Update: New Doors Opening

A few weeks back I wrote a post titled Mom Resume. I expressed the fears of applying for a job after being home with children. That feeling of being vulnerable and trying to express to potential employers that you possess the skills set needed to be a vital asset to their team even though you have been out of the work force for an amount of time is a challenge. What to include in a resume is intimidating.

Check out Mom Resume for more details and to see what I did end up including on my resume!

It was just a small very, part time job blogging for a company that promotes our city. This position was much different than anything I’d ever done before. As a teacher, you often feel that your career path is chosen and set in stone. Unlike a degree in marketing or public relations or something more broad, as a teacher your options seem much more limited. Mix that together with being home with kids for a few years and I wasn’t even sure where to begin.

I’ve always had a passion for writing and words though and loved that it was something that I could do for as a hobby more for me. And so I didn’t let those limitations or fear stop me. I put myself out there. I was vulnerable, a word that seems to make its presence often in the blog and on Instagram.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” –Brené Brown

Sometimes when you “dare greatly” it pays off!

I can now officially say that I am employed through a local company called Visit Eau Claire in which I blog about different events, local restaurants, and things that our unique to our city. This is my second month now writing for them. I’ve had the opportunity to get my writing out to the local community. Check out my latest post about Chalkfest, an extraordinary event where local artist come together to create large pieces of artwork on the sidewalks of our college campus. Trust me you will be amazed!

More than a job:

Not only do I get to share my writing in a different avenue, but I also get to do this with another Mom friend! She actually shared the job posting with me and together we decided we both needed to apply. It has given us a chance to get out once a month together outside of the typical play-date venues! Together we have pushed each other to try new things (such as zip lining together) and helped us create something that is for us. Often as a mom, we get lost in the day to day and doing things for our family. Your identity gets lost in your children and family and you no longer take the time to do things you enjoy. This has been an outlet for us to help regain some of who we are.

 

In conclusion, I’ve learned a few things from this adventure:

  • You must make time for you and cultivate things that make you happy.
  • Spending time with mom friends outside of the park in an adult setting, strengthens your bond and friendship and fosters a life-long friendship.
  • I have the abilities and the skill-sets to do things I never thought possible.
  • You need to be vulnerable. You are only limiting yourself if you don’t allow yourself to have the chance to fail.
  • The sky’s the limit…
Our view as our cable went up to the top of the zip-line!

If you are a teacher or a former teacher and feel like that is all you are qualified to do, I urge you to check out this great post from My Mommy Blogs.

Mom Resume: SAHM Re-Entering the Workforce

If you are anything like me the thought of going back into the work force is petrifying! Change can be so challenging sometimes and there are so may “what ifs” that can plague you. But before you can even go back you have to apply. Where do you even begin? What do you put on your resume?

I’ve only been out of the workforce for two years, technically less, since I took a “leave of absence” for some time. Check out the post Finding Me for more about my journey from the classroom to SAHM. Yet, even in that time I feel like many employers would disregard me considering I have no “Job” during this time.

I was recently notified of a local company looking for a very part time gig blogging. Immediately my ears perked up but my fear of rejection and change kicked in just as fast. The job description was very vague and so I wasn’t quite sure the type of person they were looking for. Being vague was actually probably pretty smart on their part in order to get a wide variety of applicants. However, my inner voice was saying “I’m sure you aren’t what they are looking for”. Then I stopped myself. I’ve been reading the book “Rising Strong” by Brené Brown in which it talks about “showing up and daring greatly”. She is both a researcher and story teller on the topic of vulnerability. She defines vulnerability as “the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome”. So I decided I must throw myself out there and see what happens.

Building the Resume:

I was easily able to complete a letter of interest stating why the job would be a good fit for me but the resume still plagued me. I think my husband could just sense my reservations and knew that I felt my resume was a daunting task. At one point I even told him “I have nothing.” Being a guy he wanted a solution, a fix to how I was feeling so that night he sat down with my old resume and chopped it up and helped me put it back together as whole new document.

