If you know Ryan Holiday or read his blog, it means that you already know what’s the best life hack no one told you about. If not, go check out his article right here.
So I was inspired by his article that was written in 2015. And I admit that his topic made me write this article, but most of it, made me think about it lately.
Almost 2 years ago I was outside, taking a walk near to my office to clear my mind. Usually I’m taking my phone and call someone very close to me, so I can catch up with them. But in that moment I wasn’t in the mood to talk with anybody. So I just had my phone in my pocket and walked by the crowded streets thinking of a lot off stuff. My mind jungled with ideas from one project to another, from one article to another, from one podcast topic to another and from who am i right now and who i will be in a few years. And then I stopped. Not really the question “where I will be in 2 years” stopped me, but the question that it’s still in my mind – how will I be as a father.
A question that many guys asked themself before they will carry their firstborn. A question that it’s also scary but also exciting to think about. A question that no one has a clear answer.
So here I am, after 2 years of being a father of a very active daughter and a 2 month born baby in a pandemic world situation.
To be honest with you, I never held a baby in my arms before my daughter was born. I was scared of holding such a fragile body, such a tiny little human. But then when I hold her the first time in my hand, I looked at her and just stood there, doing nothing, thinking of nothing, just enjoying that moment. It was my first moment.
But having the first child in my family taught me a lot. So some of these things I will share with you, but others I will only keep for myself and maybe for her when we will have the dad-daughter moments.
I’m not coming with lessons and ideas on how to raise a baby. This is your role and your responsibility as a parent. I’m just sharing with you my own lessons and if some of them will help you, then I’m glad.
1. I learned how to know the difference between priority and urgent
You know that kind of articles where the author is recommending you before you make a decision to think about if it’s a priority or an urgency. Well, with her it was very simple. As a parent you will learn that there are moments when priority can beat urgency and other situations when urgency can beat priority.
And this really depends on the situation and on the context you are in.
For example, what do you do when you have to change her but she’s also hungry and can stand still to change her diapers? Well, this is a situation where I need to think about priority and urgency. The urgency is that I need to change her, because it needs to make it now so she can eat more comfortably. Even while I’m changing her she moves a lot, she is crying and it’s not a very easy task, I need to do it.
So this lesson was for me as a wake-up call. It doesn’t matter what you choose, urgency or priority, it’s always the context when you have to choose between these 2 situations. So before I choose between urgency and priority I’m thinking about the context where I am at that moment.
2. There is no ego in fatherhood
You know that thing in Friends when Joey is screaming out loud to everybody that “Joey doesn’t share fooood”. Well, I know it’s funny and I laugh a lot on that. But hey Joey, you know why you are not sharing food? Because you are not a dad.
And dads will learn to share food, share their time, share their energy, share their patience and share their passion with their kids.
There are always moments when you want to stay for a second, eat your sandwich in quite and guess what, your toddler is coming next to you and with her/his puppy eye are asking you “can I have some” or just “papa”.
Well my friend, there is no ego in fatherhood.
You need to learn how to share everything you have.
Starting from food to your time.
3. You have to go through that
This was the best advice I received from a father. In the first few months we were so exhausted about the slepless nights, about the fact that she is crying and sometimes we just don’t know what do to. So this guy came next to me and said these words that I will never forget: “You have to go throught that.
I don’t know how this advice gave me a conformt but made me think about it. Yes, I have to go throught this and this will end somehow. The crying will end somehow, the crazy moments will end somehow and we will just take a moment.
And all you have to do is just be there and understand that you have to go through that.
4. You can still have your time, if you know how to make it
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ok with the idea of the mom should do everything in house with the child and the dad can stay in his couch looking at the tv. I think that family is team work. That means that mom and dad should work together to educate their childs, to play with them and maintain the house.
But let’s get real, sometimes we dads need some time and space, but it’s unfair to take that time of yours in the middle of the day when you need to be there.
So I still have my time. I’m waking up every day at 6 a clock in the morning when everybody is still sleeping, making my coffee, reading my book and doing my own side project. This gives me almost 2 hours of myself time. I know it’s sometimes crazy because I go to bad after 10 a clock and after a full day of working 9 or 10 hours and then staying with family.
But yes, you can still have your time if you know how to manage your entire day. And I’m recommending you to talk with your wife about this. She also needs her time, so make it as a collaboration project.
5. Being more present requires more creativity and more attention
You can’t be present in your children’s life if you are recording every step they are doing on your phone. And let’s be honest, because after that video you recorded and shared with your friends and family, you still need some time to engage with them on Facebook or WhatsApp, and this is time. Time that will never come back.
According to the latest research from app RescueTime, a monitor phone use app, people spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone every single day. And you want to know how many times we pick up our phones? 58 times/day.
And guess who see this and copy our behavior? Our kids. And that’s why they want that stupid phone in their hand, so they can also check out that screen. And everytime we are putting that phone or tablet screen in front of them we pus our children a step further to develop a dependency on an “external source of “happiness” and “contentment”” –
And yes, I was on this page too. But luckily my wife who is a therapist teached me how to put down the phone and just enjoy the moment with our daughter, because these moments will never come back. Yes, there is a time to record a video with her but there is a time when I must be present in her life.
Limit yourself. Let your screen somewhere in a corner of your room. Stop using it even at dinner. Stop using it when you play with your children.
Do you want more time with your kids then with your phone? If not, then put it away when you are with them.
At the end of this article I want to let you with a story I read from my favorite daily newsletter for Dads – The Daily Dad.
Somewhere in January, Kobe Bryant received a note from an ESPN reporter to be featured on a story about a certain moment in Lakers’ history. It’s the kind of job you want to take because it gives you another step to get more awareness as a public person, to get in front of more people and get more attention.
Nobody knows how long it will take this requirement. Maybe an hour of talking on the phone. Maybe a 10 minutes Zoom call. Maybe a few emails, back and forth?
We don’t know. But what we know is that Kobe replied that journalist.
“Can’t right now. My girls are keeping me busy. Hit me up in a couple of weeks”.
I see so much discipline, inspiration and involvement in this simple message. It gives you the right to say “No” to people without even giving too many explanations. And this is something I’m learning every day, every time I’m done with my job for that day.
It’s a struggle I have, or maybe we as digital marketers have every day. But this struggle have to be a lifestyle for us and learn how to get rid of the things we don’t need that day because your kids, your family, your private space is more important than any other task.
But now I have to finish this article because they will wake up, the silence from our apartment it will evaporate and we are back in the business of taking care and growing the next generation of this world.