Preparing for Mother’s Day

Parenting is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year role, it may slow down from time to time but it never stops. Two days a year we celebrate the wonderful job our significant others are doing as parents with Mothers/Fathers Days. If you think raising kids is tough, try forgetting about the above.

With Mothers Day just around the corner, as a Dad Blogger I thought it would be smart to offer advice to other Dads out there on how to prepare.

Note, a card and a bunch of flowers from the supermarket alone won’t cut it.

Every Mum has thought about the ideal way to spend their special day, but most won’t elaborate on all the details, its up to you as a Dad to decipher their clues and make the day as special as possible.

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The Ideal Mothers Day

Now I’m not going to describe these as perfect as only a Mum could set out the perfect day. What I will give are some ideas for different stages of motherhood, but again its up to you to plan the best day for your better half

  • The New Mum – Rest should play a big role in this. Letting them sleep in until they are ready to get up is a no-brainer. Whatever it takes, make sure your the one who gets up to the kids. But rest isn’t just sleep, its about taking it easy, so guess who is on diaper duty for the day. By taking as much responsibility off them as possible you will make their day a lot easier and they will definitely appreciate it.
  • The Mum with Young Kids – While sleep is always important, Mums at this stage are probably used to not having as much sleep anymore. What they will value is having their kids involved in the day as much as possible. That means, making breakfast or and early lunch. Foot rubs probably wouldn’t go astray either. It is after all Mothers Day.
  • The Mum with Older Kids – Remembering is the most important part here. You have been celebrating it for years now, but is it at the top of your list? You can guarantee your SO won’t forget so its vital that you don’t either (card and flowers from the supermarket is not enough!). You also need to make sure your kids remember, even if it means dragging them along to the shops to pick up a present the weekend before.

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The Ideal Present

This is by no means a complete list, but here are some easy wins if your a little stuck.

  • Spa Vouchers – if you can’t pamper your SO, pay a professional to do it for you! Pro-tip! unless you fully understand the treatments on offer, a generic voucher is the smarter way to go as it allows your SO to choose what she would like rather then being forced into a awkward situation.
  • Pajamas/Slippers/Dressing Gowns – another safe bet, but be sure to know what your SO prefers. If she doesn’t like silk pajamas don’t buy them just because you like them, again this day is about her not you. A quick size check of existing pairs before you shop will save you some hassle.
  • Handmade Presents –  we all know the ones, whether they are from daycare or school they always carry a sentimental feeling with them. I’d say these are better for new Mums and those with younger kids. Keep in mind these will get old after a few years, but if your kids are certain they need to give them to Mum, make sure you back it up with something else. Otherwise Grandparents love these presents.

Warning, be careful when choosing appliances and the like for presents unless you are 100% certain its what she wants, while they might seem like a good investment, No Mum wants to be seen as a maid.

Remember you are celebrating Mothers Day. While you may think your SO would love a day of rest, they want to celebrate it too. You can’t celebrate Mothers Day without those that made you a Mum to begin with. You can take the stress of parenting away for one day without taking the kids away.

Finally if for some reason you are supposed to be working that day, you need to take it off. As a shift worker who works every second weekend I understand this isn’t always easy, but this isn’t any old Sunday, this is the one day of the year your SO should get to celebrate being a parent without the stress. If there is no way out of working that day, then sit down with your SO, discuss the situation, and reschedule in advance. This is one you can’t miss.

Every Mum has thought about the ideal way to spend their special day, but most won’t elaborate on all the details, its up to you as a Dad to decipher their clues and make the day as special as possible.

Daddy Daycare or Why send your kids to Daycare

Why do you send your kids to Daycare? So you can return to work? To give yourself a Break? To allow them to be more Social? Every parent has their own reasons for paying someone else to look after their kids, and they shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

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So Why do we send our child to Daycare?

We do it for a number of reasons. Firstly it has allowed my wife to return to the workplace. This means my wife can focus on her career instead of it simply being pushed aside because of our child. If she wants when our kids are at school age it will allow her to easily return to full time work. The extra income my wife is making while working also makes our lives more comfortable.

It has also done wonders for our child’s development in a number of areas

  • Before going to Daycare our child didn’t like being away from Mum and Dad at all. He would get upset to the point where only us returning would cheer him up. After a couple of months of daycare 1 day a week, some days it feels like he would rather be there then home.
  • He is constantly learning off other kids. Almost every week he comes home having learnt a different word. He has picked up more in his vocabulary from daycare then he has from home.

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Reasons Parents choose not to send their kids to Daycare

I can sit here and preach about the benefits of sending your kids to daycare but there are always going to be those who are against it. While some of them are valid points, I still feel the pros outweigh the cons.

