Men of Dadliness,
Bryn is now about 14 months old and LITERALLY growing right in front of my eyes. While this is cute as fuck and extremely rewarding, the parental demands are revving up! She’s starting to favor certain things, which means other things piss her off. She can grab anything she pleases off the coffee table including Starbucks Coffee mugs that are heavy as hell. We have daily close calls with subungual hematomas (seriously think I’m going to lose a toenail soon).
Despite the new abilities and mischief, Bryn is teaching me so much about myself and parenting. She’s allowed me to really see my tendencies, my failures, and my everyday achievements. She really guides me to the important things to take ownership of. These are the 5 things she’s helped me realize:
Prioritize or Die
The need to prioritize what you need to do on a day-to-day basis is essential. The demand of actively parenting and being present in your child’s life is immense. The concept of “personal” or “free-time” is no longer in my vernacular. You quite literally find time to take a shit by playing with blocks at the toilet-side.
With that being said, it behooves you to wake up early or stay up late to get done what needs to be. Fight for that “me time” to take care of things that bog you down. I always knock out work and studying (I’m cramming for the GRE so I can apply to Nurse Practitioner School). Once that time is established and obtained, use it to knock out the most important things first: your top priorities. You’ll never get to the critical requirements in your life until you realize just how important they are. Get after them.
Meeting New Parents Can be Discouraging…But You Gotta do it.
Is it me or is finding new parents to connect with a lot like dating? When we find potential playmates for Bryn and cool parents at baby-time it seems like it. Amanda and I don’t want to come off too desperate when we go to group play settings; as if we’re throwing Bryn at other kids with fervor praying to the Norse Gods, “BE FRIENDS FOREVER AND FOR ALL TIME.” When we connect and get contact info from other parents, its almost like we don’t want to text first so we don’t seem clingy. Stupid I know…but it’s true. Especially living about two hours from a real city.
Despite the challenges, I’ve found the benefits of connecting with other families more important than I thought. Children need social interactions and play-time to understand how the world works. Bryn needs to learn how to work with others and navigate different personalities. Equally important, as an adults Amanda and I didn’t realize how much we needed to connect with parents as well. Meeting new parents allows us to share an important part of our lives and have an outlet. I love my best friends to death, but some of them don’t want to hear just how devastating of a poop Bryn had the other day. Just the way it is!
Reconnect With Your Spouse
Ben Bergeron, head coach at Crossfit New England, utilizes a simple principle when it comes to raising a family: Spouse First.
Since having Bryn, I’ve noticed just how important that principle truly is. Prioritizing good, quality, sensual time with your spouse is mandatory. I learned the strength of Amanda and I’s relationship directly impacts our day-to-day parenting with Bryn. Our relationship is the foundation for good parenting. Any crack in the foundation reverberates to all other aspects of your life.
How do we do it? When Bryn goes to bed we talk and hash-out the day. We just make sure we level with each other and have real, face-to-face conversation. Its tough not to sink our faces into the social media fuck-storm and catch up on notifications, but we resist. Crack open a bottle of wine, light a cigar on occasion, chat, and watch Stranger Things. Prioritizing Spouse First can happen at any time, even if its the last thing for the day.
Having Kids Doesn’t Mean Your Goals are Dead
..it means that they are that more important. And you know what? You guessed it. With that lack of “free time” its even more important to prioritize your goals.
Still need to finish your degree? Do it for your little one. Always dreamed of running a marathon? Imagine seeing your family at the finish line! Huge motivators.
I thought my work goals were going to have to wait or that I would have to curtail my career expectations after Bryn. Wrong. I can see clearly that I need to provide a good example of ambition. I need to show her that nothing in life worth having is easy. The success and promotions are just byproducts of teaching my little girl how to dream. Being a super-dad is reaching for the sky while simultaneously raising some bad-ass super kids.
Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
This parenting thing has been a trip and its so fucking funny. Watching a pint-sized ape try to navigate a rotating ball of dirt with horrible balance while simultaneously attempting to communicate like the Mars Attacks! aliens is nothing short of comedy gold.
For every midnight wake-up, diarrhea blow-out, and stubbed toe, there are double the laughs, smiles, and kisses. Its a really great thing to be a parent and sometimes we have to take a step back and realize it. And that’s okay.
No matter what happens during the day, I always find my self missing Bryn (one door over) as I close my eyes at night to sleep. I let out a little chuckle, and drift away smiling knowing that the Dadly journey resumes tomorrow.
Would love to hear about your top five! Let all of us know in the comment section below and subscribe for updates. Thanks everyone!