Summer has officially made itself known to most or all of the country at this point. Here in Virginia, we’ve already seen a blitz of weather advisories alerting us to heat indexes soaring into the 110º range.
With the kids out of school, my wife and I tend to break up the monotony of the day by planning an activity to get them out of the house to expel that contained energy. We rotate through the pool, the parks, the zoo and the beach…but with temperatures like that, it’s often more comfortable to stay inside and relish in the comforts of conditioned air. We enjoy the library, the indoor trampoline parks, the restaurants with attached playgrounds, and museums.
9 times out of 10, if we don’t have the kids engaged in a summer day camp or in our planned daily activity, we find them huddled en masse in their bedrooms or playroom – inevitably holding their second-hand cell phones, tablets or glued to the television holding video game controllers.
We’ve set certain standards and enforced rules. We’ve outlined a number of responsibilities and chores that the kids must accomplish before they’re allowed to get online. And we’ve even installed a device that allows us (the parents) to control wi-fi access on an individual basis, setting start-stop times and giving us the upper hand to ‘shut it all down’ as punishment for fighting, etc.
We have gone to great lengths to control their presence online, yet here I am, staring at the screen on my computer. And later, I’ll be checking my phone to stay current on social media posts or perhaps using my tablet to secretly play war games that I’ve downloaded.
The reality is that I’m sort of a hypocrite. I’m focusing a ton of energy towards lording over the kids screen time, when it feels like I AM THE ONE that could use a little bit of moderation.
It couldn’t be a better time to commit myself to taking the Xfinity Mobile ‘Phone Cleanse’.
The Cleanse highlights the love-hate relationship that most of us probably have with our mobile device. Our phones are simultaneously the most important tools in our lives, but they’re also a point of frustration.
We rarely stop to take a moment and rethink the relationship that we have with these devices. This is an attempt to do just that.
Over the next week, I’m going to be taking the 7-day Phone Cleanse and sharing with you some of my thoughts about the steps, but also how it’s altered my perception of how I use my mobile device.
If you’re interested in joining me, drop a comment below or in my social share and I can have a hard copy of the book sent to you (limited copies)!
Were you aware that the average person has 100 apps on their phone, yet only uses 9 each day? When reading that, I thought ‘there’s no way that I have that many apps on my phone’. Upon further investigation, I currently have 117 apps. DUDE.
All the more reason for me to call this DAY 1. The first step in this cleanse is to delete 10 apps that I either don’t use or can’t live without. Aside from the obvious storage space that this clears up, it also means that I’m holding a more efficient and streamlined device.
It wouldn’t be sustainable to delete 10 apps every day from your phone, but once you’ve trimmed the fat, consider setting a calendar reminder once a month to take inventory. Or perhaps think about going app-for-app, deleting one every time you add one.
As this first step goes – it’s wasn’t painful at all. In fact, I’ve got that feeling like I just left the barber shop with a fresh cut – light and airy. So I’ve only got six days to go towards being able to approach each phone interaction with more purpose.
I might even bring my kids into the fold on this one…we can rejuvenate together – haha! To access the online version of the cleanse, find it HERE.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was a sponsored post on behalf of Xfinity Mobile and its Phone Cleanse campaign, however, the mobile freedom is all mine. Access a copy of the cleanse HERE. And for more information on Xfinity Mobile, check them out HERE.
Back in 2010, I found myself transitioning out of one career and into the role of ‘primary caregiver’ or ‘stay-at-home’ dad. I felt as if I had lost my way and had trouble wrapping my head around how changing diapers might ever be associated with saving the world. I didn’t see my role as having any consequence as it related to the family, the community, or the world.
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Historically, we’ve generally associated them with chiseled physiques, mystical powers, flashy suits or extraordinary weapons or vehicles. They leap from tall buildings, dangle over the depths of danger and heroically face adversaries head-on.
Not many people know about ‘Marshmallow Vision’, much like heat vision, but much sweeter.
They have superhuman strength and durability, speed, elasticity, protective powers or possibly transmogrification. The same qualities that were found in Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack – the Disney Pixar superhero family that makes their sequel debut on June 18th.
