New Dad Tip #35 Turn off the colors on your phone

Babies are instantly attracted to the brightly colored, noise making devices that we always seem to be reaching for. When the baby gets a hold of your phone, they can be locked in and often fuss if you take it away. However, if you go to accessibility settings for color filters on an iPhone, you can make the phone a grayscale color that is far less appealing to baby. Accessibility shortcut also allows you to toggle colors on and off by tapping on the home screen three times. If you use android, go to Developer options and select “Simulate color space” to enable “Monochromacy”. Grayscale also saves battery life and when you’re not around baby, feel free to switch it back to normal

Dad Tip #22 Make sure all stuffed animals are not male

Picture of a stuffed animal bear
Is this Mr. or Ms. Bear? Does it matter?

My wife noticed that I had a habit of calling my daughter’s stuffed animals names like Mr. Bear, Mr. Bunny or Mr. Lamb, even though these animals weren’t specifically male. It was almost like I was expecting an animal to have have a particular color or “look” before I considered it to be female. Try to be aware of how you refer to your child’s toys so they can be accustomed to having friends from all walks of life.

July Parenting News Recap:

Article: Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations

https://www.mother.ly/news/millennial-dads-spend-more-time-with-their-kids

For some people, bashing millennial’s has become a running joke. It’s really popular to call us lazy and unmotivated and to say that we’re afraid of hard work. To those, I point out this article and say that so many of the people in this generation are committed, dedicated and caring. “Back in 1982, a whopping 43% of fathers admitted they’d never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%”

The title of this article speaks for itself. This new generation of dads may not be perfect, but in many ways, we rock.

Baby Food Has Too Much Sugar And Is Marketed Wrongly, WHO Says

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-15/baby-food-has-too-much-sugar-and-is-marketed-wrongly-who-says

My wife and I often make our own baby food using fresh fruits and vegetables in a baby cook, but we still rely on purchasing baby food from the grocery store. It’s critical that parents have truth in advertising and it’s sad to see that according to a new World Health Organization report, “Baby food often contains too much sugar and is incorrectly advertised as suitable for infants under 6 months of age.” Baby food has been one of the most important things that I’ve worked to research and it’s vital that parents have a healthy option that is not overly reliant on sugar. It can be a challenge to know what to feed a child after the six month mark, but if the community of parents put pressure on the major food companies, they will work to provide better labeling in baby food.

Father tries to grasp how he could have left twins to die in hot car

The reality is that no matter how tired, exhausted, or if you’re running late, always check the back seat. This is one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine, but it’s important that we don’t simply say “that would never happen” and instead, put some onus on ourselves to save these children.

What you can do: Write or contact your congressman and ask them to support The Hot Cars Act of 2019. According to this article, this act, “would mandate the installation of technology that at a minimum would remind drivers to check the back seat.”

We have had four straight years of summers with record heat and the data shows that July is the worst month for child hot car deaths. This data shows that the problem is getting worse with rear facing car seats and as “Stress and sleep deprivation can make these memory lapses more common,”. Parents are feeling stressed in raising their children and these mistakes are happening far too often. “Since 1998, about 440 children nationwide have died of heatstroke after being forgotten in cars, generally not because of a lack of love… but because of how human memory functions.”

We must address this issue because there are 440 kids who should be smiling, learning to walk, playing catch with their parents, learning algebra, volunteering their time, writing a college essay graduating from college or entering the workforce. One child is too many, but 440 is something that MUST allow us to have a broader conversation. The memories of these kids can save lives in the future. We must act now to prevent the next hot car death.

New Dad Tip #15 Expect the Unexpected

Man looking off into the distance
Parenting can be a search for answers.

Oh they didn’t tell you that your newborn daughter would have a bloody diaper during the first week of her life when she has a mini period? Don’t freak out. All parents have questions and experience new unforeseen challenges. If you experience something new, reach out to family and friends with kids who can answer your questions.

And remember: Dude it’s cool.

New Dad’s, expect the unexpected.

Tip #9 Keep your wife hydrated:

Make sure to hydrate!

New moms are often stuck in place while nursing and rarely have a free hand to hold a glass. If your baby has had a restless night, your wife might have gone hours without replenishing her own fluids. Hand her a glass of water and remind her that it’s essential to her health to keep hydrated.

A buddy of mine said that his wife literally reacted more enthusiastically when he brought her a cup of water while breastfeeding, than when he gave her a pair of earrings while they were dating. While you’re at it, drink some water yourself.

June Parenting News Recap: Dad Shaming, No Kid Fantasies and Cell Distractions.

