If you have landed here…it means you are either a NEW DAD or about to be a New Dad. So, first and foremost, CONGRATS!! Being a first time dad is quite an experience and it is something you will never forget. Want to know why? It’s because you are about to take a plunge into life that you most likely feel incredibly unprepared for. You are probably concerned about: Finances and how you will make ends meet? Perhaps you are worried about how having a child will affect the relationship with your spouse or significant other? You are also concerned about how you are going to tackle the task of fatherhood with no experience right? Do any or all of these concerns sound familiar? I want you to know right here and now…THIS IS OK to feel this way. If you are a new dad…this page is specifically just for you. I am going to share several different tips and strategies that will help you along the way.

sex life

HOW TO IMMEDIATELY SPICE UP YOUR SEX LIFE AS A NEW DAD

This is a guest post by Allon Khakshouri of Business-dad.com

Enjoying a healthy sex life is a key ingredient to a thriving marriage. At the same time it is the one topic very few parents dare talk about, often leading to lots of frustration and anger to already challenged relationships.

 

Sex is so important because it is what makes you and your spouse more than just roommates. It requires you both to speak about the kind of intimate and emotional things that create a deeper sense of connection than you have with anyone else and helps strengthen trust between partners.

 

But lets face it: Becoming a dad triggers so many changes it can feel overwhelming: sleepless nights, endless fights and new responsibilities are just some of the challenges we all face and that can make sex quite unappealing. I remember how relieved I was knowing that my wife would need a few weeks to fully recover before she would request me to demonstrate my love making skills. I was sure that this would allow me to get adjusted to being a dad so that by the time my wife would be ready, I would feel revitalised and hungry for sex.

 

However, something strange happened: The more time that passed without having sex, the less I craved for it. Suddenly I felt concerned and unmanly: Was something wrong with me and our relationship?

I guess I was not the first to have such thoughts

 

According to studies conducted by the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, two thirds of marriages suffer a serious decline in their relationship satisfaction within the first three years of becoming parents. And the biggest victims of unhappy couples are the babies– two decades of research have shown that marital conflict is bad for babies and can affect their social and academic skills later on in life.

 

As John Gottman says:

 

“When there is a precipitous decline in relationship satisfaction and an increase in hostility, it transfers to the baby and affects the baby.”

 

And definitely the combination of having an unsatisfactory sex life and not speaking openly about it, is a big warning sign that the relationship is in trouble. So if you love your baby and you are committed to improving your relationship, addressing your sex life is a great place to start.

 

But let’s be honest: Feeling uncomfortable about becoming too physical after welcoming your baby is normal and especially common in the first few months after a mom gives birth. Since nobody dares to speak about their lack of sex, both husbands and wives start doubting themselves: Men lose confidence and feel rejected, while their spouses  feel unattractive, unwanted and unsexy. As a result, sex becomes another trigger for more conflicts and disputes, often enhancing arguments that are already evolving from role changes, lifestyle adjustments and even financial tensions.

 

YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY MAN WHO DIDN’T HAVE MUCH SEX LATELY!

 

What most of us don’t realize is that almost every couple struggles with intimacy after having their first baby. There are all sorts of reasons for this:

 

Initially, we need to give our partner time to physically recover. But when we stop hooking up with our partner, testosterone levels drop, which is why many men tend to crave less for sex. Women on the other hand feel touched out by their babies–and let’s face it– they suddenly transform from sexy studs into a supermoms. Add the fact that couples feel tired and exhausted, and it becomes apparent why so many of us experience longer periods of sexual abstinence.

 

Unfortunately, when we stop having sex for longer periods of time, we become lazy. We care less about how we look, ignore seduction attempts by our partner and over time even withdraw from her altogether. This is how so many dads end up feeling isolated and rejected when witnessing their wives spending so much time with their little one.

 

I remember how right after the birth of our son, it was extremely difficult for me to become intimate again. We were both feeling quite irritable and tired so it just didn’t seem right. Luckily I had the courage to speak to other couples about their relationships and realized that we are all in the same boat! Just because we argue more often, feel more exhausted and less sexy, does not mean something is wrong with our marriage. We sometimes forget we have just added a new person into our lives, and that takes some adjustments.

