Confessions of a Working Dad

 Holy shit its early!

This is what runs through my head each morning. Most of the time this is in the 4 o’clock hour, as I lay in bed and take a few deep breaths as I get a last few morning "reach your toes out as far as you can" stretches in. Every morning its a hobble to the bathroom to pee and then take the dog out effort, which seems like all I can muster. I literally have 7-9 alarms set on my phone, just incase I get stubborn and can’t figure out how to get my eyes open. Whilst in a stupor of tired-dom I attempt to find my clothes in complete dark silence, not to wake the beautiful ladies in the room. Half the time I am successful, half the time, just absolutely not. My daughter has a connection with me that is Awesome, even with no sound, that little girl senses when I get up. Its crazy, and so real. I am forever thankful for this little angel.

Don’t Count on the Nap Fool!

I head back to the homestead about midmorning for my dad time. This is a time we have set aside for me to spend with my daughter each day. The best time ever. I would highly recommend this to any father. It helps me stay grounded. When I get lucky her morning nap will line up perfectly with this time, and I get to lay shotgun for a heavenly little nap. Well this happened a few times, so I began to plan on it. Dumbass. This shows up every once in awhile, so I have learned to take it like an extra scoop of ice cream, with a smile.

Sometimes you have to Poop with your Kid in the Bathroom.

It will happen. When you have baby, and your the only one home, and you have skimmed all you can. There is only one choice. Take them in there with you. I am familiar with 2 methods as of today, of which I am sure there are many. The Ergo-Poop and the Cheap/Small Stroller Poop. Due to the physical arrangement of the Ergo-Poop (using the Ergo-Baby Carrier of course), its a bit of a face-off in diversion tactics. If you are trigger shy, this may not work for you. The Cheap/Small Stroller Poop is a logistical play. Ideally your child has a toy and it facing not directly at you. Depending on bathroom dimensions, this can get shifty. Either way, I believe you will come up with your own arsenal, but these are two that have worked for me. Keep in mind, that my daughter is only 10 months old.

If Mom is Sick, We’re Getting Take Out!

I am very fortunate and blessed and have married a beautiful woman that enjoys cooking food for our family. Because of this, my skills in the kitchen have continued to plummet downhill, where I am basically pinned in between knowing how to make eggs and salad. Anything else, there is probably gonna be smoke. For the most part at the end of the day, I write off thinking about dinner. I leave that to my wife, and she crushes it on the daily. I am eternally thankful. When mom is sick, I am the dad that has no idea what to do. It is learned helplessness. We have a few favorite take out spots and if it wasn’t for smart phones, those numbers would be easily committed to memory.

Dad Clothes

There are specific clothes that I have that are “Dad Clothes.” They are loose and comfy, and half the time discolored. If you happen to see me around the house, I may be wearing all of one pastel color, something with flamingos on it, or clearly mismatching but very colorful attire. I leave these clothes out, and intend to use them each day. More times than not, I end up with multiple pairs of dad clothes lying around the house, much to the chagrin of my wife. Just because I have dad clothes, does not mean I am talented at putting them in the closet. I am not against going to the store in dad clothes, binky in my mouth daughter in my arms, and having no f*cks to give.

I am Terrible on No Sleep

This has proven to be a street with a lot of learning on it. I feel deflated when I am tired. I need sleep to make this engine run during the day. As our daughter has gotten older, my wife has begun to work again which is fantastic. She loves what she does, and loves the adult contact. And she can take our daughter with her, which is a HUUUUUGE Bonus!! So at night when our daughter is not sleeping, we are at a crossroads. My wife always takes the lead, I have been getting up and helping if she needs it. There really is no “I” in team. We all have to show up to make this thing work. Some nights are just better than others. I can tell you we have each other’s backs so this works. Without that, not sure what we would do. This makes the weekends, and those morning dadtimes Uber importante to catch a wink if needed.

Days are So Long!

I am very blessed to love what I do, and love the people I am with all day. Each day beginning at 5 ish, and walking in the door at night after 8 makes for a tired dad. At work, I have to be on, at home I am on. That is just how it is. I just eventually get tired. I couldn’t be happier, but I could get more sleep haha.

