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.
Story time is almost often the most peaceful time of my week. You sit there with your kid bouncing on your knee while everyone sings wheels on the bus, the itsy bitsy spider, and the librarian reads a few books aloud. It’s a great way to get your child out of the house and it’s for me, it’s oddly relaxing. From my experience, the kids are smiling, fully engaged and the babies rarely seem to cry or fuss. At the conclusion of story time, they usually bring out a box of toys. The good libraries clean and wipe down the baby toys, but I still recommend using a baby wipe to wipe down your child’s hands before and after each session. Keep an eye out for the monthly event calendar as many of the libraries have family programming or story hour sessions during flexible times, including after work.
Family restrooms are generally ubiquitous in libraries, airports and many public spaces, but they can be hard to spot if you’ve spent your life ignoring them. Going into a family restroom allows you privacy and quiet while you change your baby at your own pace. Remember, even though it says family restroom, you can still enter if it’s just you and the child. The reason this is important is that since men’s restrooms often have changing pads, you might never think about using the family restroom. Family restrooms generally are less noisy and let’s just say… they have a more pleasant smell than a large public restroom. Additionally, family restrooms often have a seat that you can strap your toddler into if you really need to go yourself and have no other option.
Unconscious Bias Check: Look at the image above. Do you notice something off about the sign with the changing pad? Do you notice that it is showing the image of (only) a mother changing the child. I’ve changed my daughter dozens of times when I am outside of the house and I felt a major anxiety about it because it just seems like something men normally don’t do.
While this tip might seem obvious, I want you to think about it. If you are alone with your child and they need to be changed, which sign would you choose? With so much going on, how quickly would you process that the picture of a woman in a skirt changing her child is also a place that you can go to. While many family restroom signs feature a man, woman a child, sometimes you have to fight through those moments where the world simply forgets that you’re capable. I hope you remember this tip and that you have a great traveling experience with your child.
When the family is preparing to head out and you are scrambling to grab the right toys, put the baby in the car seat/stroller, find the blanket, wipe up the unexpected spit up, it’s easy to lose track of time. In order to arrive at your destination at a reasonable time, plan for an hour of prep time before you leave.
Article: Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations
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
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.
Every day I wake up and ask myself “how other parents do it”. There are parents out there who have children with special needs, complicated family and/or housing relationships, have a variety of other parenting challenges, but they persist and make it work. Their situation does not compare to mine, I have the luxury of time, a loving and supporting partner and only one child. I also have family and friends who take their time to provide support. Despite all of this, I am still tired and I do not know what tomorrow brings. From the daily stress to the challenges of finding quality childcare, parenting is not easy in general. I have tons of bad days.
I write these tips as if I “know” what I’m doing, but so many of the things I’ve put together are a combination of what I’ve stumbled upon, or what other people have shared. I just decided to sit down and write them out… and the truth is, there are times where I forget my own advice…
True Story: Our daughter is moving around the house and shouting, with her arms straight back “Naruto Run” style. My wife is putting away the food as I leave my plate on the table.
My Wife: Can you grab your plate and wash it
Myself: I’m watching her. She’s going to run into something. How am I supposed to watch her and get the dish at the same time?
My Wife: Oh I don’t know, didn’t you write a tip about this?
Myself: (thinking that she’s making fun of me) – Ha. Very Funny.
My Wife: It was the first piece of dad advice you ever gave.
Myself: Oh dang. I can use the baby carrier to hold her.
My Wife: You literally made that tip number ONE.
I make mistakes all of the time and my daughter keeps me busy and it can be hard to keep up, especially when we’re traveling and she decides to stay awake for the entire plane or train ride.
I suppose the one thing that works for me is that when I am tired or stressed out, and I feel like my energy level is low and that I just can’t take it anymore, I calmly say , “I’m going to make this 1 percent better.” It sounds dumb, but I feel like making that moment just… one percent better with a smile or playtime, or a game can have a snowball effect that leads to future calm. Even if that moment to relax is in the form of a more restful night’s sleep or one less headache, or a momentary reduction in stress. Focusing on the ability to become slightly better can be the self-fulfilling prophecy of happiness. It doesn’t always work, but in a moment where I feel like I have no answers, I feel like it gives me a chance to take control of uncertain situations.
What strategies do you use when you’re facing parenting stress?
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.Tweet