 

And if you haven’t had sex for a while, you are not alone. I met couples who needed weeks, others months and some even years to get back into their normal lovemaking routines. Don’t get me wrong– I am not advocating to accept having a poor sex life. To the contrary, what I am saying is that it is your responsibility to get out of your comfort zone and spice up your marriage, and in a minute I will tell you how. My point is that too many couples give up on their relationship way too quickly, whether they get divorced or simply live together feeling disillusioned and unhappy.

 

WARM UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP IMMEDIATELY

 

Let me tell you what I did when I realized that we needed to prioritize intimacy. Instead of panicking, I decided to work on our relationship and use the birth of our boy as an opportunity to upgrade our relationship, deepen our communication and reviving our sex life.

 

We started by integrating these simple practices into our life so that having regular sex would become much easier:

 

  • 7-8 hours Sleep You may think it is impossible. I did too. However, I made a few adjustments that made all the difference. I now go to sleep by latest 10pm on normal weekdays, and have a nighttime ritual that includes a soothing shower, no TV-and phone time at least an hour before going to sleep, that spending at least 30 minutes of quality time with my wife. These steps have made all the difference because it is hard to jumpstart your libido when you feel tired.

 

  • Speaking Time. As I mentioned above, my wife and I spend some time together before going to sleep. But even just 10 minutes of talking time will give you both have the opportunity to express feelings, needs and desires. Once you both reconnect again emotionally, good sex will follow.

 

  • Becoming More Physical. We have always been quite a physical couple. However, as parents we needed to redefine sex to include more than just penetration. My wife and I now use every opportunity to hug, kiss and cuddle together, and it triggers instant pleasure every time.

 

  • Flirting: This is something we forgot in the first 1-2 weeks after the birth of our son. But it’s amazing how just a few words can make such a difference. I try and surprise my wife every few days with a very thoughtful text message, a hidden note that she may find at a random moment, or by sending her flowers with a handwritten card, and every single time these little surprises make her glow from joy.

 

  • Asking Questions. I wanted to find out how it felt for my wife to be a mom, what her biggest struggles were, what she was dreaming about for the future, and what her deepest desires looked like. She reciprocated by asking me about how this change of becoming a dad felt like. These moments of sharing were extremely bonding,

 

  • Listening. Sometimes women just want to be heard, so I really made an effort to become more patient and try and relive the words that my wife was sharing. By learning to empathize with your partner and all she goes through, you will instantly become her superhero again.

 

RITUALIZE INTIMATE TIME TOGETHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

 

Of course, some things will work better for you than others. And it is up to you to fine tune the details. But they will definitely help you rekindle our relationship. I see these actions as a kind of foreplay that needs to be in place before addressing our sex lives.

 

However, if you are serious about spicing up your love life, you need to have regular sex. So how can you do that, now that you are busier than ever with a whole family to take care of?

 

Well, here is the thing. Like with other areas in your life, it all comes down to creating habits that help you live the lifestyle you want. This doesn’t need to be too difficult, but it takes consistency. Like going to the gym, starting a new hobby, or waking up earlier, every beginning or new start is a bit more difficult. However, once we overcome the initial resistance, we start finding joy in our new behavior.

 

In the same way, it is essential to create routines of spending intimate moments together. The trick that really made all the difference to us was scheduling our time together in the same way we schedule anything else. Initially that meant planning the day, time and place that we would spend some quality time together in advance.

 

Yes, I know this sounds premeditated and unromantic.  However, it works wonders, because only by ritualizing time for ourselves, do we build up the kind of stamina that allows us to overcome all the obstacles that can make intimacy so difficult for new parents. Even an hour per week can make all the difference. I remember how my wife and I used to find excuses all the time why not to have sex, until we made sex become an integral part of our lifestyle again that we both crave for.

 

By scheduling your time together, you can address any obstacles that could distract you both from enjoying your time together. For example, you may want to leave your baby with your parents and create the kind of romantic setting that will allow your wife and yourself to switch off from everything else that is going on in your life.

 

HOW TO HAVE AMAZING SEX LIFE

 

So now that you know about the importance to intimate time together, let me share with you 6 tips that will help you regain a vibrant sex life without any further delay:

 

  • Avoid feeling pressurized: During your time together, be romantic and have fun, without experiencing the need to have full-blown sex. Teasing and taunting each other with kisses, massages and anything else that pleases both of you qualifies as intimate time.

