Everyone is in for a treat today… My darling husband decided he needed a celebrity guest appearance- so read on to hear his musings about being a dad (and a pretty awesome one). Take it away mike!
To be honest, I’ve wanted to write one of these posts for a long time. Maybe it’s because I’ve secretly harbored an inner desire to be a creative writer since my days at college. Or maybe it’s the small twang of jealousy i get each time I read one of Erin’s blog posts. “hey!” I exclaim to myself. “I have opinions on this stuff too…I could totally write my own blog!” 24 long hours later I’ve completed one masterful, grammatically correct blog post, replete with witty dad analyses and insightful psychology. The reality is there’s no way I could keep this up–real bloggers pump out these posts several times a week. I’m pretty sure I’d still be sitting at my computer looking up synonyms for ostentatious. While I may not have a future as a hard-hitting, truth-telling daddy blogger, I can still get my cracks in as a guest blogger. Read on, because you can be sure I’m going to make it count.
I’ve learned a few things from being a dad for 16 months. Maybe not in a 4-kids-in-5-years sort of way, but enough so that I feel like I have this one-kid thing pretty dialed. Through mostly trial and error, I’ve accumulated some tricks that have helped me navigate the rough waters of fatherhood thus far. It might not always be pretty, but for the most part I can look back on the past 16 months and feel like I won. Not just survived, but actually come out ahead. Maybe I’ve missed out on some rounds of golf and haven’t been out surfing as much as I would like, but I’ve got a beautiful daughter and an amazing family to show for it. And that’s a win in my book all day long. The following is the first post of many in which I reveal some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my short time as a dad.
Tip #1: dominate the evenings with a go-to playbook
I work a pretty consistent 8 to 5 work day–which means I get home right in that perfect storm of dinner, bath, bed, etc. Most days it’s a blast–dad gets some quality one on one daughter time, and mom gets a much needed break from a long day. Cue idyllic father-daughter scene: dad and baby romping in the grass, playing peekaboo, etc. But let’s be honest: some evenings just suck, and we do what we can to survive. Whether it’s from a bad day at work, an endless teething day, a too-short 30 minute afternoon nap, or a few too many drinks the night before, sometimes dad needs to take charge of the parenting duties and let mom decompress. I still haven’t developed the ability to conjure up a fun activity at a moments notice, so having a tried and true playbook at times like these can prove to be invaluable when entertaining a grumpy toddler is the last thing you want to be doing.
Play 1: Stroller walk. This is our default play for many reasons. One, it’s dead simple to do. Two, what baby doesn’t like a good stroller walk? And that fresh air and exercise can do wonders after a long day at the office. Bonus: combine with a stop off at the park to kill some time and get that baby worn out for bedtime. Pro tip #1: add a cocktail to your walk for extra relaxation points (walktail).
Play 2: Pre-planned activites. Lexi and I do swim lessons together every Monday evening, but any structured activity works. The structured part is key: I’ve found it invaluable to have an activity that we can just show up to and participate in. Minimal planning required, maximum father-daughter time.
Play 3: Trip to Grandma’s. Apparently this is a favorite amongst dads out there. If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents close by, stop on by and take a load off. Grandparents get baby (win), and dad can kick up his feet (win). Use this play sparingly…you don’t want grandma and grandpa conveniently skipping town when you’re holding down the fort for the weekend and really need an extra set of hands. Pro tip #2: grab a cocktail and get your happy hour started early.
Play 4: Dining out. Lexi and I have had mixed results with this one. Breakfast was always the best time for us…we would go early in the morning before the crowds and practically have the restaurant to our selves. Things can start to go downhill quick though…it’s a lot harder to wrangle an antsy toddler in a crowded restaurant. Pick a place that’s either kid-friendly, uncrowded or both so baby can have room to run. Pro tip #3: An ice cream run is a good substitute for a full-on dinner excursion.
Play 5: Call in the grandparents. We’re lucky enough to have my mother-in-law over once a week to visit. If Grandparents are in the area, see if they can spare some time once a week to stop by and watch baby. Helps out mom during the day, which helps out dad by proxy. Throw in an extra set of hands in the evening, and it’s smooth sailing to bedtime.
That’s it for this installment…check back soon for more guest posts!