And you must be asking yourself, “What did she put on as her current occupation?” We hemmed and hawed over if I should put “homemaker” or “stay at home mom” or what title would fit. Finally we decided on “In-home Early Child Educator” and I think that suites me well. Although in the teaching world I’m officially licensed as a 1-8 Educator, I am still an educator and currently my “students” range from 10 months to 4 years old.

Of course you need some descriptors regarding what skills you have gained from that job. We mentioned manages all scheduling, finances, and logistics of a family of five. We also included implement educational activities as important descriptors of my “job”.  All of which are valuable skills sets for both my household and for many occupations. It was decided. My current job was on the resume with a title that fit me just fine.

The Wait and a Lesson Learned:

So we shall see what comes of it. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what I do still matters and is important enough to fit in my resume. And my job is multifaceted and surely valued. I want to work for a company who can see the value in this time that I have dedicated to raising our children.

And I’m beyond thankful for a man who sees me and all that I do as a huge contributor to our family and helps push me to be vulnerable.

My current view as I type this blog…#momblogger

For the inside scoop on what happened, click here!

If you are a teacher or a former teacher and feel like that is all you are qualified to do, I urge you to check out this great post from My Mommy Blogs.

 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

“It takes a village to raise a child.” –Traditional African Proverb

When our first was born five and a half weeks premature those words rang so true to us. We stayed in the hospital that was two hours from our home. I was discharge early (only 24 hours) after an emergency C-section so that we could go be with my baby. My husband still had to work so he would drive up in the evenings and drive back home at night. We bounced from hotel room to hotel room until finally the Ronald McDonald house had an opening.

It was something we would wish upon no one. But dang did our village come through for us. People put their lives on pause, took off days of work and stayed with us. They brought us little things to brighten our day or bought us dinner to make sure we took the time to nourish ourselves! Their words and hugs were things that some days we clung to. They were our village.

In big moments in life it is easy to see the need to let people help. We know we couldn’t have done it without them.

Today, with a sick two year old, a four year old who just wants to have her playmate back, and a 10 month old who just wants Mommy to hold her ALL the time, I’m reminded again of my village. My poor toddler hasn’t been keeping anything down or refusing to even try to drink anything. As the hours dragged on I was frightened that I may have to take her in for IV fluids.

Today, my village came in the form of a close friend yielding Pedialyte, popsicles, and a treat for the rest of us. (She knows me too well. Feeding myself was the last thing on my radar.) Next thing I know another village member comes to swoop up my four year old. She is busy playing with her little guy, eating ALL the popsicles and drinking gallons of chocolate milk, and best of all being smothered in hugs and kisses. I don’t have to have the guilt that I can’t give her the attention she craves. She is happy as be and that is worth so much to me.

And somehow the stars have aligned and the baby is actually napping (which if you follow me on Instagram you know this truly NEVER happens), the four year old is busy playing, and I’m able to cuddle this sleeping sick little one who kept a 1/3 a popsicle down!

I need you guys and I’m so thankful for YOU!

Often I think we feel like we can do it ourselves. We don’t want to bother anyone else or burden them. But I’m here to tell you that you need your village and that is OKAY! Lean on them. That is what they are here for. And if they are anything like me, they feel good knowing they are needed and can help. Plus, they wouldn’t have offered if they didn’t want to. (Or at least that’s the way I feel…so if you are reading this and offer something, just know I might say yes!)

You are human. You are one person trying to do so many things. Let people in. Let them help and I think you will find that not only will you be a happier person but your village and your relationships will strengthen.

 

Egg Dying With a Twist (Shaving Cream, Rice, or Tie-Dye)

Before you start dying eggs this year, I have to share with you this amazing way to get hard-boiled eggs that peel very easily! All you need to do is place eggs in a muffin tin and put in the oven at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Then put the eggs in the sink full of ice and water. Let them soak in the ice bath for 10 minutes. Fast and easy!

Don’t mind the intense pout! That’s what happens when your big sister beats you to the last egg.

Now, on to the fun of dying!

Last year we decided to try dying our Easter eggs using shaving cream. It’s definitely fun and looks awesome but your hands will become stained unless you use gloves!

