Well just to be up front with everyone, there will only be a small amount of money talk in this article. With Father’s Day this weekend, I spent some time jotting down thoughts I have had about being a parent for the last 16 months. Hopefully it doesn’t get too sappy and cheesy for everyone, but I enjoyed writing it. Sometimes it is good to just smile at all the great things you currently have in your life, instead of worrying about money and financial math 24/7.
We have the coolest 16-month-old boy ever. He is happy, hilarious, and full of wild energy. He was lucky enough to get his mother’s eyes, smarts, and his grandpa’s killer dimples. Unfortunately, he was also given our pasty white skin tone and my stiff dancing hips. I call his dance moves more of a standing seizure. Chip off the old block…
Becoming a parent is expensive. If you want to read more about the budgeting and money aspects of children then go and read this article. Otherwise, prepare to read a bit more of my thoughts on being a dad, and some little tricks I learned along the way!
Being a dad is challenging and stressful in so many ways. I have had to work on my patience and have a long way to go I am sure. In the end, knowing I won’t be perfect and will screw up have helped me to calm my nerves and be a better parent.
Fatherhood is also the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have ever had the opportunity to do. Nothing beats coming home from work and having your child run to you with a cheeky grin and hug you. Teaching them that a badger will claw your face off and a skunk has stinky toots makes for some of the best laughs. Hearing your child giggle uncontrollably while you tickle them is a sound that will stick with you forever, always bringing a smile to your face.
All of those moments have created the big ‘why’ in our finances. We have chosen to have less ‘stuff’ around our house, budget smarter, and save to become financially independent sooner rather than later. All of those special moments cost zero dollars to create. Having the money to be retired early allows us to have the time to make more of those memories.
Read Also: The Art of Living a Minimalism-ish Lifestyle
Lastly, huge shout out to my beautiful wife. She is definitely the anchor to our newfound craziness. Now there are two wild boys that like to create messes all over the house (three if you count our furry boy). She is definitely the voice of reason and referee to the madness. She is the queen of our castle for sure.
Watching her with our boy is also a wonderful sight. I don’t know how she manages to take such good care of me and our son while working full-time and handling the rest of life. She is a natural, and I definitely try to emulate so many of her amazing traits when it comes to parenting. One of our big goals is to have her work part-time this fall, to spend more time raising our son. She is the smarter one of us as well, so our son will learn actual science and life skills, instead of the names of all the members of RUSH.
Dad Tricks I Have Learned
I may have only been doing this for 16 short months, but I feel like I have learned some handy tricks along the way. They are far from ‘conventional’, but nothing really is when you have your own child. You figure it out along the way, and once you have it figured out, the rules change. Hopefully these little bits of wisdom help.
How to Keep up with Sports
When your baby is little, it is still great to read them bed time stories and create a routine. When our son was real small, this happened during hockey and football season. It is tough to keep up with your favorite sports teams on top of parenting, so I would read the news every night out loud to my son before bed.
We read all about how great the Nebraska Cornhuskers and New York Rangers are, and I was able to keep up with my teams while figuring out parenting. I was able to discuss the teams’ current situations with my son while he slept. I was always right. Eventually we mixed in books about colors and numbers, but I am not above printing out these stories and reading them to my son as he gets older.
Real Music is better than Lullabies
I don’t know for sure if playing music to your child in the womb makes them a genius, but damnit I gave it one heck of a try. I love music, but quite frankly can’t stand 99% of the lullabies that are out there. Holy cow some of them are rough.
Instead of playing these lullabies I couldn’t stand I just played things I enjoyed. When your baby is little, they don’t know curse words anyway, so throw on some Jay-Z or Nelly. At bedtime, just switch it up to a little bit softer music. Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, and acoustic Jack White still put our kid to sleep.
Bonus Tip: If you use lullabies, then Rockabye Baby (affiliate link) is the best thing out there. They take classic songs and popular artists and turn their songs into music only lullabies. Genius idea. Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and so many others are available. These lullabies will definitely help put the baby to sleep and you can sing along quietly to your favorite songs.
Clean the Bottles and Bottle Parts
No questions asked on this one. Just handle this chore and everyone is happier. Especially if your wife is breastfeeding and pumping at work. That is a giant pain in the ass for them and you are the breastless asshole that doesn’t help with keeping the milk stockpile up.
It isn’t a hard job, but one that is tedious and takes time. It is another daily chore on top of everything else parents do. Dads can really help by just doing this at night before you go to bed so they are dry and ready to go in the morning.
Buy Toys You Would Play With
This is one of the best parts of being a parent. You get to play with kid’s toys and not be made fun of if others see you. I bought Legos (affiliate link) in advance of my son playing with them so we had plenty to build giant towers like we do together now.
We also purchased a mini basketball hoop and hockey net before our son was born. I can now shoot hoops in the living room while everyone is asleep, just like the good ole college days.
There are also a ton of new fun STEM toys. Kids definitely have it pretty good these days with all of the fun coding toys that I would have enjoyed as a child. There is nothing wrong with the basic puzzles and Disney toys, but why not get some fun use out of it as well.
Take Pictures non-stop
I bought the largest memory card my Android phone could hold. I also bought a great Olympus camera to be able to take better pictures than my phone. After that, I bought 4 memory cards for that camera.
I try to take pictures and videos of my child every day. Currently there are over 5000 pictures on my phone, 90% baby, 5% dog, and 5% Henrik Lundqvist. That is on top of the few thousands baby and family pictures on my computer. They are only little once and I don’t want to miss a moment. My mom did a great job of making albums showing how we grew up, and they are a blast to look at when we are all together.
My mother and father both marvel at the camera technology of today. They had nothing more than an old Kodak and a Polaroid camera for pictures. Each of them have said multiple times they wish they could have taken more pictures of me and my sister with the technology of today.
I don’t know if this post really solves anything or provides much value. Hopefully people enjoy reading that fatherhood story as much as I loved writing it. Since this is my blog, I figured I can do what I want and write a more personal article from time to time. If you are still reading, thanks for sticking it out and I hope you learned something along the way. Let me know if you loved or hated this type of post.
I have enjoyed being a father more than I could have dreamed. I have grown as a person and learned so much in a short amount of time. With proper preparation, if you are having thoughts of becoming a parent, I say go for it.
Please spam my comments with other awesome Dad Hacks! Have you tried any of mine as well? Feel free to also brag on your children! I enjoy talking about parenting with other parents. When I was younger, I swore I would never become ‘that guy’ that bragged on their kid. Well things change I guess.