 

  • Have date nights together: If you can, add weekly date nights for the two of you to enjoy quality moments together. This is your time alone together, to experience a romantic ambience and to become real lovers again. The quicker you start with this, the easier it will be to revive your sex life.

 

  • Create a romantic atmosphere: Small details like candle lights and clean sheets can make your time together more bonding and fun. Stimulate the senses by using aroma sticks for a pleasant smell, and playing sensual music.

 

  • Be flexible: Scheduling intimate time in advance may sound premeditated. But there is room for some creativity as to when, where and how you both engage with each other. For example, I often feel exhausted in the evenings, my wife and I enjoy planning our time together on weekends that our son is with my parents, so we have time for ourselves in the afternoon. Also be open minded and experiment what gives you both joy and pleasure.

 

  • Be a giver: Focus on making your wife feel desired and attractive, and giving her the kind of joy that will make her want to reciprocate. By treating her like your queen, you will soon become a true king.

 

  • Clear your head: It can be hard to switch off from distractions like thinking about your business, your kids, or anything else that is circulating your mind. However, try to make this your “us time”, and commit to being fully present, playful and open with your partner.  The more you can do this, the better and more fun your sex life will become.

 

You will discover that spending time together in this kind of intimate setting will help you both communicate more openly, share both vulnerabilities and desires and create a deeper more trusting connection between each other. You will find out that this kind of intimacy is the bread and butter for better sex.

 

The best part is that once you have rekindled your sex life, other areas of your relationship will improve as well. You will feel more confident, happy and energized. All of a sudden, being a dad will become the most enjoyable time of your life!

RESOURCES

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

Join our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Get a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

Links

If you are interested to learn more about how you can become a true Business Dad who combines professional success with becoming a super engaged and loving dad, visit www.business-dad.com

 

overcoming adversity

How Overcoming Adversity Can Make You a Better Dad with Nick Dinardo

Nick Dinardo draws on adversity to inform and inspire his life as a podcaster, personal performance coach, author, and dad.

Nick Dinardo is an entrepreneur, a consultant, and a public speaker who focuses on resilience, personal growth, and education. Nick is the author of bestselling book The Game of Adversity: 8 Practices to Turn Life’s Toughest Moments into Your Greatest Opportunities. He is also the host of The Sweet Adversity Podcast and has interviewed hundreds of experts on overcoming adversity, dealing with trauma and stress, and the critical role it plays in our cognitive development.

Nick has dealt with adversity his entire life. At the age of seven, his family went from the American dream to a foreclosed home, divorce, and mental illness. He spent a year sleeping on the floor in a one room apartment where his family shared a kitchen with seventeen other families.

Nick had a great dad, but was angry at his father for not understanding his mom and her mental illness. He still hoped and dreamed his parents would fall in love again, but that never happened. They moved from place to place until his mom got her life back together. During this disruptive time, Nick turned to sports for role models of those who went through hard times and still became great, successful people.

Sports is a microcosm of life

Nick Dinardo’s book, The Game of Adversity, uses sports as a Trojan horse to explore the psychological aspects of adversity and how high performers focus on process, not outcome. Coaches like John Wooden and Bill Belichick implemented this idea in their methods. Wooden made his players adhere to a very strict routine and told them not to think about basketball outside of practice. Belichick didn’t care about the score so much as he did about the team and their cognitive skill development. If the players prepared through the process, the win would come without consciously focusing on the goal.

Focusing on goals can make us unhappy

Goals are anti-presence because you’re focused on the end instead of what’s going on right in front of you. You can’t enjoy the moment because you’re always looking to the future, but you can establish a new norm for yourself and stop waiting till you reach any of your goals to be happy.

We have a choice

Men have evolved to be very results-focused, and we feel like a failure when we don’t achieve our goals. This creates stress and our response effects our cortisol levels, which effects our sleep and the function of our bodies. It triggers a chain reaction that goes all the way into how we treat people and how we approach our day.

Fighting our natural instincts to relentlessly push for our goals is tough, but when faced with a stressful situation, we can actually train ourselves how to respond in a positive proactive way instead of a negative reactive way.

Kids overcoming adversity

Nick says what’s important for kids to overcome extreme adversity is a positive relationship with one adult. Despite the hardship his family went through when he was young, he had a solid social circle of caring adults that acted as a foundation of strength.

