Being a parent we live busy lives. Many of us are trying to juggle our own schedules and also the schedule of our children, which seem to be about as busy as ours. Finding an extra minute is nearly impossible. When the doctor told me that I needed to lose 15 pounds and lower my cholesterol, I nearly laughed. Did this guy really think that I would find time to go to the gym?
I began to look into my schedule, wondering, where I could find it. I did not want to come home from work, turn around, and go for a run. That would cut into the time that I would get to play with the Rookie. After the Rookie would be in bed is also my opportunity to catch up on the DVR, my time to decompress.
There was one block of time that I had available. It wouldn’t be easy and it would require some sacrifices.
Four years ago the doctors were wondering how I was even able to walk into their office. They had never seen someone with numbers as high as mine. They wondered how I was even able to function. I asked myself the same question. I was also asking myself, how I wasn’t being a healthy dad.
A diet of gas station and fast food just wasn’t cutting it. It was all I had access too. Not because my family wasn’t eating healthy at home, but because it was the lifestyle that I was living at the time. It was my career.
I was a news photojournalist. I was running from story to story grabbing a bite to eat when I could. Taquitos and flaming hot Cheetos from gas station and I had a very intimate relationship. One that I am sure Mrs. Rookie Dad was jealous about at the time but didn’t tell me.
It was at that moment four years ago that things began to change. I started realizing the effect that the constant diet of chips and soft drinks were having on my life. It showed too. I was the heaviest I had ever been. I could feel my belly spilling over my seat belt every time I got in the news van to drive off to the next news story. There was no way that I would win a back alley news fight with the Channel 9 news team. There would be no throwing tridents or setting people on fire. I would be out of breath within 2 minutes and you would see me curled up gasping for breath being set on fire and stabbed with a trident.
That wasn’t who I wanted to be. That wasn’t the same person who played 3 sports cross-country, basketball, and baseball in high school. I didn’t want to be that person. I was making my career and excuse for healthy habits. I tried to work out on my crazy news schedule but it just, for the lack of a better term, wasn’t working out.
Let me tell you something, time and money are the biggest things that stress me out. There is not enough of either time or money. When I have money to spend, I don’t have time to spend it. When I have time, I don’t have money to spend. It’s a vicious cycle. That is why I am always out to find ways to shave time and shave money.
When Mrs. Rookie Dad and I started to look at our budget and find places where we could shave some money, we found out that we were paying $120 a month for cable. We started to look at the savings we would have if we cut the cord. By cutting the cord we are able shave $1500 a year in our budget. We aren’t missing out on much because we still have Netflix and we have an over-the-air antenna that we are still able to pick up broadcast stations.
When we cut the cord on cable as mentioned above, we discovered just how much mindless TV we watch. By shaving the time we spend watching TV together brought our family closer. We would spend more time outside together, playing board games, or doing some sort of activity together.
If you look at your weekly grocery receipt to see how much you are spending, you will see that a good chunk is spent on laundry detergent. We were roughly spending about $20 a month on laundry detergent. Being the frugal wife that she is, Mrs. Rookie Dad found a home made laundry detergent recipe that the Dugger family uses. We end up spending $10 to make a 5 gallon bucket of the detergent and it ends up lasting us an entire year.
Are you still with me because here is why I keep saying the word shave?
Looking for other areas to shave some money, I found out that I was spending another $20 a month on razor blades. Because of the rising cost of razor blades I would try and have my blades last me longer than I should have resulting in basically ripping my face to shreds. When I found the Dollar Shave Club, I found out that I could spend WAY less on razor blades a month than I was currently paying. Not only that, but it shaves time while I am in grocery store because I do not have to go and spend time looking for my blades because they mail them to you on a monthly basis. I will be honest, these are some of the best blades that I have used. It is such an easy service, just sign up, pick your blades, and next thing you know you have 4 new blades waiting for you to use. Not to mention, some creative marketing on their part with the Bathroom Times.
By now you are probably screaming at me to stop saying the word shave. I’m almost done, I swear! You probably still aren’t reading this anyway.
Finding the places where you can both shave time and shave money is difficult. It was something that Mrs. Rookie Dad and I had to do because we realize that our spending was out of control and we weren’t spending time with the Kid as much. Not that we weren’t spending any time with him in the first place, but we knew there were areas that we could spend more time with him and there were areas we could really stretch our budget. Whether that is from creating our own laundry detergent or by buying razor blades online. Honestly, if you looked at the places where you could shave time and money what do you think that you would do with the extra time and money that you would have?
