I am not going to sugar coat my words. The holidays are stressful. This is actually a well known fact, and many websites have their own tips for dealing with it, such as WebMD. Sometimes the holidays are so stressful that the enjoyment completely disappears.

This is a pretty depressing fact. They are a time of the year that you can enjoy spending time together with your family. This is a time to appreciate each others company. But unfortunately they seem to have turned into a time of great stress where there is hardly time to spend together. Everyone needs a gift – this year I requested the best hunting binoculars from this guide.

and found a gun safe for my cousin from www.bestgunsafeinfo.com (which some of you will know I’ve been looking for forever!).

And there’s more. Everyone needs a card. If you are hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner the stress is even more extreme. Cooking for a group can be very stressful.

After the last holidays, I knew I needed a plan to deal with stress in the future. I have some tips for every parent out there to take the stress out of holidays and to make them enjoyable again.

First, make a list. Lists are essential for everything in life. If i did not have a list handy at all times I do not know how I would get through life. I am envious of people that manage without them but for me they are essential. There are three main things you should make a list for.

  1. Write down who you need to buy a gift for and a general idea of what to get them.
  2. Write a grocery list. If you are hosting lunch or dinner, plan your meals ahead and always buy more than you need in case someone wants seconds.
  3. Plan your day. Your time is valuable, so make a commitment to spend a certain amount of time in one place, and a certain amount of time in another.

The second thing to do is shop for gifts early. Ideally, you should shop throughout the year and tick the list off slowly. This can have many benefits as you will be more likely to buy something that person will want, rather than buying something on impulse. The gift will be more thoughtful and therefore better received.

The final thing to do is to remember why the holidays are called holidays. This should be a time of relaxation and stress relief. Do not get lost in the stress of how you will manage. If you plan appropriately, you can be confident that you will manage and there will be no reason to be stressed.

Spend this time with the people you care about. Have a laugh. Have a drink. Relax, enjoy and get into the holiday spirit!

I have an exciting announcement. Again, a bit of a shock, but an incredible one at that. Gabrielle is pregnant! Isaac will be welcoming a baby sister into the world around mid 2018.

There are a few reasons for us to be excited. Firstly, we have been discussing when to have a second child. We knew we would definitely try for a second child eventually but were not certain on when. It turns out God had a plan for us all along.

Gabrielle went to the doctor with what she thought was a simply stomach ache. She left the doctors office with a baby! Okay, so the baby was already there, but I like how this sounds. Turns out she had already been pregnant for 4 months! How this is possible I do not know. We went over the last few months to make sure she had not done anything to compromise the baby’s safety but she was as healthy as can be. Luckily for Gabrielle, she did not experience any of the morning sickness she had experienced when she was pregnant with Isaac. I guess my friends were right, it does get easier the second time! At least it did for her.

She did not quite know how to tell me. For some reason, she thought I would be disappointed. Quite the opposite! I am so excited. We found some good information to read about what to experience here.

My only (very slight) disappointment was that I had been about to buy an awesome hot tub but now that is on hold as we need the money for the baby. Maybe next year 🙂

Secondly, Isaac is at an age where he can get excited with us. He knows we are expecting a baby girl but I do not think he believes that she is inside his mom’s stomach. We decided we want to be absolutely honest with him about childbirth and where his sister has come from. We figure its better to explain it now than to dance around it in the future when the questions come. He has been so inquisitive lately.

I want to share as much time with my family as possible during this time. Consequently I do not think I will post much content from hereon. I will try and update you all as much as possible, but I do not know how I will possibly have time once the baby is born. Plus, I have a job! I am working in a local rehabilitation center helping people who have been involved in car accidents to walk again. I think having an accident myself sparked my interest in this. Although I was fine, it really put things into perspective.

I will update you all when I do get the chance. The next time you hear from me I might be welcoming you to my baby girl!

With Isaac at school, I am getting bored. Don’t get me wrong. I have loved being a stay at home dad. It has been the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. Nothing can compare to watching your child grow and knowing that you have impacted their life. Sometimes, I feel like Isaac is my entire world and that equally I am his. Nothing has felt more natural to me than being a father.

There are roles I have taken on as a stay at home dad that have become part of my daily routine. I do all the household chores. I run errands all day long. It amazes me how having a child can increase the amount of things to do. There is always something to clean. There is always an appointment to attend.

Whilst there is always something to do, I am still bored. Maybe bored is not the correct word to use in this scenario. What I mean to say is that I am dissatisfied with staying at home, alone. I know that I can manage this workload with the help of my wife. Plenty of parents do it, and I am ready to have a go at finding my ideal career.

