The Hardest Job You’ll Never Get Paid For

Editor’s Note: This week…. we hear from John @TheDaddyYoDude. He spills the beans on what it’s like to be a Stay at Home Dad and how although it’s the hardest job he’ll never be paid for… it has it’s perks. You can find more of John’s writing at The Daddy Yo Blog. Happy weekend friends! XO-Kelly

Sunshine smiles, laughs a plenty, playtime, ice cream dates, falling asleep to movies, Sunday drives. A few ways to describe or talk about parenting. Children can bring such joy, such love, and such happiness to a parent’s life. They fill our hearts with love and our homes with toys. What a wonderful thing being a parent is. Right?

Well, yes that would be correct. But look at all the magazine pictures, search Google images, or just look around the next time you are in your nearest children’s section of your nearest department store. These are images conjured up from all of the grand memories that come from parenting. Deceitful they can be though. One thing that never comes out of anyone’s mouth when first asked about parenting is “This is the hardest job you will ever have that won’t pay you a dime”.

I would normally start this paragraph with “Don’t get me wrong” but I think you all can say the same thing. I love my children. I love their smiles, their laughs, and the love and joy they bring into my life. I do not love the tantrums, the hitting, the kicking, spitting, shoving, body slamming, jack-knifing, screaming, throwing, heaving, and so on. Show me a parent that enjoys those moments and I’ll show you a babysitter. Parenting is, in fact, the hardest job you will never get paid for.

I didn’t fully realize this until I started staying home during the weekdays while the wife is at work. Previously, I was working 5, 6, 7 days a week, sometimes 50-60 hours a week. I have missed a lot of things in my kids life over the 4 years that I was working full time and my wife was a SAHM. Now the roles are almost completely reversed. Exception being that I still work on Saturdays and Sundays. But for the first time since having kids, I am the primary caregiver.

I am here to fully admit this today: This is not as easy as I had thought it would be. Right now, my wife is laughing hysterically, right in my face, doing the “nanny nanny boo boo! Told you! Told you!” thing. Really, she laughs at me when I talk about the not so fun parts of my day with the kids. In fact, my mom sometimes does to when I tell her about it. Hmmmmm…..

Anyways, I should have known how dumb it was for me to think this would be a sunshine and kisses walk through the park. Even on my breaks when working full time, I have seen the unpleasant side of being the at-home parent. Yet, for some reason I was foolish enough to believe it would be as if I was Barney or some shiz and the kids would be captivated, entertained, and in awe of everything I did down to the sound I make when I sneeze. Then I asked myself recently: What the hell where you thinking?

Turns out that yes, being a primary caregiver is just as much of a job as what I do for a living. I have to be many types of people all in one, at any given time. Dad, doctor, lunch maker, diaper changer, playmate, disciplinarian, the list goes on and on. Truth is, it leaves me quite exhausted sometimes. It qualifies, in my mind, as the hardest job that you will never get paid for. 

But that’s okay. I’ll take the rough days that seem to impact me more. I’ll take having to be an actual adult at times when I really just don’t want to. I’ll take having to keep composure in times where I just want to break down. Because every night, every bedtime that I am home for, the night never ends without a kiss, a hug, and an “I love you”. Even weekend nights when I work, they get a kiss and an I love you from me, whether they know it or not.

Crazy. Life that is. The things that take the most effort are usually the very things that are deserving of that dedication. It might not be easy, but it’s damn sure worth it. And you know what? I think this is a job that I can stick around at for a while. The perks are better than I can get anywhere else.

Toast to Dad

Editors Note: Hi friends! Friday on my blog is actually one of my very favorite days. Reading about parenting from a Dad’s perspective is a very eye opening thing. Today, we have John from The Daddy Yo Blog. Read on as he reflects on what being a dad means to him. And leave him some love… xo

I believe it was Bob Dylan that wrote “The times, they are a changing” . My little kiddos are growing up so fast now and they are getting so smart. I wake up every morning loving them the same as I did when I first laid eyes on them. Beauty, wonderment, marvelous. They are little gems given to me by God. Blessed I am truly for these two amazing gifts. I stand everyday in awe of them. I learn from them and in turn I learn about myself. I discover more of the expansiveness of love in my life. I learn about who I am by watching them. I see the future in those blue eyes, those adorable smiles and their incredible hearts.

Sometimes I lie awake at night. I think of things of the adult world. I worry about finances and paychecks. Taxes and health. Gas, food, bills, they consume my thoughts. I think of my work schedule and when I will get other things done outside of there. So many things consume me when I hit that point of the day where the adult world must get some attention. I like to spend a lot of time in my kids world when I am home. It helps me understand them. It gives me a new perspective on life and the mental break that all parents need. I am their dad. I am also a playmate. I am here to be whatever they need me to be, whenever they need me to be it. That is my job.

