Dear Dad in the Recliner,

Dear Dad in the Recliner,

Long day, huh?

I bet it feels good to put your feet up.

Where is your wife?

Oh, she is tucking the children in bed.

Can I ask you something?

Why aren’t you in there?

They need you, Daddy.

They find comfort in your big rough hand, smoothing their bangs off their foreheads.  They love hearing your rumbly voice read them a Bible Story and a Bedtime Story. They love to hear you pray for them, and their lives and futures.


Your wife is filled with love for you, as she looks around at her little family, all together at the close of the day.  Her heart swells as you kiss the children good night.  She feels loved and understood when you participate in the bedtime routine.

I know you are tired, Daddy.  We all are this time of the night.


Go be their daddy for just a few more minutes.

As soon as they are tucked in bed, as soon as you have hugged and kissed them each twice, as soon as you have gotten them ANOTHER drink of water, after you have rubbed backs and heard precious prayers…THEN, Daddy.  Then, you can go pop up the recliner, and flip on the TV, or open up the newspaper.

You work hard, you deserve to relax at the end of your day, I whole heartedly agree.  But, please, don’t ever forget, your children will only seek you out for a short amount of years.

Then, you’ll spend the rest of their lives seeking them out, and guess what?

They won’t need you anymore.

Not in the same way they need you now, Daddy.

You’re a good Dad.

Lead your family, Daddy.  Lead them straight to Jesus, be a Holy example for those little eyes to see.  They want to be just like you, so make sure you are just like HIM.


This song is AMAZING!  Lead Me, by Sanctus Real

A note to Dale:
  Sweetie, I just want to say thank you for being a part of the bedtime routine from the get go. Our children don’t know it any other way!  Thank you for coming home ready to play, wrestle and read books without any required “quiet time” before you can be Daddy.
 I love you and I am proud to share my life with you….
xo  ~T
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27 thoughts on “Dear Dad in the Recliner,

  1. Perfect, kind, gentile message for all the busy dads out there! I will surely be sharing this with my wonderful husband!
    God Bless

  2. What a sweet & gentle reminder T. My prayer is that the message you’ve shared here reaches into the heart of daddy’s who read it. God bless you and yours! XO

  3. Wow! Tonya, you couldn’t have sent this out at a better time! I have been having this struggle with my husband for years, but in the past several months things have become progressively worse. I have forwarded this to him. Hopefully he will read it and take it to heart as it’s coming from a third party and not his “nagging wife”. Thank you so much for sending out!

  4. As the Daddy to Tonya, this hits my heart. I was so guilty of being too busy to spend adequate time with Tonya and her brother Chad as they grew up. However, I do have great memories of playing ball, table games, and riding bikes. Time has flown by and now both of you are being better parents than I was. What an inspiration you are to me, Tonya, (and Chad). Your Godly wisdom is far beyond your years and your parenting skills are certainly a gift from our heavenly Father. May God continue to bless you with courage, wisdom, and steadfast love as you offer wise encouragement in your blogs, and personal sharing. I am so blessed knowing you are fully committed to doing His will with your unique gifts. I love you! Dad

  5. In reading this, (and always) my heart swells with pride in my husband. With pregnancy, unfortunately, I have been the one in the recliner on some nights. We have so much to be thankful for that our kids have those amazing Dads and they don’t know it any other way.

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  8. I always read to my two children at bedtime when they were growing up…then we would say prayers with lots of kisses and hugs…Their Dad sat in the livingroom and never took part in this nightly ritual..I wouldn’t have missed all the love my kids gave to me each night for anything in the world..

  9. Dear Tonya,

    Thank you for this post — made me think and smile.

    [ Go be their daddy for just a few more minutes.]

    …because it’s in those few more minutes that you let them know you are Daddy for a lifetime

    [ They love to hear you pray for them, and their lives and futures.]

    Then: You pray for them to get a good night’s rest so they can play their best at tomorrow’s soccer game.
    Now: You pray for them to get a good night’s rest so they can give their best at tomorrow’s job interview.

    [ But, please, don’t ever forget, your children will only seek you out for a short amount of years.]
    …unless you show them early on that you will always be there for them, so much, so that they won’t even have to seek you out– you’ll already be there.

    [ They won’t need you anymore.
    Not in the same way they need you now, Daddy.

    This is where I respectfully beg to differ.

    “Daddy, could you just tickle scratch my back for a little?” Jhen, age 27

    “Daddy, could you just pray that I choose the right job?” Jax, age 25, all the way from Australia.

    “Dad, I didn’t get that promotion, someone else did because his superiors padded his resume. Tell me again about the time when the Number 3 guy got the promotion when you were Number 1… How did you and mom deal with that?” Jimmy, age 23, all the way from Alaska.

    They will ALWAYS need you. The question is will they let you know it…

    Oh, and sometimes there is great comfort in a dear dad in a recliner, snoring, with all three “babies” asleep on his lap 😉

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  15. I wish you would stop. What is your background? Are you a trained psychologist? If not I feel your simply not qualified. You are a judgmental mommy blogger. Maybe you should go to school and become an educated journalist? It appears to me like your trying to get discovered.

    • This must be Laurie again. Hi there. Not trying to get discovered, though 2 years ago when this went viral, it happened. I was privileged to be on Huffington Post and New York Times blog for it. All waaaay after the fact mind you. I just write when I feel lead, and have shared 1000 hard moments, and 10,000 beautiful victories in this place I call my blog. Simple enough.
      Now can we be done? I am ready to head back to Tonyaland, where the sun is always shining and where people speak in kindness and love.

  16. @Anonymous Since when does someone have to be “qualified” or a “trained psychologist” to have an opinion. There was no judgment in this post, merely a gentle reminder that your kids are only little for such a short amount of time and that parents should treasure every moment they have with their little ones. No, I am not a parent yet, but I do, painfully, remember all the times when I was little that I wished my Daddy had had just a few minutes to spare for me. One story at bed time, a few minutes playing catch in the backyard, anything.

  17. Very well said until the last paragraph. You don’t need a 2000 year old myth to tell you how to be a good person ( but if that’s what works for you, then go ahead, it’s a free country ).

    • Thanks, Jim! Having a relationship with a Heavenly Father is more fulfilling than I could even put into words. I would be lost without His lead in my life, and our family would’ve never made it through 90% of the last tough few years without Him. You can call Him a myth, but we call Him Savior, Abba Father, Jesus, Comforter. Thanks for stopping in!

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