What’s your New Years Resolution?

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

2014 is just around the corner and it’s that time to make that dreaded New Years resolution. But how are you going to ensure you make a New Years resolution that is achievable in 2014?

Set a S.M.A.R.T Goal!

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. (Tweet this!)

(As featured in my Essential Holiday Survival Guide)

Using this formula will help you develop a series of goals or a goal that will allow you to be successful this year.

Specific – It’s no good making non-specific goals this New Years as it won’t give you a goal post. By making your goals specific (I’m going to run a marathon in 2014, follow me on Operation MOVE) it allows you to know exactly what you aiming to achieve.

Measurable – Is your goal measurable? “I’m going to get fitter this year” isn’t measurable. “I’m going to run a full marathon in November 2014″ is. This goal tells me exactly what I am aiming to achieve and by when I am going to achieve it.

Attainable – Are you going to be able to achieve your goal or is it wishful thinking? I hate running but I enjoy the challenge that it gives me. Having said that, I run 3 to 4 times a week and I try to push my distances each time. Having an attainable goal means that you can visualise yourself creeping closer to achieving that goal/s.

Realistic – Is your goal to make a million dollars this year when you have a career that pays $40,000? I wish you all the best and I hope sincerely that you achieve that goal but that isn’t very realistic. Your goal needs to be realistic so that you can work harder every day to achieve it. Some one wanting to loose 10 kilos is realistic if they work hard and diet!

Time bound – Under Measurable I specifically said, I am going to run a full marathon in November 2014. This gives my goal a time frame and it allows me to plan how I am going to achieve it i.e. training plans. Ensure that every goal you set is time bound, not only does this give you a measuring tool to see whether you’ve achieved it or not, it allows you to map your plan of attack.

So what goals are you setting in 2014? S.M.A.R.T Goals! Whether you want to improve your business, fitness or any other aspect in your live, follow these principles to maximise your chance for success.

Water Safety these holidays

An empty beach.Water safety. [image source: Sed-Rah-Stock]

As the silly season comes towards the pointy end, it’s important we do not let down our guard when it comes to water safety.Yesterday, my girls were playing in the pool. It was Boxing Day, it was hot and there was a lot going on. Every year we hear about water related deaths around Christmas/NYE time so it is important to maintain awareness around the water at all times.

According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2012, there was a total of 284 drownings. Of this number, 21 deaths were children aged 0-4 and 13 deaths were children aged 5-14 years. Drowning deaths occur all year round in Australia however, Summer accounts for 31% of the total number of deaths followed by Autumn 26%, Spring 23% and Winter 19%.

The report continues to break down how these deaths occurred, unsurprisingly swimming accounts for 19% of the total. What shocked me is that 6% of the deaths related to drowning derives from bathing! This just shows that at all times, we as parents, need to maintain our vigilance when it comes to water safety.

Teaching kids how to swim is extremely important, but you all knew that. But something that happened yesterday re-enforced that to me.

Miss 2 was floating around in the blow up ring with her Nanna when she was eager to swim like the big kids. She hasn’t had any formal swimming lessons yet but has grown up around the water so she isn’t unfamiliar in that environment but she still can’t swim.

Imagine if for a second we had turned our backs?

She could have slipped through the ring and the worst possible outcome may have occurred. It is imperative that we watch our kids around water, no matter where they are, bath, pool, beach or lake.

Ensuring water safety should be at the top of your list these holidays!

Please, let me poo in private!

Just once, in my own home please kids, let me poo in private.

[image source: http://i.imgur.com/xYSzi.jpg]

I thought I had snuck away for 10 minutes of silence. I closed the bedroom door quietly so that I wouldn’t make my chasers aware of my location. I slid the bathroom door shut as I thought to myself “yes, I’ve made it!”. I settled in, retrieved my handy mobile phone for a session of Angry Birds – Star wars 2. But the silence was soon broken. I heard the door creak open in the bedroom, so I quickly turned the noise off my phone.“Maybe they didn’t hear me” I thought.

