parenting

D is for Dad's - Adjusting to Fatherhood

Jace Pierson reflects on the wonderful + overwhelming adjustment into fatherhood, and his advice to other dads on how to survive, support, and savour each moment. 

When my wife was pregnant I forgot to imagine what it going to be like once this tiny human would join us. There was a lot of fun stuff like shopping, planning and pintrest-ing. Prepare yourself to spend some money! But as much as we planned, we found that we were heavily uninformed and unprepared. We had little in the way of friends with kids to ask, so making a birth plan became an intense few months of research. The first year has been a whirlwind of wonderful and overwhelming, so let me share a bit of my experience with you….

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Once our amazing baby girl was born, Meal planning quickly became the bane of our existence. It always seemed like we just ate but now we were h-angry at each other again. We ate a lot of take-out for the first while. (that's how I got this epic dad bod and mildly depleted savings). 

Sleep patterns were out the window and stress coping and memory becomes difficult when you're always tired and h-angry. And guess what? There are no more time outs, it's 1st down with 6 months to go!  It was overwhelming at times, but the amazing parts truly outweigh the hard times; like that first smile, and the pure joy of making your little one laugh for the first time. (I recommend tickles)! You start to see things in a whole new light: your kids light, and it’s almost as though you too are seeing it for the first time. 

For the year to follow the birth of my daughter I saw my wife more than the years she was not pregnant. Yet I found myself distanced and I missed her very much even though we were always together. As a husband, I found this to be one of the greatest challenges; I love my wife beyond belief and I live for time we spend together. 

As men when faced with difficult times, we tend to put our heads down focus elsewhere and push through until it’s over. Those first months of parenthood are no different.

 

If I could offer any advice to new dads its to stay present, and stay the course. 

 

Your child might not want that much to do with you for the first while and demand the attention of your partner, and that's okay. So what are you supposed to do? 

It’s your job to be there for mom; she needs you to be present, to be attentive, to fill in the gaps of what she no longer has the time or energy to do; this was the best advice I got from a good friend and I pass it unto you. 

Get your hands dirty! I have heard a few dads complain about changing their kids' diapers, how gross it is "I have a bad gag reflex and cant handle it". It’s time to MAN up friend (or should I say wo-man up, mom just birthed a human. If it comes down to who is tougher... She is). With the exception of breast feedings your roll and responsibilities are as equals.

Does this change when mom goes back to work? Sort of. 

Now that my wife is back at work, we are continually striving to find the balance between being a parent and maintaining our former life. Some days it works, and other days are a just a mess. It's constant growth, and as long as the communication stays open and you continue to have each other’s back, you will make it through in one piece.

Good luck & Have fun, it does go fast!

Jace is a father and husband, passionate about his family, friends, and the beautiful community of the Comox Valley that he calls home. Jace works as an advisor with Sunlife Financial, and is a warm and enthusiastic resource for individuals and families exploring their options for investments, education saving plans, and much more.

For more information you can visit his website, or contact him directly at jace.pierson@sunlife.com.

 

How to avoid Mother's Day Disappointment (and not feel guilty about it)

This is your day: a day that celebrates the blood, sweat, tears, love, kisses, hugs, long nights, early mornings, and reheated cups of coffee that you have sacrificed for your the tiny human(s) you made!

I think every mom has some expectation of what Mother's Day should be like, and I don't know a single one of us that hasn't felt a little let down or disappointed at the end of the day, followed by feelings of guilt for not being more grateful for the family we have and the effort they made. 

Maybe you just wanted lunch at your favourite restaurant, or a relaxing pedicure in the middle of the day. You might have hoped for breakfast in bed, with handmade cards slid underneath a hot cup of coffee, with the only three words that matter in the world. Maybe you just wanted a nap! 

Are you selfish? No. 
Are you worth it? Yes!
So, how can you have the mothers day you hope for? 

Tell them what you'd like.

It's actually THAT simple. 

What are the little things you long for to make you feel special, valued, and celebrated? Those things; say them.

It might feels a bit strange or contrived to clearly communicate what you want; it's not something we are well rehearsed at doing. But how many partners would breathe a sigh of relief if they knew exactly what it would take to make your Mothers Day special, to celebrate all you do and who you are to your family? I'd venture to guess it would be more than few. 

We aren't always the best at clearly communicating our needs, carving out time for ourselves, or asking for what we wish for. But this day? Its 'll about you, so why don't you tell the ones that love you the most, exactly what it would take to make you feel like their queen? It just might be the best Mother's Day yet. 

World's Okay-est Mom

I was chatting recently with a wonderful photographer friend of mine (who you must check outher maternity+newborn+family photog is out of this world). We were talking about the pressures of being a good mother, and she joked (although, I’m not sure it was actually a joke), that she wanted a t-shirt that displayed the words, “World’s Okay-est Mom”. We laughed, but I think we may have both breathed a sigh of relief; we are both those moms, and we are okay with it (most of the time). 

It’s okay to not be perfect. You’ve heard this before, and you’ve nodded your head in agreement, but somehow, not being perfect still feels like not-quite-enough. 

One of my close friends has been my back-yard neighbour since we’ve lived in our current home, almost 8 years. We were both a part of a local "peaceful parenting" online group for years before meeting. We knew each other by name, but we’d never met, until we were both pregnant with our youngest, and my middle son and her oldest were toddling around in our neighbour hood playing together. When we put together where we knew each other from, we couldn’t believe we’d spent all of these years as neighbours, living parallel lives, listening to each others baby’s cry and…

 

Oh no. She’s heard me.

 

All this time, my fellow ‘peaceful parent’, has been a secret witness to the inner happenings of my messy life. She’s heard me fight with my husband, yell at my kids, and she’s definitely seen my toddler running around bare-foot, without clothes, on more than one occasion. 

I was mortified, and I was closing doors and windows every chance I got after this horrible discovery. I needed to make sure she only saw the best of me, after years of probably hearing and seeing things I’d never want anyone to know. She wasn’t going to want to be my friend. She was probably going to out me on our local parenting group, and tell all the other perfect moms that I’m actually not the perfect, peaceful parent we were all striving to be. 

Except, she didn’t. She’s actually apologized to me on occasion about some or other parenting moment that she’s been ashamed of. She accepted me, and perhaps…she felt like she wasn’t alone. We aren’t the same. She has a gentler, softer way about her, and I admire her in so many ways. But she isn’t perfect either; she’s another OKAY mom, and we get to pretty candidly walk that journey in closer quarters than most, and I’ve stopped feeling like I need to measure up to the invisible expectation I’d set out before me. 

 

It’s okay to just be okay. It’s okay to feel like you fall somewhere in the middle. It’s okay to have days where you shoot for the stars, and days where you feel like you are somewhere situated at the bottom of a filthy water well. Sometimes it’s one step forward and 3 steps back, but it’s a journey that we are all on, and no one's looks quite the same as the other. 

 

We live in a world where we tend to only see and share our proudest, sexiest, most put-together moments; we’re all just trying to portray the best version ourselves. We want to remember and celebrate the moments that we feel like we shine, but let’s not forget that WE ALL have some pretty cloudy days and some really ugly moments that we mostly keep to ourselves. 

We need to take a good look in the mirror and stop tearing ourselves apart and instead tell ourselves what we love, because negativity breeds negativity. Affirming our best qualities doesn’t mean ignoring our worst, but when we really begin to believe the exceptional and beautiful things about ourselves, those are the things that will flourish and multiply in our life.

There will be some things our kids will remember that we wish they’d forget. We will fall short of our own expectations, and we will probably compare ourselves to the people we think are doing a better job than we are. But let’s go easy on ourselves, and let’s be honest, we are all just OKAY.