Forget who can change a diaper the fastest (this isn’t a competition!). Instead, think “How can I, as a father, maximize my time with my children?” Simple. Master your inner Dad clock.
1. ROUTINES RULE
Boring as it may sound, routines make the world go ‘round. Kids, especially young children, need to know what’s coming next. By providing a reliable routine for your kids, their wild, developing minds are tuned to the rhythm you set. Sharing the daily play-by-play with your young, whether they are toddlers or teenagers, is key to maintaining their sanity, and yours.
2. PLAN TO PLAN
It took me a while to follow my wife’s brilliant lead: fill up the day bag daily. All too often I’d leave the house with my kids’ supply bag with stale snacks, diapers that didn’t fit, and wipes that had already dried up. Think of your Dad Bag like a disaster kit, and make the time to keep it stocked. This type of preparation paves the way for better planning in all aspects of your father-to-children livelihood. They’re looking to you, buddy, so be ready.
3. TAKE A SHIFT
It’s not uncommon that I’m out solo with my tots and see a bunch of other dads doing the same. While it’s great that dads are stepping up more than ever, moms still do a lot of the in-home child rearing. Make a schedule with your better half. Take your fair share of shifts and embrace them. The time flies, and those ordinary moments add up to be extraordinary later.
4. CUT CORNERS (it’s okay, really)
I used to be a purist in the kitchen. All from scratch, all the time. Nowadays, I’m not above a bag of rice I can microwave for 90 seconds so that dinner is on the table before the family gets hangry. Convenience, in my opinion, is not cheating, it’s simply getting you back to the place you want to be: with your loved ones.
5. WORK CAN WAIT
Once upon a time, I was considering missing a big family event over attending an important work function, when a wise friend said: “You’ll eventually forget that work commitment you thought was so important, but you’ll never forget the time you missed being with your family.” Work will always be there. It waits for you, not you for it.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.