As I’m in late forties, it’s hard finding other people my age raising a toddler — an old parent like me. Most of my friends are in the beginning of their empty nest adventures or have grandchildren to spoil. There is a part of me that wishes that I would have had children earlier. However, I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in. I shudder to think what it would have been like to a parent in my twenties. I wasn’t the sharpest tool, but I’m sure I would have figured it out.
The advantage of being an older parent is that I have the experience of my friends and family to see what work and what didn’t. There were plenty of things that those people shared with me to help me become better parent. Here’s a few:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Gary Vaynerchuk once said that 99% of most things in your life doesn’t matter, and he is absolutely right — especially with children. It’s pretty much all small stuff. I know for a fact that if I was younger, I would have messed up a lot and royally. Being older has made me wiser, and not sweating little things is a bit easier. As I’m learning, the terrible twos make these kids hysterical. They are adorable, and at the same time, they’re a pain in the ass when I’m at my lowest energy. However, these are the precious moments that I have now. I know there will be more stress and problems down the road, but in the future, they won’t be a big deal.
2. Stop saying, “I can’t wait until…”
One of the things that’s hard to control is my thoughts when I change my little man’s diaper. I would say in my head, “I can’t wait until he stops wearing diapers.” Although that day will eventually come, I’m going to hate it when it’s here. My friend shared an antidote about when she was young raising her two boys. She would always say to herself,
“I can’t wait until they start walking, I won’t have to carry them anymore.”
“I can’t wait until they graduate, I can have the place to myself ALL DAY.”
But when that day came, she missed all the joy that carry her sons brought. She missed having her boys around during the school year. When she was telling me this, she mentioned that she just wished that her now-adult sons called every once in a while.
Her point was that it’s important to enjoy those moments in time, and embrace the struggle because it will be the only moments we might have in the future.
3. If you want them to be good, then be the GOOD in their life
I was writing a story about a landscaping CEO who said to me, “Your kids don’t listen to you, but they will imitate you.” I know that my child is watching me for good and bad. He’s taking my cues for all that it’s worth. If I want him to get good grades in school, he has to see me work and study in my craft. If I want him to pick up his toys after playtime, I need to be a cleaner-upper. Not only does he have to do as I say, he needs to do as I do. If I want him to eat right, I need to the same. How’s he going to learn?
In my two years into parenting, I feel like I’m in the groove, and I’m comfortable in the role as father. So far, following these keys have help me improve as a dad. There’s going to a lot more to learn as my son gets older, but these next years are going to be fun!
My picks in BOLD:
CARDINALS @ RAVENS
COWBOYS @ REDSKINS
COLTS @ TITANS
SEAHAWKS @ STEELERS
BILLS @ GIANTS
49ERS @ BENGALS
CHARGERS @ LIONS
VIKINGS @ PACKERS
JAGUARS @ TEXANS
PATRIOTS @ DOLPHINS
CHIEFS @ RAIDERS
SAINTS @ RAMS
BEARS @ BRONCOS
EAGLES @ FALCONS
BROWNS @ JETS
Last week: 8-8