Six Things I’ve Learned as a Husband and Father

Six Lessons Early On As A Husband and Father

You Will Need A Support Network

I can’t understate how important this is -especially when your kids are infants and need a lot of time.  Many families often relocate to where they can get work.   What’s crucial is finding a job where you have family or close friends available that can give you a leg to stand on in hard times, but can help babysit when you and your girl – in my case wife – desperately needs a break.

One or two people wont be enough. People get busy – often when you really need them – and you will need a wide network to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and when you have two boys that are 10 months and 4 days apart, that couldn’t be truer.  Your family, her family, friends, everyone.    People we know have bought us diapers, clothes, even carseats and strollers.  Without that help, I don’t know what we would have done.

You want to avoid daycare at all possible costs, but to make ends meet these days, often both parents will have to work. It’s essential you have family, friends and GRANDPARENTS nearby who can babysit and help out.  If you aren’t able to have one parent remain at home with your kids, your family and close friends are far more nurturing and key to your kids success later in their lives than a daycare will ever be.

Lots of babysitting needed there.

With three months left of our lease, our babysitting situation and inability to get the support we needed caused us to uproot and move back to Illinois and in with some close friends of ours.  Now, with my parents nearby, my mom can give us babysitting whenver we need it.  This has been essential to both me and my wife getting work and being able to pay off what’s left on our lease back in Missouri.

Again, if you don’t get support, taking care of your kids in their infancy will become an exhausting burden, rather than a blessing and your marriage will be strained as a result.  Me and my wife have had plenty of small fights over problems created by exhaustion and the lack of people to help us out.

The fact my mom will babysit at any point means that I can finally take my wife. We can go to the Warped Tour and see her bands. A night out at the drive-in theater becomes a reality, instead of a fond memory.  We can never forget what brought us together in the first place.

Swallow Your Pride

Alpha this, alpha that. If you are an “Alpha”, you should have some pride and confidence in yourself and the decisions you make for you family.  However, when you screw up, don’t let your pride get the better of you.  If you can’t keep a promise, plans blow up, or you legitimately end up causing your wife grief – apologize.  Own it.   You are a man.

I must admit, I’m a stubborn prideful bastard.   So when I’m wrong, it’s hard to admit it.  Your wife will respect you if you are willing to admit and own your mistakes.  Key here is that you apologize when you screw up – not just apologize for her mistakes or to make her feel better. Only apologize when you do something wrong so it’s significant when you do.

Admit when you are wrong.

Just do it.   This one of the rare times, “Man up” should be said.  If you want your wife to apologize for the mistakes she does – and not blame you for them, you will have to lead by example.  I absolutely suck at this, but lately I’ve been trying to own any actual mistakes I make.    When it comes to raising my sons, this will be key.   They will look at my example and see if I do what I preach.

Now this doesn’t mean that you should roll-over.  (My wife even admitted she’s glad I don’t do everything she says or wants.)  If you have to battle, pick your battles and stand your ground when needed.

Manage Your Time

It’s so easy to be lazy and not make use of your rare downtime. I get it, but when things are tight and time is of the essence, do something useful and productive.  I love my video games, but the demands and needs of young sons come first.   This means keeping on top of giving them baths, getting them fed, changing them, and watching my oldest as he scurries around trying to touch and grab everything. 14 months is indeed an active age.

For instance, I want my wife to be satisfied with cheap easy to make food – which she usually isn’t.  To make it easier, I’ll have to spice it up, do the small things, and actually learn more about cooking. ( I work from home.)   I’ll also need to do whatever cleaning and stuff needs to be done.

In fact, there was a faucet that had to be replaced.  I had to get some extensions for the water supply valves to reach the faucet ends, but I took forever to get around to it because I was lazy.   We needed that faucet ready to go. I finally did it, but far later than I should have.

Luckily with that SUPPORT NETWORK that I mentioned earlier, time is a bit easier to manage when they boys are being taken care of by my mom and I’m able to get whatever I need to done around the house that me and my wife are staying.

Me and my wife have sex every single day.  That’s no accident. We ENSURE we have the time – that and my wife demands it with her high drive.  No matter what happens that day, we MAKE time.   If you really value something, you can and will do the same without excuses.   This also means that I have to stop making excuses for not getting things done that I should.

