5 Ways a Man Cave Can Make You a Better Husband and Father
When most people think of a man cave, they imagine something kind of kitschy—basically just a room full of all the stuff the wife won’t allow anywhere else in the house, or a place to hide away from grown-up responsibilities—but a good man cave can be so much more. Here are a few good reasons to give yourself some man space.
1. Everyone needs breathing room
Patience is a limited resource. Sometimes you need to take a time out and recharge, and a dedicated space of your own is a much better option than locking yourself in the bathroom. Getting away is a good first step, but you’ll mellow out quicker and feel better if you have somewhere to go and something to do. Of course, it’s possible to abuse the system and overburden your spouse—but with appropriate give and take, a man cave makes a great decompression chamber.
2.A place for personal growth
For some guys, a man cave is just a couch, a TV, and a mini-fridge—but you can make yours a place to learn and improve as a man. Make it a place to study, solve problems, and develop new interests and hobbies. If you’ve ever wanted to learn something messy like carpentry or oil painting, you can rip up the carpet in your man cave and go for an easy-to-clean linoleum or cheap hardwood. It can be a workshop, a library, an art studio, whatever you want it to be—and you’ll have something new to share with your family.
3. Setting healthy boundaries
This may sound strange, but it’s okay to keep your man cave to yourself; in fact, a closed-door policy can be a good thing. My dad built a workshop in the backyard, and for safety reasons, it was kept under lock and key unless he was around. There was always an air of mystery to it, and I still remember the day I was old enough to come help him out with a project.
Being allowed into my dad’s sanctuary was a big deal—he didn’t have to let me in, so it meant that he trusted me, and that he genuinely wanted me around. If you set that kind of boundary, the shared moments in your man cave will become a gift that your kids will never forget.
Living together means occasionally stepping on each other’s toes with competing interests, tastes, and needs—and a man cave can help everybody stay out of trouble. When you’ve got a space of your own, it’s easier to set aside ego about the way the rest of the house is run. Also, if you’re entertaining the man cave, you’re not in anyone else’s way. Your man cave doesn’t have to crowd anyone else out—in fact, if you’re conservative about it, it can free up closet storage and wall space for the rest of the family.
5. Maintaining a strong sense of self
Successful marriage and parenting requires compromise, sacrifice, and self-discipline—and it’s enough to make some dads (and moms) lose track of their identity and sense of purpose. A man cave can be more than just a big-boy playroom: it’s a place to strengthen and rediscover your sense of self. You choose everything about it—what it’s for, how it looks, every book on the shelves and every piece of art on the walls.
Your man cave can be a statement about the kind of man you want to be, and what matters most to you. When you know who you are and what you want, you have the tools to be a more engaged parent and a better lover. A man cave really is what you make it.
Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.