Disclaimer: Contains potentially confusing viewpoints that may be exclusive to the male mindset.
The main reason I feel anxious about the thought of having another child is not the financial aspect, or even the fact we only have a 2 bedroom townhouse; it’s knowing that I would be placed in that frustrating position again of not knowing what to do on a daily basis.
Sure, I’d know more of what I was doing the 2nd time around, but it would also be on top of taking care of you too; though you demand less attention than you did when you were a baby.
To see me in my worst element is to see me in a high pressure, reoccurring situation where I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. For me, that was the first 15 months of your life; back when you wouldn’t let me take care of you without Mommy being in the same room.
Therefore, I couldn’t feel like I was leading our family, and it made me feel horrible about myself.
Just to be clear, I don’t mind high pressure at all. In fact, I like the challenge of it; given that I’ve been well trained on the subject.
It’s no secret: I find my self-worth not in how others see me, but in how I see myself. If I don’t feel in control, or at least that I know what my role is, I sort of feel worthless.
Now that you’re well beyond the age of 15 months, in fact, days away from being double that, my frustrating days of flat-out not knowing what to do in regards to being a dad are mostly a thing of the past; back in the year 2011.
As for modern day life, I know my role now; every minute of the day, and I love it!
In addition to being your official chauffeur, bedtime singer, protector from monsters… I also am the official dishwasher, bathroom cleaner, garbage man, vacuumer, relationship mediator, and the parent juggling two jobs outside of home life.
Every night, after our family eats dinner, I know that once Mommy takes you upstairs for your bath, I am going to immediately start washing and drying all the dishes, then wipe off the counter, and vacuum; just in time to go upstairs and sing your final bedtime song.
While it would be really nice to just chill out after dinner instead of doing housework, I don’t even mind. The reason: Because it sure beats the heck out of those first 15 months when I didn’t know my role.
As your dad, who is wired to fix problems and lead others, it’s very challenging for me to… I’m trying to think of a way to say this without using the PG version slang word…
I like to be driving the motorcycle, not riding in the sidecar.
(Watch the movie Garden State, when you’re older, to fully understand the reference. “Sidecars are for…”.)
What I am saying is that right now, I don’t feel like I’m riding in the sidecar. I feel like our life is predictable enough now where I don’t taste the chaos in the air anymore.
I love having this peace in my head; not dwelling on my inabilities to successfully figure out what exactly I’m supposed to do every single second. I love knowing what to do.
Ah, if and when the time comes for a 2nd child, I fear losing that again.
I will admit I don’t always understand your logic.
Your newest tradition is to wave goodbye to Mommy as she pulls out of the driveway each morning. I gather that it is a time and tradition that helps you share a connection with her on a daily basis.
But this morning… as Mommy stood in the doorway, smiling at you, telling you to have a good day, telling you that she loves you, telling you that she will miss you, you just stared at her and said nothing.
The moment she walked out to her car, you got excited. You actually got giddy, even.
By the time she started backing out of the driveway, you were jumping with excitement, because finally, the moment had come when you would be able to… wave goodbye to her.
To spell out the irony here. you basically wanted Mommy to hurry up and leave so you could wave goodbye to her.
Your way of thinking is just different than mine, or Mommy’s, sometimes.
Like last night after I put you to bed and you were already overly tired to begin with, you sang at the top of your lungs for the next 15 minutes until I finally went back into your bedroom to remind you that it was time for fall asleep, to which you simply replied, “Okay,” then fell asleep a minute later.
I thought your song choice was pretty interesting, it was a medley of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” and the “Alphabet Song,” all of which share the exact same tune.
As for me, when I am completely exhausted, like the way I am right now as I write this, the last thing I would feel like doing is singing songs at the top of my lungs.
Logic has yet to become a priority in your life. Enjoy that while you can, kid.
Yesterday I played an April Fool’s prank, pretending like our family was going to stop being vegetarians.
While it’s easy to put a label on people who don’t eat meat (vegetarians) or those don’t eat dairy or eggs either (vegans), there isn’t really a word for people who don’t eat petroleum.
I know that sounds weird, but a lot of people eat petroleum everyday in their food and absorb it into their skin through their personal care products. The easiest way to spot it is on the back of the label of product, in the form of Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and/or Red 40.
These food dyes have been linked to causing allergic reactions, cancer and hyperactivity in children; though many people deny this, saying there is not substantial evidence to support that claim.
I’m not too worried about what Kraft chooses to do, since we buy Annie’s Homegrown products, including Organic Mac and Cheese, Cheddar Bunnies crackers, and Organic Fruit snacks; none of which ever contain artificial dyes.
This is a free market, so I say let America decide: Does America want to wait around for a big name company to stop feeding people petroleum or will America just start buying the products of a company like Annie’s who respect their customers enough not to put Yellow 5 or Yellow 6 in it in the first place?
