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How Wives Can Help Their Husbands Parent Together

Parenting Together

It’s been a slow go, but I am trying to chip away at the questions that were given to a few of us to answer during a men’s panel that I was on. I thought I would handle the topic of parenting together next.

Here is the question: How can a wife help her husband feel that they are parenting together?

This question can mean something different depending on your household dynamic. I will do my best to be as general as I can and get specific when need be. In my home, my wife runs the day-to-day of the household. I work during the week and she is at home running the house. My wife spends a lot more time in the home than I do and a lot more time with our kids than I do as well. It is the current state of our household. I work outside of the home, she takes care of the family and our home. I help as much as possible around the house, but sometimes I feel like it is her house that I am living in. I know this is not true, but sometimes it can feel like it. I am trying to work to change the amount of time I spend at work. Right now, I work a typical 8-5 day. Now that we live closer to my office, I often come home for lunch. I used to photograph a lot of weddings on weekends but have cut back a lot so I can be home on as many weekends as possible.

My goal is to be able to reduce the amount of time I spend working during the hours my children are awake. I love my business, but I am missing valuable time I could be spending with my children. My kids are young and want to spend time with me. When they get older, they will have friends and other activities which will leave me plenty of time to work more if I want to. So let’s get back on topic.

Most men work and are not around the home as much as their wives are. This is the case in my household. Some households have a working husband and wife, but often the wife still runs more of the home than the husband does. My wife spends all day with our children. I see my kids for about an hour in the morning and for a few hours in the evening before bed. I get the weekends with them as well, but weekends are a different dynamic than the work/school week. I feel like more parenting happens during the week and the weekends are more fun and activities. During the week, my wife does most of the parenting on her own. When I get home, I help with dinner, play with the kids for a while and help put them to bed. Part of my evening routine with my wife these days involves relaxing. By the end of the day, we are both tired and just want to chill.

In business, there have been situations where I become part of a project that was already in motion. Though I feel I have a handle on the project and understand where it needs to go, taking action without knowing every nuance could lead to a blow up down the road. This often happens at home with the kids. I find myself in situations with my kids and parent the way I feel is right in the moment, but sometimes my method ends up clashing with something my wife has already tried or set in motion. I get frustrated because I was not informed. It’s hard to stay on the same page when the majority of my time is spent at work and my wife’s time with the kids.

There have been other instances where I have attempted to parent a certain way and then my wife contradicts my method by directing the children in another way without taking me aside and asking me about it first. This happens to all of us. I do it to her as well. Many times we are reacting to a situation. Something happens and we swiftly deal with it. I feel that sometimes we respond maybe a bit too swiftly.

It really comes down to communication. My wife and I do a pretty good job of recapping our days to each other. By the end of the day when I come home, my kids are usually tired. They only have a few hours left before bed so they have had a full day. I often get to deal with the meltdowns that happen during those hours. When I get home from work, my kids are hangry (hungry + angry). Not really. I just wanted an excuse to say that work in this blog. My kids are pretty great and only occasionally have meltdowns the moment I walk through the door.

Parenting on the same page takes communication. Without communication, you are walking into a war zone. The home can be a war zone sometimes. If I was not communicated to, there is unknown intel that I need to navigate the landscape that is our home. My daughter may have had a rough day that involved missing some of her nap and getting disciplined recently for hitting her brother. She could still be upset when I come in the door and try to love on her.

On occasion, my wife will text message me to let me know what is going on. Sometimes it’s during a phone call on my way home. It helps me understand what is going on and what to expect. Knowing what to expect helps me prepare myself and I am able to be what I need to be for each of my children when I walk through the door. Most of our parenting related frustrations with each other has to do with discipline. My wife and I both have our good days and bad days when dealing with disciplining our children. It’s not a simple job and we both kind of hate having to do it.

