4

The battle for appreciation

Last week, I read a blog that was discussing how dads should stop getting praised for doing what they’re “supposed” to do and simply being in their kids’ lives. Hmm… I’m not sure how I feel about that one.

(Kanye moment) Before I dive in with my view on this topic, I think parents have one of the hardest jobs on this planet. Raising a kid with a partner is tough and an everyday battle but special kudos to the ones that are doing a phenomenal job as a single parent. Your perseverance is amazing.

Back to the topic

I don’t really understand the sentiment that it’s pointless to thank or show any form of praise to a dad/mom for doing what they’re supposed to do.  I absolutely disagree. I’m a rookie at this parenting thing and still searching for the right manual on how to successfully juggle being a dad and career man. After a long week, I struggle to wake up early on Saturday mornings and plan and eventful day but to see the joy it brings to my kid is priceless.  For some, coming home means to unwind, relax and forget the day. For myself as well other parents I know, coming home means clocking back into the job that you physically left this morning. Daddy is the hero that helps moms stay sane. Putting the laptop down just to put on your cape is a daily gift that we have to perfect and that road is far from easy.

Dad achievement

Let’s dig a little deeper.  It’s one thing to physically be with your kid and it’s another to actually be there. In no way, shape or form am I trying to give anyone parental advice with this one but this is what I’m continuously struggling with.  There have been numerous times when I’ve received an email or phone call from work so by nature, I want to handle a task immediately rather than have it linger in my conscious knowing that I have to get things done.  IT CAN WAIT. Kids can tell the difference if you’re mentally checked out but even if they can’t, you’re not doing them any favors.  I’ve seen my daughter light up like a Christmas tree as soon as I put away everything work related.  I now make it my rule to not check my phone during our time together and no matter how hard it’s been so far, our relationship has gotten stronger.

When someone compliments me at the park for running miles with my kid or have a conversation about the do’s and don’ts during a social interaction, I feel so proud of myself and I’m more motivated to be better. Personally, I had a severely hard time adjusting to my new role as a dad. Positive recognition only lets me know that I’m on the right path.

Here’s the gist

Don’t you want that promotion, raise or recognition from your colleagues at your 9-5?  Yes? Well ….parenting is 24/7 so please continuously tell me how awesome I am. It goes a long way during a 10 hour day after a 2-hour sleep. Thanks!

 

I’d like to take the time to thank coffee because, without you, I’d probably be a zombie by now.

Thanks for reading guys! Please don’t forget to comment, like and share. Stay awesome!

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1

Dad Challenges

This was not what I expected.  I always imagined my first kid to be a boy, you know, wrestling  and getting dirty. I always thought I would have all the answers; having crushes, what cologne to wear, when to be smooth vs. goofy and letting him know what the world expects of him as a minority.

Up until the second that we received the news – “Congratulations. You are having a baby…” BOY. Thanks. I knew it. I cut the doctor off mid-way through her announcement because I was so sure but oh boy, or should I say girl because I was so wrong.  When the doctor said we were having a girl, I could no longer imagine my life with a boy as my first child. She was all I could think about, it felt right.

Now don’t get me wrong, my daughter and I wrestle, we get dirty and I still do my best to explain to a 1 year old what the world expects of a young woman of color, more importantly, to exceed the expectations of a young black girl during this time.  We do all the things boys do and she even throws better than a few guys I know –  but MOM (Cue the super villain music) she wants to be as glamorous as her mom.

Here’s what I’m struggling with.

Nail polish

I saw the look in her eye when she saw her mom painting her toe nails and I thought to myself “oh no. It has begun.” Her mom is her fashion idol from being dolled up to just lounging in sweats.  There is no off button.  I’m not against nail polish, I just know that I will soon be lured in by the “please daddy” then be victim to her glitter, purple nail polish.

Dating

“I have a particular set of skills..” – Liam Neeson

I was asked by my colleague – Selena ” When will you allow your daughter to date?”.  My initial thought was DATING? She’s going to work for Jesus, there is no dating.  I have 2 answers for this type of question, 1. When she’s in high school, the topic can be open for discussion but it’s based on maturity and respect.  I want a clear dialogue with my daughter which supports a “no secrets” rule. 2. My dad answer is when she’s 35, no debate.

I despise the idea of her dating but I have faith and trust that she’ll make the right decisions. BUT!!! I will always be on guard for teenage, sad romance.

Have you ever seen Taken?

Menstrual Cycles

(Cringing already) You may be thinking c’mon, don’t be immature but that’s not why.  That’s her step into womanhood and I won’t be prepared for it.  It’ll be painful , necessary for the both us but we don’t have to like it.  See for guys, I can deal with the arm pit hair, the  deep voice and weird smells but for my munchkin…….(I passed out, sorry.) Grabbing the necessary tools to handle those leaks will forever be a sad day for me.

Game face ready

As much as I want her to remain my small, munchkin forever, it’s always my duty to prep her for what this big world has in store for her.  As a young woman of color, it’s my duty to nurture her progression in all aspects – no matter how difficult it may be for me.  Truth of the matter is, I can’t fight every battle for her, I can’t always be there and I can’t always make things right. As her dad, I can teach her, mold her and be there whenever she needs me to lick her wounds aka “boo boo kisses”.  For all you dads out there, our job is to continue to push our girls/family in the right direction in hopes that our seeds create a beautiful garden in their era.

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You’re awesome!

7

Scraped knees 

As a new dad, I’m usually always over protective of my little one.  Sometimes, family members and friends would ask why am I so involved and sheltering? My response would simply be “Why wouldn’t I”?!

I come from an environment where it’s not deemed masculine to be there for every step of the growth process of your child.  It’s called the “mothers job”. I never grasped that concept. To worry about education, health, appointments, schedules, the overall development of a child is a natural gift that I believe all mothers inherit when they start cooking that “bun in the oven” but dads; we need some getting used  to.  That’s why we should receive standing ovations for trying our best to get everything down.

I can’t tell you enough how much our toddler loves exploring and how much it gives me anxiety.  To make matters worse, she’s in her independent phase so she hates her hand being held when we take a stroll. (Oy vey)  If I can place her in a bubble till she’s 35, I’d be fine but that’s not legal .. is it? A lot of the feeling of stress is attributed to being away most of the time, it makes you feel like you’ve missed everything. Time seems to be flying by when I’m away at work. It’s as if on Tuesday morning she’s my little headache, crawling everywhere but when I get back from work, she’s climbing everything and everyone.  Then I look at her mom with so much anger as if she worked some magic to speed up time while I was away. “It was you!! You did this!”

Here’s the real

It’s a great, big world out there that we still have yet to fully discover but some things have gotten old to us adults.  To a toddler, the world is brand new.  They’re experiencing every single detail on this green Earth for the first time so they want to know everything about it.  I thought it was always best to follow my instincts to always shield her from everything that can be a considered harmful but I had to realize that there’s a difference between shielding her from harm and shielding her from progression.  Over the weekend, while taking a stroll around the neighborhood, my daughter asks to get her stroller to walk. Usually, I’m on her like white on rice but this time, I took a step back to just be in the moment with her.  She had complete freedom to explore.  While walking, she fell and scraped her knees. I resisted the urge to run to her with a stretcher and IV bag ready to go. (toughest moment of the year) To my surprise, she got up, examined her wounds and made the decision to come to daddy for a “Boo Boo kiss” (Dad to dad – no one can know about this.)

I guess no matter how young old your kid is, they’ll always know how much you want to protect them but I guess what THEY WANT is for us dads to be in the moment with them.

Kenzie getting in her car 2-1.jpg

Btw .. She does not have permission to drive yet.

 

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