Episodes/Honest Dad Blog

5 Areas that I need to Improve on as a Dad.

As a father, I would like to think that I am one of the best.  I strive everyday to be the best version of what I think a Dad should be.  To be honest, I fail a ton.  Some of the areas that I will mention are my weakness’ as a Father.  I list them and discuss them, in hopes to help other Dads.

  1. Patience- Man o Man, I wish I had more of this.  Its easier said then done, thats for sure.  Kid’s tend to push you to the limit in every category of life.  They will push every button that you have and then some.  I have gotten better over the years, but early on it was a struggle.  I would find myself losing my shit in restaurants, church, or even at relative’s houses.  What has helped me grow as a person, and a father, is to just let it go.  We as Dad’s cant control everything.  Shit is going to happen!  When it does let it roll of your shoulder.  At the end of the day, when you are kissing your children good night, you won’t even remember why you were mad.
  2. Disconnect- meaning put down the phone.  I struggle with this.  I have found that I am pretty much addicted to my phone.  Until recently, with a little help from my wife, I didn’t realize how much I space out on the phone.  Checking email, twitter, Facebook, Insta, or even Podcasts.  I have  decided to quit my phone while I am around them.  As I write this, I can see my wife rolling her eyes.  Its hard! I am not perfect, I will struggle with this, but our children are the light of the world, to miss them growing up, and experiencing life, would be a crime.  Just stop, and think.  Do you remember when they were little.  I don’t mean general memories, I mean specifics.  I don’t, and it makes me sad.  Now add a cell phone in the mix.  Those memories get harder to reflect on.  Everyday my kids get bigger and act more and more like adults.  Enjoy everyday with them, put down the phone and take in the moment.  I will struggle with this, but i will make a honest effort.
  3. Language- Our kids grow up so fast.  Let them be kids as long as possible. This isn’t so much for me, but I have been around parent’s who curse around their kids.  I get it, sometimes it slips, but why expose them to that so early.  I cringe every time I hear a parent use colorful comments around their kids.  Let kids be kids, and watch the language.
  4. Be in the moment-  This is hard for me.  Many times when I am at an event, my mind wonders. Thinking about the next day, or projects for work.  Be in the moment.  Alan Stein Jr came on the podcast and state, ” Be where your feet are.”  Perfect and Basic.  I took my son to karate this past weekend, and I watched the entire thing.  I usually read a book or flip through my phone.  This time I decided to actually pay attention to the entire practice. I didn’t realize this, but my son looks at me every time he does a move.  After every demonstration or move, he looks at me to see if I was watching.  My heart sank.  I haven’t been prior to this day.  He wants me to watch him, and selfishly I watched something else.  Can you imagine what that does to their little minds.  I have to get better at disconnecting.  So do you.  We all do.
  5. Conversation- As my kids get older, they talk all the time.  Usually about nothing. None the less they try and talk to me.  They ask a million questions about nothing and I typically just shake my head and say “yep”.  I have to stop.  I have to start communicating better and more effectively with them.  I have to show that I care about what they have to say, regardless if its about poop, or pee, or farts.  Take the time to listen to their stories and comment honestly on their stories.  Build their confidence in the communication world.

Again, I am not perfect.  I struggle with these areas just like the next guy.  I will try my best to get better and challenge you to do the same.  Together we can become better Father’s!

 

Here is a great book on Fatherhood 

Lights. Camera. Action!