Laugh, Love, Live

These are great slogans, but people are usually either too busy or self absorbed with life to actually participate in these.  A great support network will help enable you to actually live life.    The house me, my wife, and the boys currently live at is the home of my best friends parents who are like my second parents.  It’s very similar to living in a multi-generational house and the benefits are immense and tremendous.

We actually talk to each other over food.  Laughter, great stories, and that noise of “happiness” can be heard constantly.   We are never “Bored”, unlike so many people.  There’s always something going and someone to hang out with.  Great conversations occur. Often friends and grandparents are over. Board games, bonfires, barbecues outside are staples of our lives. Beer taste better when you are enjoying it with people you love.  Having a Wii with Mario Party and Brawl is suddenly a phenomenal thing.   We are our own Brady Bunch.

My best friend’s family had four kids and my best friend and his wife have a 3 month old son.  (I’d like to think we inspired them to get going) We are going through almost the same stage of life. The naive dream of me and my best friend hanging out with our wives and raising kids is actually happening.  I feel like I’m living my own version of Second Hand Lions.   It fills me with joy everyday and makes me look forward to waking every morning.

All this makes it easier to raise our two boys with the love, help, and input that my best friends family gives us. I’m constantly learning new things as a dad because of it and me and my wife fight MUCH less than when we lived on our own in Missouri.

One interesting realization is that there’s other people who can hear those fights, so we have to mediate our differences calmly and quickly.  It prevents arguments from blowing up into nasty fights and has allowed us to get needed space and conversation with others in the house to take our minds off it.

Regarding that love part; the daily sex that I mentioned earlier helps resolve those fights and constantly bond us together to overcome if either of us have had a bad day, her emotions are at a low, or just our libido is going crazy.  It also boosts her confidence in herself and her body – very necessary after having two kids back to back.

When my wife’s particularly cranky,  she’s mentioned how she has a stick up her ass and that she needs sex to get rid of it.  Sure enough, it works every time.  Never forget that little fact when you wonder why she’s mad at you for no reason and you can’t logic at all with her.

Do The Small Things

1. We can be great at having the big picture in mind, but it’s the small details and living of our daily lives that makes all of that happen.   It’s those small conversations, memories, and emotions that shape our futures.  It’s easy to let the days blend together until you can’t remember what you did last Thursday.

Do something small each day to make it different.  Tell you wife you appreciate what she does.  Make her a small gift, come up with a quick movie list, and tell her you have a surprise for her – just don’t tell her what it is to the last minute. Never let that spark of romance get lost in the gritty routine of life. Make a date night each week.

2. Plenty of fights me and my wife have gone through were often because she wasn’t feeling “loved”. Every time it comes up, I think to myself, “Seriously?”  Simple stuff like saying, “I love you” in the morning, a kiss when she wakes up, a sincere compliment here and there. If she’s looking really good during a moment of the day, TELL HER SO.  You’d think that she knows you already love her and think she’s beautiful, but she needs to be reminded of it.  She needs your validation and appreciation.

Go beyond her outward beauty and look to her as a whole. It’s easy to see what your spouse does wrong – especially during arguments, but you often forget to compliment and appreciate what she does right.  She needs to know everyday that she is making you happy and that she is worth it.  Appreciate your wife for the great mother that she is and that the effort she puts in everyday.

You can do it

So many men have become jaded and believe that marriage isn’t worth it and fear losing any kids they do have to divorce and eventual child support via a vicious ex.   The risks are there, but the rewards of choosing a life you want to live are there as well.

I don’t make much money.  Neither does my wife.  But with that support I keep shouting about, anything is possible. You don’t have to be financially “stable” – most of us won’t be for years to come – and in your late 30s till you can get married and even think about kids.   Against the current grain, I would advise getting married young and having kids.

It’s far easier to deal with the responsibilities of kids when you are young, then when you are in your 40s and your back is killing you. You also enjoy the wife of your youth in your prime when you are full of energy, hope, and that “spark” that seems to fade as people age.

That essential support network can let you live a life worth living.  Be your own man and if a family is what you desire, don’t look back.  Keep striving forward.  Even though I’m new at being a dad, my boys already have an advantage – they will grow up with a father who loves them, will lead by example, and will always be there.