I Understand Forgetting to Pee

First of all this statement is ludicrous (not the rapper). This is just not a thing. The urge for #2 will come in waves, and will go away. But #1, that is here to stay, you can pinch, your can sit down, you can walk around, but this is going no where. Its like trying to hold back a herd of wild horses with a wet piece of tissue paper. Until you have a sleeping 10 month old on your arm. This prized sleep that is going on is like winning Game 7 of the world series every time. Those horses can just hang out. No pee here. My wife told me she forgot to pee one time, and I looked at her like she was out of her mind. This was for sure impossible. A few months later she left for 3 days to her best friends bachelorette party. It didn’t take a whole day and big bad daddio forgot to pee. Not only did I forget to pee, I forgot I had to pee. I was floored. Don’t worry I peed later on in the day.

All of Us are Tired

I am tired, and mom is tired. Surprisingly, it doesn’t appear that our lil angel is tired, but she is starting to show signs. Like I mentioned earlier, there is no “I” in team. We are trying to manage this crazy storm of Awesome. We all need help now and then, and we all need to pick up each others slack. At a certain point each person will become irrational with not enough sleep. The goal here is to all stay rational. Nothing is going well if one of us has reached this threshold. All efforts are to keep in the world of rational thought. There is a lot of tired along the way. But were livin’, we are really living’.

Don’t Compare, Just Support

We are a family. We all have roles. Our roles don’t look the same. Do! Not! Compare! Support Mom and Win! Compare roles and go down in flames. Help in any way you can. Enough Said.

Let Her Fail, or Fall!

I am extra guilty here. I tend to want to keep my daughter extra safe. I am constantly watching her, and trying to make sure she is safe. I am learning to be a bit more relaxed. My wife laughs at me all the time. In fact this morning she laughed at me for this. It is ok if she falls and ok if she fails a little, I am mainly saying this for myself haha. Well its a lot of learning for dad. I am totally game for it.

Don’t let this blog steer you to thinking that I would change anything. I have never been happier in my life, and am thrilled every morning I ever so daintily get out of bed. This life, this dadlife, this husband-life, it’s my favorite. Its the greatest gift a man could ever ask for.

2 years later commentary

Your Pooping Skillset Grows

Literally have pooped in Walmart with a shoeless toddler on my lap. And if you think about it, I am not letting my little girl walk around the Walmart bathroom shoeless. Think about the logistics of this. Try to wipe while talking about doggies and wrestling a small wild human. The floor is lava, literally not a chance she is touching it. Good luck tying your drawstring on your gym shorts that have a phone and your keys and your wallet in them. They are heavy and headed for the floor without a taught string. And one arm is handled. Nothing against Walmart, this is a public bathroom conversation. No shoes you ask, well she didn't want to put any on, and some arguments just aren't worth standing in the rain for 8 minutes while you wrestle a toddler that has a point to prove.

Since having two, pooping has become social hour, and anatomy time. Since I have girls they always are staring and asking questions. Over time these stumblefests of sounds have become, hilarious questions, and sounding out PEA-NUUUUTS, to Papa has a Penis, I have a vagina. With plenty of giggling. Its a real gem of an experience, because to be really honest its hilarious. But as any of you with kids know, if you laugh hysterically at something they say, you have just cemented this in their mind and they are gonna say it 2 zillion times in the next week. There are no bounds as to when the penis/vagina conversation comes out. Sorry grocery store patrons and restaurant goers, my child is gonna ask about penises and vaginas haha.

WE SWITCHED

My wife had a strong desire to go back to work. She loves the social contact and she loves to provide for the family. Part of our thing as parents is actually being home to raise our girls. If one works, the other is home is the very basic math of this equation. We decided that I would take a step back from working full time and stay home with the girls. This sounded great, not work 15 hour days, sleep all the time, hang out with my girls, get some time to reset.

Well let me be the first to tell you I had another thing coming. Staying home all day, and assuming the role of the caretaker, and the champion of the home is quite daunting. Its completely opposite and unequivocally one of the most challenging things I have ever done. At first it was amazing. 3 weeks in to having 2 small kids all day every day, I was drowning. I was drowning in household duties, I was out of ideas about what to do with them all day. I was incredibly adult bored, and I say this because disengaging from your children to participate in adult activities like talking to another adult yields you no gain, as this seems to begin the backslide into toddlerdom. They are constantly wrecking shop, or pooping, or hungry, or jamming a fork in an outlet. It literally does not stop. There were days on end I felt like a prisoner in my own self created prison of my things and my children. My wife would get home from work, and I would want to flip the off switch, but this clearly wasn't fair, because she was tired from working and needed some rest as well.