The fun part about Incredibles 2 is that they’ve found an intersection where the surreal has met real life. This time around, it’s Mr. Incredible’s turn to take care of things at home, while Elastigirl fights the evils of the world.
It’s not that far of a cry from where my wife and I stood 8 years ago, switching roles, adapting to survive and protect and provide for our kids.
Back then, I had trouble finding the value in what I was doing. Even with family and close friends repeatedly reminding me that I was doing one of the most important jobs there was – I wasn’t buying it.
How was dropping off and picking up kids at school anything other than an annoying, laborious chore? Why did wiping down the counters with Clorox® Disinfectant Wipes or doing the dishes constitute a bronze statue of my bust being erected in the town square? What superpower was required to bleach everyone’s old t-shirts?
The reality is that running a household is no easy business and takes the ambition of a superhero. Maintaining a healthy and clean environment at home inspires kids to stay focused and organized throughout their day. Whether it’s packing lunches, keeping track of sports practices, helping with homework or scrubbing down the railings, walls and toilet seats with Clorox® – these tasks put you into the category of a superhero.
Is this what I signed up for?
Perhaps that’s not how we perceive ourselves, but I’d bet that it’s the light your kids see you in. And every now and again, we need to acknowledge and recognize those role models for what they are.
That’s why I’ve teamed up with Disney/Pixar and Clorox® to celebrate our champion guardian protectors by giving them (you) a shot at winning a trip to NYC to see the coolest sights in the city and go on a super shopping spree at The Disney Store in Times Square. Twenty-five (25) first-prize winners will receive an Incredibles 2 prize pack. Visit HERE to enter (you can enter every day) or text the word ‘BIGCITY’ to 347639! Message and data charges may apply.
So puff up your chest, get that running start and leap into fighting crime and grime! Because when a clean home comes first, what comes next is Incredible.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Clorox and the ‘Incredibles 2’ campaign, however the grime-fighting is all mine. For more information on them click HERE, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Becoming a parent isn’t always the smoothest ride. Yes, it’s often filled with wonderful experiences that are capable of putting an endless smile on your face, however, there are also moments that can eat away at your confidence and ultimately challenge your resolve.
When we decided to try and conceive baby #3, we had several friends who didn’t understand our desire to have a larger family… “Why tempt fate? You already have two healthy kids.” Although we never believe that your odds get worse of having a child with complications, we knew we had been blessed and with each pregnancy we’ve counted our lucky stars as the organs developed and things were checked off the healthy list.
When my wife was in her third trimester, we had one of those ultrasounds you never want. “He has a large tumor on his left kidney.”
These words left us stunned and, as it was nearing 5 pm and the fetal medicine facility they referred us to was already closed for the day, left us scrambling via Dr. Google for answers.
Thankfully, those concerns were relatively short-lived as, after our follow-up appointment the next morning, we were told that there was no tumor, rather that our unborn son likely had “three kidneys” otherwise known as one healthy kidney on one side and a dual collection system on the right.
When we told the news to our family we were really surprised to hear about the number of people in Jen’s side of the family who have struggled with this very issue. The upside was there was no tumor, but the downside was that it likely meant a daily low-dose of antibiotics for the first couple years of life.
So for three years, the one constant was that Mason took Bactrim (an antibiotic used to stave off possible kidney infections)…every single day. And at the point in which we were ready to stop, he had one final procedure.
Just like most of you, I love hanging photos (especially Fracture!) around the house that remind us of memorable trips that we took together. I enjoy seeing a daily reminder of the laughter and love that we’ve shared, but I feel like only showing one side of the journey isn’t fair.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the hard times – the obstacle overcome – to keep us in check, to know just how blessed we are.
Getting through those challenges together is what a family is all about. Managing the hand that you’re dealt and coming out victorious is worth a daily reminder. It encourages us to stay strong and embrace the times ahead.
It makes that next excursion together so much sweeter. To celebrate that next ‘memory in the making’, this Father’s Day, I’ve partnered up with my friends at Fracture to spread the word about an amazing vacation giveaway.
