? I’m absolutely invisible!”

Where was the adoration for a job well done in the yard? Where was the back massage and cold drink that I was so deserving of? (The fantasies of a victim have no boundaries!).

In the drama that played out in my head, I was a hard-working father who did all the right things, and a victim of an unappreciative family. I felt completely justified in blaming my family for not acknowledging me more. And of course, by blaming them I would spread the virus of blame around my family faster than a brush fire. I would feel “right,” and I could feel justified in seeing them as “wrong,” and as “blameworthy.”

Fortunately for me, there was no back massage and no cold drink. There was not even any acknowledgement for a job well done. There was only my own realization that I had failed to remember my purpose in my family and on this earth. I had failed to remember that I am not “owed” love by my family. Our job as parents is to discover love as the fundamental fact of life. It is to bring this expression of our love into the world.

Parents across the world have reason to be grateful, for we’ve all embarked on the world’s most complete and intensive course on love. While we may resist it at times, we’re called every day to express the deep reservoir of love within us. But sometimes, because we’re busy blaming others, we miss the call completely.

Fathers go through periods when they feel “outside” of their family. We feel neglected, or we feel invisible. Or, we may feel like we’re simply a “paycheck.” But what’s really happened is we’ve forgotten we’re not on this planet to “get” love from our family members. We’re here to discover the boundless love that’s always been in us.

After catching myself in my “victim’s dungeon,” I began to climb my way out. “Hey, have I got a great dinner cooked up for all of you,” I said.

And although the response wasn’t overwhelming, I didn’t even flinch.


Mark Brandenburg

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
Phone (+1) 651-766-9976
“Helping Men Succeed”

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5 Responses to Do You Ever Feel Unappreciated in Your Family?

  1. Ljames30 says:

    Too funny, I like the way this guy turns it all around into a positive situation. Even when he announced ” he had made a great dinner” WTF. The truth is, our families, friends and community all agree that a father’s job is so very much less important than that of a mother’s, an in so looking for a bit of appreciation for what you do is basically whining over something you are suppose to do.

    By no means am I a bitter Father/Husband, sometimes I just wish all things were equal.

    I live in a house with my wife, 23 year old daughter, 17 year old son, and a 3 year old Lab, I expressed I did not want, before they moved him in, (but that’s for another story).

    In my house it is thought to be my job to mow the lawns, make all repairs (house and car)walk the dog, sometimes cook, sometimes clean, listen to everyone’s moanings, lend my car, drop people off in my car,bring people to school in the morning, leave my job to pick people up from school in the afternoon. all this with out expecting anyone to say thank-you.

    I think most of my frustration comes from raising two grown kids, who bring no extra value to the family unit. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but, I would like them more if they would just clean up after themselves.

    My son upon coming home from school will always drop his book sack and whatever piece of clothing he is no longer needing on the kitchen table or in our den, even though he knows I hate this. I have gone as far as to put all his discarded crap on the stairs leading up to his bedroom only to watch him step over it on the way up, and jump over it on the way down.

    I say all this just to say the author of this article does a good job at trying to convince us that we shouldn’t expect to be appreciated for doing our jobs. To that I say he’s crazy, and his family has driven him there.

  2. Bart says:

    Yup. It’s really a tough thing to deal with when you aren’t even considered or given any thought when you are sacrificing and busting your hump for the people you love. It’s not about needing anything in return but it sure would be nice to be appreciated or acknowledged once in a while. Especially when your significant other is always thought of and given accommodation for her needs as it pertains to burning out or being tired or needing a break. Dad’s really get the short end of the stick in some situations, not all, but the good ones do get taken advantage of sometimes. I attest to that.

  3. I wrote a book called “The Father’s Guide To Surviving With Kids”, which was motivated by the kinds of things I relate to in your message. It was my way of saying — HEY! I’m working here! I’m trying! Does anyone get it?

    So, I wrote the book. There are tips throughout, but it’s the philosophy, especially in my preface to a section on “activities”, that talks about the reality of a Father’s neverending quest to keep going, sometimes without notice. What I wrote was my way of saying to Fathers, do what you can and let the moments you have with your children be the reward. Perhaps you can appreciate what I mean from the following excerpt.

    1. Be honest with yourself. For example, if you’re not a morning person, don’t force the issue and try to participate at a time when you simply don’t feel like it. Instead, let your Kids know about this truth and politely ask them to do their own thing. If anything, become a master of suggestions.

    2. For Dads who are time-challenged, like single, weekend Dads, remind yourself that you’re not an amusement park. Guilt often drives single Dads to fill the weekend with so many activities that even the Kids are more stressed than impressed. Think of it this way. What does a normal weekend look like? There’s nothing wrong with a normal weekend that includes homework, puttzing around in the yard, and doing the laundry. These are all normal activities and you can choose when to get your Kids involved.

    3. Get your Kids involved. If you have a normal routine, which requires your time on a regular basis, such as cutting the lawn, washing the car (even at the car wash), or cleaning the garage, include the Kids, even if it’s in a minor way. I’m always amazed at how much fun they discover on their own within an activity not recommended by most experts. It doesn’t matter if the Kids actually help you accomplish anything. It’s the time they spend around you, asking questions and learning. Believe it or not, you’re teaching them about responsibility. My tweenager has spent hours hammering nails into a block of wood. He knows what he’s building. I don’t. Doesn’t matter. He’s learned how to handle a hammer and do something creative.

    4. Explore your community. Money is always an issue. There are more free programs being developed every year, which are designed for Dads and Kids. My Kids love going to the library. While they participate in a library program, I check out the stuff I like. Everyone wins.

    5. Remember, eating together is an activity. Ah yes, even the simple things …..

    SOmetimes, just being a Dad is the reward we forget to notice ourselves.

    Michael Kryton

  4. anonymous says:

    Ok ….kinda cheezy….but ok….

  5. poorguyright says:

    Wake up knuckleheads the guy in this story is like all of us, just a paycheck at best. I know how this guy feels that’s for sure. If this poor guy lost his job how long do you think him little hot wife would stick around? If he has to make is son quit his after school sports or his daughters ridding lessons or whatever. No very long I bet. Before you know it he would just be another looser getting rolled by the system in divorce court. Anyway my point is we are not appreciate or at least I’m not.

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