Materials:

  • Gloves (optional)
  • Cookie sheet or pan with sides
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Food coloring
  • Shaving cream or whipped cream
  • A knife or straw

All you need to do is put shaving cream (or whip cream) on a cookie sheet with edges and put drops of food coloring on the shaving cream.  Using a knife or a straw swirl the colors together. Then let your littles roll the eggs in the shaving cream. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes and then rinse off the shaving cream.

Here is a picture of the eggs and then a picture of my littles hands after the fact. It just so happened that our pink hands went perfectly with one of our favorite books, Pinkalicious.

      

This year we decided to change it up a bit and try two new methods.

The first one we did was tie-dyed Easter eggs which look super cool when done! They do take a while to dry so they are not for the impatient egg dyers.

Materials:

  • Paper towel
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Rubber bands or twist ties
  • Food coloring
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Glass pan

 

All you need to do is place a hard-boiled egg in the middle of a paper towel. Fold all the ends up and wrap the egg up in the paper. Twist tie or rubber band the top of the egg. Squeeze drops of food coloring on the egg. (Don’t forget to get the top really good where the band/twist tie is located.) Spray the food color dots with a spray bottle of water. Gently squeeze the egg over the sink to get out any excess water. (Adults should do this part and use gloves if you have them to avoid stained hands!) Place the eggs in a glass pan and let them sit till they are dry. We let our sit for about 3-4 hours before unwrapping them. You will not be disappointed by the results!

   

 

The 3rd method was with rice in a bag! This was the most hands on method for kids that I’ve done with the least amount of mess!

Materials:

  • Small zip-lock bags
  • ½ cup of rice in each bag
  • 5-6 drops of food coloring
  • Hard-boiled eggs

 

Dump ½ cup of rice in a zip-lock bag and add 5-6 drops of food coloring to each bag. We started out keeping each bag a separate color (i.e. a blue bag, a pink bag, etc.) Zip the bag and have your little one mix the dye around by shaking it or rubbing it around. Open the bag and place the egg inside and zip it back up. Remind your little to be gentle as you let them rub the rice around with the egg. Take the egg out and allow it to dry. Then if you want to mix colors take a little of the rice from one color bag and add it to another color bag and repeat the process above. After a few eggs have been dyed in a color bag you may want to add more food coloring to brighten the color back up again.

And the best part to this one is that you can lay the rice out to dry on a cookie sheet and use it again later for a sensory bin with plastic eggs! That’s a double win in my book!

HAPPY EASTER!

-Ashley

Parentingtheprincipal

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Working Mothers Have More Successful Daughter

A Harvard study from businessinsider.com states that researchers find “working mothers have more successful daughters and conscientious sons.”

I had read that article awhile back and brushed it off. However, somewhere in my subconscious it had stuck. Reading it had struck a nerve. Made me worried.

I have always been amazed by the parents who can go to work and be that super parent in the evening all while still doing the laundry and keeping up with the house. I admire their dedication to their career and strength they have to “get it all done”. I know that when I’m away even for a little bit from my children, my moments with them are much better when I return. I’m a happier, more patient mother to them. I can only imagine that that must be how they feel after picking them up from daycare or on the weekends when they get that precious time together.

I’ve reflected a lot lately on my decision to stay home. When I stopped working to be home with our children, I thought for sure we had their best interest in mind.

I thought that what I was doing for them and the moments that we had were beyond the worth that any career could offer me personally. I felt so blessed to have the ability and the resources that I had the option to stay home with my babies. I wanted to be the one there for all the little moments, good, bad, or otherwise. My husband and I, as all parents, only want the best for our children. Was me staying home doing that?! According to this study I wasn’t so sure anymore.

And just like that I had to stop myself from that thought.

Working parent or stay at home parent, either one is a great option. Both are important and hard. Both are rewarding and frustrating. Both can look at the other and think the grass is greener yet in the end one must do what is best for their situation. And frankly I love my decision. I love being there for all the moments. We have a bond that is unlike anything I could imagine. I’ve witnessed all the moments, I’ve kissed all the ouchies, I’ve read 1,000 books before kindergarten, I’ve taken them on a million different play-dates, I’ve watched them navigate new challenges, and I’ve seen them change and transform in so many different ways.

