5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy: A Father’s Perspective

5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy: A Father’s Perspective

Even though I’m a father of three, each pregnancy has been its own learning experience. I was the youngest in my family, so my wife was the first pregnant woman I’d ever lived with. I felt remarkably unprepared for the whole ordeal, particularly considering that pregnancy is something that’s been around since the dawn of human kind. It feels like I should have known more. Here are a few things I didn’t know about pregnancy. My hope is that it will help enlighten those first-time fathers out there. 1. Pregnant women cry a lot. When Mel was pregnant with our first child, I asked her to water the Christmas tree and she cried. “Don’t you realize how tired I am?” she said. Then she called me a jerk. I’d seen a million movies where a pregnant woman lost control of their emotions, and it was hilarious. But when faced with the real thing, it isn’t that funny. I was 24, and my knee-jerk reaction was to get pissed. But first-time dads, here’s some advice: If faced with this situation, just apologize and water the damn the tree. In fact, apologizing really should be your default. During that first pregnancy, Mel cried because the bank was closed, because the car was low on gas, and because I ate the last string cheese. I hate to say this, but a pregnant woman crying is normal. Pregnancy changes a woman in a lot of ways, and one of them is a new inability to govern her emotions. It took me until our second child to realize that my job as the father...
Embarrassing Moments Are A Parenting Inevitability

Embarrassing Moments Are A Parenting Inevitability

When my middle daughter was 1, she had a spectacular diaper blowout at church. It was all up the back of her very new, very cute, church dress. I took her to the restroom, and once I was elbow-deep into cleaning her, I realized I was short on wipes. I ended up using wet toilet paper, which I assure you was quite a challenge to acquire while the kid was half dressed and filthy. It was working though, for the most part, until the power went out. And let me just say that the men’s room with no windows was about as dark as deep space, and my half-naked baby who was still equal parts poopy and wet was as slippery as a butter-coated seal. By the time the lights came back on, we were both a mess, and I ended up taking a walk of parenting shame through the church and out into the van. I was completely embarrassed. But that was far from the only time that I’ve been embarrassed as a parent. Sadly, there’s more. I was at the grocery store once, with a toddler in the cart reaching for anything and everything and two young kids in tow, both begging for candy in the checkout line. I had a full cart of food, and a line of people behind me as I began unloading the cart onto the checkout counter. Once everything was rung up and ready to roll, I realized I’d forgotten my debit card. Suddenly my face was red, my groceries were slowly melting, and it felt like everyone behind me let out a...
9 Ways Dads Can Emotionally Prep for Childbirth

9 Ways Dads Can Emotionally Prep for Childbirth

Hey dudes — your modus operandi during baby’s birth can consist of more than shelling out ice chips, taking the occasional photo, and having the life squeezed out of your hand. The vibes you put off directly affect your baby’s and lady’s journey through birth. Exuding a calm, confident, and prepared demeanor (even if you’re faking it!) will help your birthing honey assume more of a goddess essence than a “What have we done?!” shrill. Here’s how to clear then bolster your emotional state before The Big Day, and infuse traditional childbirth preparation methods with deeper meaning. 1. Fear release exercise Sometimes, releasing negative emotions via talking and journaling isn’t enough — that junk may need to be worked out via physical exertion. Make a list of any and all fears you have surrounding the birth of your child, and all areas of your life the birth will affect (which is everything). Every day, or every other day, choose one fear from the list and exercise it out. As you run (or bike, or engage in any other exercise of choice) envision the fear being released via your sweat. 2. Cry it out Tears are cathartic — especially for men who were told not to cry. Moms are not the only ones who go through a hormonal shift during the journey into parenthood; it has been proven dads also experience some hormonal remodeling, specifically a decline in their testosterone levels. Repressing the emotions that accompany these chemical shifts could cause you to eventually experience postpartum blues; allowing yourself to really feel what comes up can help cleanse your emotional slate. Because...
Funny Parenting Tweets: The (No) Sleep Edition

