The Smoking Preggers

Bogan MumLet’s rewind fifty years when it was more “OK” to smoke while pregnant. What a time to be alive. Well not really. The education back then regarding the affects of smoking may not have been quite as extensive as it is today. I laugh when I hear people say “My mum smoked every day when she was pregnant with me, and look how I turned out!”.  But it comes down to risk. Perhaps not every smoking pregnant woman will end up with a baby that experiences side affects. But let’s face it, would you be willing to take a risk like that?

Here’s a short list of potential problems that your baby may run into if your wife smokes, or if you smoke and your wife inhales the second hand smoke.

  • Lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby
  • Increase your baby’s heart rate
  • Increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Increase the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight
  • Increase your baby’s risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems
  • Increases risks of birth defects
  • Increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

This information is widely available and widely known, but why do we see people continue to ignore it?! It baffles me, it really does. Just last week I noticed a woman here in Christchurch who would have been more than 8 months pregnant, and she was smoking blatantly. I was shocked, what an unfortunate little baby – the poor little thing doesn’t have much of a chance to start off on a healthy footing.

Dad’s – this is where you can help. If you smoke, then perhaps it might be a good idea to quit as soon as you find out your partner is pregnant. If you continue to smoke then it will make it so much harder on your partner to quit because you will be smoking around her more often than not. You could also get some pamphlets from your GP or midwife and chat to your wife about it. It might be a delicate subject, but it’s not one of those conversations you want to put off until tomorrow. If the conversation and the pamphlets don’t do the trick then perhaps you need to go to the midwife and tell her that your wife is continuing to smoke. The midwife or GP might have some good advice or know of a different way to approach it.

I recall living in the city when Lisa was pregnant with Finn. We lived in a modern townhouse which was pretty convenient for our social life! However, our neighbours lived in very close proximity. Our next door neighbours chain smoked – like a cigarette every 20/30 minutes. We couldn’t open any windows or patio doors as the house would get flooded with their second hand smoke. I had a friendly chat, which was met with a one-fingered salute from them. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t realise I’m like a dog with a bone when someone ruffles my feathers. So in the end, I rallied the other owners in the Townhouse complex and have passed a Body Corporate rule that forbids anyone from smoking in the complex.  Modern Dad : 1. Numpty Smokers : 0.

I hope at the very least, I have got you thinking about this topic. If you are a woman who smokes whilst pregnant and you have a rebuttal – please do comment and Im happy to hear your side of the story. You will undoubtedly be wired to the moon though.

Keep it healthy folks!

James

Modern Dad Vs Baby Gorilla

Silverback GorillaIt only took Finn eleven months to decide he was the Alpha male of the house. It was the single most hilarious moment of my week. I shit you not, he was deadset serious that he was the man of the house and not I! You may ask, what on earth was this all about? Well … it was over a cup of hot tea. Again, I shit you not.

Finn decided that he would toddle on over to his mum and try to grab her hot cup of tea. He was infuriated to discover that this was not a happening thing. The first “no” was met with a naughty look. The second “no” was met with a swift swipe of the hand. I must point out that the swiping was being done by Finn. He grabbed his mums hand and with all his might (believe you me, he’s bloody strong) he through it to the side to give him easier access to the tea.

At this point I had to step in. Yep, it was time for the silverback to let his baby Gorilla know that he was overstepping the mark and that he had to back down. But much to my surprise (and slightly to my delight), the little whippersnapper yelled at me. I tried with all my strength not to laugh, and then I gave him a loud “no”. At which point he flung both arms above him and proceeded to yell and flail at me. I gave it back to him, and Lisa was in wrinkles at this point.

In the end – Finn won. I just broke down in laughter. He was the Alpha male of the living room for the next 5 minutes. I’m seriously going to need to improve on this discipline thing. The last thing I want is a spolied brat.

Any tips are greatly welcomed.