1) NY Times – The Damage of Dad-Shaming

My thoughts after reading this:
My Dad-Shame came on a chilly winter day at the library. My child’s full diaper could not wait and she tried to roll off the changing pad of the family restroom. As we got ready to head to the car, I struggled to put on her jacket and get her into the stroller. Just then, a young woman walked by, smiled at my frustration and condescendingly said, “Dad’s day with daughter.” The “Dig” implied that I was struggling due to inexperience and it hurt because I was a stay at home dad who was with her all the time. If the woman saw the exact same behavior with my wife, I suspect the comment might have been “oh she must be hungry,” or “she must be tired.” It was something that stuck with me, but it also made me appreciate the countless people who have had kind words and positive interactions with my daughter.

Key Article Takeaways –
* When Dads are criticized or shamed for their parenting, it often leads to them wanting to be less involved.
* There can often be a double standard where dads get an undue amount of praise for doing things that moms are simply expected to do.
* Dad’s want to be involved but often have a different parenting style.

2) Wall Street Journal – It’s okay to feel ambivalent about your children

My thoughts after reading this:
The article references several examples of parents who are struggling with the notion of their own individuality, including a reference to a dad who feels like his kids have kept him from leading the life he wants. This makes me think of an important quote from Pastor Stephen Furtick: “We Overestimate what we could do with an opportunity we don’t have and underestimate what we could do with an opportunity we do have.” It seems like in society, there’s so much focus on “What If” as opposed to “What now”. I feel sorry for the father who questioned his decision to have kids, but I think that it’s important to remember that kids don’t have to get in the way of our dreams, they can make us move mountains to accomplish them. Before my daughter, I used to write in-depth analytical pieces about politics, race and the challenges of growing up as a millennial. I literally used to wake up some nights, stressed out about what I was writing about, but now I am enjoying every moment that I get to write about parenting. My child hasn’t stolen my individuality, she’s enhanced it.  


Key Takeaways –
* The article begins with a dad struggling with his decision to have children and wondering what his life would have been like if he never had them.
* Studies are paying more attention to depression in fathers and parental feelings of ambivalence (having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.)
* Ends with an intriguing quote “You can love your kids and still want to flee from them.”

3) Thrive Global – Parenting While Distracted

My thoughts after reading this:
I’ve been hearing a lot about distracted parenting in the news and recently downloaded an app to track my own screen time. I think it’s incredibly important to put your phone down and focus on the moment when you are with your kids. Play is the business of children, and it’s important that we help facilitate their learning with our attention.

* The article cites a phenomenon known as the “Still Face Paradigm” in which infants grow weary if their parent is physically in the room but expressionless and emotionally unavailable.
* References a Global study surveying children, who believe that their parents checked their devices too often and felt “unimportant” when they did.
* States the importance of being wary of where we focus our attention.

Thanks to the family and friends who have shared news and information with me. Each month I plan to highlight relevant articles and share them.

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me?

This past year I had the opportunity to be a stay at home dad with my daughter. When I began, I had no clue what I was doing and found it challenging to find clear and concise tips about how to navigate the sudden change in our relationship. When a new baby enters your home, it saps nearly 100% of your wife’s attention. Even if you are doing everything you can to help, the sleep deprivation, stress and new family dynamics can often lead to arguments—and a lack of passion. For many new couples, romance can fade for reasons such as:

  • Physical pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor Communication/Arguments
  • Feeling like there’s a never ending “to-do” list.

You respect everything this amazing woman has done to bring your child into this world, but there’s just not much you can do about the physical pain. However, when it comes to exhaustion, poor communication and that to-do list”, there are a number of steps you can take to change the game and look like a stud in the process

1. Use a baby carrier in the house to accomplish tasks: As a new dad, I found that there are few things more satisfying than the look on your wife’s face when she sees that you’re inside the house, taking care of chores with the baby in a carrier, strapped to your chest. The baby is bonding with you, while listening to your heartbeat and feeling calm, as though the little tyke is back in the womb. This is your moment! Your wife sees you accomplishing tasks—and caring for the baby. She might begin to search for other things that need to be done around the house. Just tell her “I got it.” Then maybe she will spin around to make sure that everything is okay, and that’s when you say “Babe,” pause and stare into her eyes, wait a few seconds and say the following words in your most legit voice: “Babe…take some time to yourself. If anything comes up… I’ll get you.”

2. Never run an errand without a list: When you walk into the baby aisle, make sure that you are equipped with a list of specific items that are pre-screened by your partner. You might think that all “size 1” diapers are the same, but your partner is likely focused on leak guards, wetness indicator strips and a preferred brand. Before you walk out the door, check the items on your list and ask the magic question: “Honey, should I look for a specific brand?”

3. Surprise your wife with an occasional spa day: After a few months of total infant care, encourage your wife to leave the house without the baby. Gift her with a mani/pedicure, massage or another spa treatment. Pick a random Saturday and call it “Daddy and Baby Day.” Tell her in advance that it’s just you and the baby for a few hours. She can choose to go to the spa, have lunch with friends, or just sit in a coffee shop and have time to herself. Find a day that works, and schedule it.

Spa Candle Image
More relaxed wife. More relaxed life.

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