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Sharing My Struggle

11017500_796305033756995_4362691894724985392_nI’m not one to get overly-serious when I write in this space. Do I complain? Yes. Do I bemoan my screaming kids acting like tyrants? Yes, I do that, too. Right now, though, I’m struggling. And I need to get it out.

I’ve written before about feeling like I was failing as a dad. That was after a very long weekend on my own with both girls for the first time–when Maddie was still an infant. It was a tough weekend. I learned a lot from it. It made me stronger. But, right now, I feel like I’m scraping by in my role as a dad.

Perhaps it’s the age that both girls are at right now. Sophia is one of the most strong-willed four-year olds I’ve ever met in my life. And Maddie is right in that terrible twos pipeline, about to turn two next month. But, I feel beaten down. Like I don’t know what I’m doing. Like I’m being overrun by two kids. It feels like my instincts have been wrong on far too many occasions. They act up, misbehave, scream, yell, fight and I go for corrective action–it always feels like I’m doing the wrong thing.

I can feel my blood boil when they don’t listen. My patience dissipates in record time, and I feel like I could snap. I feel like I’m grasping at straws. Nothing works. I read about different techniques, ask for help, and no matter what I do, I feel like it’s wrong. I’ll tell you this much–it sucks. Being filled with self-doubt about the thing that you are most proud to be is heart-wrenching.

I want to be a great dad. I want to be someone that Sophia and Maddie can look up. I don’t want to be someone they look at and get scared of because they think I’m going to yell. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be that dad. It seems like I’m heading in that direction and I can’t stand it. Maybe I need to look in the mirror and figure some things out, I’m really not sure. But, I feel like I’m failing.

This isn’t some new realization either. This has been eating at me for some time now. I’ve just been doing what I always do when something is getting to me–push down a little deeper and hope it eventually stops. It’s not the healthiest way to deal with a feeling, but it’s just what I’ve always done. It’s terrible, honestly. I’m well aware that when something like this is going on, I need to get it out. Talk it out. Get it off my chest, and figure out a solution. I’m not looking for sympathy here or to be told I’m doing just fine. I just need to get this out so that I’m not burying it.

This can’t be something that I let simmer and burn inside of me for a long time. There are too many long-term ramifications to doing that. That’s why I’m writing it out. This is as much for me as it is for anyone else. I know that I’m not the only one out there–mom or dad–that feel like they’re flailing. This is my struggle and I have work to do.

If you’re struggling too, I’d love to hear about it. How do you deal with it? Leave it in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.

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Oh NO – The “No” Phase Has Begun

A photo posted by @sarie328 on

You guys, we have a problem. My sweet, lovable, nearly two-year old Maddie has discovered the word no. And I don’t mean in the cute kind of way, either.

She already hit and passed that stage. She was an adorable mini-Mutombo. She even had the finger wag down pat. She looked basically just like this:

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And IT.WAS.ADORABLE. She said it all the time. She told Sophia no A LOT. Which was great for us. I mean, it saved us the trouble. We were gonna say no anyway, but having her preempt our no with a no of her own was great. OR, she’d reinforce our no with a no of her own. #Adorbs

But now? This week, HOLY HELL. She wakes up, is happy and running around. But then it’s time to get dressed. Change her diaper. Put on clothes. Brush hair and teeth. It’s then that her inner-Daniel Bryan circa 2012 comes out. What do I mean? Just take a look at the gif below. You’ll get the idea.

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Need a more audible illustration? Fine. This oughta do the trick.

Seriously. She just started doing it this week. We’re both just like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!” “WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT US?!” It’s a whole thing. I blame Sophia.

I know, I KNOW, it’s just a phase. One that will last probably right through her formative years. Right up until FOREVER. You wanna know how Sarah and I are reacting to this when it happens? Take a gander, dear friends.

 

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Or how about this one:

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You catch my drift? It’s OUT OF CONTROL. So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go start chanting YES! in the face of my soon-to-be two-year-old child…

db yes gifLike this post? Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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My New Mealtime Wingman: Stouffer’s #FitKitchen Meals

Let me start this by saying one thing out of the chute: Typically, I’m not a fan of frozen meals. Normally, they don’t leave me feeling full, satisfied, or all that healthy. I’ll eat them when I need a quick meal or don’t have time to cook. Or, especially on a week like this one, where Sarah is out of town and I’m on solo parenting duty all week long.

My new wingman for mealtime.

My new wingman for mealtime.