Big Picture Parenting

Most married couples are on the same page when it comes to the bigger picture. They know how they want to raise their kids and what they want their kids to experience. Some couples may have a few differences in the big picture area, but it’s easier to work on those differences because they are part of the bigger picture. There is a lot of time between thinking about those things and having to act on them. Bigger Picture items could include what kind of school we will send our children to and whether or not we will allow our kids to drink soda. These are not typically “in the moment” decisions we have to make.

In The Moment Parenting

Most parenting decisions are made in the moment. They are responses to situations that transpired. This is where differences start to become clear between a husband and wife. Decisions made in the moment lack communication. We feel that we need to act right away, so we make a decision. This decision may be a new one, which was not discussed prior to acting on it.

Because we feel that we need to shut down the situation in the moment, it often ends up being a sole parent decision. Usually, that has to do with discipline. My wife and I have most of our issues there. We often see pretty eye to eye, but we have our moments.

There are other decisions that we make in parenting that end up being in the moment when they could have waited until later. Not everything has to be handled in the moment. I recognize that sometimes it is just easier for my wife to make a decision on something at that moment. At work, I make decisions all day. If I had to stop and check with someone else before making my decisions, it would drive me crazy. I do understand that it is often easier just to say yes, or no, or sign up for something at that moment because it seems right. It might also seem like a small thing that doesn’t matter to you, so you deal with it in the moment.

All of these “moments” throughout the day are often something the other spouse misses out on. Those moments add up and can make a person feel like they are not really doing any parenting. I have moments of my own like that, but I realize that my wife and I have our jobs and we are the CEO’s of our individual jobs.

CEO, CFO, and CPO’s

As mentioned before, my wife pretty much runs the home. She is the CEO of the house. That doesn’t mean she can do whatever she wants. I am the CFO of our home, because I handle the majority of the finances. My wife and I are both CPO (Chief Parenting Officers). It’s a joint position run as a team. She brings her years of Early Childhood Development training and being a Nanny for many years to the table. At the time of writing this, she also has almost six years in the trenches with our children. I am a very observant person who also reads a lot, so I have some of my own tactics and methods that I have developed. I also try to stay very in tune with my children emotionally. I am better at this with my boys than I am with my little girl.

As a team, we are continuously learning what we do well and what we do not. To the best of our ability, we try to do this together. This means that one person is not doing everything while the other watches sports. My wife spends most of the time with our children, but I make sure that I get opportunities to be with all three of my children alone as well. When I am home, I am with my family. I don’t watch sports or other tv shows while my kids are awake. My wife and I do watch shows we like after our kids are in bed. I will watch shows with my kids sometimes. Shows of their choosing (Power Rangers). I make an effort to be involved.

Proactive Parenting

It really does come down to communication. Actions speak louder than words. If you come home from work and don’t contribute, you are not going to feel like you are an equal parent. We are a parent to a child or children. We are a spouse to another adult. It takes intent and you have to prioritize your family over other things to be as involved as your spouse is.

With better communication, you can parent proactively. Talk about your kids together. Tell your spouse about the cool things your kid is doing and the things he or she may be struggling with. Don’t let these things come up and blindside your spouse.

As you can see, it takes effort from both sides. Don’t attack your spouse because you feel that she isn’t including you in parenting decisions. Turn off the football game and talk to her about it. Don’t attack your spouse because he isn’t as involved of a parent as you. If you don’t share much with him, how can he feel as invested as you are?

It’s all about the children. I deeply care about my work, but it will not get in the way of me being an involved parent. Right now it is very popular to work your tail off to achieve in your career. Everybody wants success, and they want it yesterday. The concept of work-life balance is all the buzz right now because people find themselves working most of their waking hours and realize their family is left off in the distance. It’s sad. You can start a hundred companies in a lifetime, but you can only start one family. Sure it is common for people to start second, and even a third family after failing the first few times, but is that healthy? I think not. Give all you have to your family. You can find a way to work and find success. We live in an extremely pliable world these days.

Do you have some tips on how to better include your spouse in the parenting role? If so, share them in the comments below.