Simply visit the link above, enter a few pieces of key information in the short form and then post one of your favorite family moments together on Instagram using the #FocusOnMoments hashtag and consider yourself in the running for a $2500 SouthWest airlines credit and $1,500 Hotels.com voucher that will certainly allow you get you one step closer to crossing an item off of your bucket list.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads out there, count your blessings and live each day as if it were your last.
Camping is something that I’ve grown up with. Whether it be popping a $30 tent in the backyard of my childhood home or something as ambitious as driving to a nearby Appalachian Trailhead with the Scouts, I loved it’s simplicity.
During my adolescence – it was about surviving in the wild, fishing for our dinner and starting our own campfire. We had little more than a sleeping bag and a mess kit. My canteen was a clearance sale acquisition from the local Army Navy store.
As a moved to California in my 20’s, camping took on another identity. It was an opportunity to let loose and spend time outdoors with friends, while indulging in many, many frosty beverages. There were too many weekend escapes to Joshua Tree National Park which I’ll never forget.
My wife and I have carried that love for the outdoors into our marriage. In fact, we split our honeymoon into two trips – one was a week-long cruise to Bermuda (her choice) and the other was a week spent deep in Sequoia National Park.
These days, my camping experiences are limited to a once-a-year excursion to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with all the men in our extended family. It’s a tradition that happens each year, the day after Christmas. We trudge several miles upwards in bone-chilling temperatures to spend a night or two at the top of the amazing Mount LeConte.
As our family continues to grow, the opportunity to get outside and go camping becomes more and more complicated and unfortunately, less frequent. Whether it be juggling birthday parties, sports schedules or simply the magnitude of packing to take a family of six into the wilderness – those excursions are few and far between.
However, I’ve recently found a place that makes it a little bit easier to get out and enjoy nature – Jellystone Parks Camp-Resorts. With 84 locations across the United States, there was bound to be one close to my backyard. And I was right. In fact, there were 4 in Virginia alone.
We decided to explore one of the oldest in the franchise, only 40 miles from us in a little coastal town called Hayes. This Jellystone sits on the beautiful Severn River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay and is full of things for EVERYONE in the family to do.
From tent camping, to RV camping, boating, kayaking and fishing to a mini-water park, gem mining station, jump pad and more – we barely had a minute to catch our breath.
It just so happens that Jellystone Parks Camp-Resorts is sponsoring an awesome sweepstakes which will run until 11:59pm on June 10, 2018 and is giving away a 7-day/6-night trip to the Jellystone of your choice. They want to hear about YOUR camping hacks. The best one may get you a week in the wild!
My camping hacks generally lean towards the culinary side. Check out this video below to see my top three!
One of our hacks below should look pretty darn familiar!
Our Memorial Day weekend on Gloucester Point had us facing temperatures in the upper 90’s and the water park certainly grabbed our attention.
Perhaps it was because we visited on a holiday weekend, but one of the things that my wife and I noticed the most, was the sense of community. Families had made their individual RV or camping sites into little outdoor living spaces – huddled around the most important part (IMO) of the experience – the campfire. Lights and tiki torches dotted the landscape, along with stars and stripes hanging from dozens of golf carts.
As high winds and heavy thunderstorms rolled across the point around dusk, neighbors in the campground were hustling back and forth, offering help to one another – certainly reinvigorating my sense of humanity.
I had forgotten how quickly kids can become friends and how much fun they shared in common discoveries, as we took a pool break, took a ride on the old fire truck and mined for fossils and gems.
There’s nothing quite like getting your kids to put down their tablets and devices and engage with the world around them.
As the sun set on Virginia’s shoreline, we ate, laughed and I even taught the kids how to play ‘war’ with a deck of playing cards…all before retiring to the comfort of our home away from home.
I encourage you to visit a Camp Jellystone in your area and in the meantime, visit their sweepstakes and tell them about your camping hacks – maybe that visit will be free!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Jellystone Parks Camp-Resorts, however the good times outside are all ours! For more on Jellystone, check them outHERE, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When my wife and I got married almost ten years ago, we had planned a ‘large’ family. We “planned” as much as anyone could possibly have any sort of control over it, that is.