Dad wisdom after a childhood of adversity

Nick Dinardo is the new dad of a 5-month-old boy. When Nick thinks about the things his father did for him, one thing stands out. It comes down to love. He remembers his dad always gave him hugs in kisses, even in front of his friends. His dad always told him he loved him multiple times a day. Nick says not to worry about the parenting books and the latest trends. When it comes to being a good dad, all things fall into place from love.

RESOURCES

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

Join our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Get a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

Links

 

Connect with Nick Dinardo

FREE gift for GDP listeners! Click here for your Adversity Toolbox.

Website – NickDinardo.com

Amazon – The Game of Adversity: 8 Practices To Turn Life’s Toughest Moments Into Your Greatest Opportunities

The Sweet Adversity Podcast

Facebook

Twitter

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Pump the Brakes

 

Good Dad

Hello again.  Thanks for allowing me to share more with you.  It’s been awhile and I’ve been kicking around a few ideas.  Just one more disclaimer…I’m sharing some pretty heavy thoughts with you. 

Over the summer I had one of those moments that caught me off guard, and nearly knocked me off center.  It’s happened before, but it was a little different this time.  It’s a little different every time.

I am the first to admit that I am generally hurried (almost always for that matter), and that at times it may take a lot to catch my attention.  However, I can be stopped dead in my tracks. 

Anytime a child is ill or a life ends, it’s difficult to hear.  Remember in December 2012 when the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings saturated the news?  I really struggled with how this happened.  Kids less than six years of age left their short, beautiful lives behind that day.    Our kids’ preschool issued a letter of reassurance to parents that safety and security of our children came first.  It kindly suggested that no one be allowed into the building without a parent badge, or without being directly escorted to the building office.  In fact, we were all asked to escort anyone without a badge directly to the office.  All good, right?  But geez, maybe my kids should just stay at home with me.  Over and over and over, this all got me thinking…

Jude had just turned two and Sara was three at the time of Sandy Hook.  I remember thinking of the victims’ families.  And I kept thinking those kids were no older than six. Six years old.  It kept hitting me every morning as I pulled into our usual parking spot and moved us from the car and into the building.  And it would hit me again, as I got back into the car with my little people inside and their empty car seats as I left the parking lot.

I personally hurt for those and little lives lost and I thought, “What if I were only given six years with my kids?”  I did the math.  And it meant that I had already spent half of that time with Sara, and a third with Jude.  BOOM!  I needed to soften up a bit, refocus my priorities with my family, commit to less busy-ness, and live in memorable moments with my family.  It brought perspective on perhaps how much time I had been wasting.

This summer, somewhat similar, but different circumstances arose. 

Shelly and I were sharing an afternoon walk with Sara prior to naptime.  I was off from work, so we thought some time together would be fun.  We were full speed ahead up the sidewalk as we were on a mission.  When a nap is in the timeline, you know it’s a priority to stay on schedule.  Not off our block yet, a neighbor called for my wife, and Shelly turned around to chat with her.  Our families take turns keeping an eye on one another’s home while out-of-town, so I too quickly assumed our neighbors were departing for a bit, and wanted to let us know.  Sara and I continued up the block assuming that Shelly would catch up.

I turned around to find Shelly in tears embracing our friend.  I was caught off guard…what in the world was going on? 

Long story short, our neighbor’s three-week old grandson had just spent the 4th of July weekend in the hospital and was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

Three weeks old and leukemia.  Talk about a little more than one of life’s sucker punches.  At that time, the exacts of the cancer were unknown. The up-front chance of survival was maybe 10-20%.  Not only were they dealt this card, but the ride to even stabilizing him for chemotherapy included a journey into PICU, hard core breathing machines, sedation, spinal taps, crowds of medical staff responding to immediate needs…the list went on and on.

Almost six months later I sit here trying to get my head around this.  Why on earth was an innocent newborn and his family handed this?    Why was this new Dad told the chance that his son will be here in a year was less than two out of ten coin tosses? I couldn’t, and still can’t answer these questions. I don’t know that anyone can. 

I wonder what if this would have been my family?  What if I were told there’s not much time to share with my child?

