Dad’s don’t need to make New Year’s resolutions.

Do Dads really have to commit to resolutions each January like millions of others? Hell no. We really don’t want to do something silly like that. We all know the facts – reality kicks in, on or before, the second week in February and the new diet, attitude, idea, gym plan goes right out the window. Unless you are a one percenter, and if you are, you won’t need resolutions you will be one high achiever, wealthy, fit, billionaire. Now, before you get your keyboard-warrior pants on, and start firing at me with your life lessons and passionate diatribe, hear me out.

As a dad, what is our role? Think about it. For each of us it’s probably slightly different. For me, it’s being present. I am highly focused on being present as much as I can – all of the time. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect – far from it. Just ask the wife! But for me, there are no quick fixes as a dad. Or as a mum for that matter. I believe for me to be better, I need to know and understand what my principles are as a Dad. What are my core beliefs? What will leave a positive lasting impact on my child and my family? These things cost very little money, none in fact. Time is thee most valuable commodity on the planet. If we could buy more time, would we not? I certainly would. Finn is growing up at a ridiculous rate – too fast! But each day I try to be present – savouring tiny precious little moments and relishing in them. My biggest pain-in-the-arseism is my phone. It’s like a nagging little leprechaun on my shoulder begging me to play with it. Since Finn joined us in 2016, one of my biggest focuses has been phone-use reduction. I want more time with Finn and less time with social media. I made some rules for myself. Like only checking email twice each day for a maximum of 15 minutes, letting more calls go to voicemail and bulk deleting them and returning calls 1st to family and friends, second to customers and everyone else after that.

This kind of shift is gradual but it ends up showing your child that you are present with them, they shouldn’t be fighting for attention with your phone for goodness sake! My wife’s cousin was at a game watching her child play. She decided to put her phone down, savour the game and count how many times her child looked up to see her. Her kid looked up 20 times to see if her mum was watching her. What if she had been glued to her phone instead? What kind of message would that have sent her child?

What do our kids need from us? New years resolutions? Lots of Christmas presents? No no and 20 more No’s!!

They need consistent love and attention. Be that Dad. Don’t be the deadbeat, self centred, ego-driven maniac dad. There is already about 3 billion of those guys. Why shoot for mediocrity? Aim higher. Our kids need that.

Who wants to be the perfect parent anyways?

There are modern day expectations placed on all of us, most of all, us parents. There has been a very definite box that we have all been thrown in to – and how dare we step out of it. Well, you know me well enough that I don’t do boxes and I’m not a follower. I like to define my own course, make my own mistakes and have fun along the way. 

As a new parent I have always tried to be the best dad and husband in every way. It’s the most rewarding experience but also the most draining. I see so many couples who have kids and fast forward 5 years, they are miserable and unhappy. Why? Because they have lost track of who they are as an individual. You might be a parent to your child and a partner to your spouse. But you are also still an individual. We all need our own space, our own time and an opportunity to let our hair down. 

This last month has presented itself with a few opportunities. Opportunities to get some extra sleep. However, I’ve used those opportunities to head out to the city and rub shoulders with fellow adults and consume copious amounts of yummy food and a fair lashing of alcohol. I’m not talking white girl wasted here, just a few cheeky brewskis. Lisa and I felt a bit guilty at first that we were heading out for a night whilst Finn was having a sleepover. But honestly – it was the best thing we did. 

If you are constantly on “mum” or “dad” mode then you aren’t going to be at your best. You will likely burn out. Whether it’s a night out on the town, a workout at the Gym, a day at the spa or a weekend away … do whatever tickles your pickle. 

Being a parent in the modern era ain’t easy. Try being good parent rather than a perfect parent. You will be happier and so will your family. In life, shit happens. Let it be. Let people judge, and care not what they think. Bottoms up!

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A weekend away and Adele, is what every parent needs!

SunsetThe day finally arrives for Lisa and I, we are super excited to head to Auckland for our weekend of guilty freedom to celebrate Lisa’s birthday. Now, her birthday was in December, so please hold up before judging me for such a ridiculously belated birthday present. We had to delay the treat as Adele was a little preoccupied in December – she could only lock in March 23rd for us to have a catch up with her.