We tossed around the idea of having three, four, or five children spaced about 2 to 2 1/2 years apart each. For inquiring minds, she wanted four or five, I thought about three, and here we are with a nice even four. We’ve decided that four is our magic number.
It feels as if our family is perfectly balanced with two little girls and two little boys, and we feel very blessed and complete.
The first three came one after the other, not allowing us any of the fun or the “practice” phase of trying to conceive. Each time like clockwork, as soon as my wife said “alright let’s practice!” the bun was, as they say, not just in the oven but already rising. Pun intended.
A New Addition
Having said that, our newest addition, Evelyn, who was just born this past April, weighed in at a teensy and petite 5 pounds 9 ounces.
In the four and a half years between child number three and four, we started donating baby clothes, we gave away some redundant baby items, and we enjoyed a certain level of freedom from baby-proofing.
Free from the shackles of baby gates, outlet covers, corner cushions, oven locks… those had all gone the way of the garbage bin. Blessed is the day that I don’t have to read a manual to get the toilet open when I’m in panic mode.
Beyond that, we did keep the cleaning products and Tide laundry supplies stored high and out of sight.
Even though my wife and I were completely ready for the arrival of Evelyn (we have so many kids it’s all just white noise now) it hit us like a ton of bricks that we were gonna have to ‘lock it down’ all over again before she starts moving around. Since we’ve only lived in our house for just over a year, we were going to have to start this plan from scratch.
We’ll focus on the common rooms in the house and certainly lock up the cleaners, etc. under the sinks, but one of the most important places in the house is the laundry room. We’ll move everything back up high – room air fresheners, batteries, stain removers and our never-ending stash of Tide Pods with the patented Child-Guard tubs and/or zip bags. We’ve used Tide ever since I was a kid growing up in rural Pennsylvania It’s never let us down, always able to drive those nasty farmhand stains out of my jeans and white t-shirts. The Tide PODS make it even easier to do laundry…especially with six of us in the house now.
These days, the stain-fighting and scent-boosting power is even stronger and so is the thought and design behind packaging that will keep my kids out of trouble. Life gets hectic sometimes (can you imagine if we would’ve had FIVE kids?!?) but I can find comfort in Tide’s Child-Guard design.
It feels like everywhere you turn as a parent, you’ve got to be concerned with the safety of your children. When it comes to safety, Tide is curious what kind of parent you are? They developed a short quiz with a few different safety situations that parents will be all too familiar with – from the first time using a babysitter to dressing the kiddos for the beach.
Take the QUIZ and let us know what safety style you are in the comments! Not bragging or anything – but I’m a cheetah!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored campaign on behalf of Proctor & Gamble and Tide, however the dirty clothes and baby-proofing are unfortunately all mine. For more on Tide Pods and their Child-Guard technology, check them out HERE, on Facebook and Twitter.
Back when Ava was first born, we had TONS of new clothes. Everyone was hooking us up — friends, family, colleagues, even companies that wanted to work with my brand. She had so many new, clean clothes that within those first three years, multiple people told us that they’d never seen her in the same outfit twice.
I always brushed that off as being a major overstatement, but there was no denying that we had a gaggle of clothes. Never knowing if we’d be blessed with another baby girl, as Ava grew out of her wardrobe, we packed it away in bins and stored it in the basement or attic until we knew that our family was complete.
Following Ava, having two boys back-to-back meant clothes never got put away for later use. They just moved from Charlie’s room straight into Mason’s dresser and then either passed along to my nephews or launched into this weird pile that my wife had called ‘save-til-we-make-a-baby-clothes-quilt.’
The bottom line was that we never truly saw all of the baby girl clothes in one place until we got pregnant with baby #4 and little Evelyn, our wished-for blessing, became a welcomed reality.
My wife went on a nesting rager super early and was excited to pull out all of Ava’s old clothes to prepare them for another little girl, and I can’t lie—it was a really cute trip down memory lane.
Looking at the different outfits struck an emotional chord with me, taking me back to specific ‘moments’ in time in which we’d bonded as father and daughter. The same applies to some of my boys clothes. Just a simple glimpse of them returns me to the times where we bonded and cuddled on the sofa in front of the TV on movie night. The scent still gets me, too. According to a recent survey conducted by Dreft, 94% of parents say that the Dreft smell reminds them of baby AND 8 out of 10 parents feel that using Dreft can make them feel more bonded with their baby…so it makes sense – I’m not crazy.
