Tip #9 Keep your wife hydrated:

Make sure to hydrate!

New moms are often stuck in place while nursing and rarely have a free hand to hold a glass. If your baby has had a restless night, your wife might have gone hours without replenishing her own fluids. Hand her a glass of water and remind her that it’s essential to her health to keep hydrated.

A buddy of mine said that his wife literally reacted more enthusiastically when he brought her a cup of water while breastfeeding, than when he gave her a pair of earrings while they were dating. While you’re at it, drink some water yourself.


Tip #8. Share the positive:

Share the positive

We have all heard stories about the blow out diaper, the endless crying, and the growing piles of clutter around the house. Talk through your challenges over a cup of coffee or tea to decompress and come up with solutions. And while you are doing that, share the fun and sweet moments of parenting.  Remember when you sang songs to your baby, and he or she smiled back. Celebrate new developmental milestones, and acknowledge the small parenting victories along the way.

And while we’re talking about celebrations, take a look at your partner. You dated her. You married her. And now you share this wonderful new human being. Maybe your relationship with your wife completely turned on its head when the new baby arrived. But by using these strategies you have a good chance of enriching the intimacy that you have with your wife—and remaining the stud she fell in love with.

Tip #7. Never assume your day was more challenging than your partner’s

Look beyond your individual challenges

No matter if one or both of you are working away the house, or remotely from home, never get into a fight about who is having a tougher day. You are probably stressed out and dying for a few minutes to yourself. But trying to “guilt” your partner into feeling bad for you is not wise by any stretch of the imagination. Feel free to vent on occasion, but remember that you can’t read her thoughts or experience what she’s feeling. You are a team, and when it comes to raising this child, no one on this planet will provide more love and support than your soul mate.

June Parenting News Recap: Dad Shaming, No Kid Fantasies and Cell Distractions.

1) NY Times – The Damage of Dad-Shaming

My thoughts after reading this:
My Dad-Shame came on a chilly winter day at the library. My child’s full diaper could not wait and she tried to roll off the changing pad of the family restroom. As we got ready to head to the car, I struggled to put on her jacket and get her into the stroller. Just then, a young woman walked by, smiled at my frustration and condescendingly said, “Dad’s day with daughter.” The “Dig” implied that I was struggling due to inexperience and it hurt because I was a stay at home dad who was with her all the time. If the woman saw the exact same behavior with my wife, I suspect the comment might have been “oh she must be hungry,” or “she must be tired.” It was something that stuck with me, but it also made me appreciate the countless people who have had kind words and positive interactions with my daughter.

Key Article Takeaways –
* When Dads are criticized or shamed for their parenting, it often leads to them wanting to be less involved.
* There can often be a double standard where dads get an undue amount of praise for doing things that moms are simply expected to do.
* Dad’s want to be involved but often have a different parenting style.

2) Wall Street Journal – It’s okay to feel ambivalent about your children

My thoughts after reading this:
The article references several examples of parents who are struggling with the notion of their own individuality, including a reference to a dad who feels like his kids have kept him from leading the life he wants. This makes me think of an important quote from Pastor Stephen Furtick: “We Overestimate what we could do with an opportunity we don’t have and underestimate what we could do with an opportunity we do have.” It seems like in society, there’s so much focus on “What If” as opposed to “What now”. I feel sorry for the father who questioned his decision to have kids, but I think that it’s important to remember that kids don’t have to get in the way of our dreams, they can make us move mountains to accomplish them. Before my daughter, I used to write in-depth analytical pieces about politics, race and the challenges of growing up as a millennial. I literally used to wake up some nights, stressed out about what I was writing about, but now I am enjoying every moment that I get to write about parenting. My child hasn’t stolen my individuality, she’s enhanced it.  

Key Takeaways –
* The article begins with a dad struggling with his decision to have children and wondering what his life would have been like if he never had them.
* Studies are paying more attention to depression in fathers and parental feelings of ambivalence (having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.)
* Ends with an intriguing quote “You can love your kids and still want to flee from them.”

3) Thrive Global – Parenting While Distracted

My thoughts after reading this:
I’ve been hearing a lot about distracted parenting in the news and recently downloaded an app to track my own screen time. I think it’s incredibly important to put your phone down and focus on the moment when you are with your kids. Play is the business of children, and it’s important that we help facilitate their learning with our attention.

* The article cites a phenomenon known as the “Still Face Paradigm” in which infants grow weary if their parent is physically in the room but expressionless and emotionally unavailable.
* References a Global study surveying children, who believe that their parents checked their devices too often and felt “unimportant” when they did.
* States the importance of being wary of where we focus our attention.

Thanks to the family and friends who have shared news and information with me. Each month I plan to highlight relevant articles and share them.

New Dad Tip #6. When you finally go on a date night, turn off your phone:

New Dad Tip #6. When you finally go on a date night, turn off your phone:

Unplug and focus on the moment

Let me be clear about something. I not saying turn off both phones, I am saying turn off your phone. Instruct the babysitter to call or text the mother in an emergency. You really don’t need your phone on. Here’s why: You’re a new dad spending an evening out with your wife for a date, maybe away from Baby for the first time. Your phone can ruin a relaxing evening. How? Like most of us, you assume that every single text and notification you receive is an update from the babysitter and that it could be an emergency. More likely, it could be your friends texting about a sports score, or another nonemergency call that will distract you from having a romantic evening out. Before you leave home, agree to have the sitter contact your wife with any updates . This is a night to decompress, to focus 100% of your attention of your wife. Turning off your phone is a great way to do that.

Photo by Davids Kokainis on Unsplash

New Dad Tip #5. Never work on more than two tasks at once:

Take a moment to think of the times when you were happiest, and most relaxed after accomplishing your goals. Perhaps you met all of your deadlines at work, and the house is completely clean, and you just finished washing your car. You are free because you now have absolutely nothing that you “need” to do. But as a new dad, there is almost always something you “need” to do. While you are washing the dishes, you stop to help your wife find a burp cloth. If you’re cleaning bottles, you might stop to hear if the baby is crying. As a new dad, three simple tasks might take as long as it once took to complete five or six chores. We may feel like the baby is “taking over” and that we can’t get “anything done.” But we need to accept that the baby is an ongoing task magnet. And we’re setting ourselves up for failure by trying to accomplish too much at once.

It’s better to work on only one or two things, and feel relieved when you’re done. Then work on one or two more. Taking on multiple tasks will stress you out. Your mind will begin to associate any task with stress and frustration, and your body language will reflect negatively the next time your partner asks you to help with even simple chores around the house. Next time you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, politely say that you want to be attentive and that you are happy to help out with everything you can, but you work best if you can only do a few tasks at a time.

Tip #4 – Don’t start what you can’t finish.

Top 100 Dad Tips Series

A half-finished job isn’t helpful. Don’t pull out five loads of laundry if you only have time to complete one load from crumpled to closet. Don’t start making food if you leave out all of the plates and have unwashed pans on the counter.

With your attention moving in so many directions, it’s easy to get distracted, but remember this phrase: There is no later. Starting multiple tasks and leaving them unfinished makes you feel increased anxiety and leads to resentment with your partner. Consider completing several small tasks and then waiting until you have a block of time to get other stuff done. Don’t wait for the “later” that will never come. Do it now!

Don’t start what you can’t finish.

“My phone does what?”

My daughter had just started to crawl and was having a very wiggly and cranky morning. Did I mention that she was also teething? We had just taken a stroll around the neighborhood, and I put her down for her nap. This gave me a chance to make a customer service call that I had been trying to make for a few days. Now, there are two of the things I truly hate in life:

  1. Customer service calls
  2. Wasting time

It took me several minutes to reach an operator, and when I did, I was sent back and forth to different departments. About halfway through the call, my daughter woke up from her nap, much earlier than normal, and started crying for my attention. I continued the call as I picked her up and changed her diaper.

When I finally reached a supervisor who was ready to resolve my request, my daughter began to crawl into the kitchen. I ran to catch her, with the phone in my hand. That’s when she used her baby ninja skills to reach up and press the bright red “End Call button on my phone.

Picture of an iPhone
I was ready to scream

I was ready to scream, as I realized that I had lost over 30 minutes without getting my service issue resolved. Looking around my cluttered living and dining rooms, I thought how I would have to be “on” again, with no parenting breaks. I put my daughter back in the crib, let her cry, and called my wife. I told her that I didn’t think I could do “this” anymore.

Thankfully, my wife talked me off the ledge, and the rest of day was fine between my daughter and me. But that singular moment was the only time that I’ve ever regretted my choice of staying at home with the baby. I shared this story with another parent at a public library Story Time session. This wise and experienced parent mentioned a feature on my phone called “Guided Access”.

Accessibility Options

Guided Access simply means that you can disable the touch feature on your iPhone (there’s a similar feature called “Touch Lock” on android devices). It not only prevents touch from being enabled, but it can also be customized to block out specific portions of the screen, and not others. In other words, this feature could have modified the phone controls and prevented my daughter from ending my customer service call.

I’ve come to realize the importance of having these conversations with other parents and how sharing our experiences and guiding others can save us time, stress and money. I found the solution I was looking for, because a Guy Did Ask.

Here is a link to my YouTube walk through about how to prevent your child from ending your calls by using this feature. And here is an article with overview of how to enable Guided Access. 

Let’s keep the conversation going.

– Guy

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me?

This past year I had the opportunity to be a stay at home dad with my daughter. When I began, I had no clue what I was doing and found it challenging to find clear and concise tips about how to navigate the sudden change in our relationship. When a new baby enters your home, it saps nearly 100% of your wife’s attention. Even if you are doing everything you can to help, the sleep deprivation, stress and new family dynamics can often lead to arguments—and a lack of passion. For many new couples, romance can fade for reasons such as:

  • Physical pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor Communication/Arguments
  • Feeling like there’s a never ending “to-do” list.

You respect everything this amazing woman has done to bring your child into this world, but there’s just not much you can do about the physical pain. However, when it comes to exhaustion, poor communication and that to-do list”, there are a number of steps you can take to change the game and look like a stud in the process

1. Use a baby carrier in the house to accomplish tasks: As a new dad, I found that there are few things more satisfying than the look on your wife’s face when she sees that you’re inside the house, taking care of chores with the baby in a carrier, strapped to your chest. The baby is bonding with you, while listening to your heartbeat and feeling calm, as though the little tyke is back in the womb. This is your moment! Your wife sees you accomplishing tasks—and caring for the baby. She might begin to search for other things that need to be done around the house. Just tell her “I got it.” Then maybe she will spin around to make sure that everything is okay, and that’s when you say “Babe,” pause and stare into her eyes, wait a few seconds and say the following words in your most legit voice: “Babe…take some time to yourself. If anything comes up… I’ll get you.”

2. Never run an errand without a list: When you walk into the baby aisle, make sure that you are equipped with a list of specific items that are pre-screened by your partner. You might think that all “size 1” diapers are the same, but your partner is likely focused on leak guards, wetness indicator strips and a preferred brand. Before you walk out the door, check the items on your list and ask the magic question: “Honey, should I look for a specific brand?”

3. Surprise your wife with an occasional spa day: After a few months of total infant care, encourage your wife to leave the house without the baby. Gift her with a mani/pedicure, massage or another spa treatment. Pick a random Saturday and call it “Daddy and Baby Day.” Tell her in advance that it’s just you and the baby for a few hours. She can choose to go to the spa, have lunch with friends, or just sit in a coffee shop and have time to herself. Find a day that works, and schedule it.

Spa Candle Image
More relaxed wife. More relaxed life.

Follow for more tips that will be posted frequently.