  • My Child always comes home sick from daycare. While your child will be exposed to more children who are potentially sick. This also helps boost their immune system. If you child was coming home sick every day, I would probably question the daycare you were sending them too.
  • I’m not working, why should I send them. This is the only argument I would agree with, to a point. If your not working at all then don’t send your kids to daycare 5 days a week. One day however will still allow them to reap the benefits and will also give you some time to yourself, which if you have read any of my other posts you would know I am a firm believer in (see Date Night).
  • It Costs too much. While Daycare is expensive, you also need to keep in mind the job they are doing. Looking after multiple kids at the same time, tending to their every need. My child currently attends daycare two days a week and my wife makes sure she works those two days, that way the cost doesn’t feel as high.

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A Day in the life of Daycare

So what does your child get up to at daycare? This will vary depending on the provider, but here is a rundown of what our child’s routine is.

  • Daycare Drop Off. For some this is relatively easy, you sign your child in, put their bag in the designated area, say goodbye and off they go to play. Other’s will get quite upset at the sign of their parents leaving. Our child used to be like this, but now he can’t wait for us to leave. Rest assured your kids are in good hands and will soon settle down.
  • Playtime. The activities they enjoy may look like harmless fun to an outsider, but they are actually structured around developing their fine and gross motor skills. All while having fun! We actually get photos throughout the day of their activities, its always nice to check in and see they are enjoying themselves.
  • Food. Depending on their age and the provider you might have to send a packed lunch. We have found that since eating with other kids, our child’s skills and interest in eating have grown significantly.
  • Sleep. If your child still has a nap during the day (cherishing it while it lasts), they have areas set aside for this. If you have a routine they will try to follow it. We just let them do what they want. Generally they are pretty good at wearing our child out so he has no problem sleeping.

So whether you decide to send your children to daycare or not is entirely up to you as parents. The choice was easy for me and my wife and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

 

26/4/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

Don’t promise if you can’t deliver

Last year i replaced all the windows in my house that that expensive, double-pane, energy efficient kind. Today I got a call from the contractor who installed them.

He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn’t paid him for them.

So I told him just what his fast talking salesman had told me last year.

“these windows will cut your energy bill in half and pay for themselves in one year”.

23/4/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

A man goes into a bar. . .

A man goes into a bar and sits down. Then a giant cockroach comes and punches him in the face.

The next day the man goes into the same bar, has a drink and the cockroach comes in with a knife and stabs him.

The next morning he wakes up in hospital. The doctor asks “What Happened?”

The man says “I was attacked by a giant cockroach.”

The doctor says “I heard there was a nasty bug going around.”

Date Night

At the beginning of a relationship date nights are regular, any night that you are both free gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together. Once you begin raising a family date nights can become a rarity.

While they won’t feel like a priority, its important that you try to maintain them.

 

Making it Happen

For some this will be easy, others will find it more difficult. Regardless you need to find a way. Family love spending time with your little ones, Friends who are also parents are a good option, if you need to, hire a babysitter.

We are lucky in the fact our parents not only love spending time with our child, they do a pretty good job of looking after him too.

While we have a few friends who are parents, all their kids are around the same age as ours, which at the moment means they are a handful. As they grow older we will benefit from this as will our children.

At this stage we haven’t needed to hire a babysitter, but that doesn’t mean its not a viable option for you. If this is your only option then I would encourage you to explore it. Not only will your relationship benefit from it but so will your sanity.

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Child Free Night

Once you have your peace its time to make the most of it. Depending on the support you have from family and friends, Child Free Nights may be few and far between so don’t waste it. Its time for your and your partner to spend some quality time together. It doesn’t need to be extravagant but it needs to be with both of you.

Last night were child free so we went to the movies. I had to work yesterday and today so a big night wasn’t feasible, but we were determined to do something. While it wasn’t our original plan, we felt like we should make the most of it. The movie ‘Blockers’, wasn’t our first choice, but given we had relatively short notice we had to make do. The movie ended up being a great choice.

The rest of the night was quite simple and we used it to get a good nights sleep. Something any parent values very highly.

 

The Benefits

Your Relationship with each other – Spending time together without kids will allow you to strengthen your bond with each other. Without the stress of parenting, you will be reminded of what your lives were like before having kids, and how that led towards starting a family.

Your Relationship with your Kids – While it might be tough to leave them somewhere or watch them drive off. When you do see them again you will be filled with joy. The sleepless nights, the long days, all of a sudden they won’t seem as bad.

