In the capitalist nation we live in, with its nearly inseparable culture, we have this habit of always finding a new level of happiness, only after we have reached the goal we had been aiming for up until that point.
However, if we can find a way to be content with what we already have, then happiness becomes a by-product of the integrity of that lifestyle.
Yet at the same time I recognize my personal need for a materialistic goal to inspire me to work harder. Strangely, mine is a Jeep Wrangler.
Actually, you and I both have a bizarre infatuation with Jeep Wranglers.
It all started several months back when Jeep Wranglers became one of the first vehicles you could identify by name. Despite being completely content with my Honda Element that I drive you around in, I had never really noticed how, at least here in Nashville, it appears that for every 10 vehicles on the road, one of of them is a Jeep Wrangler.
Yesterday at Target I helped you, or maybe I should say you helped me, try to find a 97 cent Hot Wheels or Matchbox model of the white Jeep Wrangler with a soft top we both fantasize about the most.
(Maybe it’s because somehow they remind me of Imperial Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back?)
Turns out it was a bust. Jeep Wranglers, like fire engine trucks, are not easily obtainable in small die cast form.
After Mommy heard about us catching a case of “Jeep Fever,” now she’s on board too. It could be something as subliminal as a Jeep Wrangler most aligning with the culture of our family’s lifestyle: simple and classic, yet low-maintenance, rugged, and even a bit quirky.
So as your dad, I’m caught between the realization that happiness is a by-product of being content with the simple, yet privileged life we already lead as a middle class American family, and the fact that I am motivated by money.
As I spend 40 hours a week working my real job as an Employee Relations Specialist, then 12 hours writing material for The Dadabase, then on top of that, studying at least 5 hours preparing for my HR certification, it helps knowing that all this work is going towards growing my career opportunities…for our family.
Sure, it’s a paradox. All that really matters is spending time with you and Mommy, yet most of my time I have to spend working.
That’s why when the three of us are all awake, I make sure the time we spend is quality time.
Of all the life lessons I will be teaching you, perhaps the truth that “happiness can’t be chased” is one of the hardest for me to consistently teach by example.
But I can’t show you that we’re already happy with what we have now, I’ll definitely never be able to show you if we ever get more than we have now.
Today, I want to share some advice with any mom or dad out there who is considering, or at least curious about, starting their very own mommy or daddy blog.
If you’re wanting to start blogging about your kid mainly just to share with friends and family, then I simply recommend going to WordPress.com and get to typin’. That’s all the advice you need from me.
But if you are like I was back in April 2010, recently having found out I was going to be a parent and wanting to be the best darn baby blogger I could be with hopes of “going pro,” then this article is perfect for you.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to start a baby blog:
1. Be both personal and international. You want to engage two different types of necessary readers: Friendly Followers-family and friends who read your stuff because they love you and your cute kid. And Cosmic Crashers- people who don’t care who you are but want to learn about some buzzing new topic you’re covering in the world of parenting.
2. Be different. Before I started my blog, I was determined to find my “schtick.” I wanted to be the first ever daddy blogger who documented his thoughts from the moment he went public with the pregnancy, on a weekly basis.
Even now, I don’t know of any other dad who has done this. You can go back for over two years and find between one and seven blog posts each week about my son and my thoughts as a dad. What’s your schtick?
3. Be willing to be wrong. I am constantly wrong when it comes to my opinions and viewpoints regarding all those polarizing, controversial parenting topics from circumcision to raising a vegetarian child.
Not only am I wrong at least half the time, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind being crucified one day and praised the next. I am both the good and the bad guy.
4. Be consistent. Can you commit to writing at least one blog post per week? If not, stop reading now because this isn’t for you.
Just like with advertising, your work needs to be omnipresent. And just like with the news, it needs to be fresh.
5. Be egotistical. Speak with authority. Assume your story is interesting, then prove it. Ever heard of what’s called “the blogger’s ego?” Well, I depend on it.
6. Be weird. In the midst of sharing the chronologically predictable advancements your child experiences each week, make each event special by pointing out the strangest aspect about your kid learning to eat solid foods or learning to walk. “Quirky” sells.
7. Be named well. You have to come up with a really cool name for your blog; one that represents you well. Consider your kid’s name or your last name or something people won’t be able to forget.
Jack is finally learning how to actually play with his Lego-like blocks. He likes to see how tall he can build his tower or sword or lightsaber or whatever it’s supposed to be.
But for Jack, it’s just as much fun to tear down and break apart as it is to create.
For the past couple of weeks now, I have noticed that during his playtime, he likes to make messes… for fun.
It’s been nearly a decade since I took a Child Psychology class back when I was in college, but I have to assume that right now my son is working out the engineering part of his brain.