The exciting thing is that I do not have to go back into the field I was in. As you may have read, I was not overly excited by my last job. This is part of why I chose to be a stay at home dad. It had a lot more value in it than my career, and luckily we were financially stable enough to do this. I do not know how some people can choose one job and stay in it forever. That is not me.

I also do not understand how some people just know their career calling. I did not know what I wanted to do when I graduated high school, and it turns out I choose the wrong field. I have no regrets as everything in life is an experience, but if i could go back, I would probably do things differently.

I have decided that there will be no rush in getting a job. I am not desperate to find a job and I want to find one that will feel rewarding. I want to make a difference in the world, or at least play a role in making a difference.

I am considering a career in community development. I have spoken to a friend who works with people living with disabilities and he said that they are always looking for staff. I can imagine a career in helping other would be incredibly rewarding.

The other option I am looking at is working in a rehabilitation center. There are a few of these around where I live. Within the field of rehabilitation there are several specific areas. This can involve working with people who have drug problems, people who have been involved in an accident and the elderly due to a medical condition. You can do something as amazing as helping someone learn to walk again. I think this is field for me.

I am considering volunteer work with an organization before I commit. I have already written to a few agencies and have already heard back from one. I have an interview with them next Monday. Wish me luck!

I do have a few concerns as anyone would. I know these types of jobs can take a toll on you emotionally. I have spoken to my friend who works in the field said that they regularly speak to a therapist to ensure that they are handling things well. I think with everything in life you need to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Nothing is pointless, and if it is, it isn’t worth doing!

A few weeks ago my wife called me concerned about something she’d heard at work. She said that they’d had a seminar on how the statistics on overweight Americans are the worst they’ve ever been, and that we needed to act now to protect our future and our children’s future.

For me the seminar sounded kind of preachery, but this probably comes from my own denial of the severity of the problem. It certainly did highlight some important issues. America is fat. Let’s face it.

They also introduced several easy methods each person can use to reduce their waistline without dieting to ultimately improve their overall health. One of the recommendations was a super simple thing that we can start doing straight away. It was replacing the deep fryer that we currently use (don’t judge us! Everyone in the South has one) with an air fryer.

If you haven’t heard of air fryers, where have you been!? These machines are pretty awesome and most only require a tablespoon of oil (and sometimes none at all!) to fry food. I can’t explain all the awesome features very well, but I did find a great guide that you can use to purchase the best air fryer.

It has now been a week that we have been using our air fryer, and I have to say, it has certainly made a difference. I do feel lighter and more energetic although this could also be the rush of buying a new appliance (we all know how much I enjoy that). Honestly, the food does not taste too much different from what we are used to, and in some ways it tastes even better. We had become accustomed to wiping dripping oil off of our food and using napkins to clean up the mess which certainly wasn’t fun.

It also makes me feel better that Isaac isn’t going to grow up consuming the same amount of oil as we did. This is something I worried about when he was born. I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to change the human mind, particularly as we get older, so I’m happy that we are introducing some healthy habits early on.

I recently reported that I had been on a mission. That mission involved finding electric products to replace the current products we use. This in turn will help reduce our footprint. We were inspired after reading about how the best electric chainsaw was helping to reduce carbon emissions, and we wanted to play our part. As many of you would be aware, my wife and I are both environmentalists so this is something we are both passionate about.

That mission started simple. We tried to work out if electric mower for kids exists. Sadly, my enthusiasm was stronger than the reality. I never invested in a lawn mower in the end. Although I purchased one I found at Walmart, I ended up returning it because I found that it simply wasn’t strong enough. Such a shame.

I found a different case was true for the electric chainsaw. Granted, I’m not tackling large trees or anything larger jobs. I’m simply maintaining my own lawn and trimming branches and bushes as I see fit – a battery powered top electric chainsaw works perfectly for this. It’s a small step towards reducing our emissions and ensuring that the footprint we leave is as small as possible. To be honest, environmentalism is only something we have recently become interested in – and not because we didn’t care before, but because we were ignorant. We didn’t understand the implications our actions can have on the future. This research started when we heard about just how bad BPA is for us. Gross.

Our electric dream for the future!

If you’re not already keeping up to date with the information on Greenhouse Gas by the EPA then I recommend you do so. There’s a wealth information on this site and advice on how you can reduce your own emissions.

For us it’s one step at a time. We are even thinking of investing our money into an electric car – although not yet. There are huge advances being made in the field of the conservation and we are going to try our best to do our part.

What are you doing to conserve the environment?

Well, today was a scary day. I had my first car accident ever. I have never been involved in a car accident, let alone caused one. I can’t begin to describe how scary this was. Anyway, before I explain what happened, a little background information first…

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling. I tried to convince myself that I was being silly. I took a shower and got dressed and ready to take Isaac to the bus station. I tried to eat breakfast but couldn’t stomach my food. I had a sick feeling in my stomach for some odd reason. I told my wife about this and she dismissed it. She said if something happens she will give me $10. Although appealing this did not put my anxiety at ease.

We got into the car and started heading to the bus stop. On the way we stopped at Walmart as I needed more soda for the weekend (we have family coming over). This was all fine. We got back into the car and continued on to the bus stop, and then it happened.

I had received a call from my wife and reached over to grab my phone. My eyes were off the road for merely a second. Before I knew it, I had hit the back of the car in front.This has never happened before. I could see what was happening and could not stop it. My immediate thought was of Isaac. Was he okay? Was he injured? Turns out he was absolutely fine. A lot better than me actually.

My wife was also concerned. She heard the accident happen which must have been pretty traumatic for her. I explained we were fine and that I will sort it out and speak to her tonight.

The thing I was most concerned about was speaking to the person I had hit. I was obviously in the wrong and did not know what to say. I was very anxious and awkward about the whole situation and wished I could have made it all go away.

Luckily for me, the other driver was very polite. They had been involved in an accident earlier this year which was their fault, so they knew what I was going through. Strangely this made me a little mad as I couldn’t help but wonder how someone could be involved in two accidents so close together. And then I remembered that it was my fault.

We exchanged insurance and license details. It was all pretty straight forward and over within 10 minutes, however I am still shaking even now. I was also nervous about the judgement from other parents. We all know what kids are like and I knew Isaac would have no hesitation in telling his whole class that his daddy ran into the back of another car this morning!

My fears were justified. Within an hour of dropping Isaac off, I received a call from a very concerned teacher telling me she heard that I was involved in an accident and asking if I was okay (I wonder where she heard that from!). I told her it was nothing too serious and thanked her for her concern. I couldn’t help but think of how I was being judged. It’s probably all in my head.

Thankfully the car is drivable. It definitely looks like it has been involved in an accident. The whole trunk is bent and the lights are broken. We only have one car (my wife gets driven to work by a friend) and I had to pick up Isaac that afternoon. I was so worried about being caught by the police and thrown into jail for being a terrible driver and a terrible parent! Luck was on our side and did not get pulled over.

I organized with my insurance company to use a hire car. I feel very thankful that I paid for that. I don’t know what we would have done without one. We would have been lost with no way to get around, and where we live having a car is essential. Heck, it takes me 20 minutes to drop my son off at the bus stop.

When my wife came home we just cuddled for about 15 minutes without saying anything. There was nothing to be said. We were fine and what had happened had happened. We only need to get through it now.

Sorry if I have rambled on. I have so much nervous energy after what happened and needed to get rid of it. I am actually feeling a bit better about the whole situation. I think that writing it out has helped. Or maybe it is the glass of wine I am currently having. I can recommend both for stressful situations.

Now, I’m exhausted. I think we need another father and son trip.

Well the time had finally arrived for my boy to head off to school. Isaac had mastered the 4 lessons before starting school on parenting.com and was ready to master the world! I knew this day was coming and I had been prepared for a while. I packed a full lunch which I had never done before. I was a bit worried because I know parents can be so judgemental about what other parents feed their kids, so maybe I included peanut butter cups out of spite.

The reality hit me when the bus pulled up and he hopped on. He was just so small compared to the bus and the other kids. I felt tears coming to my eyes but smiled and pretended to be as excited as he was. Isaac was as cool as cool can be. He did not seem phased at all that this was the first time he would spend without anyone he knew!

I waited for him when he got back at the bus stop. This is actually a new experience for me as I had never waited for kids at a bus stop before. It was like a circus. The school bus drop off is located a bit far from where we live and parents gather around it. Looking for a parking spot was a nightmare. I was stressing that I wouldn’t get there in time which terrified me. I did not want Isaac waiting around for his useless father!

On the way home, I must say I had never seen a boy so excited – at least not since the father and son trip we took. He had so much to tell me about his first day. It actually did sound exciting (why didn’t we have iPads when I was in school???). This continued into the night.

I have since spoken to the teacher and Isaac seems to have created quite a name for himself. He is always first to answer questions in class and quick to make friends. He sounds like the complete opposite of me. Looks like we have a lot to look forward to. At least the hardest part is over!

Okay, so it is time that I reveal the truth. I hate being a daddy!

Just kidding. I actually love it and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. The love you feel for a child can not be compared to anything. But with love comes conflict, and that is undeniable. Lets be frank, there are some things that just aren’t that great about being a parent.

