Time moves fast. One minute, you’re sitting in the hospital doing your first skin-to-skin bonding with your brand-new baby girl, the next you’re taking pictures for the last day of Kindergarten. No, I’m not crying, YOU ARE.
Ever since Sophia was born–and again when Maddie was born–my life has changed. I know, what an obvious thing to say. Kids change your life, everyone knows that. But I’m not talking about the always going, never stopping, plans change at a moment’s notice kind of change.
Having two–or more–kids can be a whirlwind for some people. It is for us, it seems, more often than I’d care to admit. A lot changes when you go from one kid to multiple. You get so used to spending all your time with just one kid and they get used to spending time with you. Uninterrupted time where they are the sole focus. You’ll hear a lot of people tell you that you need to carve out time for that child once the second one comes. That they need your attention. Solo attention. But, that can easily be forgotten along the way. Continue reading →
Do you remember the moment? That seminal instant that you were told you were going to be a dad? Maybe you’re a to-be dad and just found out this week, this month, today. It’s a moment that is hard to forget. You know what other moment is impossible to forget? The birth of your child. That.changes.everything.
My life has never been the same since Sophia was born in February 2011. It changed even more once Maddie came along in August 2013. It’s hard to really wrap my head around just how much things have changed. I sit and I ponder what I did before we had the girls. What did I actually do with all that free time?
Me and Maddie in her early days.
Yes, that free time was great. I could do anything I wanted. And waste hours on end. Now? The vast majority of my time is dedicated to Sophia and Maddie. Whether it’s taking the four hours required to get them to actually eat a meal, telling them to stop fighting over a toy, or convincing them that bedtime is a time for sleep–without Mommy or Daddy, that’s where my time goes. Oh, I really only just mentioned the tough parts didn’t I? While those things really do take up A LOT of time, they’re really the little inconveniences that come along with being a parent.
There is so much awesome that comes with being a dad. A million reasons I can say #ThanksBaby to my little girls. From the moment they were both born, there have been millions of laughs, lots of kissing boo-boos, SO MANY diapers changed. Inside jokes, outside jokes, dad jokes (ALL THE DAD JOKES), tears, kisses, silly games, cuddles, and everything in between.
Sisters meet for the first time.
What I never expected when I became a dad was that it would be how I identify. That’s really hard for me to believe. My life is about being a dad. For better or worse. Through all my mistakes, hiccups, and failures, being a father is who I am.
I will never, and I mean NEVER, forget the day we brought the girls home. I was terrified. We got Sophia in the car and I thought to myself “What now?! I’m in no way qualified to do this! WHAT IF I BREAK HER?!” With Maddie, I felt a little more at-ease than that, but damned if I wasn’t scared I’d break her too. Well, 5 and almost 3 years, respectively each, I haven’t broken them (ok, there was that one time I knocked Maddie down the stairs by accident, LAY OFF ME!)
This video created by Pampers is definitely worth a watch, too. If you want to see the kind of bond and relationship that comes about between baby and father at birth, this will show you. I love it. A lot.
What I do know, more than any other thing, is that no matter what I’m going to be there for these kids. Through all the tampers, frustrations, fights, future “I HATE YOU DAD” taunts, the giggles, the laughs, the love, and the amazing, I’m going to be there. Every step of the way.
If it weren’t for these two beautiful daughters, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this right now. I don’t even know what my identity would be. This is my chance to say #ThanksBaby to them both–for making me a father, for teaching me everything they teach me daily.
Yes, I got in the crib. OFTEN.
Just like I love thanking my daughters, I want to help spread that love to the masses. I’m doing that with Pampers–who honors dads for just being dads and thanks them for all the amazing things, big and small, they do to help little ones have a better, loving, more fulfilling life.
Please join us by tweeting why you are most thankful for baby with the hashtag #ThanksBaby.
Visit www.pampers.com to learn more about Pampers products, join the Pampers Rewards program, and find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep and play.
Look, I don’t know about the rest of the you, but in my house sleep is a premium. What do I mean by that? Basically, that if I’m actually getting a full night of sleep then chances are my kids are nowhere to be found. Where could they be? Mayhaps, by some miracle they decided it would be a good idea to actually spend the entire night in their own bed. HAHAHA Who am I even trying to kid? They never do that. If they’re spending the night elsewhere, then a relaxing night of sleep will be had… minus the whole worrying if they’re behaving, or sleeping, or will come home sleep-deprived and miserable (like me most days!). Continue reading →
Have you ever had to run from someone throwing things at you? Say, it was a relationship gone sour and your ex wants nothing more but to fling objects in your direction–you run, you dodge, you duck to avoid taking a plate, or a vase, or maybe a football, to the head. Now, imagine that was happening while you were driving. But the objects were flying FROM THE BACK SEAT. Only it isn’t a jaded ex-flame flinging things at you. It’s a raving-mad, inconsolable 5-year old who hasn’t gotten their way. Continue reading →
I cried this weekend. Scratch that. I cried a lot this weekend. I’m not ashamed to admit that. Why did I cry? I stubbed my toe, obviously… You want the real reason? I spent four days in Washington, DC for Dad2.0 Summit. And it.was.amazing. Honestly, it was up there in the pantheon of great experiences of my life. And before you ask, no it doesn’t top the births of my kids or my wedding day. But, it’s up there. Continue reading →
We’ve all been there. Hanging out with a sibling, or a friend, or that random dude at the bus stop that won’t stop talking to you because reasons–and they start with “hey, do you, uh, wanna play repeat??” And you reply, nicely “no, I’m good. I hate that game.” So, you think that’s the end of it, right? Big old bag of NOPE. “No, I’m good. I hate that game.”
