Over on my entrepreneur + tech blog, I post about an area I'm very familiar with: Technology & startups.
Now, I'm embarking on a much bigger challenge: Fatherhood.
Yep, I'm going to be a dad. Here's a picture of our daughter, who will be joining us sometime in late October 2013:
For now, we're calling her "Baby DROdio."
As my wife and I embark on this new chapter in life, I'm going to blog about it over here, on LifeWeTravel. I want to keep my other blog focused on lifehacking & tech, while focus here on family & travel.
I've never been a father before, so I'll be doing a lot of research to ramp up on it, and I'll be relying heavily on family & friends who have already been through it. I'd love to get your thoughts as comments on this blog. At the end of the day, I'll just have to hope that all my life experiences have prepared me to be a great dad.
So here's my first question for you: What does it take to be a great dad? Anyone have any advice?
Dan, I am *so* stoked for you guys! I've had an amazing time being a "startup dad" for the past 2 years and I hope you have a similar experience!
There is a quote I've heard in many contexts now that I'll co-opt for my purposes here. It goes like this :
"The best parent in the world is the one having the most fun."
You guys, I've noticed, tend to have fun doing whatever you are doing, even waiting in line for taxing at SXSW. :-) Try to carry that over to parenting. Babies and newborns are like little sponges, incredibly sensitive and perceptive to their environments, so just remember the incredible influence you can have them just with a smile or laugh or your voice.
There will be moments that feel truly overwhelming and even a little desperate (it's pretty amazing how these beautiful little beings can quickly convince you that you are the worst parent ever with their various protests) but I have found that you just have try to laugh at yourself a little bit, don't get too wrapped up in negative feelings and *just keep moving forward* through whatever challenge you might be having. Really, these moments are few and far between, but I think the right attitude can make it easier to get through them.
I've also found that being a parent is an opportunity be a kid again yourself! It's amazing how you can be transported back in time by watching your little one. You'll find yourself really appreciating all of the things your parents did for you growing up. This feeling has been so intense for me that for father's day this year I made this for my own father :
I guess I could go on for a while at a high level about all of it, but maybe we should do that over a beer!
A couple of specifics. The absolute best accessory we have is this backpack :
Orion *loves* being in this backpack and the places we can go with it. We live in a place that has amazing walking access to trails and parks and we take full advantage of that. So far I would say we average about 8 hours a week of just hiking around and trails and chilling out in parks, it's the best time ever. Just get one, use it, love it.
The other thing we have picked up (actually two of them now!) is this rocking recliner :
*Super* comfortable with the kiddos for reading, feeding, napping. Ariel loves it because she can be very comfortable for feeding and then fall asleep right in the chair. You're going to spend a lot of time with the kids in arms, so it's worth making sure you have comfortable spots to be.
And of course, I have a couple of apps that are pretty much indispensable. Pandora is of course amazing and really great for the kids.
The best white noise app :
Orion really loves the whole Peekaboo series of apps, they are great, he has learned a ton of words from them. Peekaboo forest has beautiful artwork :
Alright man, that's enough for now, like I said, I could go on and on and on. But it's best done over a beer. We have a group of Dad's that get together every month or so for "Daddy Hours" so let me know when you are "ready" and we'll get in you the loop.
Wow this is awesome and some great stuff to digest. I'm gonna check these links out with Sue. We've been talking a lot about carrying Baby DROdio around with us as much as possible, so the child-backpack looks like a must for us, too.
Definitely want to take you up on that beer :) I'll PM you to set up details.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on some other stuff we've been mulling over, like co-sleeping: http://lifewetravel.com/community/co-sleeping-anyone-have-an-opinion
I think you can research and read and talk and analyze and discuss (which I encourage and highly recommend) but then you have to throw all of that out the window and do what feels authentic and good to you. For every piece of advice someone gives, there will be a strong opposing opinion (backed up by graphs and charts and studies). You will mess up. We all do. Every moment is a new chance to start again. And while I encourage having a community with which to get help and vent, I just as strongly urge you to trust yourself. You have so much love to give and such a strong desire to be a good Daddy, I have no doubt you will be!
Thanks Carrie! Your blog about parenting has been incredible. For anyone who hasn't read it, I highly recommend it: http://rosebellesblog.blogspot.com I appreciate you providing your thoughts here. I'd love any additional thoughts you have on the same things I asked Corinne about above, like co-sleeping & sign language. All over in the Community section: http://lifewetravel.com/community
Your children trust you completely. Don't damage that trust.
Your children believe what you say. Don't tell them things that damage their self-confidence. Build them up with positive truths.
Your children see you as the person you wish you were. Become that person. Be good parents and good spouses.