I think about all the bad things that could happen. What they will face in life. I say a prayer, and through it to the side. Because I can see so much more of the good when I look at my children. I can see the joy they bring to the lives of everyone they meet. I see the love they give to everyone, and the love that they receive right back. It is magical. It is breathtaking. It is the essence of life that makes all other things seem so minuscule. I don’t know about all of you, but those facts of fatherhood make everything in life seem so tolerable.

Being a dad is the greatest thing that could have ever happened in my life. Next to my wife of course! I bask in the glory of it. I rejoice in its awesomeness. Quite honetly, I enjoy every last minute of it every day of my life.

So here’s a toast: Here’s to being a dad. Cheers to the moments that make our lives what they are. Lift your glass to the children of your lives. To their health, to their heart, and to their lives. Here’s to them. without them we would be just guys. Here’s to them for making us who we are. Here’s to dad!

My New Fatherhood

Note from the Editor: It’s Friday and I’ve clearly not been writing enough this week… or last! But thankfully… the dads have come through AGAIN. This week, we have John from The Daddy Yo Blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @TheDaddyYoDude. John’s wife is going off to work and he is now becoming a stay-at-home dad. Read on and be sure to leave him a note of encouragement. Oh and… you can purchase the slogan on the left from Spreadshirt. xo-Kelly

It never ceases to amaze me at how my own role as a dad is always changing. As my children grow up and become more individual, more independent, and wiser, I have to learn to adapt my fatherhood to it. I can’t keep parenting in the same fashions when my children and my life change so much.

This week, I had to completely change how I parent. Not because something extremely drastic happened, but because the overall caretaking roles have changed in our house. As my wife started her new job this week, I started a completely different book in my life as a dad. This week, I became the primary caregiver of our children. Instead of being at work for 50 hours a week, I am washing dishes, cleaning house, and taking care of all of the child raising duties that my wife has had for over four years now.

I will admit, without hesitation, that I am still just as nervous as I am excited. This is uncharted territory for me. It is a land that has only been traversed by my wife. It is territory that is a minefield to be walking in. At least for me, I know I can navigate around and adjust quickly to the changes. My main fear is how my children will react.

The second day of my at-home parenthood proved to be everything that dreams are not made of for a working dad who just dropped all but 2 days of his job. It was not cleaning, followed by playtime, followed by nap, followed by more play, crafts, snacks, and watching TV. No, it was a day full of “don’t touch that” and “If you hit your brother one more time…” and the all time favorite “If you don’t stop you will be going to bed early”. Then the words “I want my mommy” started pouring from their pouting lips.

It was that moment that made me realize that this was more than just a shift in work/home habits, routines, and responsibilities. This is a new fatherhood for me. This is a new way of doing things. It’s a new way of thinking. It’s a completely different life now. I’m not the full time, always gone, always tired, working dad anymore. This is a whole new way of living. Time to change the gears, make a u-turn, and prepare for a completely different life. This, is my new fatherhood.

The First Letter Home

Note From the Editor: It’s Friday and the means we hear from the Dads! Today, we hear from John, from The Daddy Yo Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDaddyYoDude. His post discusses what it’s like to get that first note home from the teacher… Read, Relate, Comment. Much Love- Kelly

To my knowledge, I never wrote any letters home from summer camp. Probably because I never went to camp that was longer than a week or a church trip my mom didn’t chaperone. In fact, I don’t think I have ever written too many letters home. That’s not really the point. This is the point: The first letter home that you always receive as a parent, is often not the kind of letter you expect. For me, this first letter came this week. A letter about my son, who is not cooperating with his teachers.

Okay, so I hope I didn’t lead you on to think that this was going to be a shocker post. If it was that kind of letter, I probably wouldn’t write about it so quickly. Anyways, there is a reason that this note, sent home by LM’s teacher, made the “first letter home” phrase seem like a poignant title. It ushered in the beginning of a nw chapter in my journey through dadhood.

I have now reached the point where I have to not only help explain to my son why he got in trouble at school, but understand why that gets him in trouble at home too. On top of that, I now have to really start enforcing the boundaries of “want to do” and “have to do”. I admit that our children may be a little on the spoiled side, but tell me you haven’t spoiled yours at some point or another, then I might feel a little bad. Now though, more of the real life “cause and effect” pattern is creeping in to his life and I have to man up a little more to playing “Daddy Law Enforcement Agent”.

I do have to say, when my wife first told me about it, I was a little upset with myself. I was thinking “It’s my fault he didn’t do his work” and “I’ve let him down by not teaching him these things sooner.” Quickly though, it turned to thoughts of “well that’s what I get for not setting the ground rules for similar situations at home”. That’s when I realized that both of us were about to start doing a little more growing up.