Your Sanity – Perhaps the most important benefit. Parenting can be tough, its a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. Scheduling a Date Night allows you to take a break. Whether you choose to enjoy it as it is and just have a quiet night at home, or you decide to make the most of the 12 to 24 hour break. It will do wonders for your sanity, especially if your going through a tough stage of your child’s development (teething anyone?)

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Whatever way you choose to spend your date night, this child free time will be for the best. Don’t stress if you can’t arrange an entire night to yourselves, even a couple of hours for lunch will make a difference. Just don’t go kidding yourself that you don’t need it, Your Kids won’t hold it against you. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, you don’t know what your missing out on.

 

 

 

Choose your workout buddy

Sometimes its not about what you do to keep active its about who its with. We all have something that motivates us to workout and keep Active (see ‘Why be an Active Dad‘), but sometimes that’s not enough.

We need someone to keep us accountable, not just to be active every day, but to give it 100% each time. That’s where its important to choose your workout partners carefully.

Today’s Experience

Being a day off from work, my son was down for a nap and my wife was at home, it was a perfect time to get my daily dose of sweat. While it wasn’t planned, when I got to the gym there was two other guys there I know, who both happen to be Dads. We were all there for the same reason so we worked out together.

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It was a hour of High Intensity training, pushing each other to lift heavier weights and get more out of the workout.

What I Learnt from it

One thing I’ve learnt about working out is it is a great stress reliever. Whether its stress from Work, Home, or anything else. Pushing yourself hard will take your mind off it.

Working out with other Dads gave us the opportunity to talk about being a dad and the different challenges we were going through. Hearing their challenges and realising that they were still able to find an hour most days to get away puts it all in perspective. If they can do it, anyone can.

Choosing your Workout Partner

Everyone has their own routine when it comes to being active and working out. Some will only go it Solo, Some need motivation that you can only get from a personal trainer, others prefer to do it as a group. Find what works for you.

As a Dad I suggest finding other Dad’s to workout with. There are a number of benefits in doing so. Firstly you will have someone to push you harder and really get 100% from every workout. Secondly there lives are going to be somewhat similar to yours, they will understand when you pull out at the last minute due to your family, they will understand if finding free time is challenging. Finally it will give you an opportunity to talk Dad Stuff to other Dads.

Maintaining the Balance

Whose turn is it to do the dishes? Why are there still wet clothes in the machine? When is the bathroom going to be cleaned? Isn’t it your turn? I did it last time?

Any of these sound familiar? I would say most of us have Thought, Heard, Argued, over these all something similar.

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This post was inspired by a segment on a local radio station where they were discussing the breakup of household chores between couples (slow news day obviously). It got me thinking about different families and households and wondering if the way we currently share them is the most effective.

Current Agreement

As it currently stands our ‘chores are split 2 ways. Firstly the jobs we either enjoy doing (rephrase that to “don’t mind doing”), along with the ones we can’t stand. Then the rest generally goes with who has the most time to actually get them done. Time meaning either child free or child distracted.

How does this work for our household? Well two things come out of it. One is the daily crucial tasks generally done (dishes, cooking, etc). Two is that we end up with 1 day a week where we just get in and get the entire house cleaned while balancing the child between us. It might not be efficient gets the job done.

Whatever works for you

However you choose to split up the work. Its important both sides are in agreement, and more importantly both sides understand that as a parent not everything goes to plan. So don’t get stressed out (see my post insert link). I will add that given having children drastically reduces free time and increases the workload. I am looking forward to the day I can get our child involved in doing the chores. Don’t get me wrong he loves helping with the vacuuming, but he can’t exactly do it himself yet.

How do you split up your chores? 50/50? 70/30? I bet sometimes it feels like 100/0. Is there a better way to sort it out? Is it frowned upon using your kids to do the dirty work?

Sometimes it’s easier to do them yourself

Why be an Active Dad

Why do I workout? Why spend some of your free time at the gym? Why spend your hand earned money on a membership? Why get up early everyday instead of sleeping in? Why push your body so it’s sore the next day? Why Workout?

These are all questions everyone has asked themselves in some form or another. Whether you don’t workout at all or whether you go for a run everyday, you have asked yourself these questions. So Why do we do it? that answer is different for everyone, everyone has their own ‘Why?’. It’s what drives them to allocate a part of their day to pushing themselves to the limit.

My Why has definitely evolved over the years, but since becoming a Dad I feel like its stronger then ever. I’m not saying I don’t go through ‘off’ stages

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So Why do I Workout?