Knowing that our little girl is our last planned baby, making time for those bonding moments is especially important to me. I want to ensure that I have a strong connection and bond with my fourth child as I did with all of my children so having that familiar baby like smell of Dreft on her clothes and fabrics while I’m away makes me feel more connected to her.
The excitement of becoming a dad again was building and the added estrogen would level the playing field. What I wasn’t prepared for was JUST. HOW. MANY. CLOTHES.
I’m not talking about two or three trash bags, I’m talking about TWELVE, 36-gallon plastic bins packed to the rim with onesies and tutus. Some still with the tags on.
Talk about a monumental chore. I’m not sure you can fully appreciate how easily breast milk can destroy a wardrobe, but when you combine that with the muskiness of heated plastic…UGH.
Slowly… Jen started the process of unpacking and prepping everything, using a bit of bleach on the tougher stains and some old fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch soap that helped get all of the nastiness out and restore the clothes to their perfect condition.
But when she was done, bright white as they were, THEY REEKED. Like chemicals. Like bleach. And NOT like a baby.
We both realized pretty quickly that this wasn’t the way we wanted our baby girl to experience her head-start as a pint-sized fashionista and set out to help infuse that amazing “baby scent” back into her wardrobe.
This is where Dreft baby detergent entered the equation. We knew we had to re-wash the clothes following our bleach experiment and we wanted the clothes and her to smell like a baby in that iconic way that only Dreft can…
For more than 80 years, Dreft detergent has been around exclusively for babies, to take care of their delicate clothes and fabrics. We wanted to make sure she had hypoallergenic products up against her likely-to-be-sensitive newborn skin and how can you go wrong with the #1 dermatologist recommended for baby clothes and the #1 pediatrician-recommended baby detergent? Not to mention, Dreft’s iconic scent will help us extend and remind us of this “baby time” as Evelyn grows into her toddler years.
Jen and I have decided that baby Evelyn would be our final planned pregnancy, so we’ve both set out to really enjoy these special baby moments and bond more than ever. We are just relishing in the smells of newborn and Dreft helped us get to the finish line. I want a connection with Evelyn that is just as strong as with my other children and when I smell the familiar baby scent of Dreft it gives that confidence that everything is going to work out just fine.
The bottom line is… those friends were right—we really never put Ava in the same outfit twice, and looking at now Evelyn’s closet—this is the first 12 months and it doesn’t even include what is in her dresser. I’m just looking forward to unloading some of this madness as she grows out of it—while at the same time cherishing the sweet baby time and that familiar scent that will always put a smile on my face.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dreft detergent and their #TheSmellofBabyhood campaign. For more information, check them out HERE, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When my wife and I first started dating, we talked a lot about our expectations for the size of family we might have. I grew up with two siblings, so the number ‘3’ seemed natural to me. She, on the other hand, always envisioned ‘5’ as her magic number. As we all know, marriage is full of compromise, so we settled on 4.
‘Settled’ probably isn’t the best word to describe where we ended up. We’re ‘Grateful’ and feel ‘blessed’ to have finally completed our family, as it wasn’t always the smoothest road. With our first three kids, getting pregnant barely took one ‘date night’. My potency probably should’ve been documented by the top medical journals. After Mason was born, it took us over 20 months of trying to conceive, before we finally got the good news.
As a lot of you know, my wife suffered a miscarriage during that pregnancy towards the end of the first trimester. Unfortunately, a lot of couples go through this emotional experience, sometimes multiple times and rarely do we opt to talk openly about it. My wife shared her experience on the blog in ‘The Light that Shines Through the Darkness’.
It took both of us a long time to find peace with that moment, and another 8 very long months trying to conceive afterwards. After over two years of trying, we were worried that every month that went by with a negative EPT meant that we were both getting older and the reality of having one more baby started drifting further away.
