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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Just Stop Already!

Today I did something I haven’t done in, man, I can’t remember how long.

I just …              stopped.

Stopped working. Stopped creating. Stopped worrying. Stopped pushing. Just stopped. 2015-07-07 21.55.45

I mean, I straightened up the house a bit. Made myself a nice breakfast. Went for a run and grabbed a couple of things at the grocery store. But for the most part I took myself out of overdrive and just cruised in first gear for the day. I really didn’t think it would be that hard. And while for the most part it wasn’t difficult to actually slow down, mentally it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

There has been such momentum in my life lately. Serious momentum. Kids are back in school. Work has been busy and on a good course. New projects lining up. House work. Yard work. Song writing. Filming. Full time job. Getting in 3-4 miles a day. Stopping that momentum was like slamming into a brick wall. I feared that if I, (the electron), stopped; then my world, (the molecule), would collapse. Honestly, I think that.

But for whatever reason, this morning I woke up with no specific agenda. The kids were at their mom’s. And I just slept in.

I’ve always been told I’m an extravert. But honestly, I don’t think I am. If you want to know the truth, I don’t think anyone is completely an extravert or introvert. I think we each sway more one way or another, but inside whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, I think we all have moments when we need to just stop and recharge. Close out the world. And let our bodies and minds replenish themselves. Introverts don’t own that need. We all have it whether we’ll admit it or not.

Being a single parent can be remarkably draining. I could get into all of the reasons, but that’s a whole nother post. The point is, you’re bound to run out at some point. It’s inevitable that from time to time you’re simply going to need to stop. Stop and breath. Stop and think. Stop and recharge.

Give yourself that. Give yourself that and go the extra step and tell yourself that it’s OK. It’s OK to just, stop.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Passing On Traditions

I grew up on a dairy farm outside Buffalo, NY and one of my favorite parts of the end of summer / start of autumn was when my mom would make home made dill pickles using dill and cucumbers she grew in the garden. The fermenting process took about two weeks, but I would typically run homepickles from the school bus every day and ask if they were ready starting about three days after she had put them in the crock.

I’d been telling the kids about this for years. Even have my mom’s old crock sitting in the corner with flowers in it. So this year I decided it was time to pass this tradition on to my own kids. We really don’t have the space to have a great garden, so we purchased dilling cucumbers from a local produce stand and found some dill at the local grocery store. We got the additional ingredients (vinegar, sea salt & garlic) we needed, got everything together and went to work.

Beyond passing on a tradition that has stayed with me for decades, it was a fun activity to do with the kids. Now it’s my kids coming home from school asking if they’re ready! Hopefully it’ll be something they’ll pass on to their own children one day, but if nothing else it created some great memories for our own family.

Makin’ Pickles of the process which also kicks off a new Web series; “I’m The Dad.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Dad to Daughter Dictionary

Dads, huddle up for a second. Especially if you have daughters.

Let’s be real for a moment. In all honesty, we can, at times, suck as listeners when it comes to women. We may “try” to listen, and the words may even get past the ear drum, but the interpretation is often completely way off. What this leads to is a complete misunderstanding of how our own words are interpreted because we don’t really hear the responses properly. This is bad enough when you’re in a relationship with an adult woman. Add to the mix the insecurities of an eleven or thirteen year old and you have a recipe for disaster. Communicating to our daughters can be a treacherous hike through a land mine field filled with comments that can blow up in your face at any moment.

I’ll give you a couple of examples: 2014-06-01 03.40.03

We say: “That shirt is too revealing”
She hears: “You dress like a whore and are an embarrassment.”

We say: “You were supposed to be ready to go at 9:00”
She hears: “Can’t you do anything right?”

We say: “No, it’s too expensive and you already have too many clothes.”
She hears: “You’re a financial burden.”

I got into a heated conversation with my eldest not long ago. At a certain point I remember focusing on the look on her face. She was being pummeled by negativity from me about her attitude and she just stood there almost numbed over, expressionless. Everything got really quiet in my head and I was completely focused on the look on her face. And I got real empty inside. This was not the dad I wanted to be nor was it the message I wanted to send to my daughter.

But how often do we get to that place? How often do we get frustrated repeating the same lesson over and over again? We’re so quick to point out when they make a mistake or react inappropriately, all with good intentions. But how many times do we fall into the trap of habitual parenting? Meaning, the constant corrections simply become habit. And all our kid hears is “you suck, you suck, you suck.”

I want to be better than that. I want my daughter to know how amazing I think she is. Unfortunately I’m a guy. And as a guy, I’m not always as sensitive to what’s coming out of my mouth as I need to be when it comes to the ego of a young woman. There was a time when she was say six or seven, that suggesting she get the next size jeans was a positive as it meant she was growing up. Yeah don’t do that to a thirteen year old.

It’s a tightrope that requires careful thought and thinking through our words. Something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us. Listen, you’re going to say the wrong thing. You’re going to have a “tone.” You’re going to unintentionally insult. Simply put, you’re going to be an ass in her eyes. But there’s good news. There are two tools you have at your disposal that I highly recommend. The first is called reflection. Recognize when you’ve screwed up or potentially sent the wrong message. Then use the second tool, known as an apology. We can’t expect our kids to own their mistakes if we aren’t willing to do so ourselves. It’s a chance for you to let them know you don’t think they dress like a whore and that they do a lot of things right. It’s a chance to let them know that you have a heart. It’s also a chance to counter the negatives with a plethora of positives in a calm, reflective manner.

Guys, obviously our abilities to understand and communicate with women aren’t perfect, or we likely wouldn’t be divorced in the first place. When it comes to our daughters, we can pin it on them to deal with it because we’re the dad OR we can acknowledge we have no idea what we’re doing and do our best to adjust and let our daughters know how much we love them and that we’re making this stuff up as we go along. Honestly, I think it’s OK to let your daughter know you’re an idiot.

She’s already quite aware of that fact and will probably respect you for acknowledging it.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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