But it’s not just food, it’s personal products as well. Finding soap, shampoo, and lotion without Yellow 5 or 6 is not an easy thing to do. Our family learned we basically have to shop at either Whole Foods Market or Harris Teeter for those items.
Especially with you being prone to eczema, we learned from the very beginning that Yellow 5 & 6 dyes are bad news for your skin.
So while there really isn’t a name for people who don’t eat or absorb petroleum-derived products containing Yellow 5 & 6, as well as Red 40, once a label for us is born, I’ll start identifying our family as… whatever that is.
It’s official, “I’m A Daddy And I Know It” by Chad Morton, a Utah dad of five, has officially gone viral this week.
Unlike other homemade rap videos about parenting that have surfaced since I have been a dad, this one has surpassed the “has been shared and liked a lot on Facebook” level to “I heard them talking about it on the radio today, plus there’s a Yahoo Shine article about it proclaiming the video has officially gone viral” stage.
It doesn’t take an expensive, highly polished product to captivate an a big enough online audience and eventually go viral. As explained in the book Grouped by Paul Adams, it takes a product built around people; a product those people can personally and subliminally relate to.
“I’m A Daddy And I Know It” is simple, funny, easy to relate to as a dad, and most importantly, it’s not reaching. In other words, the video isn’t trying to hard to be cool, it just is.
Another thing I think that sets it apart is it seems to be void of classic (and annoying) fatherhood cliches. Sure, there’s a quick and necessary reference to dirty diapers, but there’s no predictable camera shot of the dad holding his nose as he changes a diaper.
Honestly, Chad Morton successfully makes being a dad look fun, yet real. Watching this video doesn’t make me think of any token classic 1980′s or 1990′s sitcom where the idiotic dad destroys the kitchen sink again in an effort to repair it; or even worse, he forgets his wife’s birthday.
Currently, “I’m A Daddy And I Know It” is nearing a million hits on YouTube. And it should.
Yes, I thoroughly endorse it. And I don’t thoroughly endorse many things.
I do admit, part of the subtle fascination with Chad Morton is that he’s got five (!) kids. Five young kids, including triplets.
(By the way, the one on the far left, in the picture above, looks like you when you were a little bit younger… he even has the faux hawk!)
As Mommy and I entertain the idea of ever giving you a sibling, this video serves as a reminder to us that there are plenty of families out there with a lot more kids, and apparently, they’re surviving.
We’ll see how that turns out for us over the next couple of years…
Of course, it’s been that way since Mommy and I got married on July 5, 2008. So by the time you came along 2 years ago, it was simply the norm; already established as our family’s culture.
But honestly, the fact that we don’t spend money on those things isn’t really much of a sacrifice on our end. What I can’t seem to grasp is how our family would find the time in our time-starved schedule to watch enough TV or utilize the wonders that a smartphone can do.
Maybe I should blame it on that episode of Saved By The Bell where Zack Morris has to call his dad on his cell phone to get his attention, though they’re already in the same room. Maybe I fear getting so caught up in the convenience of modern technology and entertainment that I allow myself miss out on quality time with you.
Our family struggles so much already with budgeting what little time we have together, so even sacrificing only 10% of our time on those things would cause a strain on our family dynamics.
And again, if we only gave 10% of our free time to cable TV and smartphones, we wouldn’t be getting our money’s worth.
I try to imagine how distracted and unsettled I would be if I had a smartphone. I personally would not do well. Though I’m only 31, I don’t fit some of the token Generation Y traits like keeping up with the latest technology, and therefore, entertainment.
During the day at work, it would be extremely difficult for me to focus on getting anything done; knowing I could be discretely checking my email or looking random stuff up on my phone.
The best thing for me is to not have Internet on my phone. That helps keep me grounded, and honestly, helps keep my head clear enough to write you 6 days a week.
Similarly, I feel that if we had DVR and could record shows from dozens (or is it hundreds?) of channels, I would get overwhelmed quickly.
You, Mommy, and I somehow find a normal life in having basic (and outdated!) phones and paying just 8 bucks a month for Netflix streaming as our entertainment. You get to watch Mater’s Tall Tales everyday (and apparently never get tired of it) and Mommy and I get to catch up on the new season of Portlandia.
Of course, I’m very aware that our lifestyle is… counter-cultural. I ask, “How do families have time for cable TV and smartphones?”
Meanwhile, they are probably wondering, “How does that family function without those things?”
I just don’t see how our family is cut out to be that modernized when it comes to the tech and entertainment world. And ironically, that’s coming from a daddy blogger.
P.S. This 2 minute clip of Portlandia demonstrates what I fear would happen to me…