Work out plan….check
Financial plan (I hope you have one of these)…check
Escape plan……well you never know….check
Parenting plan…..eh…er…I’ll-just-wing-it-and-see-how-it-goes. Huh?
See a pattern here? Being a father [parent] is Latin for “thinking on your feet” — you really have no choice in the matter — but that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING has to be impromptu. Make sense? Cool.
First lets just rethink what you are actually doing here. While most times it may feel as if you are just trying to advert your children from life jarring injuries and starvation as a parent you actually do have a higher purpose. I’d like you to think of yourself as a “Memory Architect“. What that means is you actually have the job of building someone else’s memories experience by experience. You can apply this to any new relationship you start really, but there is no personal connection as deep as the bond between you and your child if you choose to cultivate it. Choosing to build memories deliberately creates a different experience.
Will you accomplish this impeccably? I hope not. The goal is not to be perfect, but to have a direction and idea of the kind of experiences [memories] you want our children to have, then work towards it.
You have four Saturdays and Sundays a month to accomplish greatness. That is exactly how I think you accomplish being a great — not a mediocre — dad! I personally believe that you shouldn’t spend very waking moment around your kid. Being around your children is like any other relationship and TOO much time isn’t necessarily healthy. You get sick of your kid and they get sick of you; break up your weekends into manageable segments.
PICK AT LEAST ONE WEEKEND ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO YOURSELF. Me time. Go to a Bar. Go to a Game. Go Fishing. Go to play basketball. Just go and be yourself. This might sound selfish but in the long run it will help enrich your relationship with your kid(s). If you can handle a whole 2 days go for it, if our family dynamic doesn’t allow for this then at least a day. You need it. So do your kids.
PICK AT LEAST ONE WEEKEND ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO YOUR CHILDREN. This is means Chucky Cheese. Going to bed late. Pizza for breakfast. Everything needs to be geared towards your offspring and if that means sitting on the Dora The Explorer kiddy ride 50 times…..SUCK IT UP….being a dad is TOUGH!
These weekends aren’t static but the idea of them are. Try to keep them sacred. You and your kids will start to find yourself looking forward to them.
I know what your next question is : “What about the other 2 weekends”? Well those really are up to you, personally I wouldn’t suggest dedicating every single weekend to your children or to yourself. Try to balance and use the other 2 weekends to mix activities for both them and you.
Parenting is not a race. It is a marathon. Pace yourself. Four weekends with your kids will wipe you out. Four weekends with no kids will also wipe you out, but in other ways later in life. Please don’t do either. Balance. Once you got it down pact you can adjust as you see fit, but crawl first. Trust me.
– A Single Dad