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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Is The Tide Turning?

“Hot damn!” I honestly yelled this out loud when I saw this commercial for Tide featuring a dad dealing with three messy kids. Three messy daughters no less! This guy is my freakin’ hero! So is the ad executive who pushed this concept through.

It may seem trivial to some. But seeing dads represented as the ones doing the house work and taking care of the kids is something we need more of. Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.05.46 PMWe aren’t all helpless beer chugging, ESPN addicts who can’t figure out how to start a washing machine. We know how to cook, we know how to clean toilets and fold laundry. We create household budgets, make school lunches, compare prices, iron, make beds, know our way around a vacuum (and empty it when it’s full). We know what a dryer sheet is for and yes, we have opinions about laundry detergent. OK, we lose socks. But hey, we’re not perfect … yet.

None-the-less. Anything that presents fathers managing the day to day of raising our kids is a huge plus and helps counter all of the negative stereotypes. Yes, dead beat dads exist. But look around any aisle at the grocery store and you’ll see more and more dads with two kids in the cart and a third in tow comparing prices of pancake mix and choosing the best tomatoes.

So my hats off to Tide. Keep em’ comin’! Next let’s see a divorced dad cooking a chicken dinner and ensuring he and his kids sit down at the dinner table together! (A boy can dream.)

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Divorced Christmas Morning

I told my kids tonight, “I don’t necessarily remember the gifts I got as a kid at Christmas, but I do remember the people, the places, the moments and the awesomeness of being with friends and family.”

They responded with several comments, but one in particular struck me. They told me how much it meant to them that despite the divorce, we still celebrate Christmas morning as a family. They said that most of their2014-12-09 07.34.35 other friends whose parents are divorced, spend one Christmas with their mom and another with their dad and that it means a lot to them that they get to spend Christmas eve and day with their mom and dad together.

It’s not easy by any stretch. In fact, I’m kind of blown away that we’re still able to do it. My ex and I are still water and vinegar and the holidays have a way of putting a whole new level of strain on new stress points. But somehow we manage to put it all aside for the sake of the kids. To hear my kids make a point of how much that means to them, well … I didn’t see that coming to be honest with you.

Kids first. That’s all I can say. If you put your kids’ needs first, somehow nothing else really matters. It’s more than giving them a great Christmas memory, it’s about giving them a foundation they can count on. A security knowing we’ve got their back no matter what.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times more. Kids aren’t stupid. They get it. They see it all and are privy to more than you can imagine. Don’t try to snow them. Be forthcoming and honest with them. And let them know they are your number one priority no matter what. They won’t ever forget that you for that.

Peace to you this holiday season. I hope whatever time you have with your kids is awesome. Take it all in and let them know you love them. That’s all.

 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Merry? Really?

For the record, I love the holiday season. Mostly of late, I find comfort in remembering how I felt 40 years ago, doing my best to rekindle those feelings and that perspective of Christmas. I think we all need that. Why do I think we all need that?  It’s where the magic comes from and because without it, many of us are left with far too much focus on the emptiness the holidays can bring in later years.

The holidays have a way of making adults evaluate their lives every year and sometimes not in a good way. By the time you’re 40, you’ve likely lost someone close to you that leaves a void during the holidays. You may struggle with providing your own 977371_10152015631237908_3728297_ochildren with holiday magic. Or maybe you simply get stuck with a bad case of the bah hum bugs. Regardless, once you let go of your child like tendencies and succumb to the pressures and stress that the holidays can bring, you may find yourself left with nothing but burden.

These past few years, I’ve tried harder to lose myself in the holiday world my children live in and focus on the positives. And for the most part I think I’m better for doing it. Our house is covered inside and out with Christmas lights. We’re baking cookies, decorating, playing holiday music, watching holiday movies and spending more time together. Does it make it more difficult when you’re divorced? Well, in a word yes, I think it does. But perhaps rather than difficult, maybe the better word is simply “different.”

The kids will define their childhood holidays by what they experience regardless of whether mom and dad are married or not. They, like others, may be dealing with the loss of a parent. Or perhaps their home is not a happy one to begin with. So any attempt we make to provide our kids with Christmas cheer and magic I think is a good thing. Let them hold on to it as long as possible. Give them something to carry with them when they’re older as a foundation of joy during a season that can be the basis of so much pain.

“What? Pain? It’s the holidays you fool!” Yeah, pain. The holidays can quite frankly be one of the most surfacy times of the year as we all put on 12339162_10154392275487908_27378977208865453_oour best face because no one can be glum during the holidays. Well, the reality is, the holidays are tough for everyone on some level. Some more than others. Work stress, family stress, spiritual stress (yes this is a thing), travel stress, “will they like what I got them” stress, “did I get them enough” stress, “did I not get them enough” stress, “did I get them too much” stress, missing loved ones stress. Look around you and I guarantee someone you know is struggling under the ugly Christmas sweater and festive lights.

Which is all the more reason to hold on to that foundation of childhood bliss if you’re fortunate enough to have it and even more of a reason to help build one for your own kid(s). It’s that ability to remember the blissful feeling gained from viewing the holidays through the eyes of a child. And guess what, if you’re a divorced dad (or mom), you’ve got at least one to live vicariously through. Try hard enough, and you may just get lost in the splendor that can be the holidays yourself.

If you really want to feel the magic of Christmas, welcome with open arms those you know may be struggling. Show your kids what the true meaning of Christmas and the holidays is about. In doing so you’ll make it one they’ll remember fondly for a life time.

Peace to you and your family this holiday season! Stay strong and stay positive!

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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