I am not a study from Harvard.

I love and value each day that I spend with my children and I’m bound and determined to believe that they will be extremely successful in spite of the fact that I was not a “working” mother. Plus, how are you measuring success anyway? The amount of money they made? Whether they climbed the corporate ladder? As a former teacher, I can tell you that a $$$ isn’t everything. I loved what I did and knew I was making a difference whether my paycheck showed that or not. Or did they measure success in the number of people they positively affect in their lives? Or in how happy they are in their life? Whatever they feel in their measure of “success” I’ve concluded, I’m happy with the choices we’ve made and I’m certain my babies with be very “successful” in many different aspects.

Click the link above to read the article for yourself and let me know what you think! Leave me a comment or find me on Instagram or Facebook!

Spring Cleaning vs. the Easter Bunny

With spring finally here two things automatically come to my mind:

1.) Easter- That basket isn’t going to fill itself and no one likes to be scrambling the day before trying to figure out what to put in it!

2.) Spring cleaning- Let’s be real, things have started to accumulate over the long winter. You feel like “stuff” is taking over!

To avoid adding more “stuff” to your house and to help you in filling those baskets I thought I would share some of the things I’ve prepared for my girls. Many times the same ideas come to people’s mind when they think of Easter baskets…peeps, jelly beans, chalk, bubbles, chocolate rabbits… And the kids can only eat so much candy. Furthermore, if it’s in the house, Mom will eat it at nap time. Below are some more nontraditional ideas for an Easter basket for your little ones.

*BOOKS! Okay so I’m always looking for a good excuse to buy the girls more good quality literature! This year I opted for Emeraldalicious because we have been in LOVE with Pinkalicious. And since one of my girls loves the color pink and the other loves the color green, I thought it would be perfect if we had both! I also snagged up Click, Clack, SURPRISE! a new one in the Duck series by Doreen Cronin and Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar. We love the first Hedgehug book so I can’t wait to read this one!

*Activity Books: My two year old has been watching her older sister work through different fun learning resource books and has recently been asking for one of her own. I’ve heard wonderful things about B is for Breakdancing Bear Alphabet Activity Sticker Book and so when it was on sale on Amazon I snagged a copy! (My oldest is currently working on the Brainquest for 1St Grade which is also an activity book series I highly recommend.)

*Travel Activities: Melissa and Doug make some wonderful On-the-Go activity books for kids. These are so helpful in the car, at a restaurant, or whenever you are in a pinch and end up having to wait with all your kids! I got them each a Water WOW book for their baskets! There are numerous different types to choose from.

*Art/Craft Supplies: New crayons, colored pencils, markers, construction paper, water color sets, stamp pads, pomp-pom balls, pipe cleaners, or do-a-dots are great for filling Easter baskets! (Check out my Instagram or pinterest for some fun Easter do-a-dot fun!) This year I opted for playdough as our art supply. After a while playdough gets dried out or mixed into combination of every color. It’s always fun to get a fresh set for more creative play!

*Games and puzzles: I’m obsessed with games and puzzles. I feel that kids can learn so much from them and it is a great way to get the whole family playing together! I grabbed up puzzles this year from the target $1/$3 section to add to the girls’ baskets. Check out a list of great games under the Products We Love tab for some ideas of games I highly recommend.

  

Count Your Chickens is a super cute Cooperative Learning Game that is perfect for an Easter theme!

*Practical items: Socks and undies are always a good addition to any basket. They are always in high demand at my house! This would also be a good time to grab a new water bottle for the kids to keep on hand.  Or maybe you are in need of some new toothbrushes (perfect to help with all the candy they are bound to get from relatives).

What are some unique things that you like to add to your child’s Easter basket?

 

 

 

Women Don’t Work

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. A day for honoring all the strong, independent, hard working women of the world. I, being a mother of all girls, love the quote, “Here is to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

It was also the day my oldest told me, “Women don’t work.” With which my deer in the headlights look prompted her to elaborate more and she simply stated, “You don’t work Mommy.” And just like that a ton of bricks hit me hard. Heck, we even did a whole pinterest worthy preschool unit on careers which included both women and men! But somewhere between all the cute crafts and millions of books I’d missed something fundamental. I missed showing her that women have a huge part in our working world and although I do not go to “work”, I work in a different way.

How can I explain my work to my four year old when there are days it is something I struggle with myself? I get lost in knowing the “work” I put in school and getting the career I wanted and get caught up instead in the fact that I now clean more bodily fluids then I ever thought humanly possible. (Side note: Potty training is hard work. Someone needs to start a potty trainer service.) How do you explain the concept that you had a career, one you loved dearly, and you found more value in staying home to be with them instead? Yes, being a SAHM is work and it’s undeniably hard, with long hours and a paycheck full of kisses and sticky fingers. But in the eyes of a child I can see where this is a tricky concept for them to understand.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to do a better job of pointing out all the career women in the world to my girls. I need my girl’s to see all the possibilities that they as women have! Using terms like “mailperson” just isn’t enough. I need to be conscious of their perception and use it as a teaching tool. I need them to know that they can “work” in many different capacities as a women. No matter the “work” they choose I want them to know that I know their value and will support them fully! Go shatter that glass ceiling baby!

I’ve also learned that I need to build up my own confidence in my “work” and realize that it is okay to just be a mom. It does not make me any less of a person or any less educated because I do not go somewhere to “work”. I need to embrace the positive side to my profession like the fact that there are days I live in leggings and baggy sweatshirts! Or the fact that these moments with them are fleeting. They are growing too fast and before I know it all I will have are the pictures and memories we have built. But I guess that is a whole other post and my middle child is doing the potty dance.

 

Got a comment or a tip for me to help me as I guide my girls in becoming strong, confident women please leave me a message here!

Calling All You Party Animals-2nd Birthday Bash

Birthdays are full of famimg_9041ily, laughter, and celebration of life! I try to make each birthday unique to that child and fun for everyone! When thinking about planning my middle child’s birthday, I first wanted to do something like “Tea for Two” since she was turning two. After further thought I realized this wild child could not have a dainty tea party! She would be the child that upon seeing a chalk drawing of a lion would sit down next to it and “roar” at the top of her lungs! She is the child that stood at the steps and called out to all the trick or treaters, “PEOPLE, come over here! Come get your candy!!” She needed a party that fit her personality! Hence we decided on a Wild Animal Theme!

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Food: essential for a good party.

We had decided party would be from 2-4 so that we could get a nap in before hand. Since it was in the afternoon, most of our food was more snack like.

 

  1. Hot dogs in the crock pot: Just dump them in and let them sit on low heat for a few hours before hand. No need for water or anything!
  2. Veggies like a lions mane using yellow and orange peppers. 
  3. Cheese and Quakers
  4. Tiger Tails (Cheetos)
  5. Lion Whiskers (Pretzel Sticks)
  6. Popcorn
  7. Zebra Cakes

It is tradition in our family that Mema makes the girls’ cake. This year she created this adorable lion cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for the fun and games:

I set up a photo book with a red and white striped tablecloth as the backdrop (from target). I put out all the animal dress up and fun birthday props for people to take pictures with.

 

This adorable Lions’ Den was the biggest hit! Just a large box with a hole cut out and then I used packaging paper from the dollar store to add texture to the outside!
My sister and I were in charge of face-painting for all the kids. They could come up to use and request what animal they wanted to look like. Although I think the kids had the most fun when they were able to draw on themselves

 

A party isn’t complete without a fun, candy filled pinata
I had all the materials prepped and ready for kids and their parents to make cute monkey hats. All the directions were written out as well as an example made for them. Please check out my pinterest under Emery’s 2nd Birthday for the complete directions.
We put a plastic kiddie pool filled with ball pit balls and a small slide.
Spray Away: Who doesn’t love using squirt guns to knock the balls off of the golf tees?!
The kids loved creating their own necklaces that they could snack on throughout the party! They used bakers twine and strung fruit loop, pretzels, and cheerios for a fun treat!
Guessing Booth
Knock Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for a few finishing touches…

I had the book If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss out for everyone to sign so E can read her special messages and remember her day!
Everyone went home with a prize bag filled with goldfish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d call that a sensational second birthday!