I feel like my kids say this phrase every time I get on the phone “Let’s act a fool”. Last night was such a circus, I can only sit back and laugh. My wife and I are selling our house, and we accidentally scheduled a showing during the time frame that I was suppose to be conducting an interview. Not wanting to be rude or kill the chance of a possible sale, we kept the time frame open for the potential buyers. Being the creative person that I am, I decided to take the kids to the park, along with the dog, while I conduct my interview. About an hour into the park, my children decided that it was time to go. The time was approximately 7:00 p.m., and my Interview was at 7:30 p.m. Now usually I would try and reschedule the interview or move it back an hour, but this interview was different It was with Tim Meuchel,author of,”The 10 Factor”. I picked up his book the night before, so that I could be prepared for the interview. I could not put down this book. It spoke right to me. So to say that I was excited to speak with Tim is an understatement. So we leave the park at 7 p.m. to get home before the 7:30 p.m. interview. As I am pulling up to the house, I notice that the potential buyers are still looking at the house, so I park in the community parking, near the shared space by the woods. I quickly start getting my equipment in place, checking sounds, and connections. Everything is good! I explain to the kids that daddy is going to be doing an important interview, and to behave in the common area,which is just a field by the woods. I tie up the dog to a tree in the common space, so that the kids can play with her. Everything will be fine. Well so I thought. As soon as my interview starts, the kids start running rampant. Running up and down the sidewalk next to the truck, climbing on the back bumper, screaming at the pitch of an opera singer. I can’t even explain it. Its like they have this sense about them, that makes them go crazy when I’m either on the phone, or doing an interview. At this moment, I am just trying to hold it together. I have an elite coach, author, and podcaster on my show, and I can’t maintain the focus to ask the questions that I want. I felt totally defeated. It wasn’t until my daughter comes up to my window, stares me right in the face, puts up her hand, and shows me a smashed worm in the middle of her palm, that’s when  I said to myself, ” You can’t take yourself too seriously.” Yeah, I had a big time interviewee on the phone, but life is about the small things. During this realization, both of my kids are hanging onto my truck, asking for the keys to go inside. Luckily, the prospective buyers had left and I was able to allow the kids to try and access the house. I quickly ask the question, “What has been your favorite failure?”, and quickly turn off the truck and hand them my keys. I thought they knew which key it was to get inside, but I was wrong. They sat outside screaming the entire rest of my interview. The dog began to bark and took a huge dump in the neighbors yard, and I am sweating my ass off in the truck, with the windows rolled up, trying to get a halfway decent interview on tape. The funny part is, that as soon as I wrapped up the interview, and walk over to them, they act like they could give a shit. As soon as my feet hit the front stoop, they run off and play, singing and dancing, acting like nothing happened. The kids won again! So when you listen to my episode with Tim Meuchel, in a couple of weeks, know that during this interview, my kids are acting a fool, the entire interview.

An evening with the Dictator.

According to the dictionary, dictator means: a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force.  The first part of this meaning does not apply to my daughter, but the second is spot on! My daughter has gained her power through force and will power.  She has been working her way through the ranks since the day of her birth.  She has slowly inched her way into the second most powerful rank in the Downes household.  Beneath my wife, she rules with an iron fist, taking no prisoners and sparing no mercy on her victims.  Her temper knows no limits and her keen wit allows her to stay two steps ahead of any opposing force. Although no one believes sweet angel Ava could be shrewd and relentless, I am here to bare witness.  Her transformation from sweet princess to uncontrollable bully, happens only nights that my wife goes to work.  My wife is a RN and works the night shift at a local hospital, and on these nights it’s like watching a man transform into a werewolf.  She runs around barking orders at myself, along with my son.  Her uncontrollable hunger can only tamed by macaroni and cheese.  If the mac and cheese becomes scarce, you must prepare yourself for the worst.  She will continuously throw objects at you until you give her what she wants.  Her attention can only be obtained by kids baking championship reruns on the food network channel.  One would think candy would be a solution of peace, but fooled you would be.  Certain candy must be obtained to tame the creature.  The preferable candy of peace making would be lollipops.  Lollipops allow for some negotiations, like, bath time, or cleaning up her mess, or even the unmentionable, bedtime. Many evenings have sounded like an unsatisfied customer at a five star restaurant.  “What is this nasty food?’, “My mac and cheese is too cold!”, “Daddy,GIVE ME A FORK!”, “Where is my milk?”, “Wipe my mouth”, Sometimes it may even sound like a nursing home, ” Daddy wipe my butt.” “Daddy wash my butt.” ” Daddy get my underwear, NOW!””Play uno now!” As I write this, Napoleon sleeps quietly in her chamber, awaiting for the morning, for when she can pounce on me, and demand Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.  Sleep tiny princess, Sleep.    

If you can drive 4 hours in the car with two fighting kids, you can do anything!

Dads! Let me start off with a serious question.  Would you rather endure a 4 hour drive to the beach with two fighting kids, or be kicked in the nuts?

Kick me in the nuts bro.  Out of all the horror stories people tell you about parenting, no one tells you about the car rides.  I am here to give you a heads up!  New Dads! Listen up! If you are taking a considerably long trip via car, and you have kids, its going to suck.

The solo kid isn’t too bad.  You will have to make sure they have snacks, entertainment and more entertainment.  Make SURE they use the bathroom before you go, and I don’t mean #1.  I could care less about that.  You don’t want to have to stop and have your kid or kids wall sit on the car tire to unload a #2.  This has happened to me numerous times.  What cracks me up is how it sneaks up on them.  We will literally be 30 min away from our destination, and all of a sudden, I hear shouts of desperation!  DAD! I have to DOOP!  This happened when my oldest was possibly 2-3 years old.  Our location wasn’t exactly near any populated areas either.  Fields and fields for miles.  So what does a guy from rural Delaware do? I pull over and tactfully hold my son at an angle, where he can drop a #2 without getting it all over my rainbows.  My daughter has issues with holding her #1 until she can no longer hold it.  She won’t give you a heads up until its literally about to go down.  I remember driving back to Delaware and she shouts Dad I have to pee, knowing her, I swerve into the next gas station, only to find that she is soaked, along with her new car seat.  C’mon man, why can’t it be like football with a 2 min warning?