 

 

 

Never Denounce Your Friends – Stand By Them

Friendship is like standing on wet cement. The longer you stay, the harder it’s to leave, and you can never go without leaving your footprints behind.” – Unknown

Beginning Your Quest

“Stand By Me” is what crosses my shitlord mind when I think about the ultimate meaning of the word “friend”.   Hopefully something of similar aspiration and brilliance crosses your mind as you agonize late into the night about your lack of instagram followers, likes, and retweets.

The 1986 classic is a tale of boys who bond while on the adventure of their lives – to find a dead body first. A dead body was the goal of their quest, but the story of their lives is related by how they got there.   Their story, retold by our venerable writer, is what we all desire deep down at our frothy cores.

Even more important, it makes their quest worthy of completion, instead of merely just beginning.  Think about the movie Sandlot and Scotty’s quest to make friends.  Their adventure expands and culminates in getting that baseball back.  Scotty didn’t know it yet, but the neighborhood kids became his family and the quest he began with became something grand – and a classic in American cinema.

Every man needs his quest. He might not know it yet, but ever man at his core has a quest in mind for his life.  Myth, legend, history, and memorable fiction is filed with the larger-than-life stories of Achilles, Caesar, Genghis, Harry Dresden, and Huck Finn for a reason.

Real friends” make that quest worth undertaking, as well as make the quest into what we never imagined. Experiences and encounters with friends shape the stories to be told to our grandchildren. Chunk was essential to the group in the Goonies just as Huck Finn was impossible without Tom Sawyer.

Tom and Huck

They also shape what our quests become and give you those “life is worth living” feelings that everyone want of us wants.   You may start off in the Shire, but the way to Mordor is packed with many different stops.

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Before I go any further, let me shout something at the rest of you, “STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK!”   When you don’t shift with the wind and popular opinion and consensus to “fit in”, the friends you will attract will be a of a high caliber and more likely to be TRUE actual friends.

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Friends should be thicker than water. Crazy stunts on your bikes, nerding out laughing and gaming on xbox late into the night, and enjoying a pickup game of baseball created a bond that you didn’t easily forget.

I still haven’t forgotten me and my best friend Tim bingewatching anime late into the night while slamming mountain dew.  A decade later, we had switched to bud light.  Conversations late into the night about plans for the future were the norm.    (Think “Second-Hand Lions“)

Yea, I know, “Nerrrddssssss!”

Friendship was a bond between people that extended beyond the normal worries of life.  Bonds weren’t necessarily established because you both held up similar signs at a protest, but because  you had been through thick and thin together.

You legitimately had not just commonality, but a sense of enjoyment and purpose in the company of someone you considered a friend.   Speak friend, and enter.   (We all need our Sam, Frodo, and Gandalf in Moria.)

Unfriended

In these dark times, we force the term “friend” to also mean comrade, ally, etc.   Obviously, you can be a friend, but not necessarily an ally willing to hopscotch onto those landmines.  Well, this used to be the case.

That distinction matters because everyone assumes that you have the same exact views as your friend – or that you should. Become the hivemind.  You are identical symbiotic cells according to Facebook feeds.

The current political sphere entails that while you may be a gay Asian lesbian who voted Trump, you are still apparently a Nazi who hates humanity. You are either in the camp getting gassed, or you are the one’s laughing maniacally as you usher the Zyklon B into the shower vents.

Either a deplorable Nazi bastard, or a trans black disabled two-spirit.  This thinking has done wonders for those shallow people whose lives depend on political schadenfreude for purpose.

Believe it or not; Trump being the devil or the messiah, the ethics of trannies in the girls bathroom, and whether God exists are great conversations while in a drunken stupor that won’t be uploaded to Facebook.    When amongst friends, disagreement/agreement shouldn’t matter.

Why?

Agreement and disagreement aren’t what drives your friendship.  If they do, you have many like minded acquaintances, but likely no real friends who will stand by you.  A rather unsettling thought.   So what does a friend look like?

Do you know someone with  the history, proximity, life-goals, to some extent common-cause, and shared experiences/ stories that you want to tell your grandchildren?   How about that feeling of purpose, fulfillment, and sense of belonging?

Did you think to yourself, “I’d love to grow old with this guy?”  Were they always at your back in the thick of life with you? Did they stand by you in times of strife when everyone trashed you? Was there couch always available when you needed it and their ear open when life had you bent over?  If so,  that’s a real friend – and they don’t make em like they used to.