I was wrong.

Next was the bathroom sliding door, and from behind it came Miss 2, “Daddy, I want some milk”. Followed by Miss 7, “Daddy, are you doing a poo?”. Damn it, I just wanted 10 minutes peace and quiet to go about my business!

Part of me expected the baby to come crawling in. Or the cat. He doesn’t like to miss out on any action.

It’s a known fact that once you have kids, privacy goes out the window. Little did I know four years ago that I’d be sitting on the throne with a two year old having a full blown conversation with me.

But how can we parents find the privacy we so desire? Lock the door?

I did that once, those little fingers are amazing at picking locks.

Here in our household we share taking time out. I like to run, so each day for about an hour I leave the house and just run. It gets me away from the grind of being a parent and let’s me unwind. My wife, likes to go out for coffee, alone.

It’s not that we don’t love our kids, it’s that we as humans sometimes need some respite from constantly chasing after a 9 month old and making sure she hasn’t got dog biscuits in her mouth, or trying to toilet train the 2 year old.

[image source: http://redtricom.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/who-needs-vacation.jpg?w=413&h=288]

We all need space, some people more than others.I want to hear your tips and tricks for having some alone time. Do you go to the gym to get away from it all? Let me know in the comments below.

How much is too much at Christmas?

Year after year, I watch my friends and friends of friends upload pictures of the presents under their trees. Some have a few to cover the ground underneath the tree and some have an entire room filled.Then the talk of how much we spent starts, $300 to $3,000 is from last years discussion. But how much is too much?

We tend to spend between $300 to $500 for all three kids. $500 being we have had some massive requests, like a bike. For us, we like to buy gifts that can be shared, or toys that the girls can sit down and play with each other for at least a month after Christmas.

But I can not understand why you would spend $3,000, sometimes more, on Christmas gifts for your two children? That’s $1,500 each!

I have to wonder about the implications that this would instil in the children. What are their expectations going to be like in later life? But what I also wonder is, what could your child possible “need” that would drive you to spend $3,000 at Christmas.

I grew up going to a Catholic school, where I was taught Christmas was about giving. Now, I am no saint and I could certainly improve in the area of giving but I personally think some people have lost the sight of Christmas. Shouldn’t we focus less on what we teach our children about receiving at Christmas and a little more about giving and sharing the holiday season with our family.

Christmas this year is very special for my family, it is the first Christmas as a married couple and our third daughter’s first Christmas. So maybe this year, we should all focus a little less on how much we spend on presents and focus a little more on how much time we spend with our families.

[Part two] Great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas

Welcome back to your one stop shop when it comes to gift ideas for Dad this Christmas.

In part one we had suggestions such as bluetooth gloves, like a boss aprons and even a fitbit to keep track of those calories over the silly season (for some calorie busting tips see my 3 simple steps for staying fit these holidays). In the second part of the series, I’ll cover some more expensive items if your budget is a little bigger than mine.

Buy Dad a GoPro this christmas

GoPro Hero 3 Black edition [image source: CNet]

Dad like to get outdoors?Well get him the new GoPro Hero 3! Just released in time for Christmas is the Hero 3 Black edition. Starting at $399 online, the GoPro (as stated on their website) has started a revolution with small cameras that are versatile and can be fitted to a multitude of different devices, such as bike helmets, surfboards and snowboards. Along with the actual camera, there is up to 18 official harnesses and mounts that Dad can purchase for any kind of situation.

Is Dad a bit of a chef?

Buy Dad Heston Blumenthal's new book this Christmas

Heston Blumenthal’s At Home is the perfect gift idea for the culinary challenged Dad. [image source: Amazon]

Heston Blumenthal, one of the most celebrated celebrity chefs has released a new book that will surely get Dad’s taste buds jumping. At Home, helps Dad develop those techniques that will have him cooking skills like Heston in no time. It covers topics like, proper care for meat, taste and flavor, stocks and infusing and of course many dishes that Dad can use all his new found skills to create. You can pick up Heston’s new book from any good book store or from Amazon for $40

Dad collecting too many books?

The kindle is a great Christmas gift for Dads who love reading!

Dad enjoys reading? Buy him a Kindle! [image source: Amazon]Dad collecting too many books?

Get him a Kindle! Amazon’s Kindle new paper white device, is claimed to be one of the best e-readers currently available on the market. It boasts a huge battery life claiming that a single charge will last Dad up to 8 weeks! But the best thing, if your dad is anything like me and he collects books, the kindle paper white carries up to 1,100 books! That should keep dad going for a while! So what is it going to sting you? One payment of $139! None of these gift ideas suit your Dad? 

Red Balloon offers great packages for most exciting experiences

None of my suggestions suit your Dad? Give an experience!

 

Well no need to worry, I still have one great idea for you. A Red Balloon experience. From V8 experiences to sky diving to a wine cruise. Red Balloon has it all and best of all, Dad can pick exactly what he wants to do. The gift certificates from Red Balloon are valid for 12 months so that gives Dad plenty of time to make a decision and at the moment you can get free voucher delivery until the 18 December.Vouchers start at $25 and max out at $1,000. So I guess the next question is, how much do you love Dad?

There you have it folks, some more great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas. Do you have any other great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas? Let me know on the Raising3daughters.com Facebook page.

3 simple steps for staying fit these holidays

We all know how it goes. “I’m on holidays”, “It’s okay, I’ll start the diet in the new year”. I’m the worst for that stuff. Every year I fall off the wagon two days into the silly season. Well not this year, oh no. I’m going to be training no matter what, even if I am hungover. Besides, if Fast Lane Dad can run his fitness regime over the holidays I can too.

But how am I going to do it? Yes there will be a few curls (beer curls) involved but most importantly I’ll be focusing on cardio to burn off that extra serve of pudding and ice cream I am more than certainly going to demolish.

However, I know that you are going to want to join me in my holiday fitness so here are a few “fun” exercises that I’ll be doing to keep on top of that waistline.

1. Morning run/swim/ride- Yes, that is when all of our heads are going to hurt the most but getting out in the fresh air first thing helps clear the mind and gets those wonderful endorphins running and sets us up for the rest of the day.

2. Use the kids as fitness equipment – Kids make great light weights for heaps of reps. I use my daughters sitting on my back while I do push ups. I also use them for leg raises. Lay on you back, let your little weight lay on your legs and hold on, raise your legs up and down until your abs burn and can not go any more.

3. Box jumps – I am sure if your household is anything like mine you will have a tonne of boxes laying around from opened toys. Lay one of these on the ground in an open area, stand to one side, and then jump over the box to the other, repeat until knackered.

There you have it folks. Three simple steps that can help burn some extra calories this holiday season to make room for that tasty christmas dessert.

Moving on from the holiday season, I am going to be starting a new blog series that will run from now until the 1st of November 2014. It is called, “I’m going to run a marathon”. It will run right up until I complete the 42.2km marathon at Carcoar cup located in Carcoar NSW. In this series I am going to be documenting my training, nutrition and struggles leading up to the big race. I would love for you to join me on my journey and if this is something that you have wanted to do, let’s do it together.

Have I taken on too much?

Taking on too many tasks for the good of my family.

Image source: http://stanfordflipside.com/images/153rolloutPTSD.jpg

This post is in collaboration with Yes Loans. Their ease and speed when it comes to personal loans is unmatched and that is the sort of support that any busy person needs

In my quest to become location and financially independent so that our family can do what we want, when we want, I think I may have taken on too much and it’s piling up.

At the moment, I’m studying for exams at university, trying to building a training program, managing social media for two clients, writing in blogs, recording a podcast, being a husband and being a father.

It’s a lot.

Sometimes I just find myself needed to sit there and watch the TV, listening to the random advertisements like the latest Voice update, wondering, is it all too much?

I know that the reward for all of this will pay off in the end. I just need to keep my focus and keep the reasons why I am doing all of it at the forefront of my mind.

This is for my family and my kids so that I can spend every day with them and watch them grow up.

There are lots of people who miss out on this. I wasn’t one of those children and I was truly blessed to have my parents at all my big sporting events or school functions. I want to be able to give that to my kids also. I want to be the dad who is there on sports day, who is there for every birthday. I’m gonna buy the Skyward Summit, an outdoor playhouse for kids, which has shape of mountain. You can check review about it at here!

I have missed the last 3 birthdays of my 7 year old because of work. 

I don’t want that anymore. I also want to help people who are in the same boat and I am sure there is a lot of us.

A Letter to my Future Wife – Why we don’t need more children

Dear Christine,

 

I would like to take this opportunity to address your recent blog post regarding the possibility of having a fourth child.

 

First let me state that I love you and the girls incredibly but this has to stop. Let me start by addressing a few points that I think should change your mind.

 

1.     My blog is called “raising3daughters” not “raising4children”. Now I say children because if it so happened that we had a fourth child, it would have to be a boy. No God would be that cruel and make me the father to four daughters.

 

2.     At our last ultrasound with Miss 0.5, the sonographer told us the odds of having a boy, 17%!!. If you wonder why I don’t want to have another girl, please refer to my next point.

 

3.    In your recent post, you talk about the average cost of weddings being $45,000. Now, if we assume that the economy continues to grow at 3%, in 25 years that would equal approximately $79,000. Now if we multiply that number by 4, $316,000!!!! However if we stick with the 3 we have now, it brings the price down to approximately $237,000. Bearable I guess, better keep working on that passive income stream!

 

4.    This is a direct quote from your latest post, “I HATE being pregnant”. Do I need to say more? I won’t mention the complaining!

 

5.    I DO NOT want to drive a Honda Odyssey. As much as our best friend would love to see us buy one, I have no intention of buying a family wagon.

 

6.    Four school lunches to pack, four uniforms to wash, four pairs of school shoes to buy and four teenage girls to deal with while I deploy.

 

7.    Think of your sanity! Between, Jake and the Neverland pirates, Pepper Pig, In the night garden and Dora the Explorer we struggle to keep our sanity now. Imagine having to go around the bouy and do it all again with another child!

 

8.    I’ll make this my final point because I don’t think I need to say more. If we were to have another child, imagine the lack of space left for us in our bed on those early Sunday mornings, it’s already cramped in that cheap king sized bunk beds!

 

Now surely you’ve seen some logic in my arguments and we can put this discussion to rest.

 

I love you.

 

Your future husband.

One of the best Australian Dad Blogs, sharing stories of my trials and tribulations of raising girls in Australia.

Source of image is http://unsplash.s3.amazonaws.com/batch%2010/camera-man.jpg

Pursue excellence. [source= unsplash]

 For the longest time I’ve been searching for one of my passions that I could develop into a business venture. I believe that to be successful you need to be passionate but I don’t have a clue which passion to pursue.

Leadership, motivation, family and the internet (everything on the internet is GREAT), these are a few of my favourite things. For the longest time I’ve been looking for additional projects for my spare time and something that my partner and I can both work on together. But I’ve been on struggle street for ideas on what I/we can do.

I listen to a lot of podcasts to try and help get my creative juices flowing. The Smart Passive Income podcast is one of my favourites. Pat Flynn is an inspiration to thousands of people around the globe. To me, he inspires me to set up a diversified, valuable business that provides benefit to others. I want to better the world, one person at a time.

That is why I started this blog. Not to make money, not to become famous but I thought if I could some how better someone’s life, somewhere, then I would have achieved my mission. Sharing my stories about parenting and being a father is incredibly rewarding and it has led me to meet some great people right around the world.

In particular, the blokes from the group of Australian Dad Bloggers. I originally approached the group in the hope of writing a guest post but what I got was a group of blokes who I can bounce any idea off and blokes who help me better my writing. These blokes are helping me figure out what my passion is and hopefully you’ll be able to see that in my writing in the future, but I’d like to take a minute to shout out to these great guys;

Aussie Daddy Bloggers http://www.daddybloggers.com.au
The Illiterate Infant http://illiterateinfant.com/
Fast Lane Dad http://www.fastlanedad.com
Ydad http://www.ydad.com.au
Mr Palindrome http://www.mrpalindrome.com/
Big Family, Little Income http://www.bigfamilylittleincome.com/
3AM Dad http://3amdad.tumblr.com/
Dad Rites http://www.dadrites.com
Being A Dad http://beingadad.com.au/
Tork’s Blog http://torkona.blogspot.com.au/
TackleNappy http://www.tacklenappy.com
Reservoir Dad http://www.reservoirdad.com
Dad Down Under http://daddownunder.com.au
The 40 Year Old Dad http://www.fortyyearolddad.com.au
A Working Dad Production http://aworkingdadproduction.com/
Kangaroo Dad http://kangaroodad.blogspot.com.au/
Memoirs Of The Mind http://www.memoirsofthemind.com

If you are looking for great stories and posts, have a read of these blogs. Make sure you share this post as much as you can to give love to all these great dads.

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Tips: Fitting in after working away from family

Working away from family

Working away from family

Working away from family is incredibly tough. I’ve spent lots of time away in the past, here’s how I fit back in. [image source: Royal Australian Navy]

 I’ve spent a large portion of the last 5 years of my working life away from home. From 1 day to 5 months, it doesn’t get easier working away from family despite what you might think.5 months away from home is a long time to be working away from family. Fortunately enough this was before the birth of my last two children. Miss 7 was around then but her mother and I had just starting dating. Never the less, spending time away from home is tough and I personally feel it gets tougher as your kids grow up.

I believe this is the case because they start to get involved in new activities other than cry and wiggle around on the floor. I was lucky enough growing up that my Dad was able to make it to most of my school carnivals, football games and swim meets. I always knew I could look to the bleachers and see him there. But here I am, spending months on months away from home and then coming home and struggling to fit back into the family’s routines.

Routine is good, routine is safe and it makes the time fly (at least for me it does). Remove yourself from your family’s routine for a few months and suddenly fitting in becomes harder than ever. They have the morning routine before school, routines for after school activities and even bath time. Finding out where you can fit back in can be difficult but here are a few tips that I use to get back into the rhythm of my family’s day to day life;

  1. Get involved. You are not going to get back into their lives standing on the sidelines whinging about how you aren’t involved. ‘Get amongst it son’ and help out. After school runs to the dance class or footy training is a great place to start and you get an extra few minutes in the car to talk about how your child’s day has been.
  2. Stay in touch with what is changing back home. It’s hard being away but talking about what is happening at home, routines etc, helps you get your head around it early. Meaning you can jump straight in and give that helping hand to your partner. Get a head start and ask your partner what their routine is like for this day and that day and you’ll be laughing.
  3. Create new routines (within reason). Don’t come along and decide that you are going to take the family for a walk at 5 o’clock at night when that is normally feeding time in the family zoo. Talk with your partner about how you want to get involved “I wouldn’t mind taking Bobby to the park and kicking the footy around this afternoon”.

You will probably have to go back to work at some stage so don’t start making up grand plans when you are going to head back to the grind stone. It is however, essential to dive head first into it all and acclimatise back to normal life.

I’ve said it before, talking about these situations will only benefit you in the long run. Being open about what you are feeling with your partner will not only help them understand what you are going through but will help you gauge what he/she wants from you.

So what are you waiting for? Take the bull by the horns and find ways to get back into your family’s routines.

Mashup Saturday

image source: mixes and mashups soundcloud profile

It’s Federal election day here in Australia but that is the last thing I am thinking about.

I’m on a search, for new music for the gym. I refer to soundcloud for some inspiration. After spending a while searching for some great new mashup tunes for the gym, I came across these little gems!

 

 

Let me know what you think!

Family Traditions

Fathers day, kids, daddy blogger,

Fathers day, kids, daddy blogger,

Watching movies on the couch!

Recently my Fiancé and I started a couple of new family traditions. We felt it was important to start some meaningful activities noting how much time I’ve been absent from our daughters lives. 

We are a really close family, from my grandparents down to my daughters. Having recently moved to Canberra from WA, where we left the majority of our family, we’ve begun to value the time that we spend together that little bit more. We have our traditions, birthday’s and other special days, but as an immediate family we are yet to establish those special times together.

I was lucky enough to get some time off work to get home for fathers day this year. Saturday night I put on a movie, we all brought out our blankets and sat on the floor and watched movies and ate popcorn. To me, life was perfect. We had each other, I didn’t have to be thinking about work, the kids were happy and we had popcorn (my vice).

This got my fiance and I talking about starting some family traditions, Sunday dinners, movies nights and even dad dates. My career as a military officer means I spend a large amount of time away from my family which also means I treasure those weekends at home just that little bit more. Time away is hard, even a few days, but it is important to have traditions that we can all get together and take part.

If you Google family traditions, there are pages on pages about starting traditions, from Saturday mornings in wooden bunk beds to a birthday hat. Family traditions don’t have to be extreme but it’s important to have something that you all do together, especially in today’s fast paced society.

Sure my 6 month old daughter probably won’t remember starting these traditions, but we’ll keep them going whilst they grow up and hopefully one day I’ll do the same with my grand kids. So what are you waiting for? go and start a new tradition today!

I want to hear about your traditions. Let me know in the comment section below.

Living away from your family

Living away from your family is tough

Source: Flickr user juliaarielle

It’s been a long four weeks, but I’ve got through it and managed to see my girls. I talk about how living away from your family can bring up all sorts of emotions and how I dealt with mine.

In case you just came across my blog, I’ve been away from society on a work course for the last four weeks. During this time, I’ve had limited contact with my family, a phone call once a week and an email here and there. I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough.

Now I’ve spent alot of time away from home in the past for work, sometimes up to 6 months at a time. But something was different this time, I found it incredibly harder. Maybe this was because I had promised Miss 7 earlier in the year that I’d be home for her birthday for the first time in about 4 years. Not only was she upset but I too was incredibly emotional and considered pulling the pin on this course but I stayed the course.

I kept reminding myself why I was there. I was there to provide a better life for my family and to better my career. But it wasn’t easy, it was far from it. Dealing with those types of emotions is something that I haven’t dealt with for a long time and I was unsure on how to get through it.

I turned to the Chaplain for some advice, “How can I get through this?”. He suggested I countdown the days left until I see them on paper so I could physically see how long was remaining. I also wrote about my feelings and how much I missed my family. I didn’t have a computer so I used this thing called a notebook?? But it helped. I didn’t want to talk to my class mates about these emotions, I’d just met them and didn’t want to share my personal issues with them just yet.

Emotions are difficult things for us humans to deal with, especially us “manly men”. But it is important, I feel, to deal with them rather than let them build up. I think if I had let mine build up I would have imploded, left this course and potentially ruined my career that I have worked incredibly hard on for the past 5 years.

Have you been in a similar situation and struggled? Join the conservation below and let me know how you’ve got through it.

A woman never farts

But my 2 year old drops it like it’s hot

Raising kids, daughter,

Women don’t fart, or do they?

Talk about flatulence, this girl knows how to roll with the best of us.

I don’t know what does it, maybe it’s her diet. Maybe she thinks it funny. Wait, I know she thinks it funny because she laughs every time she drops one out.

Although she drops farts that would rival my Grandfather, she is particular good with using her manners. Every time she passes wind she says with her cute little husky voice “cuse me”. You can’t help but dismiss the disgusting smell wafting skyward and smile and congratulate her on using such good manners.

Are manners a thing of the past? I know that I teach my daughters that manners are a must. Sure, there are times that we can muck around and have a bit of fun but in public we must be on our best behaviour and use our manners. It is important to me that they be respectful to others and treat other how they want to be treated. To me, it’s common courtesy to use your manners. Hell even if I don’t like someone I will try and be polite, sometimes annoyingly so.

Do your kids have any “funny” habits? Let me know in the comment section below. While your here, be sure to subscribe to receive my ebook when it launches. You can sign up here.

Twerking – What the hell

Before you read my post watch Miley Cyrus’ new music video and then read on

I get it. She wants to break free of her ‘Disney’ image from the Hannah Montana show but is this really an appropriate way to do it?

Celebrities will always try and be controversial because that is what sells. People talking about them increases their visibility which is in the end what they are looking for. What I disagree with, is the approach that Miley has taken to try and craft her new image.

How many girls out there grew up with Hannah Montana and probably look to her as a role model? Now she’s ‘Twerking‘ all over the place, what kind of role model does that? Surely knowing that you are a role model to so many girls around the world should bring with it some moral obligation.

I am not saying that she needs to go to church every Sunday, but there is a line, one which I believe she has crossed. I am just glad my girls don’t have a clue who she is.

How much is enough? Do you think public figures have an obligation to be good role models for our kids? Leave a comment below.

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I’ve earned the title of Dad

This is the second post in a two part series when I talk about earning the title of dad and that it shouldn’t just be awarded to someone who helped conceive the child. If you haven’t read the first post you can check it out here.

All dressed up and heading to the movies

All dressed up and heading to the movies

 Treating them like your own

I’m a big softie. Anyone who has spent any decent amount of time with me will be able to confirm that. I also believe I am a good father. Sure I have some ups and some downs but overall I think I rank pretty high on the parenting scale. When I met my Fiance she had a 3 year old daughter (Daughter 1) and I knew this before I had even been introduced to her. I’d seen a friend have a relationship with a girl who had a daughter around the same age and it failed, terribly. But for me, I didn’t care that she had a child. Truth be told, I was glad that Daughter 1 was around. I loved the idea of being a role model to someone, to be the one responsible for her well being. It was a great feeling the day she decided to call me dad.

It’s an honour

For a child to accept you as their dad, when they have a choice, is no greater honour. They are trusting you with their lives, no greater trust could be bestowed upon you. This is exactly how I felt when she decided I was her dad. My partner didn’t tell her to call me that, she had called me James from the beginning but we had formed a bond that was incredibly strong and has been growing ever since. She is my daughter and I am her dad and no one will take that away from me.

I’ve been there for her when she’s been sick, I’ve been there for her when she has come home from school upset, I have been there for Christmas day but unfortunately I have missed her birthday for the last 3 years due to work requirements. Although I miss her birthdays, I make sure I make it up to her whenever I can. Take this for example. It is her birthday one week after I leave next week so next weekend is all about her. There’ll be balloons, there’ll be cake and there will be party food. We don’t know anyone in Canberra yet so it will only be our little family but man it will be fun. I’ll post pictures afterwards.

What’s next?

The adoption laws in Australia seem fairly straight forward but having said that I don’t have a clue where to start. I’ve been reading and its fair to say, I can do a lot more to get my head around what needs to happen and how the process works but that is the route we are headed down. She is one of the four best things to happen in my life and I will never ever let her down (I’ll try not to at least).

Earning the title of Dad (2 part series)

Biological fathers still need to earn the title of dad

Biological fathers still need to earn the title of dad

It’s my opinion that the word dad or father is earned and shouldn’t be a given right. It takes more than a sexual act, 9 months of pregnancy and the birth of another human being, in my eyes, to truly be considered a father. In this two part series I’ll be exploring the meaning of being a father and then exploring my personal situation and our lead up to applying for adoption. 