When I wrote misconceptions about being a stay at home dad I received loads of emails with people who felt the same. Although I would not trade being a parent for anything in the world, here is a list of 3 things I love and 3 things I don’t love about being a parent!

Things I Love About Being A Daddy

1. I love hugs

I don’t know about other parents, but when Isaac hugs me, everything is right in the world. No matter what kind of day I am having, those hugs can bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

It is even better when they happen spontaneously. Sometimes, out of no where, I see him running towards me with arms wide open just wanting to show me he loves me. There really is nothing better in the world than that feeling.

2. I love introducing him to new things

When I see Isaac’s face when he see’s something new, I feel like I am rediscovering it myself. I saw this recently when we took a trip together.

Kids allow you to life through different eyes for a while, and can give you a different perspective on almost anything.

3. I love watching him grow

Although I continue to threaten him with the freezer, I love to see how Isaac is growing and changing through the years. At the age of four, he now gives a very different answer to questions he would before.

He is also looking more and more like my own father, and that is something that is quite amazing.

Things I Don’t Love About Being A Daddy

1. I hate not sleeping in

I miss sleep ins. I miss days where I did not have to wake up. Where I could stay in bed and no one would care if I even showered (even though it was quite depressing back then).

Now, I get waken up 6 am every morning to be reminded that I have to get someones breakfast. Thanks Isaac.

2. I hate mess

It is not Isaac’s fault that I am OCD about cleaning. I blame my mother. She could not sit still without noticing a fingerprint on the window, and unfortunately this seems to have rubbed off onto me.

It is hard to be a perfectionist with a child.

3. I hate my missing collectors coins

Although Isaac swears that I must have left them at the golf club (how???), my collectors coins have been missing for some time and I can’t help but think there is a little man that knows something more than he lets on.

 

With all this, there really is nothing better for me than being a father.

I am a stay at home Dad. With that role comes some pretty common (and annoying) misconceptions that I am ready to end once and for all. Every family is different, but these are the common misconceptions that I encounter day to day.

I watch sport all day

Yes, I have been known to watch sport. And yes, I have been known to watch it all day. But not anymore.

Like any stay at home Mom, I have responsibilities as a parent now and if anyone thinks a parents work ever ends then they must not have children themselves. These days I would be very lucky if I even had time to turn the TV on let alone watch it all day.

I must be looking for job

In fact, I am not, and I get quite embarrassed having to explain this one to people because it seems as though they feel bad for me.

Isaac’s Mom would rather be at home

I guess the problem here is the preconception that all mums are the same. My wife absolutely loves her job and that is why she has kept it. I was partial to my own job and wanted my wife to be happy doing whatever she was doing.

This has made me being a stay at home dad a perfect decision for us. Although during my my wife’s first pregnancy, she may want to stay home next time.

Mothers bond better with their child

This is one that I take to heart and I do not think is fair. Although mothers have a different bond to their children, I do not think it is fair to say that they bond better.

We are not strangers to our children and a child is better with a loving parent.

 

Although I am able to brush many of these comments off and see the humor in them, I think it is important to remember that some of these views can be quite damaging to our children.

I think there is more acceptance now than when I first became a stay at home dad, and people are realizing that as long as a child has a loving and happy home, that should be all that matters. If the way to provide that is for the Dad to stay home, then this should be accepted.

Like many stay at home dads, I always need to have a project to keep me busy. This is one of the great things about living on a large block of land. We have plenty of space, and so I always have ideas about what I can do next. I was recently inspired by NASA growing vegetables in space, and so right now, I am planning on building a small atrium to grow some organic vegetables.

There is one thing that always hold me back from even stepping outside, and that is my lawn. With a lot of land comes a lot of grass, and if I were to ever spend my time mowing the entire lawn, it would take a lifetime. Sometimes when I go outside, all I can see is work.

This is why I am desperate to get Isaac involving in helping. Isaac is far to young to use the an electric mower in my opinion, which is a shame because I recently purchased the best electric mower I could find for my lawn. We don’t have a huge lawn here so luckily I didn’t need to spend too much money to find something that met our specifications.

Unlike the best chainsaw, which there is no way I would allow Isaac to use, an electric mower is relatively safe with supervision and so I have started to allow him to have a turn pushing the mower with me behind it. I was quite worried about this at the start but it turned out to be a great thing to do to introduce him to mowers.

After seeing how much he enjoyed it, I purchased him this toy lawn mower from Walmart. He is having a great time pretending to be Dad, and I don’t even think he realizes that the mower does not cut grass!

I want Isaac to help maintain the property when he grows up, and I think it is a great way for him to learn about responsibility. I would love some advice on here about any safe electric mowers for kids and how old you think your child should be when they start using it themselves? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.