James

(Former “Alphamale” of the Laughlin Family)

To the wives of Bogan’s.

The Bogan DadI address this, not to the Bogan Dad, but to his wife. The reason being that there’s absolutely no way a Bogan dad would be reading a blog about being a dad, or possibly even reading full stop.

To all of you partners of bogans, my heart goes out to you. It really does. I shake my head when I watch some of the actions of the Bogan dads here in New Zealand (there are Bogan, feral and redneck dads in every country) and it’s so hard not to stop and say something. But, I am built like a ping pong player rather than a rugby player so it’s probably best I refrain from offering the Bogan dads any verbal feedback.

You may be wondering, am I a bogan (if you’re a bloke reading this then you are not!) or is my partner a Bogan? Well here’s some tell-tale signs that your baby-daddy is a numpty.

  1. They sport a mullet
  2. They wear a wifebeater (a vest) by choice
  3. They drive like a maniac
  4. They visit the pub twice or more each week
  5. They scream in front of the kids
  6. They pump bass from their man cave
  7. They think going to Disney on ice is not cool
  8. They refuse to wear a tutu when your daughter asks them to
  9. They tell their son to “harden up and take it in the chin” when they are being bullied
  10. They believe that showing too much affection to their son is a bad thing.

Now I know that some of the top 10 points above are quite hilarious – but a lot of them are deadset serious. Over the past few months I have witnessed some shocking dad acts. The sad part is that the only person losing out, is the child. I watched on in horror as I was sitting at a set of lights in my car whilst a dad was calling his 5/6 year old daughter the C word. Her mother was walking alongside her and cowered away as he berated the daughter. That is simply not right. What an awful place that poor mum and daughter must be in. Clearly the Dad is abusive and it’s not easy for the mum to walk away or seek help. That’s where I think friends and family have to step in. There’s got to be someone who notices that something isn’t quite right in that family. If they do, they need to speak up and seek help. I know that New Zealand  has some amazing support services. If you or someone close wants to get some support – check out these links.

The Women’s Refuge

AreYouOK

Shine

Being a Bogan is not cool. Being a good role model is the only option us Dads have. Now don’t get me wrong, we are all human and we all have tough days, but it’s essential that we remember it’s not about us – it’s all about our kids. I fast forward in my mind to a point in time when Finn is an adult and has his own family. I always ask myself what he might think of me as a Dad and how that might impact his role as a father. I want him to remember a warm, loving dad – and someone whom he could talk to about absolutely anything. My Dad is that person. I am so grateful to him, and to his father before him. It’s only 4 weeks until my Dad comes to visit my family, it’s his first trip to NZ and his first time meeting his little grandson Finn. It will be one special moment.

Here’s to all the awesome, epic non-bogan Dads out there. I salute you.

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru

A dad’s weekend – what a belter.

Baby's first stepsApril Fools Day – what a day to be a Dad. You all know by now, that on these special days just like St. Paddys day, that my life usually has some funny sh#t go down. Well today (I wrote it on April 1, but then life happened and I posted it a few days later) has not disappointed and we are only half way through the day.

The past few days have been tough with a terrible old flu, and a few days shacked up on the sofa with Lemsip and antibiotics – a sight for sore eyes I tell ya. And Lisa, the poor wee Saint. She was looking after both her boys. Administering Finn’s meds, my meds and running the household like an absolute legend. My wife is a GC. No doubt about it.

Aunty & Unky took Finn for a sleepover last night, which allowed Lisa to get some rest, and for me to get to bed at 7pm. Now today is a very special day for our family. It’s a very sad day, but also a day where we get to reflect on someone who meant a lot to us all, and who has shaped our lives so greatly.