It’s hard to make the transition from the guy who tells the rules, to the dad who enforces the rules because he has to. You remember the whole saying of “it’s going to hurt me a lot worse than it hurts you”? Yeah, it’s true. I hate hearing my kids cry at anytime. But when it happens because I have to enforce the rules, I will admit that it pulls at my heart strings just a little.

That’s just one of those stops though. On the ride of parenthood, we often find ourselves stopping in some unusual and unfamiliar places. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. That’s how it goes. We go with it, we change, we grow. From the first letter home, to the last hug goodbye on their wedding day, our children grow, but so do we.

I Remember When

I remember when the best bit of computer technology was a hangman game for DOS. I can also remember when we got Windows 95. The game Hover and the music video for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” were the best things I had ever seen on a computer monitor. I can even remember my parents using HAM radio to talk to each other. Before the days of the big cell phone in a bag. Yep, those were the good old days.

I look back on these things often as I watch my children play. The iPod Touch makes it easy to have whatever I need to entertain the kids (usually music) at the tip of my fingers. Toys have evolved from actual wood to BPA free plastics. TV has changed so dramatically that you would be hard pressed to not find something on the tube that a child will watch.

It is hard to tell who “has it better” when it comes to such things. Does an age of readily available entertainment make things better? I know it makes things easier, but I have to wonder if it will be a downfall in the long run. Were the days of finding a large stick in the yard and turning it into whatever you wanted it to be the days that will soon be forgotten?

I remember being close to my son’s age. Mind you, I don’t remember much of it, but what I do remember is the major difference in how my life at that age compared to my son’s. Perhaps the availability of just about everything he could want will be an advantage in some ways. Better learning materials are available now and more fun activities that put learning into it are at our disposal. I also think that greater parental control of the content our children are exposed to may be a benefit.

But what of the days long gone? What about the times when creativity and mind power had to be the way of playtime? Are we causing our children to lose the ability to create? I have many a fond memory of playing with the neighbors. If we didn’t have specific toys (or any toys) it didn’t matter. Playtime was golden. It was fun. It was ours. We were heroes, soldiers, baseball players, football players, monsters, and kings.

Maybe there really isn’t a difference between the generations of play. Maybe there is. What do you think? How do you remember your childhood playtime? What differences (good or bad) do you see between those memories and the playtime your children have now?


Read more from The Daddy Yo Dude on his blog: The Daddy Yo Blog and on Twitter @TheDaddyYoDude

Leading by Likeness

Note from the editor: It’s Friday… my favorite day! We get a peek into the live of real dads and their daily struggle. Today, John, @TheDaddyYoDude, discusses the fact that our children are soaking us up… every little nuance… every quirk… every word. Oh! The pressure! His solution… leading by likeness. Take a peek. And read more on his blog The Daddy Yo Blog.

Nobody likes a copycat. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love two copycats. They are my children. They love to imitate everything I do and say. More often than not, it ends up being a not so great thing, especially out in public or with company here.

I am a major fan of using the fart noise as an escape method out of any tense situation that could lead to a meltdown of one or both children. I have to admit that I am probably just as much of a child as they are in a lot of regards. The problem now is that when they get nervous or start getting tired, they will start making these noises anywhere. And I mean ANYWHERE!

How does this have anything to do with anything? Children emulate their parents on a lot of levels, and in many ways that we may not recognize right off the bat. Most commonly you hear that parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke. Not because of second hand smoke or early nicotine addiction, but because they learn to replicate these behaviors. These simulations of the parents’ lives can go much deeper though. Even to an emotional and mental level.

This really hit home a few days ago while watching my son play by himself in the kitchen. I could hear him getting louder and what sounded like having an argument with himself. As I listened more closely, I realized he was not arguing with himself. He was being me, arguing with himself. He was reenacting a disagreement we had earlier in the day and the horrible way in which I reacted to that situation.

I was shocked that he had it down so remarkably well, and remembered it to a tee. I was also heartbroken that my son was currently remembering me that way. Children are very perceptive and are like video cameras. The problem is, there is no erase, and you have no control over the timing of the playback. They live a lot of their lives in our likeness.

The solution to these heartbreaks and situations? Leading by likeness. As a parent, we all want to raise the best children we can. It all starts with how we act and what they reflect of us, especially at a young age. It quickly sank in on me that day that if I want to raise loving, compassionate, and great people, I have to be those things as well. The best example of such things they will ever see is me.

Sometimes I find myself hoping that my children don’t turn out like me later on in life. And this is for a multitude of reasons. Then I find myself asking “what can I do to make sure of this?” and the answer is now clear: I must lead by likeness. Perhaps the change in them will also be the change in me. And in that way, all of us will benefit.