Some Fathers Day tips for both old and new dogs alike!

Before becoming a father, officially, as in before the birth of my first son, I read a lot. I pushed my way through books about parenting, birth, education, and every other topic I could think of that would prepare me for being a father, and very little of it hit home. It felt like the books were written in a very matter of fact manner that were meant to push other peoples views and vanilla flavored facts down your throat, who wants that? A young man that is about to embark on the biggest, most exciting/terrifying adventure of his life? NOPE. I have to admit, when I was first asked to share some parenting tips, I quickly flashed back to late nights spent reading and trying to "learn" about parenting, but the simple fact is, you just do it. When my wife shared concerns over whether she was going to be a good mom, or how she would do this and accomplish that I always told her the same thing: you just do. And you know what, she just did, as you will do, and every parent out there is (hopefully) capable of.

Currently, I have two children, one of them is 9 going on 19, the other is almost 19 months, and I have definitely learned a lot from the both of them.  I am married to a wonderful, supportive woman, who is the mother of one of my boys, Hendrix, and my other boy, Christian, is from a previous marriage. I learned a lot going through a divorce and custody proceedings. The majority of what I learned is that it sucks, and there really is no "right" or "easy" way to go about things. I own an event planning and management company which allows me to be home during the day with my boys, it doesn't get much better then that! Ok, enough about me, here are a couple nuggets of wisdom if you will. Hopefully these will help smooth a few of the bumps for you new dads, and ease a few knots of tension for the seasoned vets. One of the things I try to remember, as a dad, is you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, especially if that dog is a sleep deprived father at wits end!

Tip 1: 10 minutes goes a long way! Sit down with your kid before work and read a book, plop them in the tub for a quick bath, or just tickle them silly out on the front lawn! This goes for after work, before you make that important call, during work (if you work from home), or in the middle of a big project. When you dont have time for quantity, go for quality! You would be surprised how far that short bonding session goes and how it can change both of your days!

Tip 2: Make it work! IF you are separated, divorced, or even if you were never married to the baby mama, make it work! Your child, no matter how much you think they cant, will FEEL what is going on between the two of you. Think before you speak and never allow yourself to get baited into a fight. Once you stop fighting that sail quickly runs out of air and becomes useless, eventually the waters calm, and you can see the horizon again.

Tip 3: Put the camera down, live in the moment. Documenting your life as a family is important, but not as important as being part of that perfect moment you are trying to capture so desperately. Some of the best memories I have with my kids are up in the old brain-bucket, and thats good enough for me!

Tip 4: Take care of yourself! Its easy to get run down, especially as a new dad with a high maintenance bundle of joy on your hands. If you are sick, exhausted, over-stressed, under-fed, or overweight it will definitely inhibit the fun, caring, and involvement you have in your child's life so learn to make the time to take care of yourself. A healthy dad is a happy dad!

Tip 5: Dont be afraid to jump in with both feet! A good daddy knows how to do a french braid, knows every word to his kids favorite song, is not afraid to crawl around the house (mall, park, side of the road!) and make dinosaur sounds! If you have a girl, you  better know how to set the table for a tea party, if you have a boy, you need to know what each bakugans strength is and how to battle!

Tip 6: Remember who you are! Your wife, girlfriend, baby mama picked you for you. Your kids love you for you, and you should love you for YOU. Do not let those Zeppelin LP's get dusty! You are cool as hell and you should not be afraid to show it! I dont care if you listen to Michael Buble or Michael Stipe own that ish and display it proudly! 

So there it is, hopefully these help and feel free to pass on any of your words of wisdom, I know I can always use them!