5 Things is a new content series where Playground Dad contributors share 5 tips with new and expectant fathers.
I have three boys under the age of 6. I’m knee deep in action heroes, Thomas the Train, diapers and spit up, so believe me when I say there’s a lot that was never revealed to me as an expecting parent. The level of craziness in your home grows slowly, child by child as they age and get active. It takes reflection to realize how calm and independent your life was pre-kids. With that in mind, here are some things to think about as you embark on this journey known as Fatherhood.
#1 – Consider A Career Change
I’d like you to take stock of whatever career you’ve chosen and begin to think real hard about learning to make baby formula or batteries. Both are obscenely expensive and cannot be found in the “used aisle” or dollar store. I often wonder why Walter White from Breaking Bad decided to cook meth when he could have made infinitely more money, and garnered much less hazards, had he just learned the chemical reactions that yield baby formula. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the life you’ve chosen, or the amount of money you make, trust me, and take a long look at batteries & baby formula.
#2- You Will Lose the Sock Battle
Treat everyone of your child’s socks likes it’s the last time you’ll ever see them again. After the pair of socks enters the wash cycle, they will disappear and you will find it nearly impossible to find an exact pair. Enter any preschool in America, and ask the kids to take off their shoes, you will find that not one single pair matches. You will lose this battle; don’t even spend the energy trying. You will, of course, not believe me and in an attempt to deceive the Sock Gods, buy different colors, styles, try rubber band techniques, search Pintrest for clever solutions…but it won’t work, the Sock Gods will always win. Go teach your kid how to read or ride a bike…it’s a much better use of your parental energy.
#3 – Let’em cry it out
Look guys, your kids will start to control your lives from the second they are born. It’s in their genetic makeup to push the boundaries and try to get away with anything and everything. Nothing personifies this like sleeping habits. Unless you want an hour long nightly routine or a child that walks before they sleep through the night, you better embrace the “cry it out” methodology. A little crying never hurt anyone, and the end result is you sleeping more, so let’em cry.
#4 – It ain’t cheap if it breaks
I hate to sound like your 85 year old grandma, but the truth is the truth. Head to your local “Toys R Us” and you’ll find a Thomas the Train figurine selling for $12.00 or the whole set selling for $99.99. At which point, you might ask yourself “why is this sooo expensive?”…I’ll tell you why…your kids are gonna treat these toys like a rag doll and yet it’ll still usable after 10 years. This is especially true for outdoor toys…nothing ruins a nice afternoon quite like the wheel coming off that piece of crap scooter you bought for lil’ Joey’s birthday. Buy quality. Short term pain is long term gain.
#5 – Zippers & Velcro were created not to be ignored
After your child is born and you’ve experience about 3 months of sleep deprivation and you and The Wife are battling the dreaded “Eye-Twitch”, and its 4:00am, you don’t want to deal with buttons…it’s hard enough to jumble with those tiny diapers, throw in 46 random buttons that NEVER align correctly, and you’ll be wishing for that zipper. As for Velcro, you’ll quickly find that your life as a parent is a constant battle of the dressing and undressing of your children. The knots and double knots, and broken strings and tripping and tripping….there’s no need for it! Embrace The Velcro, fathers, Embrace The Velcro.
If you’re a dad that would like to share your 5 things with new and expectant dads, become a Playground Dad contributor.
Image Credit: Helen Harrop