He is teaching himself how to deconstruct things so that he can rebuild them.
My wife told me that Jack likes to abruptly swipe all his bath toys off the tub’s ledge into the water, only to carefully place them back in order.
I’ve said it before, but I truly think Jack is going to be the opposite of me when it comes to his motor skills. He will be a clear-thinking, math and science guy; whereas I’m a deep-thinking, abstract, communications kind of guy.
That’s a good thing. We’ll have plenty to learn from each other.
Of course, that’s not to say that Jack won’t end up being a very sociable little boy, because it’s seems to me he already is.
Yes, I could have allowed myself to become annoyed when Jack started his new daily game of emptying his six different toy caddies in our living room.
But I just remind myself that my son that is becoming his own mechanics teacher.
I can’t believe I just now thought of this, but why am I cleaning up his toys when playtime ends? After all, I shouldn’t deprive him of the very valuable reconstructive lesson of placing his toys back where they belong.
He’s not a baby anymore. He’s a lightsaber swinging toddler who is sure to get better math and science grades than I ever did.
I’m realizing pretty quickly that my son Jack understands a lot of what I tell him, though his vocabulary still only consists of 7 legitimate words.
It was always funny to me how in the Star Wars movies, the quick-to-assist Chewbacca could understand every word the humans told him though his best reply was always a mix between a gargle and a yodel.
Similarly, Curious George understands everything The Man in the Yellow Hat tells him to do (or not to do) though the clearest verbal communication George can respond with is cartoon monkey sounds.
Last night my wife and I were hanging out on the couch, entertained simply by our son who was burning off his “before bedtime” energy in the form of a one-baby show. As he grazed by us in the midst of all his running around the living room, we noticed that he needed to wipe his nose. My wife made casual mention of it to me.
Jack looked down at the coffee table, saw a Kleenex, picked it up and perfectly wiped his nose with it. That was cool.
But then, he ran over to the kitchen, opened the pantry door, pressed the lever on the garbage lid to open it, threw away the Kleenex, closed the lid shut, then re-entered the living room to continue his variety show for us.
He’s only 16 months! Sorry, but I’m impressed by that.
And then this afternoon I was getting him ready to go hang out with some friends and realized he was missing his left sock. I instantly assumed he left it somewhere downstairs. I told him, “Jack, we have to find your sock before we leave.”
He immediately sat up from the book he was reading, walked behind me to a pile of books he had already disorganized, and pulled the missing sock from underneath the rubble.
Again, the boy impressed me with his ability to respond to this new language that he is unable to speak in full sentences yet, but can fully respond and carry out certain actions;, just like Chewbacca and Curious George.
I’m starting to wonder what all I can train this little monkey to do…
In our pop culture, we have been conditioned to accept and relate to the cliche that men are constantly on the verge of forgetting their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. At best, men at least need to be reminded of these dates regarding the love of their life and the mother of their children.
The Wal-Mart commercial above features this exact concept. I apologize for the poor quality, but I am assuming Wal-Mart pulled the actual one from YouTube after realizing how it negatively stereotypes men.
I decided to take matters into my own hands in outing this familiar cliche about men. In the attempt to find out if there was any truth to husbands forgetting important dates in regards to their own wife, I asked Twitter and Facebook this question:
“Husbands, have you ever completely forgotten your wife’s birthday or your wedding anniversary? Wives, has your husband ever completely forgotten your birthday or wedding anniversary?”
Guess how many people agreed that this has happened to them?
Instead, I received only comments from wives bragging on their husbands never forgetting these dates and from husbands who said not only would they not forget, but that it’s impossible to forget amidst all the commercialization of these holidays and events.
Here’s the simple truth: Men don’t forget their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. That would be sort of impossible.
In fact, I’d say we not only don’t forget, but we can’t forget.
Consider how many thousands of sports stats most men keep stored in their brains. Consider history buffs; most of which seem to be males. Men are wired to remember important numbers and events; regardless of their individual math skills.
I talked to a guy at work about this recently. He responded with, “Yeah, that’s ridiculous. I’ll never forget my ex-wife’s birthday and our anniversary; and I’ve been remarried for a few years now.”
So sure, as a wife, I can see how it can be frustrating when your husband can instantly spit out who won the Super Bowl in 2006, yet forgets to pack the diaper bag before the trip the park.
But even if our short-term memories are crowded by random number-based facts like knowing what year the first Star Wars movie came out (1977) or that at 6′ 4″ Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President, those important dates regarding our wives and kids are taking up precious space too.
Do men have selective memories? Sure, but I guarantee we select to remember our own wife’s birthday. Not to mention our own, Wal-Mart.
If you have a “Man Cliche” you’d like for me to expose here on The Dadabase, let me know in a comment and I’ll consider writing about it in your honor!