The truth is that I’ve been close before.  Sara was a preemie, and is a NICU survivor.  We were fortunate to need the NICU for only three weeks.  But I’ve been there when no one is certain why what is happening, is happening.  Three uncertain weeks of not knowing whether or not my daughter would come home.  I’ve been given the news that probability of survival may be low or isn’t really known.  And I’ve been that new Dad that can’t hold his child because of all the life-saving measures. 

 

Yet, like most of us, I still need to be reminded to pause.

Funny how life grabs our attention, and continues to prove us so human at times.  It is way too easy to get distracted, engulfed, in the fast pace of parenthood, work, and life. 

Guilty as charged here. 

I need to commit (and recommit) to slowing down, or maybe even slamming on the breaks when life is sharing these moments.  I need to accept life’s dare to pause, listen, and decide how to not live my life wasting precious time. 

So what did I do, you may be asking?  I’m honestly still working on that part (as usual).  Me, the constant work-in-progress as a Dad, is still slowing down, being kinder, being gentler, and becoming less self-centered.  I am working on listening to everything my children have to tell me because what they so badly want to share with me now is everything to them.

Funny enough, Sara asked to take a walk at 9pm on a summertime Friday night not long after this story happened.  Instead of defaulting to getting ready for bed, we put on our shoes and set off in the neighborhood, just her and I.  I have no doubt that many we passed by that evening thought “that little girl should be in bed,” but that was our time.  And when I put her in the bathtub that night, I admired her lone, life-saving NICU scar on her chest.  And gave thanks for the five years we’ve shared.  And I soaked up the noise of listening to her splash and play and exist.  Just listening to her breathe sometimes amazes me, because it was such a challenge in the beginning.  I paused.

On an ending note, I would ask that you remember the mentioned family as leukemia and it’s complications took an infant from his family.  However you believe, please don’t forget them. 

And, take time to pause.  I dare you to be an even better Dad than you already are…no more time wasted.

Thanks again for reading, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and maybe even what you can do to pump the brakes.

Best regards,

Jason Enders

PS – BEING REMINDED AGAIN

My head hurts, this morning.  But honestly, the ache in my heart is greater. 

I submitted the above piece a week ago to Larry.  Since then, I’ve been reminded again to pause. 

I just rushed through the morning drill with my family and my thoughts are fresh.  I have a presentation at noon, a plane to catch tonight, an expense report due, a suitcase to pack…you see where this is going.  People are counting on me.  But instead I am writing to you.

It’s no coincidence this morning that my parking space was right in front of a tree that quietly holds onto a purple ribbon placed there in memory of a life lost last week.  Yes, it happened again.  A family in our school lost their six-year old son last week the day after I sent my initial writing in.  We found out of his passing in a letter from the school’s principal.  That letter in my daughter’s backpack stopped me in my tracks.  A first-grader gone in his sleep.

Yet, here I am again hurried.

I needed that parking place this morning.  I needed to walk past that purple ribbon, and to be reminded. Filled with shame, I had to grit my teeth.  It made my head hurt, but my heart hurt even more.  As I sit here writing and trying to be better, I accept the dare to slow it down (again).  But even more, I am clearly reminded that the most important people counting on me are the ones I wake-up with each morning. 

Thank you for helping me pause.

3 Reasons to Take Your Kids on a One-On-One Trip…The 3rd Reason will really hit home.

It has been 9 months since I have started this Project.

There is one critical lesson I have learned…it is not the destination of this project that matters…it’s the Journey.

The Journey has transformed my life and the life of my family.  I  have learned so many lessons along the way from other Dads who are a part of our community.  My hope is that this community has inspired you as well.

Because here’s the thing…being a Dad can be humbling and even frustrating at times (even though we don’t admit it).

It’s small little changes along the way that can make all the difference.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is the importance of one-on-one time with each of the kids.

If this is your first time here…I am a Dad of 3 boys.

So, it is extremely complicated to get one-on-one time with each kiddo.  Just like any other family, we have homework, sports, church, family time, time with friends, and work.

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The work life balance is always a juggling act.

Hence the reason I am writing this blog at 10pm on a Friday night just after I got the crew to bed.

So, let’s talk about what you came here to read…

The 3 Reasons to Take Each of Your Kids on a one-on-one trip.

If you are a Dad that takes their kids on a “date night (0r day)” …kuddos to you!  Most Dads try and get out for some one-on-one time.