Simply put, So I can keep up with my kids. My kid is very active and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As he gets older chasing him around is going to require more effort on my behalf. I Don’t want to be exhausted every time he wants to play backyard footy. Not only that I want to actually be able to do these kinds of activities with him. I Don’t want to be stuck on the lounge because I’m too tired, I want to continue to live my life without needing support in day to day activities because I can’t lift objects I used to be able to.

So What Works for Me?

The best part of my why is that its not so much about me but about my family. Its a life-long challenge that will require ongoing commitment, which sounds scary but 1 or 2 weeks missed here and there isn’t going to impact it overall. In fact its good to give your body a break every so often.

I try to participate in some form of High Intensity activity multiple times a week along with strength work on all muscle groups. Push myself to the point I’m huffing and puffing and sweat is rolling off me to build and maintain healthy lung capacity. Utilise Whole Body strength movements which we use in day to day activity such as squats and deadlifts to work all muscles in my body

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Benefits of Being an Active Dad

All you have to do is a quick google search to find a wealth of information about the benefits of working out regularly. Do these all apply to being a Dad, probably not but there are still plenty of good reasons to stay active such as

  • Less Likely to be worn out chasing your kids. This starts from as soon as they can walk. As they grow older they will become more active and wouldn’t you rather be the Dad that can keep up with them rather then being worn out on the sideline?
  • More chance of living a longer and healthier life. Its not just about living to old age anymore. Don’t you want to see your kids grow up, live their lives, maybe have grandchildren one day? I know when I get older I don’t want to be someone who becomes a burden on their family because they can’t look after themselves.
  • Being proud of your Dad Bod. Everyone has a different idea of what the ideal ‘DadBod’ looks like. The fact is if your a Dad and you have a body, you have a DadBod. Wouldn’t you rather be comfortable and happy in your body then ashamed?

Whether your a parent or not, living an active lifestyle will do wonders for your health and well-being, its just up to you to commit to it. Find out what works for you and maintain it. Most Importantly find your Why

 

Shopping with Kids

Every Shopping trip is a new experience. Some do it for Leisure, Others do it out of Necessity. Some do it Daily, others weekly, some only when the occasion calls for it. One thing is for certain, you don’t know shopping trips until you have done them with kids.

Shopping with the whole family is a great experience, most of the time. Dad taking the kids shopping without Mum? Well that’s completely different.

So How Often do you go Shopping?

Honestly? As little as possible! even before Kids, Before Marriage, I only ever shopped out of necessity. Food where required, and when the occasion called for it. Now I have a kid, I tend to stick to the same pattern. Although when its wet outside and the shops have indoor play equipment, they can be useful. (I call it necessity).

The reality is, now you have kids the last thing you want to do is go shopping, the preparation involved, the experience itself, and the aftermath (which can be good or bad).

How is Shopping with Kids Different?

Well it really comes down to the age of them and what you are shopping for. When they are still young enough to be in a pram, it might seem easy, but the preparation involved in ducking down to the supermarket to get bread and milk is massive. Yes it gets a little easier each time, but chances are as a Dad you won’t have too many times you do it alone, which means you are going to make mistakes, I know I constantly forgot to take different things.

Once you have finally got the hang of it, the pram gets boring and they want to walk beside you. All of a sudden everything takes longer, a lot longer. Kids at this stage are also constantly learning new things, like grocery shopping. Not only is your trip longer, but now its more expensive, because your kids are putting a lot more in the trolley, and either you didn’t know they put it there, or if you take it out a tantrum isn’t far away.

Advice for Dads

Get used to it because there is no getting out of this one. Seriously its not all that bad, there will be tough days, there will be days where you question why you decided to do it solo. But! just like parenting the good will always outweigh the bad. To make your life a bit easier, here’s a few pointers.

  • Preparation is they key. You can’t pack enough supplies, whenever you think you have packed enough, pack more. If your driving there, why not throw another bag in the car. Nappies, Wipes, Clothes, Snacks, the Lot! you are going to need them. A short trip can easily turn into a long one.
  • Make sure you have the time to get it done. As I said earlier, everything takes longer with kids, so leave plenty of time to complete your trip. You don’t want to be rushing, not only is it stressful for you and the kids, that’s when you make mistakes.
  • Don’t be embarrassed. I know I did the first time I was out and things went a little pear shaped. All parents have been there before and know exactly what your going through. You know what your doing, its the same as being at home except all your supplies (preparation?), are mobile. Just do your thing and you will get through it.
  • Enjoy the Experience. While it may seem like a simple shopping trip, you are making memories that will last a lifetime. This is quality time between you and your kids, for some dads this doesn’t happen often enough. In the end, even if the trip was a disaster, you can guarantee your partner will appreciate the kid free time you gave them by taking your kids shopping.