Parenthood, in general, is a wild ride. I have three wonderful children of my own (eight, five and one), and every day is an adventure with them. However, as most – if not all dads – know, there are some unwritten bylaws in daddom that we must adhere to:
1. Get along with your spouse. Our jobs are not quite as hectic as those of our spouses. We do have some stressors and issues that we must face, but by and large our motherly counterparts have to deal with the mother load of crap that goes on day to day. They tend to do most of the cleaning, cooking, getting up in the wee hours of the morning to clean the sheets that your kid just peed all over. Some could argue this. I, for instance, do a fair amount of the cooking for my family. I do it because I like it. The more I forget to show my wife some appreciation, the worse life gets. I’m a dufus sometimes. It happens. She had and does earn it. So, learn from this…
2. The little ones will get hurt. We have a one year old. She loves to run and explore anything and everything in and around our home. When I was a new father, my gut instinct was to cringe at my son’s every collision and run to rescue him. Of course, he quickly got over it, and was up and running again in seconds. I remained mortified for at least a few hours after. By the time we got to our daughters, we would hardly respond to their incidents. Someone would say, ‘they just ran into the wall,’ to which I would then reply, ‘is she bleeding?’ The bottom line – do what you can and must to protect your kids, but don’t go overboard. They’ll live.
3. Kids will inevitably fight. There’s no way around this. Once you have more than one they will fight over whatever they are able. The best thing to do if you have to mediate these incidents is to run the other way. Ok, really – if they can’t come to an agreement to share whatever it is that’s causing the argument, then neither of them get it in my home.
4. Yard work is your friend. A lot of the newer dads have yet to find the calming effects of mowing the lawn, or weeding the shrubbery. This is your chore – nay, duty – and it is a great way to center yourself. Take this time to think through some problems, to-do projects or how to surprise your wife that night.
5. Choose your sports viewing wisely. Sure, this time of year there are at least four days out of the week that an American dad could watch football alone. I won’t even get started on soccer, baseball, cricket or rugby. The point is, your family has better things to do than watch you watching sports. So, don’t forget to drop the remote now and again, and take the family out somewhere to do something fun. Go to the park, a zoo, an amusement park… whatever they’re in the mood for.
Life is a moving bullet with its secrets engraved on its surface. So, don’t blink, or it will fly right past you.