Blog Parenting

My Kids Are My Startup

Just about every casual conversation I have with someone, the topic of work-life balance comes up. I have always felt this was kind of a weird way to refer to your life as a whole because to me work has always been a big part of my life. There have been chapters of my life where work consumed all of my time and there have also been a few times in my life where I didn’t have much work so I had a lot of time to spend with friends, read and sleep. Now that I have a wife and three children, my priorities have changed. I believe that instead of discussing the topic of work-life balance, we all should be talking about a priority balance.

Priorities have changed for me since I was fresh out of high school. Through my twenties, I would work long hours and sleep little. I wanted as much time as possible to try and build something. I have worked for myself since I was twenty years old. My entrepreneurial roots go all the way back to my childhood. In high school, I prioritized work over education. In my early twenties, I worked a lot. I had little time left over for friends and a relationship. I tried to have both, but long hours at work always won. At age 25, I knew that this was not a sustainable way to live. During my twenty-fourth year, I had left a relationship and lost touch with several friends. If I was ever going to get married and have kids, I could not live like this. I also watched married friends of mine get divorced over things like money and working too many hours. I did not want that to happen to me.

I decided to make changes. I wanted to create freedom in my life to do things like see the world and hopefully find someone to love. I sold off the remains of the business I spent my early twenties building and started building websites. I had a laptop and could work from anywhere. During the next few years, I did just that. If I woke up and wanted to work from the beach, I did. It was nice, but I soon realized I had swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. I was making a living, but I was not being as effective and productive as I could have been.

I am coming up on my eighth year of marriage and my oldest child will turn six this year. My experiences so far have taught me that you can not get time back. Once you spend time, it is gone. Having realized this early on it helped shape what I would do with my time. Setting priorities is important. I have wanted nothing more since I was a teen to start a company and make it something awesome. I have started a few companies over the years, some successful, others not. None of them grew to the potential I knew they had and I am fine with that.

A life is much more important than a company or a career. You and I both have an average lifespan to make a career happen or to build a business. However, once you introduce a new life into this world, priorities should change. That life needs to be nurtured and shaped, very much like a business does, and time is limited.

My Kids Are My Startup

I have never considered any of my businesses a startup business. The story, however, is similar, I built something from nothing and am trying to grow it. Call me old fashioned. I consider myself a small business owner. Kids, however, are startups. They come into this world ready to be programmed and shaped into something amazing. If they are guided by a good CEO (parent), they will flourish and add value to this world. They may even get acquired by someone (a spouse), and build their own little startups (Grandkids!).

The problem is that there are some crap CEOs out there who are more interested in themselves than their fledgling startups. Let’s ditch the metaphors. There are some crap parents out there who are more interested in themselves than their children. Can you have an amazing career and raise a family? Yes! Can you run a successful startup company and still be around during the hours your children are awake? YES! It’s not hard, it’s prioritization.

At one point, I was running three companies at once. I had a successful photography business, website design business, and a technology review/news website. Each of these companies brought in enough revenue to support a small family. After my wife and I had our first child, I made sure I was working a regular work day of 8 hours or less. Sure there have been a few days here and there where I have worked closer to 12 hours in a day, but they are few and far between. I used to shoot several weddings each month on the weekends but have since scaled back the amount of weddings I book each year to make sure it does not cut into my family time.

The one thing I want to succeed above all else is my family. I love business and could not imagine doing anything else, but my family trumps business. You can close a business and start a new one, but you can’t close a family. You should never close a family. When a business closes, there is limited damage that can easily be fixed. Someone loses a job, they go get a new one. When you break up a family, the damage lasts forever. We are talking about a family breakup due to a husband or wife that overworks and does not prioritize correctly. I recognize that there are valid reasons for divorce. I am not here to discuss those.

I think that if more men/fathers of this world would prioritize their lives in favor of their families, there would be less of all things negative. If I have to hire more people to help with work so I can maintain a regular work day, I am fine with that. Yes, it will mean paying the wages of others which waters down the money I could be earning, but it is worth it. If I was working for a company, I would forego a promotion if it meant taking time away from my family.