The Big News…
It was on Labor Day (ironic enough?) of 2017 that we finally saw a positive result on the pregnancy test. I’ll admit that that first trimester was one of the most nerve-wracking and anxiety-ridden times of our lives. We approached each and every day with optimism, but I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a little piece of me (or her) that was fearful of the other shoe dropping. It was only after we had gotten past the first trimester, that we released the breath that we’d been holding in for weeks.
At that very same time, I got a phone call from a publishing house in Berkeley, California. They were vetting writers for an idea they had. In looking across the literary landscape, they had identified a lack of resources for the expecting father. Yes, there are a handful of great books out there, but clearly they felt like there was room for one more. I spent an hour on the phone with them, explaining how I came to write this blog. I detailed my experiences as an expectant father and how that lack of available resources brought me to create ‘Dad or Alive’.
We hadn’t even told our families about the baby yet, but I felt compelled to tell them about our latest journey, struggle and eventual success. Perhaps it was some sort of divine intervention or just shit luck – that I’d get the opportunity to write a book about pregnancy, all while living through it on the other side of the page.
In the months following, I worked on a marketing campaign that ran parallel with the efforts of an incredible team of execs, creatives, artists, illustrators and one hell of an editor, Kim.
With both ‘buns’ in the oven – all we could do was sit back and wait for their delivery.
As luck would have it, the birth of our child and the debut of my book would occur in the same week. On one hand, the timing couldn’t be worse. I’d be publishing social content at a feverish pace, working multiple angles to help increase exposure – all from the questionable hospital wifi of labor, delivery and recovery. On the other hand, the timing couldn’t be better. I’d have no lack of pregnancy and baby content to use as a way in to talking about the book.
So which one arrived first?
Evelyn Mae was born at 1pm on 4/20 (chances are in her favor that she’ll be a pothead), coming in at a teensy 5 pounds, 9 ounces.
After spending the weekend in the hospital with family in town to visit and celebrate, we pulled into the driveway at home on Monday morning.
The very next day, the book was born and delivered to the doorstep of everyone who had made a pre-sales order. Thanks to everyone that supported my efforts! This book is a solid resource for every expectant dad. I break down all 40 weeks of pregnancy and include mom stats, baby stats, not-to-miss appointments and include simple and thoughtful calls-to-action – little things that dad can do to feel more connected to those nine months. It’s also got a glossary AND checklists at the end of each trimester, so if you pick up the book late in the game – you can dive right in and catch up. And last but not least, it comes equipped with full coverage of the fourth trimester – those three months of transition from the hospital to the house…buy the book HERE …
I’ve literally done all the homework for you, the only thing you need to do is freshen up, head out for date night and practice conceiving!
She probably thinks that I don’t notice, but I do. This Mother’s Day will probably be one of the toughest for my wife. It may seem silly to some, but I get it.
Up until a little over two weeks ago, Jen and I have been, for the most part, blessed with three healthy children. April 20th marked the birth of our fourth little wonder, a teeny tiny little girl that we named Evelyn. Aside from being very small, she’s in perfect health and for that, we are eternally grateful.
The only downside attached to this momentous life event is that we’ve decided that this is our last child. We feel as if she completes our family, two boys and two girls. PLUS, according to numerous sources, it will cost in upwards of $400k to raise a child today – so forgive me as I write this from the bathroom, sitting on the floor in the corner, drying my tears with the few dollars I have left.
There’s a bittersweet sadness that comes along with realizing that you’re doing something for the last time. It tugs at your heartstrings, especially when it comes to parenting. The trick is to never look at the glass half empty. The healthy thing to do is to slow down and appreciate those moments as you experience them.
Beyond that, the next best thing is to document those amazing times and display them as an ever-present reminder of how much love and laughter filled that place in time.
THAT is my focus this Mother’s Day. Find those moments and bring them back to life for mom.
Fracture is the company that got me all the way there.
With a tool on its’ website that allows you to either natively upload photos OR access your Instagram account – in just a few minutes, I went ahead and selected two handfuls of images that represent special moments in our lives.
I chose to go with squares (they also offer rectangles) in an effort to create an Instagram-themed wall arrangement – vivid pictures printed directly onto glass.