Funny Parenting Tweets: The (No) Sleep Edition

It’s no secret that sleep becomes almost non-existent once babies come into the picture. It’s all anybody ever tells you before you become a parent. Yet, we do it anyway and willingly choose to experience extreme sleep-deprivation firsthand. But the plus side, is that funny parents everywhere can then tweet about it. 1. Productivity at its finest. Favorite part of my kid’s nap is the 45 minutes he spends going, “HEY, I’M DONE WITH MY NAP.” — The Ugly Volvo (@theuglyvolvo) February 9, 2016 2. Bummer. “You look tired!” I have kids. I’m pretty sure this is just my face now.#LifeOfAMom — Real Girl (@1RealGirls) May 12, 2016 3. AKA not adult movies. As a parent in his late 30s, my favorite movies are the ones I can still understand after I’ve accidentally dozed off for a few minutes. — Dad and Buried (@DadandBuried) January 25, 2014 4. No. Just, no. Having a 3yo whisper “the sun is up” when I’m in a dead sleep makes me feel nostalgic about waking up to actual alarm clocks. — Meredith (@PerfectPending) October 18, 2015 5. The footsteps heard around the world. Ah, the pitter-patter of little feet on a Saturday before 7:00. A sound that unites parents everywhere in profound sadness and intense rage. — MyQuestionableLife (@2questionable) May 14, 2016 6. Just one more question. We could probably push her a little more before she completely falls a part. -my children at bedtime — WorstMomOfAllTime (@worstmomofall) May 5, 2015 7. #Always. Me: Time to get ready for bed. 7yo: But I’m not at Mommy Mode yet. Me: What’s that? 7yo:Mommy Mode means I’m...
5 Must Know Tips for All New Parents

5 Must Know Tips for All New Parents

Parenting is one of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of life. ___ There is nothing quite like being a new parent. I felt overjoyed, overwhelmed, and terrified all at the same time when my son was born. There is nothing quite like being a new parent. I felt overjoyed, overwhelmed, and terrified all at the same time when my son was born. There’s so much to learn, and so much to do—it feels like it never ends. After being a stay at home dad for the past 3 years, I wanted to share some pointers for new parents that might make the start of your journey a little bit easier. Connect with other parents and caregivers. Use the resources that are out there to help you. I’m a part of multiple mom and dad groups on Facebook, where I can get help with any question or problem. You are not perfect. You’ll never be a perfect parent. It’s about trying your best and putting your kids first. That’s what matters. Keep learning and never stop. Reading about what to expect and different experiences will give you an idea of what you’ll go through. Sometimes $h*t happens and the only card you have to play is to get through it. You have a child now and they’re depending on you to be strong. Enjoy being a parent and take care of yourself as well. Misery loves company, and so does happiness. Your level positivity, negativity, or stress will rub off on your child and mold them into an avatar of you. Please make sure you set the right...
My Kids Have Questions and ‘Because I Said So’ Isn’t Going to Cut It

My Kids Have Questions and ‘Because I Said So’ Isn’t Going to Cut It

I learned a lot coming up through the ranks as a Dad.  What to do, what not to do, how I want to do things (thanks Good Men Project), how I don’t want to do things.  It’s this last bit I’m going to explore for a spell, and tie it together with intentional Dadding.  I think many of us see examples of what we don’t want to repeat or model from watching others, and this can be just as potent an experience as any gem of wisdom. This vexed me to no end, because not only was I left without a logical reason, but it strengthened the fear I had of my parents as authority figures. I remember very vividly, as a young child that whenever I asked a question about why I had to do something, the answer was almost always “Because I said so.”  This vexed me to no end, because not only was I left without a logical reason, but it strengthened the fear I had of my parents as authority figures. Now, it should be said, as a child I was quite irascible and by most accounts the number of times I asked “why” was on par with legends right out of the record books.  My parents were probably trying to just stem the onslaught of my overflowing curiosity and challenging of their rules. As this pattern spiraled into my formative years, I vowed that when/if I ever had kids, I would never use that as an answer. Besides, since one of the main things I try to model and teach is not to assume,...