You try to back your way out of the game that you very clearly do NOT want to be playing. “Seriously, can we not do this right now?” And because they’re your friend or brother or sister or stranger-du-jour they ignore you “seriously, can we not do this right now?” And on and on and on it goes for a solid 20 minutes. It ends when you either walk away or push them in front of a bus. Whichever is easier.
Why am I talking about one of the most annoying games ever? Well, considering that Sarah and I are currently living through a never-ending game of repeat, it seemed pretty apt. No, Sophia isn’t repeating everything we say. Why would you ask that… No, what is actually happening is that Maddie is learning everything she possibly can from Sophia. And repeating it. Or copying it. Like, every.little.thing. Good, bad, other, if big sister is doing it, you can bet your ass that little sister is following suit.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for some things. Like, brushing her teeth. Or going on the swings. Or running around the yard. Or trying something new and different. It’s pretty awesome when she does that stuff. I love it. When she tries repeating words that she so obviously can’t say, it’s beyond adorable. I’m pretty sure Sophia loves it, too. Unless I’m reading things the wrong way when she says “Stop copying me, Maddie!” But, I’m pretty sure that means she’s enjoying it. Right? Right.
Then, there are the things that I wish she wouldn’t be copying. That high-pitched squeal when she’s upset at not getting her way? PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T DO IT AGAIN. Throwing herself on the floor for a tantrum, jumping on or off the bed, hitting me because I SO OBVIOUSLY did something wrong (sorrrrrrrrrrry that I said you can’t go sledding down the steps). Those are the times where maybe not repeating every.single.thing Sophia does would be cool. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Oh. Oh, it is? I wasn’t aware of that.
In all honesty, it’s pretty damn funny watching Maddie play repeat all the time. There have been plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and I’m sure those are going to continue. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go ask that guy over there if he wants to play repeat…
There’s this notion. This little bit of language that people use when they see a dad out and about with their kids–alone. What is it? It’s the idea that because there is no mother present that the dad is babysitting. Have you run into this situation before?
You’re walking through the mall, or Target, or are at the park with your kids in tow. And a stranger stops you.
“Oh, your kids are so cute. How’s Daddy doing babysitting you?”
Or, you’re out in public and one or all of your kids are having a meltdown. Someone approaches.
“Don’t worry kids, mommy will be back soon.”
It has happened to me. Thankfully it hasn’t happened a ton. But it has happened enough that it pisses me off to no end. I’m sorry? Did you just ask me if I was babysitting MY OWN KIDS?! Walk away. Walk away now.
This isn’t something that was planning on writing about, to be honest. But it’s long been something that annoys the hell out of me. Yesterday I read a post on Scary Mommy that is asserting the same thing that I am–and it really got me thinking about the subject again. Admittedly, I don’t usually care for most of the content that Scary Mommy puts out. But this one? It hit the nail on the head and I was really glad they published it. Dads are not babysitters. We are parents.
Is there somebody else giving me money that I am not aware of to take care of my children? That’s a big bag of nope! If someone wants to give me money, though, that’s cool. I like money.
But Nick, you say, why is it so bad to ask a dad if they are babysitting? They don’t mean anything by it. No. Just no. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t trying to be insulting or aren’t trying to insinuate that I’m less of a parent than my wife. But guess what? That’s exactly what you’re doing. I bust my ass to be the best damn dad I can be to Sophia and Maddie. And I’m damn proud to be their dad. If you haven’t noticed by the things I’ve written or the insane amount of pictures, quotes, and videos that I share of them, being a dad is my life. So, if you want to devalue that by calling me a babysitter, we’re going to have a problem.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to explode in your face if you call me a babysitter. But you’ll get a death stare from me and probably a few words that you’ll wish I hadn’t said. Stop perpetuating the archaic stereotype that dads are the lesser of the parents. Guess what? Parenting is typically a team sport. And the team is usually 50/50. So, call me a dad, a father, ask me how my day of parenting my kids is going. Just don’t call me a babysitter. You’re better than that.
I’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 to. 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 it 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.
Sometime all it takes is a hint of a laugh to break a child from the midst of tantrum-hood.
Knowing what you, as a parent–and tantrum-breaker–can do to get that laugh is going to change from instant-to-instant. Hurting yourself is one way to get a laugh. I’ve gone to that well far too many times to count. Sometimes it takes singing out-of-tune (as if I can sing any other way). Or, telling a joke.
But, there are times, like in the above video, where you just do something completely stupid and it works like gangbusters. To set the scene: We were on our way home on Monday night and Sophia was clearly tired and wanted her cup of PediaSure, which she has every night at bed time. Well, we didn’t have any with us. And we had a solid 30 minutes until we’d be home. The whining started. It got worse. And it got louder. So, in that instant I blurted out that I wanted my milk, in the highest, most baby-like voice I could muster. And, what do you know? It worked. To the point that she clamored for me to repeat it ad nauseam.
I had no idea I could make that voice. Believe me, I’ve done a million voices in my lifetime and THAT was never one of them. I’m glad Sarah was riding next to me to capture it–without me even knowing she was recording it. Seriously, sometimes it just takes you doing the most stupid thing you can think of to snap your kid from sure tantrum into laughter.
What are some of the stupid things you’ve done to snap your kid from falling into a tantrum? If there’s video, share it! Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter!