Father’s Day is coming up, and the dads are taking over! Stay tuned all week as we hear from several awesome local dads, and be blessed by these glimpses into the mind and heart of a father.
I am a man who likes to have a plan. I plan all my projects meticulously, down to the last measurement and detail. I am extremely organized, to the point I alphabetized my DVD collection (over 600). I love routines. I complete the same activities, in the same order, every morning.
NONE of that is allowed when you are a father. Plans are spit up on, torn, and turned into a coloring book. Organization exists so that children have something with which to create a mess. Remember those routines… I do not. So let me begin with the rest of the things I wish I had known about being a dad.
10) I consider myself to be imaginative. I spent hours of my childhood imagining the grandest adventures with the most daring plots. I am able to think of ridiculously silly stories or lyrics. However, I cannot play house or dolls. You would think it is just more imaginative play, but my imagination must be missing those files. Many of you are thinking, That is because you are a guy (and thank you for noticing), but I am able to do plenty of girl-related activities. I dance to their princess songs, I can do ponytails and amateur braids, and I have even allowed them to paint my nails. No fear of girly activities – I just do not have the capacity to play house or dolls. I always end up paying imaginary bills or mowing the fake plastic lawn, and “that is just boring, Daddy.”
9) Parent/Teacher conferences are just as boring when you are the parent. My wife sits intently, listening to every word the teacher says about our children. I am trying to figure out if the tiny chair is going to hold me and if the janitor is going to be able to help me off it. It is not that I don’t take interest in my daughters’ education – I am always helping with homework (especially math, love that subject), drawing hippopotamuses for posters, and reading with/to them. I think after so many years of having to sit and listen to teachers, I still just zone out.
8) I consider myself to be a manly man. I can grow a nice beard. I cry only once a year, twice if the Cyclones lose to the Hawkeyes in football. I would eat steak and potatoes for every meal if it were financially feasible. Today, I am here to tell you, daughters can make a dad do whatever they want. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have my fingernails painted or that I would buy so many princess-themed items. I never thought I would sing Disney songs in public or have a tea party and pretend to be the queen (although my royal mum is pretty spot-on). I hope their control ends at some point, because my man card is going to expire soon.
7) Children are like sponges. They just sit and absorb everything that surrounds them. You speak thousands of words per day and your child says only three words that are barely recognizable. But you say that one word, that word that should never be uttered in the vicinity of Mommy, and your child will remember that one terrible word forever. Not only will he remember it, he will repeat it – and his pronunciation will be like Alex Trebec’s: flawless. He will repeat it to the point that your right to speak is revoked. If you are lucky, he will even repeat it in front of Grandma and Grandpa. Who does not want another parenting lesson from Mom and Dad?
6) You will need two dishwashers and two washer/dryer sets. You would think tiny clothes plus tiny piles equals tiny laundry requirements. Wrong. My wife is constantly trying to keep up with these tasks, and I always joke we need more machines. She always jokes I should help out more. We are both stand-up comedians in our spare time.
5) Serious time. Becoming a parent means working twice as hard with each kid. I am not talking about working for financial reasons. I mean working at relationships. The relationship with your spouse, your children, your friends…. Trying to share yourself with that many people is difficult. It’s easy to start slacking in one of those relationships, but you need every one of them in your life. The best things in life will always require extra effort.
4) More serious time. Being a father means you are many roles: leader, teacher, counselor, and more. Most important (in my opinion), you teach your children how to love. At first, this seems like a given, but it gets deeper. We teach our children how to love not just our families, but others. Growing up, my family always adopted a star child at Christmastime. I wanted to continue that tradition this past Christmas, and when I saw how unpassionate and unsympathetic my children were, I knew I was lacking in this area. I have always done my best to show them how to love a spouse or their own family, but I had shortcomings in showing love for others.
3) I touched on relationships a little already, but I want to focus on a specific relationship: intimate relationships. Fathers and mothers need to become adaptable in their intimate relationship. Before you interpret this too far off the beaten path, I mean you can no longer schedule your “before bedtime” activities. Start by flirting and a little foreplay during the course of the normal day. Be ready in case the mood is right during nap time or just after the kids get on the bus for school. Intimate relations cannot and should not be scheduled, but should be a spontaneous expression of love and passion. Now, I had better stop before I get myself in the intimate dog house.
2) Most guys have a childish side. I even know men older than I who still have this side. Whether you’re a mom or a dad, use your inner child to connect with your children. You would be surprised how many times you and your kids are thinking the exact same thing in a potentially fun situation. You will also be surprised to find that your spouse is looking more to you than to them when determining who is about to do something stupid. Being a father – a parent – can be just as much fun and reward as it is work and sacrifice. Do not forget to find the fun in life.
1) FATHERS WILL NEVER BE PREPARED FOR THEIR FIRST, OR LAST, POOP-FILLED DIAPER!! You would think with all the fart jokes, toilet stories, and disgusting images we guys can stomach, a simple diaper change would be nothing. It does not get any easier or any less disgusting. I cannot even count the number of times I wanted to vomit on my child. (I would advise against this reaction though, guys, as your wife will not appreciate having to clean poop and vomit combined.)
What things has parenthood taught you that you wish you’d known before?
Meet Guest Blogger Dathan Verzani
I am a 28-year-old father of three. I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Rachel, since 2006. I am classically trained in accounting, but I work in the technology field. An avid Iowa State Cyclone fan, I work from home, exercise way too often, enjoy disc golf, and try to make every day a memorable one. “You are never too old to make a memory.”