To be honest, I could go on about this forever, so to keep this post from becoming a total rant, I will end it here.

If you are a dad or children any age, please consider how you can give them more of your time. I know you have seen the countless movies that portray a father who tries to spend more time with his already grown kids. That is not the time to make up for it. Do what you can while they are young and before the damage is done. If you are not raising them, someone else will.

Blog Parenting Technology

Son Buys First Apple TV Show

Teaching kids about money

A few months back, I had a heart to heart with my son about how iTunes works on the Apple TV. This came after he had purchased a couple of $2.99 shows on the Apple TV without my permission. Apple does not make it easy to set parental controls on the Apple TV. If you enable parental controls, you have to use a four digit passcode for just about everything, even launching Netflix. We often let our kids select their own shows on Netflix because we have a kid-safe profile set up for them. I would have to give them the four digit passcode so they could get into their Netflix shows, but that would be the same passcode that would allow them to purchase shows. Kind of a lost cause.

Tonight, my son came across a show he really wanted to see. It was a Paw Patrol Christmas Episode. I explained to him that the show had a cost of $2.99. I said to him, “The show you want to watch is not free. It will cost us two dollars and ninety-nine cents to watch that show.” After explaining to him what I meant by “cents” by using play money in the toy room, he expressed an interest in paying for the show himself. I took the opportunity to turn this into a teachable moment.

My kids each have a piggy bank. It’s not in the shape of a piggy, it’s in the shape of R2D2, but we still call it that. When they earn money for going over and above what they are asked to do, or a task outside of their regular responsibilities was completed, we occasionally give them some change. We don’t compensate them for everything, we actually don’t compensate them very often at all. However, my son wanted to buy this show and was prepared to pay for it with his own money.

Teaching kids about money

He brought out his piggy bank and we counted the money he had. He had enough for the $2.99 show. I took some time to discuss what spending money on a show would leave him with. I explained that if he spent $2.99 on a show, the next time he was at a store with us, he might not have enough money to get something that he really wanted. His response was, “I don’t need anything, I just got a lot of new toys for Christmas. I can wait until my Birthday.” I explained to him that his birthday was six months away and that he would need to save up again if he wanted to buy something before his birthday. He was ok with it. He really wanted to buy that show.

We counted our $2.99 and set that aside. We then counted what was left. He had $2.08 remaining. I explained to him that he was about to use more than half of what he had in his piggy bank. He was still ok with his decision. I also explained that he would only get to buy one show, because he did not have enough to buy two shows and that this show was only 24 minutes long. He said, “It’s ok, I can watch it twice.” Smart kid.

I looked over at my wife, who had been listening to our conversation and confirmed that she was ok with the transaction that was about to take place. She nodded yes. I explained to him that I was going to buy the show for him and that I would take his $2.99 to pay for it. I explained to him that when we buy shows that cost money, that money is taken from Daddy and Mommy’s bank account just like we took money from his piggy bank to pay for the show.

We purchased the show and it started to load. I asked him if he wanted to play the show now and share it with his brother and sister, or save it for later when he could watch it alone. He said that he wanted his brother and sister to be able to watch it with him. I then told his brother and sister that they were going to get to watch a show that their brother paid for. They both said, “Thank you brother,” and they watched the show together.

After the show was over I asked my son if he thought the show was worth $2.99. He said that it was and that he would like to watch it again tomorrow.

It’s hard to teach kids about money these days. We live in a world where we just swipe a card to get immediate gratification. I want my children to grow up knowing that money is real and it’s a limited resource. It takes hard work to get it and even harder work to save it.

What are some money saving teaching moments you have had with your children? If you have a moment, please share them in the comment section below.

Blog Family Adventures Parenting Projects

3 Gun Nerf Battle Birthday Party for Liam

liamsnerfparty-1_HDR

Liam’s 5th birthday was quickly approaching and we had no plans. I remember my wife and I sitting on the couch about 2 weeks ago contemplating just having some close family over for pizza or something. Something about that didn’t sit right. I mean it was my first born son’s 5th birthday. That’s kind of a big deal. The idea of getting a bounce house for our backyard sounded horrible. There’s a time and a place for easy entertainment, I kind of wanted to do something fun.