Follow me on instagram @parentingtheprincipal or on pinterest @parentingtheprincipal for more ideas and details!

 

Ready, set, RIO! Olympic Totschool Party!

The Olympics are here and in our house that means it’s time to celebrate!

Since it was a beautiful day outside one of the first things we did was take our learning outside for some chalk drawing fun! We discussed some of the fun sports and symbols that you may see at the OlympicsIMG_6815!

Olympic symbols:

-flags of different countries

-Olympic torch

-Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals for the top three finishers of each sport

-5 rings (Olympic rings) to represent the 5 world continents: Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe, and Australia/Oceania. Rings are composed of the five (six including the white background) colors that were shown on the flags of the countries competing in 1912.

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Of course all the chalk work made us pretty hungry so, we decided it was time for our first Olympic themed snack of the day!

The Torch:

Ice cream cones filled with Cheetos! The kids had a blast making this snack on their own. Be prepared for orange fingers and faces!

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Next up was the color sorting activity. I decided to break out the tongs to help with the fine motor skills. Both my three year old and almost two year old were able to do this activity however, the tongs were a little challenging for the younger one. These cute little cups are actually paint cups from the dollar store. We used puff balls of coordinating colors for them to sort into the correct container.

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We celebrated our color sorting activity with a festive Olympic themed drink. We even decided we needed to pull out the “FANCY” glasses!

All you need is life savor gummies and 7-up or sprite!

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CHEERS!!

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Next up was the marshmallow toss. The girls helped me created
the Olympic rings using color coordinating pipe cleaners. We then put a piece of tape on the floor so they new how far away from the rings they needed to stand. The goal was to try to throw the marshmallows into the rings. Disclaimer: Many marshmallows were consumed in the playing of this game!

 

I figured by now we needed to off-set all the sugar with a few healthier Olympic dinner options. Okay so pizza might not be much healthier but, the Olympics don’t happen that often right?! The girls helped me create homemade pizza. They love to cook with me. It’s a great way to keep them engaged and out of trouble while I make dinner. They do all my mixing and pouring. Homemade pizza is a great hands-on food for them to help with. They are able to help spread the dough and sprinkle the cheese. Lastly, their job was to help me create the Olympic rings out of pizza toppings.

Our toppings included:IMG_6828

-pepperoni for the red

-green pepper for the green

– pineapple for the yellow

-black olives for the black

And we added another ring of pepperoni since we didn’t have a blue pizza topping that we were big fans of. I have seen some people use Blu cheese.

While the pizza was in the oven we cut up and put the fruit in the coordinating bowls.

-strawberries for the redIMG_6794

-Oreo (okay so not a healthy fruit but…oh well!) for the black

-blueberries for the blue

-pineapple for the yellow

-green grapes for the green

 

And for dessert…

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Sorry this isn’t the best image!

We had a blue jello swimming pool with licorice rope dividers and teddy graham swimmers (technically we had Elsa, Ana, and Olaf swimming in our pool! But hey, you use what you have and make it work!)

And, strawberry cupcakes with frosting and the girls were able to add the Fruit Loop Olympic rings! Yum-yum!

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Dinner was served and extra cupcakes delivered to neighbors just in time for us to cuddle up and watch the opening ceremony! Of course the ceremony got to be a bit long for the attention spans of a three year old and two year old so we created our own Olympic torches!

How to make an Olympic torch:IMG_6836

Materials:

-toilet paper roll

-tinfoil

-red, orange, yellow, and pink tissue paper

-tape

The girls rolled their toilet paper rolls in the tinfoil. Then they helped me tear the tissue paper into smaller pieces. They would pick a color and we would put a tape ball on the end and stick it to the top of our tinfoil roll.

Since the Olympics will be going on for a while we are hoping to do a few more crafts later in the week. Look for them on instagram @teacher_at_heart_sahm! And of course don’t forget to enjoy a little break while your children watch the movie Rio!

What are some fun things that you will be doing to introduce the Olympics to your little ones?

-Ashley

The Five Fatherhood Realities of Newborns

Caution: Honest dad perspective ahead.

Newborns are the ultimate transition, and for dads, it can be one of the most frustrating times of fatherhood. On June 14, 2016 we welcomed our third beautiful daughter into our lives. I am so happy to report my wife
and my newborn are both healthy and well on their way to their post-birth adventures as we celebrate her first month of life. You would think that, this being my third newborn, I would be a moderate pro to all of the changes that come with a new baby. Truth is, every child is unique and they always have a way of throwing a curve ball your way. The following are the five fatherhood realities of a newborn:

  1. Newborns are13731704_10101517321487966_7955586422083016440_n kind of boring.
    Harsh? Yea, maybe but I promised honesty. Newborns sleep a lot! Of course I enjoy snuggling up to my baby, but there is a limit to how much I can sit around and cuddle. I tend to get antsy and inevitably will start to putts around the house or garage. My favorite baby stage is from about 3 – 9 months old. They can hold their head up, start to interact with you, and stay put when you put them down somewhere! On top of it all, they usually have an established sleep schedule which makes for a more refreshed Ma and Pa. Yes, I cherish these first moments of life, but I [not so] secretly am counting down the days to month three.
  2. Newborns make dads feel helpless.
    In my career as a principal, I have a lot of control over what happens in my school. I have never considered myself to be a “boss” but rather a “leader”. Regardless of the term, when teachers and staff are encouraged to take a risk in the classroom, think differently about a topic, or flip a classroom (google it if you are a non-ed person, it is pretty great) they will [typically] do it. As a father of a newborn, there is no such control in my house. We eat, sleep, and shower according to our newborn’s schedule… Which seems to change every other day. To say I have no control is an understatemen13613194_10101516642019626_4477962019603066948_ot and as a principal and mild control freak, that tends to raise my stress level. But as a dad, that’s life. On top of it all, my wife is the sole provider of all nourishment to our daughter. As the husband of a wife who knows the incredible importance of breastfeeding, I cannot be more thankful for the nutritional head start my girls have because of my wife’s sacrifice. But from the guy’s perspective, it is a very helpless feeling. Basically, if our newborn starts to cry I have three tricks up my sleeve: To swaddle, to change a diaper, or pace the house with her in my arms bouncing like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh and making up random songs about the objects I pass in the room. Turns out, they never taught me how to breastfeed in my Secondary Principal 101 classes [sarcasm].
  3. A marriage tester, indeed.
    When you mix a lack of sleep, a career, a new baby, a three year old, and a one year old (not to mention two dogs) chances are it is going to test the mettle of your marriage a bit. Each day brings on a new adventure and of course my wife and I have our fair share of disagreements because we are literally making up the playbook as we go. There is no textbook for parenting three unique kids under the age of four. Thankfully, nature has a way of easing you into each stage of life and a rhythm starts to form. We have learned to celebrate the good days and survive the rough days, always stay on the same page with one another, and relish in the little things that make us laugh.
  4. Improved relationship with the older kids.
    One of the most rewarding parts of having a newborn is the relationship I
    get to develop with my other children. Since mom is always holding and feeding the baby, my other two children are stuck with me (lucky them)! Our middle child is now attached to my hip and craves my attention, something that did not happen before our newborn arrived. My oldest loves to oooo and ahhhh over the new baby, but in the end she is always asking for me to play with her. Yes, there are days when even wrestling on the floor or playing astronauts can seem like a chore, but there will come a day when she doesn’t want anything to do with me and this is my chance to build some incredible connections.
  5. I am no longer cool.
    Now, I have never claimed to be a “cool” person. But I promise you, there is nothing 10978636_10101028556247426_8658214020950206100_ncool about being elbow deep into a major blow-out diaper or having your best buddy asks you if a bird pooped on your shoulder and your response is… “Nope, that would be baby vomit.” But with the loss of my coolness comes a flood of compassion, empathy, love, and raw emotion of humanity that can only be generated by the birth of MY child. It is the best trade off this world could offer me. I proudly embrace my nerdy dad life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Now, I know I am not alone in feeling this way… Feel free to share your [or your husband’s] journey through the newborn transition. Even though I have done this three times, I am always looking for some good advice! #ParentingThePrincipal

Cheers!
-Dan