This is really where I had to swallow the big ol slimy frog. I have been the one working and have felt the struggle there. I have now been the one at home at felt the opposing struggle. What I have learned is that I have come up short on my end. I have failed at my end of the bargain, and I have to be better. We as a unit have had to work very hard on our communication and our understanding for each other. When the worker comes home, both of us are still parents, and that just how it is. When the dishes are piled up, we are both parents. When the laundry is piled up we are both parents. You see work is not 24 hours a day, but championing the home, and care-taking for children, this knows no bounds.

Granted bills have to get paid, and someone has to work, and the experiences are different. Our needs became very important. We had to sync up on what each other needed to be successful, on the things that each one of us needed for sanity. And to be really honest with you, the thing that gets you through, is unwavering dedication to the family unit, with no regard for self. A mindset of service and empathy, before thoughts of selfish nature. The days when we struggled the most were the days our communication was sparse, despite external pressures. We have had days of intense external pressure and stress, when our communication was on point and everything was great.

We are still battling to figure out this working equation. Our unfailing focus is raising our children. How do we use our talents and strengths to provide for our family such that we don't have to work their whole childhood away? The value of this time, far exceeds our career aspirations. And it makes us viciously seek solutions that can accommodate our focus. We moved our family from LA to Kansas to reduce costs and pay off debt. We have changed jobs, and living arrangements. We have sold cars and travelled in our remodeled motorhome, which we currently reside in. All of these are in the name of spending time with our children and not chasing the Joneses. By the week we still give away clothes and stuff. Morphing our lives into whatever it takes to focus on our girls. And to be honest, we don't miss any of the stuff, we still are of the view that we have way too much.

Waking Hours

They are all available its just which ones do you want. I have been home with the girls for months, as my wife has been working. I have done the sleeping in thing (its overrated). I have done the getting up early thing (its the ticket). In the end the game is personal sanity. How do I exist in my day, such to thrive in my life? What is the equation for me personally in my current circumstance so I can succeed? For me it includes fitness, for me it includes studying pertinent material for this moment in time, and my future endeavors. For me it includes time with my wife. For me it includes time to play with my kids. For me it include some sort of social outlet. I prefer to have some time working. I prefer to be out in the world part of my time. Granted all of these things fall into the greater framework of being available for our children, and being available for each other.

Our time together has morphed into late nights reading and bing watching our favorite show. This sometimes burns us on the morning as sleep ends up being less. But to what end? More sleep, less quality time. Where is the win? Well this is just your own equation. We have spent a lot of time choosing things other than sleep in the name of quality. Are we better or worse? I would say better, but this doesn't discount the value of sleep.

Years Fly By

Days drag on, and Years fly by. This little quip is so on point. I can't believe how big our girls are, I can't believe they can put on their socks and shoes, and our youngest is almost done with diapers. I had a few days last week that took 7 days. The minutes were hours, and the sun took siestas 4 or 5 times in the sky and just didn't move for hours. It seems like yesterday that they took their first steps, and it seems like 10 years ago. Time really gets skewed with children. What has really helped us is to stay plugged in. Stay in the ever expiring moment. Have enough 10,000 foot perspective to realize the days you are in are very few. The moments that you breathe in are the best of your life. The discomfort and the struggle don't remain with the change of seasons and the drone of time. But the memories and the laughs, and the blinks of glory that come with children. Those remain. Invest heavily in the moment. Exist and thrive in the present.

Don't Compare, Just Support

Relationships are about giving of yourself. The best days we have had are when our focus has been on each other. Focus on their journey and what they want. Your struggle is always your own, and this will never change, its always your battle. But your partners struggle, this can be changed. You have a crazy ability to change their situation. Empathy and care for their situation and their experience yields exponential results. Roles change, experiences are different, there is no better or worse. Your different people with different circumstances. If you don't think their role is difficult, switch, I dare ya. Its quite enlightening. Either way, be there for your person. Your a team, and bickering and selfish ploys aren't gonna move you forward. Having children is about moving forward and focusing on team. If you can focus on this, I believe you will find more success, and the road will be less rocky.

Communicate

Your connection with your person is vital. Your understanding of whats in their head and their heart about your situation is so important. You have to listen to get this perspective, and you have to be present to understand. You're in this together, and your better together. All of the times when we have had the most trouble, our communication has faltered. Once we listen to each other and make necessary edits, we feel more united and feel more connected. The journey, no matter the hurdles really smoothes out. If you haven't seen a resounding them, connection and communication are the avenues of success. If you find yourself frustrated and in a pinch, ask yourself am I connected? Am I communicating clearly? Remedy these and I bet you are working towards harmony.

Much Love Y'all, I see you in the trenches.


Danny