Friendly Heretics

Go back to the year 1000 and gaze upon a man who was excommunicated.  Modern self -loathing Christendom hate aside, the heretic was often avoided by the community and usually dead to his family.   At that time, it was essentially a death sentence.

Despite our scorn of those bigoted terrible Christians as we beat on our enlightened snobby chests about how awesome we are ,we’ve actually brought that same mentality back.  This time it only dooms you to bad jobs, little opportunity, and scorn from your elite educated betters who’ve studied long and hard for their liberal arts degree.

If you are one of the lucky converts, you’ll be seen as a sinner who needs an extended time of penance in the mines of ally activism to repent for your sins of privilege. You filthy white devil you.  Prostrate and repent – but make sure to donate.  Forgiveness isn’t cheap.

Huh?

What the hell happened?

The culture wars in their meme and social media glory have fooled people into a shallow sense of friendship.   Sure, you both may like Bernie Sanders, spam his memes on Faceberg,  support #BlackLivesMatter, and denounce bigotry in the movies, but will Joe have your back when push comes to shove?

Will they stand by you? Surely he knows you are a good person at heart, just misunderstood in the shouts for your burning at the stake – but will he voice it in fear for his own hide? You better damn hope so Solo.

The casualties of heresy aren’t necessarily just the one’s you see on the front page of Drudge, but on your social feed as they defriend and block all trespassers of wrongthink.  Surely they can’t be seen to have such deplorable friends. After all, what would people think?

Peer pressure makes for likes on Facebook, but will any of those people drive out of their way to pick you up in the middle of nowhere? Will your “friend” have time for you when you actually need it? True friends are indeed rare.

Will he denounce you to the other virtue signal despondent deviants desperate for Faecbook likes and acceptance because you didn’t support #BlackLivesMatter loud enough, check your privilege, or didn’t prostrate yourself low enough for that offensive joke?

Stand By Me

Rest assured that if I call you a  friend, I’ll always have your back when the storms rage.  It’s exactly why I’ll never denounce men like Forney, Roosh, Aurini, Quintus, etc no matter how many people recoil in horror because they deem their perspectives deplorable.  Guilt by association is nonsense and anyone who appeals to it should be disregarded.

Even more so for the close friends I’ve known for the better part of my life.  When told that it makes me look like I share their reprehensible heresies, my response is simple and emphatic:“I don’t care.”

Be honest with yourself; the shrieking wolves of Twitter will always assume that friendship equates to a cult like hive mind of absolute agreement. Their goal is isolation of their targets.  When they’ve finished, they will still come for you next.

Consider closely who you want to be in this short life. You are never guaranteed tomorrow.  Sure, plan for the future, but exactly what future?  In fact what would your friends and family say around your gravestone?  Deep down, we want a future filled with people, family, and FRIENDS, which make it worth living.

Even if I don’t agree with someone or their supposed racist, sexist, misogynist bigoted uttering – of which I am accused of frequently –  they are still my friend no matter what they have or will say.

That’s what true friends do. Your friendship transcends the frequent winds of “change” on the “right side of history.” The right damn side of history is by their side, and they by you.

History won’t fondly remember the con artists who appeal to the moral authority of the majority to scold those who aren’t on the “right side of history” – if it remembers them at all.  Face it, history won’t remember virtually any of us, but good friends make our short lives worth getting up in the morning to go to that job we hate to feed our families.

My best friend may be very liberal, but he’s welcome in my home at any point, and I in his. The trust we’ve built over the last 20 years can’t be shaken.  Our kids will play together, and our wives worthy of defending regardless the reason.

A word of warning to those who think long-term friends can be replaced:  Those who throw their friends away – especially over politics – will be treated with contempt by their newfound like-minded revolutionary comrades, because none of us at heart will ever be truly radical enough.

“Betrayal” no matter how you want to dress it up is not invisible to new bedfellows.   Trust will never be built, and thus loyalty will never follow, as they assume you will do the same to them at some point.  So goes the common cause.

No matter how much faithful zeal you may have for social justice you will tire, even just slightly of being beaten for your privilege while living paycheck to paycheck – cis straight white males in particular.   It is then you will be chastised and exorcised for your lack of allyship.

Meanwhile your best hope is that the friends and family you shunned know well the parable of the prodigal son. You will know them to be true friends and family when they welcome you back with open arms and no demands to get on your knees and beg for sweet forgiveness.

That is what marks a true friend. Value them above all else.