Teach your children by example - how to treat their spouses and their own children someday.
Never forget that each time you hold your child, tuck them into bed or read them a book is one less time that you'll get to do it - they grow up so fast.
btw... my little girl is a Halloween baby too :) Congrats to you and your family.
Hi, I just thought of one of the most striking things I read about fatherhood. It was in one of my fancy library books on Dads, and is based on true research and facts.
It said: "You (the father) will be the most influential male in your daughters life EVER. All of her thoughts, expectations, and future relationships with men will be based on your relationship with her."
When I read that it was a game changer on how I want to be around her.
I asked Chuck. He said "Lots of gas. Babies love farts."
In all seriousness, I think to be a great parent, one of the biggest virtues is PATIENCE. Babies will test you for everything you have, and then some. You have to keep your cool. Especially when it's 4 a.m. an you've already been awakened 6x that night. :)
Parenthood is the best and will make you into an even greater version of yourself than you could have ever imagined :>
I've never been a dad but as a mom and daughter, I share this:
1. Be there. Money is important but time spent together is priceless (and you can never get it back).
2. Smile often. You are the most influential role model for your kid(s). When you smile, they smile. And isn't that the goal-- for them to be happy? [Rhetorical question]. Yes. ...Cheese! :>
3. Love unconditionally. Love is so powerful and can get you/them through nearly anything. Anything.
Cheers, to you and your wife! #bestadventureever!
You will be great and naturals at it. If you need anything or have questions or want to share/ vent, we are here for you.
I am sure we will all have some great new family times in our future. While you are prepping here are my tips.
Our best tips are:
1. Read -What to expect when you are expecting, Baby Wise, and watch the Happiest Baby on the block video before the baby is born.
They are helpful for just about everything.
2. This is old school but it really helped us. Go to the Library(yes the good old Dewey Decimal library).
Just spend a quiet hour in the baby section. You will see so many books that catch your eye and meet your style and needs for your baby.
It really helped us think of things we never would have just surfing the net.
3. We had a hard time with this one but it's so true. The baby is coming into your world, let them adapt to you and your style(within reason of course, no need to take baby clubbing...lol), Dont change your whole life for them. Balance is key. So is date night once a week.
We went on lockdown and its hard to get out of that mode now.
4.Roll with it and enjoy the moments, Its really hard to do when you have not slept in 2 days, but it helps to keep a light heart about it.
5. Change diapers....Enjoy!!!!!
For starters, have more than one because sibling love is nearly as wonderful as that first child. I've only started the journey with age 2-7 in the house. So far it is not about serving or pleasing them. And I don't think it is not about ridiculous labor input and sacrifice. It is a challenge not to let them run things. It is about loving the daylights out of them, letting them know they can do anything they set their minds to, and teaching them to thrive. A huge piece of this is a process of responding to nature unfolding in your own life and home. Back what you think will work for them in their futures and don't back the stuff that is self-defeating or uncool to others. For me its all about appreciating who they are tending to become and providing a nudge here and there. When you sift past the safety, health, manners, schools and such, its about being a big big fan and supporter of your part of the next generation. They should end up as adults who are confident and loving, and who remember you as the one who confirmed their highest hopes for themselves.
Thanks for the feedback Corinne! That was awesome. Please keep it coming -- I'll be posting a lot more on this blog about parenting as Sue and I navigate these waters, and your thoughts are much appreciated. Not only that, but I've set up a community section on the blog at http://lifewetravel.com/community that's specifically meant for community posts. So if & when you ever feel motivated to create a post that's about parenting or traveling, please don't hesitate to write it over there. My goal is to create a community of people who can all help each other get through these tough issues.