So, this week, I had the chance to rely on my brand-new wingman: STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen meals. Because I’ve always been hesitant and unsatisfied with frozen meals, I didn’t have high expectations for these ones. All that being said, let’s get down to business, shall we?

STOUFFER’S has six varieties available:

    • STEAK FAJITA in smoked red chile sauce with a mix of red & green peppers and seasoned brown rice
    • CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN white meat chicken with a black bean & corn mix, seasoned brown rice and a verde tomatillo sauce
    • ROTISSERIE SEASONED TURKEY with a mix of diced red skin sweet potatoes & green beans
    • MONTEREY CHICKEN with diced red skin & sweet potatoes, lightly buttered green beans with BBQ style sauce
    • BOURBON STEAK with chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, seasoned broccoli & red peppers
    • OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN with diced red skin potatoes, seasoned broccoli and a savory wine sauce

I had the Steak Fajitas and will be digging into the Monterey Chicken this evening. I have to be totally honest–I was overwhelmingly happy with the food. It cooked in about seven minutes, had a very generous serving size, and it tasted really good, too!

Typically, frozen meals don’t leave me full. I’m usually looking around for something else to munch on when I’m finished. Not this time. I was full. And honestly, I came close to not being able to finish the whole thing. Every one of the 14-ounce meals contains at least 25 grams of protein, which is phenomenal–especially for someone looking to eat healthier–and cut out carbs.

Sarah is going to be out of town again in a couple weeks, and I totally plan on picking up a few more STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen meals for that week. They’re honestly perfect for the nights with little time to cook a good, healthy meal.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and STOUFFER’S® for this promotion.  I have received compensation and product for my participation, but my opinions are my own.

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Flight Plan: Kids on a Motherf*ckin’ Plane

Not-so-bright and early Friday morning, we’ll wake up, load up the car and head for the airport. Sarah’s sister is getting married in Jamaica and we’re all going–Sophia and Maddie included. What, no! I’m not nervous! How could you… why would you… I can’t believe you’d think such a thing… Ok, ok, I’m a little–what’s the word I’m looking for–terri-nervou-scare-afraid. Yes, that seems about right.

It’s not the boarding a plane part that worries me. It’s the taking two small children on a plane for the first time that does. Sophia took one flight, when she was eight-months old. To Florida. She was great there and back. But, that was a different time. We were fresh-faced parents with just one baby in tow. Now? DOUBLE TODDLER TIME! Continue reading

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Don’t Call It a Re-Run – Diving into Cartoons with My Kids

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Back in my day…

Oh, no, tell me I didn’t just start a post with that line. Let’s just pretend it didn’t happen, okay? Keep it between us, internet. As I was saying… When I was a kid, waking up on Saturday morning and watching my favorite cartoons was probably the highlight of my week. Because SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS, DUDE! I loved them. I mean, honestly, what kids didn’t love watching cartoons on a Saturday morning? G.I. Joe, Inspector Gadget, Transformers, Hammer Man (Yeah, I watched the MC Hammer cartoon, what of it?!), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and my personal all-time favorite M.A.S.K. They were awesome and terrible all at the same time. I loved every single minute of it. Continue reading

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No Toy Left Behind

notoyleftHow’s that saying go? All’s fair in love and toys? No, that’s not how it goes? Well, it should be how it goes. At least for kids. How many times have your kids insisted on leaving the house with toys in tow? A lot? A LOT?? I can’t tell you how many times we’re leaving to go somewhere and Sophia insists on grabbing this toy or that. Many times, it’s when we’re heading out in the morning to go to daycare.

We tell her that she can bring them in the car, but not into school, because we don’t want her to lose them or forget them. Toys are expensive, man! That changes on Fridays, though. Friday is “Sharing Day” at daycare. Meaning, all the kids can bring in a toy or two to share with their friends. It’s cool, it’s sweet, it helps teach them to share–hence the name. Continue reading

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A 25-Year Engagement

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You know how the old love story goes, right? Boy meets girl (or girl meets boy, girl meets girl, boy meets boy), sparks fly, they date, and eventually marry. Is this that kind of story? Yeah, No. Whether you wanna admit it or not, and clearly I’m admitting it, because A) I love telling this story, and B) I think it’s fun to think about, you’ve thought about an arranged marriage for your kids.

I bet you guys, all two of you reading this, are like ‘what in the hell is he talking about, again?!” FINE, I’ll tell you! It’s called being patient, you guys. It’s about that time that I agreed to an arranged marriage for Sophia… Continue reading