I remembered watching some 3-Gun Competitions on Youtube. 3-Gun Competitions have become really popular over the last few years. This form of shooting sport requires you to go through a course hitting targets while switching between three different types of guns. I began imagining how cool that would be to do in our backyard with Nerf Guns. It was decided that Liam would have an Epic 3 Gun Nerf Battle Birthday Party.

liamsnerfparty-1_HDR

With little actual time to plan this between work and traveling to Seattle for 3 days, I took to Amazon to load up on Nerf arsenal. We didn’t have much, to begin with. Our kids have very few gun-related toys. A year ago I bought four small Nerf guns to my wife and I could battle with the kids, but some of them are too hard to shoot. Today, some of the six-year-old kids even had a hard time with them.

I wanted the backyard to be fun. My wife took to Pinterest and I worked on some ideas of my own. I had a bunch of moving boxes from when we last moved and some wood. We went to Home Depot to buy the wood stakes we used to hold everything up. It took more time to gather and buy everything I needed than it did to set it up. I set up the entire backyard in about 3 hours including painting things camouflage and cutting the wood stakes to size.

List of Nerf Guns & Darts:

The kids had such a great time. Most of my son’s friends are his age with a few of them a year or two older so this was a hit for everybody. My younger son enjoyed it just as much as the bigger kids.

As you can see, the set up was pretty simple. I used a bunch of yard marker sticks I got in a bundle from Home Depot and crossed twine over and around them to simulate razor wire.

The real bottleneck was reloading guns with Nerf darts. I purchased a few extra clips, but the main gun had to be reloaded each time. A couple of parents helped in that process which kept things moving along quickly.

Pool noodles worked great. I just stuck sticks in the ground and slipped the pool noddles over them. I bought these pool noodles.

I had some boxes and boards laying around so I used spray paint to add camo to the boxes and targets to the wood panels. It’s nothing fancy, but for a moment, the boys thought they were in a war zone. I even bought a couple of inflatable tire tubes pool floats that I turned up on their side and made into targets.

The party kept my wife and I pretty busy. I don’t remember standing still for even a moment. I wanted to get more photos of the action taking place, but the sun was kind of at a weird angle and made it hard. With so many kids running around and my focus on them having a good time, I ended up just putting my camera away.

After the somewhat organized portion of the event was over, we handed out little single shooter Nerf Guns that were part of the party favor for each of the kids and they went to battle in the backyard. With plenty of Nerf darts all over the place, there was endless fun to be had.

I have attended a lot of little kid birthday parties and at each one, the Pinata gives after the first few kids. My wife picked out this Avengers Pinata and filled it up with tons of candy. The problem is that this thing would not break. Each kid hit it and then we let Liam at it again, it would not break. I had to hit it as hard as I could with the plastic bat 3-4 times. Next time I will make sure we have a metal bat.

Of course, Liam fell this morning on the playground at church and gave himself a nice goose egg on the forehead. Either he or his brother does that often the morning before a day where many photos will be taken.

Liam’s 5th birthday party was a huge success. After all of the friends left, it was time for baths and the boys fell right asleep. They played hard today, and that is what it’s all about.

Blog Parenting

I Have a 5 Year Old

Today marked a milestone. From what I understand, it is his “Golden Birthday.” Not sure what that means. I would think your golden birthday is when you turn 100. Regardless, my son is now five years old and I am sitting here trying to figure out just how I got here.

The last five years of my life have gone by pretty fast. In those five years, I have had three children and grown my business about 500%. I have also grown a lot as a person, but this post isn’t about me, it’s about my beautiful boy who is growing up rather fast.

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Blog Business Marriage Parenting Personal Development

Money Ain’t The Motive

I can’t honestly start this post off by saying money has never been a motive of mine. When I was younger, money was a motive. I wanted to make more of it, so I could buy things. Money was not talked about as it is today. There were no podcasts on finances. Only people older than your Dad were talking about it. What we did have was the beginning of what MTV and the influence rap music was having on us. It was all about money and getting it any way possible. After maxing out a credit card and slaving to get it paid off, I had learned my lesson. I did not like being a slave to anything. What took me many more years to learn was how to actually save money. There always seemed to be something I wanted and I never had enough money to have what I wanted and save money at the same time.

In my early 20’s, one of my businesses required me to work long hours. It was a lot to have on your shoulders. The retail space is hard but stack two online businesses on top of that, plus some freelance work and it was too much for one person to handle. What I didn’t mind at the time was not having much overhead. I worked my butt off and was able to keep, I mean spend most of the money myself. I had an HD TV before you could even watch anything in HD. Stupid stuff like that. I had became a slave to something else, my business. There are many other ways to lose some or all of your freedom and I have experienced some of those as well.

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Blog Business Growth Parenting Personal Development

Parenting, Life, Business & Freedom in 2015

Let me apologize in advance by saying that this post is a mess. It’s a mess of thoughts, emotions and frustrations most of which are not in any specific order. I just started typing about where I am at right now and stuff came out. So if you are interested, read on.

Well, it’s 2015 and though I don’t put much into resolutions or starting over, part of me does hope for the best when the new year begins. The last couple of months of parenting have been tough. All three of my kids have been super emotional and they constantly mess with each other. Of course there are those moments where they play nice but its short lived. As I sit here and type this, my kids are watching Clifford. Emmy looks over at Cohen and he kicks her in the leg. They love each other one moment and hate each other the next. I don’t think they know any other way to express themselves yet, but it’s sure annoying to have to constantly be putting out fires as each battle is taken to far. A very naive part of me hoped that something would change and the first of the year would magically start off perfect.

Here is a photo of my daughter. She was screaming for no reason at all. Well, I am sure there was a reason, but I have no idea what was upsetting her. She gets so mad just out of no where. The only way to fix that is to pick her up. If you do anything at all with Liam and it does not go his way, he shuts down and throws a fit. Cohen is quieter but has his moments of complete breakdown where you can’t to anything but put him on his bed and tell him to come find you when he is done throwing a fit.

What is nice is that both of my boys are easy to talk to. They are quick to ask for forgiveness and they know when they have wronged someone. I recognize that they are just going through a phase where they are not sure how to express feeling so they lash out at whomever is in the way. Liam is not like this with anybody but us. He knows that he cannot get away with acting that way toward friends but he knows that he can with us. I have not found a good way of dealing with his outbursts that consistently works. Trial and error I guess. Each kid is different.

This last year was a bit rough for me physically. I have never felt more tired and been less active than I was in 2014. I probably made it to the gym less than 15 times the entire year. There was a time when it was easy for me to get to the gym 6 days a week and spent about 2 hours there each day. I realize what needs to happen to change that, but I have gotten myself into a place of too much demand of my own resources to easily change that. I recognize that this needs to change this year as I cannot continue on the path I am on. Part of what is annoying to me is that I am not an unhealthy person. I don’t eat bad foods and I don’t overeat. I am active compared to most people I know, but for me, it must not be enough.

I have found that I am on a path that I did not intend on heading down. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining as I really love my life and have absolutely nothing to complain about. What has happened is that I have driven myself to a place that was not where I originally had intended on being.

When I was in my early 20’s, I was working a lot. I knew that what I was doing was not sustainable and that I would need to change if I wanted to be healthy and have a family one day. I made those changes by closing off a business I had started and began freelancing as a website and graphic designer. My time was instantly more manageable and I had much more control over everything. Fast forward ten years and I have wound up in a similar situation as I was before. I am not overworking and I almost never work on the weekends but it is not the level of freedom I wanted and was working to create for myself. As we get older, we get more responsibilities but some of those are not necessary. I worked from home for six years and only got an office because we needed the extra room for our growing family. With those added expenses I took on more clients because I wanted to make sure I was able to cover the increase in overhead. As I brought on more clients I needed to hire employees. Then I needed more space so overhead went even higher. There is nothing wrong with all of this as this is part of growing a business into something successful. The issue is that it has not brought me the freedom I originally wanted. I am achieving a lot more than I could be on my own, but it has not resulted in the level of freedom I desire.

Some people want to build a business to make money, I want to build a business to give me more freedom. Freedom to me is being able to drop everything and hang out with my family or be there for them when they need me. Freedom is the ability to attend all of my children’s school functions. Freedom is being able to take off anytime I want to take my family to the coast. For the most part, I do have those freedoms, but I am still not where I want to be. Freedom does cost money. To be able to have a flexible schedule, you have to be able to afford to take that time off.

I do have much more freedom than most. We have vacationed a couple of times each year as a family. I have been able to be there for my wife before, during and after each of our children have been born. My oldest and my wife have had some extended hospital stays over the last few years and I was able to drop everything to be there for them. The business I have built has allowed me that kind of freedom.

I am starting to feel like it sounds like I am complaining about my life. This is not the case as I am blessed far beyond what I deserve. What I am not, is content. Typing that last sentence kind of makes me sad but at the same time optimistic. I know that I am not the kind of person who could ever be completely content, but I am at the point where I would like a season of contentment. My life is constantly in R&D (research and development) but lately I have not been able to spend as much time in R&D mode as I would like. I like trying new things so I can see what works and what doesn’t. I always want to know what will work best. I am not happy until I know the best way to accomplish a task. I have also not been able to cultivate relationships with my friends for several years and that is starting to wear on me. We need community and I don’t really have that on a personal level.

It’s not going to be comfortable, but there will be changes this year. I hate the fact that I am talking about it and even going as far as typing it out on January 1, but it is what it is. I have thought about it every day of last year and not much changed. It is too easy to get into a rut and just let the days pass by while you continuously tell yourself that you will start that tomorrow. My family gets my full attention and my clients do as well. Its time for me to find a way to continue to be available to those who need me while making sure there is enough energy left for myself.

With all of that said, here is the thing I need to keep reminding myself: It’s not about me. It really is not about me. Its about what I find important and where my priorities are. When you have those in line, it is much easier to be where you want to be. The hard thing is that when you have more priorities than you used to, it gets harder to figure out how to keep them all at the top. My family is my most important earthly possession. It is important to me that my wife is happy and that she feels secure. It is important to me that my kids are happy and that my wife is able to stay home with them rather than have to work. I would sacrifice just about everything to keep my wife home with my kids, that is more important than possessions or any kind of freedom I could desire for myself. I don’t think that many people get that, and the only one who suffers is the child.

So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me tired and sometimes frustrated, but I need to see past that. Last year was a lot about giving into that tiredness and allowing myself to feel like there was not enough time for myself. This year, I will make an effort to assure I fix the things that have been bothering me. No more excuses. Its 2015, which is the year the movie “Back to the Future” gave us a glimpse into what the future would be like. We might not have Hoverboards and we definitely don’t dress like Biff and his crew did, but we are living in exciting times.

With all that said, I’m going to go peek in on my precious sleeping children which erases all memories of the frustrations of the day.

Parting words from Biff Tannen:

So, why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?

Blog Parenting

Teach Your Kids About Heroes #VeteransDay

veterans-day-remember-honorMy Father and Grandfather are veterans. They both served our country, however they don’t talk about it much. To my knowledge, they don’t have any identifying marks or anything that would lead you to believe they had served. Because of this, I never thought about it much as a kid. I had many friends who left to serve after high school and even more after 9/11. Though I considered making that decision, I decided to stay behind and work. When I was younger, all I heard people talk about was the monetary aspects of joining the Army. I watched many join, get their bonus, and waste it. That gave me the perspective that most of the people my age in the service were doing it for money because they couldn’t figure out any other way to make an income. Over the last five or so years, I have had a much closer connection and appreciation with those who have served. I don’t think that many these days go into the service thinking about serving our country so much as they think about getting that bonus money. Regardless, many of us find ourselves in situations where we have to step up. Even if someone joins the service to “get paid,” they will quickly find themselves having to step up and live up to the calling. It’s all about what each person does when they have to step up and decide to take action or cower in the corner.

This year, I had the opportunity to do some work with SupportMilitary.org and I met some heros who gave all they had and came back damaged. We hear stories of fallen soldiers who don’t make it back but not often do we hear much from those who came back wounded. It was amazing to meet a couple of these warriors hear their stories. These are men and women who regardless of the reason for serving, performed a duty and were wounded. Not all who serve come back wounded, I get that, but the sacrifice was made. Heros come in all shapes and sizes, in all walks of life. Veteran’s Day calls us to remember what those gave to assure our freedom remains a birthright. Some fight on the frontlines and others perform tasks no where near harms way, it is all the same.

The following video reminded me that regardless of when someone served, they should be honored. I am blessed to have several family members who served and came home. Not all are as lucky as I am. I will teach my kids to honor those who served so they could be born into a free country. Though our government is slowly taking away our freedoms we are still the freest people on the planet.

I was born free with the ability to do and achieve whatever I set forth to do. I look at the things I have been able to do in life and I know that none of that would be possible if it were not for those who fought for our country. Though we may not have a solid understanding of what or why our soldiers are still fighting today, it is important that they know that we support them as individuals who decided to serve our country. My family and I support those who serve our country. I think it is important that our children understand what that means.

Happy Veteran’s Day to those who have served or have a loved one who has served. You are appreciated.

Blog Marriage Parenting Personal Development

Some things are just hard

This summer has proven to be pretty challenging. Though we have also had some good times, my family and I have been met with many challenges.

Owning your own business and having a young family of 5 makes for a pretty busy life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I love my life and what has become of it. What gets hard is when you have issues that arise in multiple areas of your life at once.

So far this summer I have lost my grandmother, made some changes at work, took a 12 day family trip, decided to move to a bigger house, and just recently my wife got over a second occurrence of a week long illness. This time it resulted in a 4 day hospital stay. I am NOT use to anything other than my wife being strong and supportive. If anybody slows down, it’s usually me.

I learned not to be selfish because I used to be one of the most selfish people out there. I came to realize that there are very few people that will be in your life for the long haul. Those people deserve 100 percent of you. They come first before all else. Thankfully I have a business that runs relatively well even if I can’t be in the office every day. When I need to handle family situations, I can be there. It’s what I wanted for my life before I got married and had kids. I’m very thankful that things panned out that way. Being in my profession I could easily be working for a company out of town that would not offer near the flexibility.

In my lifetime I have learned that difficulty comes to me all at once. It is not evenly spread out. I know that God recognizes the fact that I would not deal well with a constant struggle and I am truly blessed to have only had the struggles I have experienced so far. Though they are stressful at the time, I get through them and move on as if nothing ever happened. Moving on is the key to surviving.

What is tough is always assuming that something is around the corner. When I start to get ahead, something happens. It’s like clockwork. I don’t even like to entertain the idea that things are going well because from experience, I know that is just the calm before the storm.

Now it seems that storm has passed, at least until I get the hospital bill. I am starting to catch up on sleep and my blood pressure is probably back to normal. What I realize is that every situation leaves it’s mark on me somehow. It seems to slow me down a bit in one area or another. Growing older means new challenges and hardships to endure. Learning how to meet them and get through them is also a challenge that will probably never end.

My prayer is that God gives me that answer or shows me how I should be handling life in a healthy sustainable way. Everybody has their suggestions on how you should handle things but it’s different for everybody. What works for you might not work for me. Whatever it is, I need to find it. The struggle is real and if we don’t find a solid way of coping with it and strengthening ourselves from it, it will eat us alive.

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