It's funny that you mentioned co-sleeping -- I actually just posted about that in the community forum & would love more feedback on it: http://lifewetravel.com/community/co-sleeping-anyone-have-an-opinion
Also, one person recommended not getting a stroller -- any thoughts on that? http://lifewetravel.com/community/daddy-tip-no-stroller
And teaching a baby sign language? http://lifewetravel.com/uid/56999
Hey again Daniel,
So, did I reply in the wrong place? I thought I had replied in the community section. Agh! Sorry if screwed it up. Anyway, I feel sort of hypocritical telling you what I think you should do regarding your above mentioned issues, in light of what I wrote above which is that you will be best served figuring things out your own way. Not to mention, I don't want to overstep or make anyone feel bad here that parents differently than I would advise. That said...since you asked...no stroller? I. Don't. Think. So. Let me tell you something, as a kid, I traveled with my parents all over the world. Everywhere. Europe. South America. And often. This was before the three in one travel system, before the stroller that rises and descends electronically. Before umbrella strollers that weigh 13 lbs and before removable snack trays. We walked everywhere and my parents are fast walkers and yet, I still kept up. I was a thin and toned child and to this day, I adore walking. And SO WHAT? I would have loved the comfort of a cushy ride and a place to lay my weary, three year old feet! Not all the time, mind you but just occasionally? It would have been great if my parents could have done me a solid and let me rest as we toured the Acropolis! Yes, I was fine walking but so were people riding in horse and carriages, doesn't mean that a car isn't better! Look, take what I just said as tongue and cheek but really, a stroller, though technically unnecessary, will make your life easier, especially if you are people on the move! That doesn't mean you turn your baby into this lazy couch potato and subject her to a higher risk of hypotonia, it simply means you are making both yours and her life easier. Now, this doesn't mean you need a $1000 stroller or even a cheap one that is bulky and cumbersome. Go down to the nearest baby store and try a few out and just SEE. I beg you. You will thank me later. I could go on and on as to why but I won't bore you here. Just trust me. I still say get a carrier, either front carrying for early infancy or backpack carrier for later but a stroller, I am sorry, I think it's a must. If anything just to carry your OWN stuff, let alone hers. It will simply be impossible for you to go as much as you both do with no stroller. Can you do it? Absolutely? Do you need to? Hell no! "Nuff said.
Corinne, your replies here are awesome! There's a community section where anyone can post their own thoughts: http://lifewetravel.com/community -- really that's meant to be a place for others to share their expertise on parenting & travel topics. For example @Enadowdy wrote about the 7 best tips for enduring long-haul flights at http://lifewetravel.com/community/56618 -- that type of thing. Which means, if you have any tips you want to share, we'd LOVE for you to post them over in the community section. You just do this to start a new post:
So about strollers specifically -- yeah we're super torn on this topic. We want to have the baby close to us as much as possible. I guess it's really hard to predict how we'll feel about it ahead of time. We may just wait to buy a stroller until we feel we need one, and see when that happens.
First off, congrats guys! Get ready for the hardest, but most exciting time of your lives! As other people have said, you can read all you want about parenting, what to expect, how to sleep train, baby led weaning, etc. etc. However, nothing can prepare you for when that little bundle decides to make their appearance. Every baby is born with their own innate personality and you see their traits right away. You may think that you are going to be a "certain type of dad" prior to having that child, but it may all change once they are born. LIttle girls have a special bond with their fathers and no matter what you do, that little girl will always look at you like you are the greatest person on earth. So what does it take to be a great dad? Hmm.. patience, persistence, a good sense of humour, protectiveness, an ability to multi task, always making time for your little one no matter how busy life seems at that moment, a supporter, an encourager, a believer in their dreams, and last but not least, a great hugger! Hope that helps!
You guys will be awesome parents. That is one lucky kid!!
(you can read my new mommy blog too: www.raisingmycub.wordpress.com) -> Sorry had to advertise it! Lol!
I moved my blog over from Wordpress to SETT a bit over 6 months ago, and I've been absolutely loving it.
@Tynan, the creator of SETT, has given me ten invite codes for SETT, good for either a FREE personal plan, or 40% off a paid plan, for life.
If you want to scoop up one of these invite codes, here's how to do it:
Pick any blog I've written (other than this one) and make a comment on the thread. In your comment, include the hashtag #GiveMeSETT . I'll send the invite code to the 10 best comments I receive. And by best, I mean thoughtful responses to the topics at hand.
Here are a few of my favorite blog posts that you can comment on:
Previous birthdays never really meant much to me. At eighteen I could buy cigarettes and porn, but I didn't because I don't smoke and know what the internet is. At twenty one I could buy alcohol, but didn't because I don't drink. I could gamble, too, but had already been doing it for years online. At twenty five I could rent cars at a discounted rate. That was a little bit exciting, but not exactly a life changer.
So when thirty rolled around, I didn't expect much. And, of course, the actual day didn't really change anything, but the increasing comprehension that my twenties were over did change something. I got serious.
My first ten years were spent filling diapers, and then drawing with crayons. It's tough to expect much from a 0-9 year old, and I'm sure I just about met those expectations.
My next ten years were spent learning, mostly. I learned how to make money, how to write, how to do math, and how to speak some Chinese and Spanish. A lot of my good friends were met during these years, too. So the 10-19 age range was mostly experiencing the world and building up a collection of reference experiences to help me understand it. The foundations of who I "am" were built during these years. I became a nerd, I became interested in Asia, I neglected social skills to the point that I would later have to become a pickup artist, I gained a deep understanding of risk and reward, became an entrepreneur, and I started exploring things.