They come adhered to a soft cardboard-esque backing and mount with a drywall screw.
My wife loved this arrangement so much, that we’re adding another row and column! Strategically placed outside of our bedroom, it’s a great reminder every morning of how many incredible moments we’ve shared together since their birth.
It has a way of putting everything into perspective. If either of us wake up on the wrong side of the bed, this wall of moments allows us to reflect.
Whether it’s splashing in the tub, the joy of a holiday or making a heart with their hands on a lazy Saturday morning – it never fails to remind us about what really matters.
What are your favorite moments that you share as a family? Are they different then the moments that mom would chose?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was a sponsored campaign on behalf of Fracture, but the memories are all ours. Check them out HERE, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I don’t consider myself an expert on many things. In fact, I often confuse the idea of what it means to be an expert with what it means to be a connoisseur. I have the latter part down.
You wanna know about what your Hollandaise SHOULDN’T look like on that Sunday morning benedict? I got you.
You interested in which line of men’s boxer briefs has the longest shelf life or ‘burn rate’ before you start shredding holes where your leg meets your grundle? I’m your guy.
Need to know the only gas station chain along the mid-Atlantic that sells Wild Bill’s Tender Tips Beef Jerky? Boom, these are all too easy.
But what about an expert?
I mean, how exactly does someone even begin to consider themselves an ‘expert’? From where I sit, an expert is simply someone who does the same activity a bunch of times with a moderate level of success and has a handful of experiences in which shit goes sideways. Figuring out how to avoid kneeling in that ‘shit’ again and offering advice to the general public qualifies you as an expert in my book.
It just so happens that over the last few years, a handful of folks have introduced me as a parenting expert. And while I insist that each parent has their own style, their own way of doing things – I do have some opinions based on my experience as an expectant father – over the course of FOUR pregnancies.
Today marks 7 days shy of my second book being released. “We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook” is a weekly outline of mom and baby stats, combined with humor and those ‘sitting in the shit sideways’ anecdotes that evidently made someone think I might be qualified to offer advice on a global scale.
Not only are we a week out from my book debut, but my wife and I are 3 days away from welcoming a 4th child to our team of little people. I’ll be deployed on my final tour of duty in a labor/delivery and post-partum room at our local hospital and I had to dig deep to remember all of the little nuances that made my stay better each time…
7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Labor and Delivery:
Hospital Pillows Generally Suck: And that’s only if you manage to get one. Pillows are a hot commodity and you’d be best off taking your own head cushion from home, with a back up pillowcase in the event you get thrown up on.
Size Matters: You’re not spending the week in Cape Cod or at a work conference in Europe, pack like you need to haul that bag up a mountain. Only the necessities – plus, the closet is super small and there’s almost nowhere to store your bag when it’s not in use. This will become an issue when you have your entire extended family jammed into your room fighting over who gets to hold the baby (while sitting on YOUR lap thanks to the lack of seating).
Bribe Your Nurses: Our friend Michelle tuned us in to this a few years back: Don’t be afraid to put together a few little goodie packs for the nurses on staff – some snacks here, a dozen donuts there… they’ll take care of you on the inside.
There’s No Water in the Desert: You thought it was tough to get a refill at the Egg Bistro brunch last weekend? Don’t get caught in the cross-hairs of the driest air on Earth and the occasional Dixie cup of non-filtered water. Bring a case or two of your own bottled spring water.
Extra Large Ladies Underwear: I know, I know. There’s a time and a place for everything and you’re probably thinking that it’s not here or now. But the reality is that my wife didn’t realize she was going to be allergic to the standard-issue latex string mesh “underwear” that she wore during c-section recovery. Having to run out to Target at 10pm and buy several pair big enough to fit over the gauze pads or parachute over the South Pacific could’ve been avoided. Amazon Prime ahead!
Pediatrician Rights: Once you’ve decided on a pediatrician (ask friends and your doctor for referrals!), make sure that they have rights to the hospital you’re giving birth at – this way they can stop by during your stay to say hello, assess your new little bundle, and get you set up with those important first visits.
Take a Book: And not just any book, a guide crafted by yours truly. “We’re Pregnant!” is a book for dads-to-be, written by a dad who’s been. I break the pregnancy into 4 trimesters (with checklists), so I’ve also got your back for those first three months you’re at home trying to get acclimated.
“We’re Pregnant!” is currently available on Kindle and officially begins shipping out to homes on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Think ahead and grab your copy on pre-sale now: http://bit.ly/FirstTimeDadHandbook and bring it with you to the hospital.
Becoming a dad for the first time is a moment that I’ll never forget. For me, it was 2009 and unfortunately what should’ve been a connecting moment between me and my wife, was the exact opposite. For a majority of men, I’m sure that juncture in time – that instant in which you both looked at the EPT test or first received the results from the physician – carried notes of positivity, moments of rejoice, elation and celebration.
One of my biggest regrets as a husband and father-to-be, was that I wasn’t present for that ‘moment’. Even though getting pregnant was something that my wife and I had discussed, planned on and added to our calendars – my self-centered nature took the wheel. It’s amazing how many fucks I couldn’t give, how little I cared about anyone other than myself.
I stayed out really late the night before we could take our first test. And even though I DID catch a ride home that night – albeit 345am – my hope was that she’d forgotten about it. My hope was that she had slept in and neglected to take the test. But that wasn’t the case.
Missing that moment.
That morning, I didn’t get up (surprise!), so she took the early pregnancy test without me. Curiosity had gotten the best of her and with hindsight offering 20/20 vision, I completely understood.
For me, it was more important to sit by myself in a dark corner of the Improv on Melrose Avenue, watching and scouting young comedic talent as part of my job – something I did almost every night. It was more important for me to drink until I had triple vision and avoid the reality that would slap me in the face the moment I walked out the front door of the club.
Today, having that perfect vision that accompanies hindsight, I realize that I wasn’t mentally prepared to become a father. I was doing everything I could do to sidestep it. Why?? Because it took me out of my comfort zone. It meant that I would finally have to think about someone other than myself. I’d have to make sacrifices. I’d be faced with the challenge of cutting back on my late-night debauchery and spontaneous pursuit of reckless adventure, which even as a Newlywed, I continued to embrace.
As I’ve mentioned before over the last nine years of putting my life on the internet, I’m a creature of habit. I don’t always enjoy changing my routine, even though that ‘hindsight vision’ has proven to me time and again that stepping out of that comfortable zone generally results in bigger or better things.
I was afraid of failure. Afraid that I would fail as a father.
What did I know about leading by example? What did I know about caring for someone other than myself? Nothing. And it had me scared shitless.
Turning it around.
I’d be willing to wager that there are a lot of guys out there that are just like me when I was 33. Guys that just need a little bit of reassurance from a dad who has made it through to the other side. Someone to let them know that they’re not completely soulless – lacking human feelings and qualities.
We’re Pregnant! addresses and alleviates the stress first-time dads (and all dads who want to try it a different way) face through candid pregnancy guidance, including:
Week-specific pregnancy milestones so you’re not left wondering what’s happening, what’s going to happen, or what you should be doing during the pregnancy
Practical suggestions for supporting your partner’s changing needs during pregnancy and thereafter
Action-oriented goals that will support baby’s development, mom’s pregnancy experience, and the wellbeing of your relationship
Up-to-date information on “The Fourth Trimester” so you’re as prepared for the first months of baby’s life as you were during pregnancy
Even though I know I let my wife and myself down that day, I’ve spent the last nine years making up for it. I can count on one hand the number of prenatal appointments that I’ve missed through four pregnancies and I’ve made it my goal and responsibility to never let the weight of any pregnancy fall squarely on my wife’s shoulders.
I used to hear “women become mothers the moment they see two lines on that stick; men become fathers the first time they hold their baby in their arms…” It doesn’t need to be that way. And I’ve laid out a road map to help get us there.
EDITOR’S NOTE:“We’re Pregnant, The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook” is currently in pre-order phase on Amazon and will begin shipping out on April 24, 2018. This is an incredible resource for that dad-to-be in your life and also makes a great shower gift for the expecting couple! Thanks for checking it out and adding a copy to your library!