So we got our bags packed Thursday morning and then dropped Finn to daycare. Lisa and I went to work for a few hours, then I popped home to pick up our bits and pieces. I realised my wedding finger felt a little naked … I’d forgot to throw my gold bullion on that morning. So I went to retrieve it from its usual place where I set it each night. Of course, old Murphy was playing his tricks again. No sign of my ring. Panic set in a little – the old ticker started to ramp up. I searched high and low, with no luck. Reluctantly I reached for the phone to ask Lisa if she had seen it … you can imagine how that went down. Not good. Anyways, I decided time was of the essence so I had better put it on the back burner until we returned from our trip.

We head to the airport and straight up to the business lounge. It’s our little sanctuary where we can consume too many calories and whet our palates with a few glasses of bubbles. Life is good. Finn is being picked up by Aunty Donna and Uncle Jason. We have two days ahead of us with Adele and retail therapy.

Fast forward two hours and we are sitting in an Uber enroute to Auckland CBD. By the way, if you haven’t tried Uber because you think it’s “dodgy”, you love your local taxi company or you are stuck in the dark ages then get a grip. As a modern Dad I think the convenience, safety and cost effectiveness of Uber makes it much more appealing than a stuffy cab. Back on track sorry (I go off on tangents regularly, all part of the daddy brain syndrome), we are in the cab and I receive a message from Aunty Donna asking us to call. A pretty ominous message. I called and my heart sank when Donna said that the daycare called saying that my little Ninja had a really high temperature and needed to seek medical care. The doctor informed Donna that Finn had an ear infection and a rattle in his chest which could progress to pneumonia if it isn’t managed appropriately. It was the worst feeling as we weren’t there for our son when he needed us most. Aunty Donna had managed to get his temp back into the 37’s and I could hear him laughing in the background. Our first instinct was to book the next flight home but we knew our little legend was in good care and on the mend. Still, it was on our minds the whole time – all you parents will be able to relate.

We checked into our AirBNB apartment in the centre of the city. It was our first time using AirBNB and I have to say it was awesome. Check in was seamless, the whole process of booking was a dream. If I’m going to walk the walk as a Modern Dad, then I ought to be trying these modern ways of living. AirBNB is cheaper, easier to book and really user friendly. We ended up in a New York loft style apartment a stones throw from the shops on Queen Street. We felt like teenagers again.

We caught up with Adele as planned. She was simply outstanding. Clearly she has one heck of a set of lungs but she is also funny as hell. Over the course of a few hours she had us all in stitches and gave no f&$ks about anything. She spoke her mind, dropped profanities when it suited and sang her little heart out. It was a night to remember and we felt like we were able to connect with Adele – almost even relate to her. My most favourite song is “Sweetest Devotion” and l now love it even more as she told us she wrote it for her son. The words are powerful and describe that life changing moment when you first meet your child. Hairs stand on the back of my neck as I type – reliving that moment when I first met Finn.  If you get a moment, listen to the song and think of that moment when you met your baby for the first time. Powerful stuff.

Lisa dragged me along for a bit of shopping (I should be honest and admit that I was rather excited to hit up H&M!) – we proceeded to gather a few items for ourselves then discovered H&M Kids. This is some serious swag. Baby fashion up the yin yang. We were on Cloud 9 hooking up Finn with tweed trousers, bow ties, winter woollies and trendy hoodies. We probably should buy shares at H&M lol. Plus if I’m gonna be a Modern Dad then I have to have a few slick garments donning my wardrobe hangers.

What’s one of the great things about city living? Mid-afternoon beersies of course! We indulged in some tipples on Friday down at the Viaduct and met up with some friends. After a few cheekies at Britomart we headed to the Gin Room for a nightcap. Dear oh dear, that was a bad idea. Don’t get me wrong – it was the most epic little cocktail bar in New Zealand, but the head was a little foggy as a result. These simple guilty pleasures are some of the little things that we lapped up. These rare treats were so greatly appreciated and I think us parents all need some “fun” time. We all deserve a break. Even though you may feel guilty for ditching your little cherub, it’s a treat that you have earned. Plus, look at the benefits for your child. They are learning to become more resilient and more independent – none of us want a molly-coddled child on our hands who hasn’t spent as much as a night apart from us. Enable your child to build their confidence right from the start. That cotton wool you so lovingly wrap them in will eventually be useless when they enter the big bad world as an adult.

Now, I had better get looking for that wedding ring. I will update you in due course.

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru