Many Hats

I have many hats. When my son is born, he will have mini hats. I am perfecting my dad jokes.

But being a dad is a new hat I will wear in a few months. I envy the guys I see that are able to still be themselves after they have kids — the guys that can wear the dad hat, but also run their businesses and keep some semblance of style.

That is what I want to be. I want to be the guy that plays with his kid, but then turns around and builds his dream career. I want to do both of those things, and take my wife out and be social with our friends, but still have time to train for races. I still want to travel, take my dog for a run on a nice day, but still find time to watch the Lions play on Sundays.

I have many hats, but I want to learn how to wear them all. I want to be a better writer, but figure out how to have an income that will allow me to wear more hats years from now. I want to do meaningful things and inspire those closest to me.

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I know to get to that place, I need to sacrifice in the present. My biggest problem is that I don’t know what sacrifices I need to make. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that I am really good at taking that first step, but the second and third step are the ones I struggle with most. I recognize that I need to be better about following through on things I start, but my biggest fear is that I put my energy into the wrong things.

For instance, I think it would be really smart to get into real estate. I see my brother-in-law crushing it, and another friend who just took classes and sold his first house — and he has nothing but exciting and positive things to say about it.

The fear(s):

  • What if this is a dead end?
  • What happens when I spend money on taking the classes, or invest my time in learning how to flip a house and never find the financial backer?
  • Would I have time to do this with a new baby?
  • Would I have time to do this while still keeping my writing jobs and projects that give me both short term financial flexibility and possibly a long-term source of income?
  • Does my race training and fitness take a backseat to learning as much as I can about real estate?

I could honestly go on and on, but I think you get the point. And that was just one example of one hat that I would want to wear. I could repeat that series of questions about everything.

As I am writing this, I think that this must be how someone who has anxiety feels. While I have no idea what those struggles would be like, I can imagine there is always a reason they feel the way they do. There is always an excuse for their behavior and no matter how crazy, they can justify why something is the way it is in their world. I know the reasons I can’t commit to wearing every hat I want to wear aren’t always correct, but it’s a block I have in my head that is hard to deal with.

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But there is a silver lining, and I think being a dad will really help me. I know that no matter what fears or struggles or impossible road lies ahead in terms of being a father, I will figure out a way to adjust and overcome. You just figure it out, right? I think if I can just convince myself to take the same approach with all the other hats I want to wear, I’ll be able to move on the dreams I have and get to the places I want to be.

I also think being married to the person that I’m married to helps because she is the queen at moving on what she wants. She also pushes me to do the same thing, which helps me a ton.

So I have many hats, and there are many more I hope to wear. I do have fears about getting to where I want to be, but I don’t doubt that I will figure out how to get there.

 

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I’m going to be a Dad

I’m going to be a dad. I don’t know if that’s sunk in yet or not. I see my wife getting bigger (sorry, babe, but it was bound to happen sooner or later — she still looks great by the way), but I don’t know if the fact that all the planning and talking about it has really sunk in yet. Kelly and I used to look at our dog and say, “isn’t it crazy we are responsible for this living thing?” Then we’d pet him on the head and turn on some music for him and go out to dinner for a few hours. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m pretty sure there’s a chapter about not being able to put some baby food in a bowl and assuring yourself that when baby gets hungry enough, he’ll eat.

I’m excited for everything about being a dad, and I think I need to tell my wife that more. Sometimes, this blog is my way of telling her things that I’m not good at telling her in the moment; something I need to work on (and solid piece of advice for baby R when he gets a little older). But I am excited for sleepless nights, diapers, jogging with baby R in the stroller and talking to him about the Lions or my last race, or his next race (Baby Spartan Race — is that a thing yet?). I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but I think Kelly and I are equipped to handle it.

I’m excited about what being a dad will mean to my marriage. I think you hear a lot about people that aren’t in a good place, get pregnant, and hope that it “fixes” whatever is broken in their marriage. Being able to bring a baby into a home that is solid will amplify the good things we already have going for us — mostly involving making each other laugh by doing dog (and soon to be baby) voices about the comings and goings of day-to-day living. I am excited about bringing a child into our family because I think our family rocks. I am excited about making myself into the kind of dad I want my son growing up and looking up to. I’m excited about being seen as a dad by other people. I don’t know if that is a vanity play or not, but I’m really proud that I’m going to be a dad.

Being a dad makes me proud of myself.

I’m also excited about being a dad at different stages of Baby R’s life. I love that I will get to teach him things I really don’t know a lot about, but he’ll believe that I do because I’m his dad (lost Kelly a long time ago on this matter). I’m excited to teach him things I do know, and learn new things about myself. I’m excited to figure out the most important things and make sure Baby R grows up knowing that. I’m excited to be a coach, to golf with him someday, and to beat him at every sport for at least 12 years.

So, bring on the dadbod, sleepless nights, coordinating outfits, bottle bags, and trying to get a run in when Baby R is sleeping. Bring on the next chapter and here’s to it being the best one yet!

Man + Pregnancy = Pregmancy?

Pregnancy for first time parents-to-be is a wonderful time for two people — she gets to learn on the fly how to literally grow a human and he gets to do everything he can to try and create some kind of balance to what she’s doing (as if making a grocery run at 8:00 p.m. is some kind of contribution to the child). I think that when Kelly and I decided we were ready to have a child, one thing that I didn’t play out in my head was the pregnancy process.

At this point of writing this, there is a little part of my brain cautioning me to be careful with how I approach what I think I am going to try to say in this blog.

First of all, you always hear about the difficulties of having children.

  • You’ll get no sleep
  • You can’t imagine the amount of laundry you end up doing
  • Keep your mouth closed if you are changing a baby boy’s diaper
  • Poop

What you rarely hear about are the things you experience during the pregnancy part. Some things are difficult, some things are misleading, and some things are actually fun/cute. With that in mind, let me hit on a few things I’ve noticed as Kelly and I near the end of our (her) first trimester.

Morning Sickness

I think I saw a quote from Jenny McCarthy about how whoever came up with the term “morning sickness” is full of shit because it lasts all day long — and this is true. One of the most helpless feelings in the world is watching your wife get sick because she can’t tolerate food. And it’s not just the tolerating food part. Sometimes anything can trigger her, from catching a whiff of the dog food to the thought of eating something that made her sick weeks ago. I bought her these flavored rice cakes when she was going through a “bland food only ” phase, and I’m convinced she will have some kind of reflex when she reads this thinking about the one day they made an “encore appearance” in the toilet bowl.

Food in general

I always said before Kelly got pregnant that I would be curious to know what her “pregnancy craving” food would be. I had heard of women who never liked a certain food all of a sudden craving it when they got pregnant.  While there hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary in terms of cravings, there have been some food things I’ve found funny (little voice in my heard cautioning me to not use the word “funny” — proceeding against my better judgement).

One thing is that after a few days/weeks of not being able to tolerate hardly any food, Kelly found out that egg sandwiches were staying down. There was a period of about a week where we probably had egg sandwiches for breakfast six out of seven days for breakfast, and a few times for dinner as well. It made me laugh to see three dozen eggs in a fridge for two people who would be going to the grocery store in a week, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Emotionalism

I’ve witnessed my wife cry during America’s got talent, the PGA Tour, and possibly a Wal-Mart commercial in the past two months. I can’t help but laugh (in a good way!) at how connected she is to everything it seems like. I don’t think I realized how different this aspect of her pregnancy. Now, there have been times where she’s admitted to an ounce or two of annoyance toward me, sometimes for good reason and other times for….good reason. But all in all, I think the change in emotion as been something that has surprised me thus far.

Guilt

I have genuine guilt when she is in pain and I can’t “fix” her. Even before we got pregnant, I had a hard time with allowing Kelly to vent to me about something. I didn’t have a hard time because of anything she said, but because my natural reaction is to try to fix the problem. She’s told me more than once (but less than, let’s say, 45 times) that she doesn’t always need me to fix her problem, but to just let her complain, or to let her be upset.

But, when she is in real pain or can’t eat because, I feel guilty that she is suffering and I am able to run or eat whatever I want, or feed the dog even. I know she doesn’t want me to feel guilty (at least not ALL the time), but it’s been something that is hard to shake and I still want to “fix” whatever her problem. We both know there isn’t anything I can do, but I need to learn to just listen better and not try to find a solution.

There is a lot more than just these things, but we’re only 1/3 of the way done and I’m sure there will be many more lessons learned in the coming months.