However, I absolutely challenge you to take it to the next level.

I challenge you to take an actual trip.

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It doesn’t have to extravagant from financial point of view.  However, it has to be a trip that gets you both out of the daily grind for 48-36 hours.

Think of it this way…you have been in the work grind for how many days, weeks, months?

I imagine a long time.

How long has your kid been in the school, homework, and/or sports grind?  Days?  Weeks?  Months?

A trip with just the two of you might just be what the doctor ordered.

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Last month I took my 6 year old to Colorado Springs, CO for 4 days.  This was actually the 4th one-on-one trip I have done with my 2 oldest.  I started taking each of boys on their own trip 2 years ago.  It has been nothing short of epic and so worth it.

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This last trip was one of the most amazing trips we have ever been on.

We got to see and do a lot of things…we went up to the summit of Pikes Peak, we hiked through Garden of the Gods, we hiked through Pikes Peak, and we took an ATV tour through Canon City in the mountains.

I will definitely tell you that the sites were amazing…however…there was something that was much more amazing.

It allowed my son and I to totally disconnect from our daily grind for 4 days.  For him there was no school, no homework, and no sports.  For me, there was no work, no emails, no deadlines, and no obligations.

Our only mission was to enjoy the moment and be present.  Our only “to-do” was to enjoy each others company while we explored.

There was nothing distracting us.  There was only us and the expereince of the trip.

So…this leads me to our top 3 Reasons to get out and do this!

1.  Gets you out of the daily grind and into the moment:

Getting you out of your daily routine sparks a new connection and experience.

No kidding around…nothing will create memories more than getting out of your routine and into something new.  Being able to experience a new environment together for the first time will create some unforgettable memories.

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2.  Your kids will open up to you:

Getting your kids out of their daily grind and experiencing new adventures will open them up more than you can imagine.

The fact that you and your kiddo are out exploring new things will put your relationship on a whole new level.

They will open up to you like they never have.

I got to know each kid way more on a deeper level on each of our trips compared to being at home and asking them about their day at school.

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3.  The memories are priceless:

As each of our kids get older they will gradually pull away from us.

This is a tough thing for us as Moms and Dads.

Before we know it, our kids have grown into adolescence and they really don’t want much to do with us.

We truly only have about 10 years to make a lasting impact when it comes to some stellar memories.  When I tell you that a one-on-one trip will pay dividends later, I absolutely mean it.  Your kids will talk about that one-on-one adventure for years to come.

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If you haven’t signed up to be a free member of our community…please do so.  You will also get a free copy of our ebook (check it out to the right).

Thanks for stopping by and giving this a read.  If it really hit home, please share on your FB.

All the best,

Larry

Founder of the GDP

Am I Good Enough?

I’ve got a little something different for all you readers today…I am proud to introduce one of our new guest bloggers, Jason Enders.

Jason and I met a few months ago at a speaking event I did at Morning Star Church.  Jason approached me about being a guest blogger.  He has been working on the below post.  I have to say, it really hits home.  Jason, thanks for taking the time to put this together.  Check out his article below

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Hello fellow Good Dad Project readers.  Thanks for investing your time in my thoughts on fatherhood.  I’m glad you’re here because you realize the importance of this community of Dads.  Chances are you’re visiting here most likely because you have committed to being a Good Dad, or because you know one.  Before completely committing  to reading this, I need to throw you a few disclaimers.

  • I am no parenthood expert.  Just like you, I am learning the ropes of parenthood from day-to-day experiences trying to get better at this privilege of being a Dad.
  • I am a Dad to my daughter, Sara (5 years), and to my son, Jude (3 years), and a husband to my wife, Shelly.   They are my favorite, yet toughest teachers in Dad Skills 101.  They willingly let me experiment daily on how to be the best Dad possible.
  • I am regularly inside my own Dad head wondering “Am I good enough?” at this whole Dad thing.  Am I good enough, am I smart enough, do my kids even like me?”  Sound familiar?

Hopefully you are still reading.