By the way if you are interested in joining Dollar Shave Club just head over to join!
Now that I have you here, I don’t really hate myself as a parent. I love being a parent. I love knowing that everything that I do is going to someday influence the Kid to be a better person in society. But being a parent, has turned me into something that I never have wanted to be or become.
I don’t like lying. I REALLY don’t like lying to my son. It doesn’t set the right example that I want to send to my son. I want him to become a truthful person who people can trust. When he says that he is going to do something, I want people to trust him and know that he will get the job done.
That leaves me with the reason I hate what I’ve become, a lying parent.
The Kid is needier than my college girlfriend. I am not trying to make an excuse, because let’s be honest, the Kid is much cuter and I would do absolutely ANYTHING for him. At some point though, like my college girlfriend sometimes you just have to let go. I am not talking about deleting her number out your cell phone or unfriending them on Facebook (you stayed friends on Facebook just because you want to see how bad their life has been since breaking up with you). I am talking about the need to always have the other person around.
The Kid needs Mrs. Rookie Dad or myself cuddling with him to go to sleep. This was fine in the beginning. As time went on though, it began to get annoying. Mrs. Rookie Dad and I both agreed that the Kid needed to be able to go to sleep without the help of us.
This might not sound like such a big deal however, he takes SO long to go to sleep that I have resorted to staying in his bed for about 10 minutes and leaving. He proceeds to ask me if I will come back to cuddle with him. I promise him that I will but I need to get a few things done first.
Thirty minutes later, the Kid is sleeping, and I did not go back into to cuddle with him. I broke my promise and lied my son.
At first I did not realize what I was doing. It hit me like load of bricks one night when I sat right here in this easy chair, staring at this computer screen, writing a post for this blog.
This is not the kind of parent I want to be. I want my son to be able to trust me and know that he can count on me when I say that I am going to do something. Not only is this telling the Kid that it is OK to lie to people, but it is also telling him that it is OK to not follow through with your promises.
By now, I have usually come up with a solution to this problem. I can sit here having discussed this issue with Mrs. Rookie Dad and we have figured out the plan of attack. But since I am no child psychologist, I have absolutely no idea what do.
This is one of those times that you wish that there was a parenting handbook that you could follow. It would tell you if an action when your child is 3, would really affect him when he is a teenager. Someone should really get on writing that parenting handbook.
All I can do at this point is to explain to the Kid that following through with your promises is what a good boy does and that a good boy does not lie to his friends and to his parent. I just hope that what I am doing by telling him that I am going to come back to his bed will not tell him that it is not OK to tell the truth and keep promises.
Hearing the story out of Georgia involving Justin Harris is extremely upsetting. The first part of the dad’s story is the part of being a dad that scares me the most. at first it seemed that Justin really did forget about his son in the car. The details that are now surfacing tell a different story and I won’t try to figure out whether he is guilty or not or convince you otherwise. But, leaving my Kid in the car, hot or cold, is one of my biggest fears.
The mornings are my time to get the Kid ready. We have a routine: I wake up, get ready for work, get the Kid up, feed him breakfast, let him watch an episode of Wild Kratts, and take him to school. I am so scared that I will end up leaving him in the car and just get into the habit of stopping at Starbucks to grab my venti coffee, turn on sports radio, and head into work that I have started to do a few things that will prevent me from forgetting him in the car.
The suggestions that I am about to give aren’t anything earth shattering. There have been countless news stories written about how to prevent this sort of incident happening again. In fact, there are more suggestions than just the ones that will follow. These are the ones I use and have worked for me so I don’t leave my child in the car.
#1 – Talk to your child
This doesn’t matter how old your child is. Even if he is a day old, talk to him. For the lack of a better word, talk about a bonding experience. Tell your child the story about how you and your partner met. Tell them the story about how you found out your wife was pregnant. Just talk to them. If you want to really remind yourself that your child is in the car, be sure to say their name while you are talking to them.
#2 – Put something in the back seat
When I left broadcast news, I starting taking a man bag to work with me every day. When I started taking the Kid to school, I would put this bag in the back seat. This way if I do forget to take the Kid to school, I will see him when I get my bag out.
#3 – Put something in the front passenger seat
It could be something as small as a teddy bear or maybe a baby bottle, not full of course because I have first-hand experience leaving a full bottle of milk in a hot car for days on end. If you are anything like me, when you are driving alone you just throw your cell phone in the passenger seat. When I pick up my phone, seeing the teddy bear is a reminder that the Kid is in the car with me.