Lisa’s little brother Arran passed away 15 years ago on April 1st, at the young age of eighteen. Arran was a top bloke, an amazing brother and one epic drummer. A world champion at 13 years old! Arran was the reason that Lisa and I met. Let’s face it, what are the chances of a boy from small-town Ireland meeting a beautiful girl from small-town Canada? Pretty darn slim. Arran and I crossed paths through our shared passion of pipe band drumming. After Arran passed away I wrote a letter to his family in Canada to share how much he had impacted my life, and inspired me as a 16-year old drummer in Ireland. Little did I know that several years later I would end up in Vancouver playing in the same band that he did, and meeting his amazing family. Lisa and I had a great friendship for many years that blossomed into something so amazing as the years ticked by. If I didn’t meet Arran, I wouldn’t have met Lisa and we wouldn’t have Finn. Now, Im not a big religious-based person. But I do believe that someone, somewhere is looking over us and that person/spirit/being, guides us in the right direction. Fate and karma are a big part of my day to day life. As a Dad, that is something I want to instill in Finn. If you do what you know is right, then it can only be a good thing. When we make mistakes, hopefully we can learn from them.

Not to confuse you all, but lets backtrack to yesterday. March 31st 2017. Something beautiful happened in our household. A little someone, took his very first footsteps. Yep, you heard it right. At 10 months my little whippersnapper decided he wanted to walk rather than crawl. It was a ridiculously awesome moment. I’ve heard so many parents go off about the day that their baby walked. And i’ve always thought that it must be pretty cool. But when it’s your own little lad who takes those first steps it’s a monumental moment. It’s a real milestone. It’s the beginning of Finn’s baby steps towards 1, then 2 then 21! It’s all happening so fast. I read a book a few years back by Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now. The key aim of the book is to inspire the reader to enjoy the present moment, the current moment. And nothing else. Not the future, not the past. It’s bloody hard. We are always looking forward to the future. We can’t wait ‘till it’s Friday. We count down the days until we depart to Fiji. And we often reflect to the past. “It’s not like it was in my day” … that old chestnut! So my new plan is to just enjoy the simple day to day moments with Finn and Lisa. What happens right now, is all that’s actually real. Everything else is a mere figment of your imagination.

More breaking news. I know, I know. Settle down. You have all been waiting on this for a week or so now …

So – Im a routine Dad. I like to keep things in order. It helps with my baby-brain syndrome. I have certain routines each morning. Wake early, clean teeth, laugh with Finn, diaper change, brekky, diaper change, shower, get dressed, diaper change and off to ABC Merivale. Now part of my evening routines is taking my wedding ring off and setting it beside my tooth brush. It’s just what happens. I simply can’t sleep with jewellery. For five and a half years there hasn’t been a problem. That all changed on the day we left for Adele. I couldn’t find my ring. A week of hell ensued. I was wracking my brain, scouring the house. It was really gutting. My wedding ring is so much more than just gold, platinum and a diamond. It signifies the union between the love of my life and I. So, today… April 1st, I get drawn to this cute little ceramic trinket box. A lovely friend bought it for Finn when he was born. And guess what … there was my wedding ring perched safely in its clutches. I jumped for joy, I let out a few joyful profanities and I hugged Lisa for the longest moment. It was a moment. A moment I will never forget. And I learned a lesson. Don’t put my wedding ring anywhere different, ever. So it’s new place is in Finns trinket box. And let’s face it, someday Finn is going to have my wedding ring. That day, will hopefully be another 60 years away. But it seems fitting that it’s nestled safely in his little ceramic container each night.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetMy mum and sister said to me this week. “James, don’t you remember what we used to tell you when you were a kid and lost things all the time? – Just say ‘Jesus was lost, and Jesus was found’.” I have to admit I rolled my eyes (as you already know my stance on religion) but secretly, I did say it a few times yesterday. Kirsten and Mum – thank you.

‘Till next time.

James

(just a very short P.S. – my darling wife Lisa, was the person who suggested I put the ring in the ceramic trinket box in the first place so I partly blame her …but I mean, like only 1% blame her, because if it was any higher then I would be getting myself microwave dinners for the next week!).