I would also bet that I’m probably similar to you.  I am vulnerable and openly admit that I want it all… I want:

  • To be a Good Dad & Husband
  • To have a fulfilling career and perform well at work
  • To give my family what they need, and want, and even more if possible
  • To take care of myself and to be happy
  • To do all this flawlessly and without worry in the 24 hours of a given day awhile completing my to-do list, getting a good night’s sleep, eating all my fruits & veggies, and keeping everyone who possibly needs me happy (if not extremely satisfied)

Talk about a challenge.  I think I’ve set myself up for epic failure.  As if just being alive isn’t challenging enough, right?  I’m still new at all this.  But after five years, maybe I’ve earned some street credibility after riding the teeter-totter of work-life balance.  At least I think I might have earned a Good Dad badge by now.

 

Brief moments to ourselves give us Dads the chance to clear our heads of all the garbage we internalize.  Maybe it’s not even brief moments, but simply disconnecting from everything that competes for our time.  I had a profound moment of realization not so long ago while running.  I‘ve enjoyed long-distance running for over 10 years now.  What used to be an indulgence before fatherhood has become a way to maintain my sanity and stay fit, as well as a way to spend time with my family.

 

On this particular day, I had Sara and Jude with in our “double-wide” running stroller.  Don’t judge, I know there are preconceived notions out there about these sets of wheels.  It’s like moving day just to get the three of us out of the house and on the sidewalk moving.  Seriously, packing snacks, water, books, and half the house into the stroller is no small task.  Keep reading and you will see the obvious return on investment.

 

In addition to the work of the small move into the stroller, work had COMPLETELY drained me.  I had been filling everyone else’s bucket that day.  Shelly had a taxing day at work as well.  I wanted to take the kids with me to give her the space/time she needed before throwing dinner together (not a minimal task, either).  And as usual, I was struggling with myself that day.  The whole “Am I good enough for my family?” conversation was loud and clear in my head.

 

So, here I am with my kids on wheels, and the day’s gorillas on my back.  Keeping the kids happy while running requires a bit of work.  They were enjoying books, popcorn, and the Dora the Explorer channel on Pandora as we made way through our neighborhood – at minimum they were content.  Still, “Am I good enough?”

 

Pressing on, I replay the day’s issues over in my head.  Again, “Am I good enough?”

 

About a mile or so into our run, I randomly notice one of those 1-800-GOT-JUNK? signs.  “Dude,” I thought, “if you only knew about all the junk in my head.  I’d gladly call that number to give it away.”

 

High pressure days typically set me up to run hard.  It feels good to let it all melt away with each stride, each block, and each mile.  I break these trips up for the kids.  We  stop and say hello to neighborhood dogs or play at a playground.  We pop wheelies every so often while yelling “To Infinity and Beyond!”

“That’s fun Daddy.  Do it again!” charged Jude.

“I want more Infinity!” said Sara.

 

Okay by me.  I didn’t really care how this may look to those passing by. My kids were having a blast, I was working my tail off, and my head was slowly clearing.  Towards the end of our running adventure we circled back toward home and I saw that same 1-800-GOT-JUNK? sign.  This time I was a sweaty mess, but my head was completely clear.  No more junk.  Just an hour away from all of it with some exertion, fun, and time to reflect put me in much better spot than the first time I noticed the invitation to let go of all the stuff in my head.

 

I’ve always known that running was good for me in many ways, but not quite like this particular moment of realization.  It was crystal clear to me that perfection in parenthood is not necessary.

 

Sara and Jude were happy…they were had a blast.  I received a message via Facebook later in the week commenting on seeing us running that evening, and how fun it looked.  Shelly had some down time and was able to focus on her priorities after a long day of work.  I was able to let go of the day and quiet that nagging question in my head.

 

I was good enough.  I AM good enough.

 

I can clearly remember my high school math teacher telling me I was a perfectionist – my own worst enemy.  “Just relax, Enders” she’d say.  Funny how almost 20 years later her insight and advice remains the same.  Being a Good Dad does not require perfection.  It’s ok to strive for perfection, but imperfection does not equal failure.  Realistically we will fail at one point or another.  But even in failure, we are still Good Dads.   Just relax, Good Dad.

 

After reading this, make a little time for yourself…whatever it may be.  It doesn’t have to include your kids.  Some down time will make you even better than you already are.  And resolve to the fact that, yes, you are good enough.  That’s a powerful starting line to the parenthood race you are running.  Pace yourself on this marathon we know as being a Good Dad.

Thanks again for reading!  If this hit home, please give it a share.
All the Best,
Jason Enders
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