What happens when you add one more?  Double the chaos.  This can be tricky.  Depending on your children and how well they get along, you have to strategically plan for the trip.  Just like the biblical story of Noah, you have to load the car two by two.  Not just with the kids but snacks, Ipads and books.  What you bring for one, you have to bring for the other.  Let me repeat that, what you bring for one, you have to bring for the other.  If this important instruction is ignored, WWIII will ignite and you will be abliderated.  If one kid has a pad, you better find the other one.  If one kid has a DS, you better pray the other one does.  Make checkpoints through out the trip of changes in activities.  Whether it be coloring books, reading or gaming.  You don’t want them to play electronics or watch a movie the entire way, they will become zombies, and that will just further complicate intended dinners or plans at your destination.  If you can carefully plan and execute this mission, you can do anything!

Its crazy to think about how good kids have it in today’s world.  I remember our family trips, and if anyone got out of line, you were getting smacked in the head. There were 5 of us, and when we drove to Florida, that trip could last up to 18 hours.  I don’t know how my parents did it.  You know what, I don’t know how we did.  We might have had a Gameboy.  Other than that, we had nothing.  Wow that blows my mind.  We didn’t even have cell phones.  What did we do?   Big shout out to the old school kids for getting through trips with no electronics.

I am so interested in other techniques used for getting through long car rides.  Also when you were a kid, what did you do to occupy yourself? Comment Below.

Honest Dad Blog Post 01

As I sit here relaxing after a long day, I sip on a Dogfish 60 min. Many nights like tonight, I reflect on fatherhood. I love my children with all my heart and soul.  But, there are days when I could throat punch either one of those shitheads.  I’m just being honest, and if you are one of those Dads who says, “I never have thought about that,” YOU are lying.  Of course, I would never do such an act, but trust me, those kids test me ever day.

Most of you know that I have started a podcast called,” Your Superior Self.”  Which is about growing and improving on one’s self.  Well, I ‘ve decided to start a blog as well.  A blog that helps me grow and learn as a father.  A blog that will allow me to vent my frustrations to all the other Dads that feel my struggle.  Each week, I will write about honest  stories and experiences of fatherhood that have been hilarious, stressful and beautiful.

A little background, I have two kids.  Cam and Ava, and their ages are 5 and 8.  They are the best kids out there, but they are so different that every discussion turns into a brawl.  For example, we used to have a red kids cup that we used for them in the morning for breakfast.  One day for no particular reason, I randomly gave one of the kids this cup to use.  Holy Shit, the next thing I know WW III breaks out because the other one doesn’t have a red cup.  WHat the HELL bro, a red cup?  So immediately I run to the cupboard frantically looking for another red cup.  No luck!  At this point, the boy is screaming, “Daddy Daddy I want the red cup!”  Not in a cute cry either.  Imagine that part in Dumb and Dumber when LLoyd makes the most annoying sound in the world.  Yeah it sounded like that.  Anyways, I run downstairs because I know that there are red solo cups in the basement.  I search for a while, and finally find them.  As I am walking upstairs I hear laughing.  I immediately starting thinking WTF.  As I enter the room, Cam says, “look Dad christmas colors.”  His sister climbed up on the counter proceeded to get her own cup and fill it with orange juice.  I swear they do it just to mess with me.  Its like a sick game of psychological warfare.

Here is another example of their of psychological warfare.  My wife is a Nurse and she works overnight.  So I have kid duty in the morning and I am responsible for getting them dressed and getting them ready for school.  Also, every morning I have a conference call that I have to be on for work.  It starts right around the time that I have to leave to take them to school.  So one morning I was running late, and I instructed my son to go upstairs to brush his teeth and get dressed.  Well about 15 minutes later, he comes downstairs and starts getting his shoes on.  At this point we are pushing the limits of being on-time and for anyone who knows me, knows I hate being late.  So I’m not really paying attention to him, rather just shouting commands.  Well as I am setting the alarm and getting ready to lock the door, I notice something about him that  isn’t right.  Tell me why his entire outfit was on backwards.  His ENTIRE outfit.  Yes, his shirt was inside out and backwards, with the tags hanging out.  His pants were turned around like Kriss Kross.  At this point, I just start laughing hysterical.  You got me bud.  I give up.  I love you.

I can’t be the only one who goes through these crazy situations.  Comment and share your crazy ass stories.

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