Friday, June 16, 2017

Reflecting on Fatherhood This Father's Day

I never really knew that I was ready to be a dad until it happened. Sure, you think you're prepared. You read the books and you do the research, but you truly don't realize how much your life is no longer your own until that moment. To someone who is a non-parent, that line of reasoning sounds horrifying. My life isn't my own? Who would sign up for that? That's a valid concern and something that kept me nervous about having a kid right up to the moment my amazing wife delivered our son Jack. But something happened in the days and weeks following the delivery, a change that happens so suddenly but also without much fanfare. Something clicked after seeing my son, this little, perfect being and I went into dad mode. Instantly, my life was about making sure this little one received the best care and attention to make sure he had the best life he could possibly have.

It's not all clear sailing though, and that's ok. We've had our ups and downs like any new parents would. It's a big change to go to the hospital without a kid and come home with one. Breastfeeding woes, sleepless nights, and other such troubles were a common site in our house, but we got through it. Thanks in part to the amazing bond my wife and I have with the synergy we use to get things done and because we had a great kid. Before you know it though, your little baby is no longer a baby and is now a toddler. The time flies by so fast it almost seems unreal. The days are long but the years are short and with my son just passing the 3 1/2 year mark, the years seem to be speeding up. It's with that realization that I try to step outside of my comfort zone and give my son the experiences that are so pivotal for a growing child.

Like most working parents, I spend a lot of my day at the office. Waking up early in the morning before the rest of the house is awake, coming home close to 5 when the day is beginning to wind down, it wears on you after a while. That's why I've found it's so critical to get away and do things outside of the house from time to time even when you might not want to. I would love to just sit on the couch on the weekend and vegetate, and sometimes I do, but finding a balance of events and relaxation is pivotal to a happy family. Recently my family and I went to Sedona, Arizona for a trip. If anyone knows me, Sedona, AZ is probably the last place I would want to go because I'm not the most outdoorsy person. But on this trip I made an effort to do things I wouldn't normally do to give my son some once in a lifetime experiences he can look back on. We went on a desert trip to an ancient ruin and even took a hike through some of the red rocks in the area. All in all, it was an amazing time, and while it may not have been my first pick for an outdoor excursion, it was certainly something I am proud to say I was present for with my son.

The trips you take don't have to be grand excursions to natural wonders of the world. The events you schedule can be local and really just revolve around giving your child time. It's hard sometimes, I'm more than aware of that, but slicing out time is our obligation as parents because they won't be little forever. The memories they make today will last a lifetime and they'll look back on them fondly. Recently, we took our son to his first baseball game and I'm pretty sure we made a fan for life (even though he was more interested in the Oriole's mascot than the actual game.) Having family dinners and going out on the weekend instead of sitting on the couch do wonders for not only your child's nap but also for the bonding time you have with them. Family vacations are also a great time to get away from work, put your cell phone down, and just focus on the most important aspect of your life - your family.

Every father's day since I have become a father, I have looked back fondly on the previous years of my life and cherish all of the memories I have made. I wouldn't be here with these memories and fond thoughts without my son though. So, it's with that I say #ThanksBaby for making me a dad. Thank you for making me want to better myself so that I can be the best father you could ask for. You and your mother give me strength through the toughest obstacles life has given me and I know that I will always come out the other side ok because I have you two by my side. Thank you for helping me step out of my comfort zone and want to show your young, but brilliant mind the wonders of the world. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to when I come home from a long day at work - that "Daddy!" yell and a big hug. Thank you for making your mother and I parents and allowing us to do everything we do for you. Finally, thank you for just being you.

These thoughts are always on my mind, but it's always nice to be able to put them down in a post. Thanks to the fine folks over at Life of Dad and Pampers , I was given the chance to describe exactly what I'm thankful for. Because with the term #ThanksBaby, I'm not just thanking my child for something he did, I'm also thanking him for making me a dad. Because when a baby is born, a father is also born and the role of father is my most important job in this world.

As a father, it's important to show the world that pivotal role we play in our children's upbringing. So it's always great to see companies who understand that dads are parents too. One company that understands this more than most is Pampers. With their #ThanksBaby campaign, dads take time to thank their little ones for the most important things in their life - their children. Pampers has been with my family since my son was born. He wore Pampers in the hospital and continues wearing them through today with his nighttime Easy Ups (just for accidents.) It's always great to see a company that you think so highly of looking out for something so dear to your heart, active fatherhood. If you haven't seen it already, check out their #ThanksBaby video below and think of some ways you can thank your child for giving you the most important job in the world - the gift of fatherhood.


*I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion.

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