Daughter 1 is not my biological child. It pains me to say it because I consider her to be my own but I will never be her biological father. I am not going to go into details about the situation because that is a private matter but all I will say is that the “sperm donor” split the moment he found out.

I wanted to write this post to really give my perspective on what the definition of being a “father” means to me. I also wanted this post to be a place where others in a similar situation can post their stories, make sure you leave it in the comment section below.

Meet my daughter…

I met Daughter 1 in December 2009, when her mum brought her round to my apartment before we went to a local beach for a swim. Christine had never introduced Daughter 1 to a partner before, maybe she could sense something was different about this relationship. Later that year we got engaged.

A study conducted by John Moores University in the UK found in 2005 that 1 in every 25 fathers was not actually the biological father. That begs the question, should we think of being a father as more than just biology? In my opinion, most definitely. I have a great relationship with my dad (I assume he is my biological dad, I haven’t been told otherwise). We talk a few times a week and see each other when we can as we now live on opposite sides of the country. Our relationship is built on trust, respect and honesty. Which to me are the key factors to any relationship but lets go further.

A father by definition of the Oxford dictionary is;

The definition of Father

First of all, we have the definition “a man in relation to his child or children”. Great we got that, but let’s look at the variants which follow. “An important male figure in the origin and early history of something” and “a man who provides care and protection”. I feel I tick both those boxes and I bet many others who are in my same situation feel they do to.

So by definition, calling yourself the father of a child who isn’t biologically yours is still correct in the English language. Personally, this is incredibly important not only for me but I think for my Daughter, when one day we sit down and tell her that I am not her biological dad. But it shouldn’t really matter.

If you love them like your own, care for them like your own, provide for them like your own and even call them your own (I do, it gets messy otherwise) there is no reason I can see why you are any less of a father than the one who helped conceive it. By showing love, compassion and affection, not only to your biological children, but to kids who may not be biologically related, you earn the title of being their father.

It shouldn’t be a participation title. Fatherhood takes strength, courage and an immense amount of patience. If you can manage all of those things, plus being an excellent role model, you’ve earned the title of Dad in my books.

What are your thoughts on the definition of being a Father? Do you think it should be based completely on biology, or on who provides and loves the child? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Terrible Twos

Tantrum after Tantrum – dealing with the terrible twos

Public tantrums can be embarrassing

Public tantrums can be embarrassing

 I didn’t think it would happen to us, Daughter 2 was such a perfect baby. She slept through the night from a really young age, never cried when we went out and was an all round good baby in my eyes. But recently something has changed….

We went out yesterday to Gungahlin because I needed to pick up a few supplies before I leave for work in a couple of weeks. Let me start by saying, sometimes I can be short on patience and yesterday was one of those days.

Walking through the shops Daughter 2 was okay, I went to get a trolley and both Daughter 1 & 2 jumped in. But that’s when it started, screaming, crying and kicking. Daughter 2 did not want to stay in the trolley, the list of things to buy and I hadn’t even found the first item!

Parenting.com has a post claiming that the Terrible Twos is “an old-fashioned idea and not supported by research,” but I tell you what, if you want research take my daughter to the shops. That will provide enough evidence for any scientist worth their salt.

I absolutely love all my daughters with all my heart and would go to the ends of the world for them but boy oh boy. Daughter 2 has this little cheeky smile when she knows exactly what I am saying “stay with daddy please” but she dips her head and looks up at me. I can tell exactly what she is thinking “I know what he is telling me to do, but I’m my own person and I want to go here”. Independence is a huge thing to toddlers and they are curious, especially at this age about how the world works. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell Daughter 2 off for trying to get the pot out of the cupboard to make herself some dinner.

I went looking for some information on what causes the dreaded Terrible Twos and it was actually quite interesting. Kidspot.com.au claims that around age 2 our beautiful little angels go through a change in their brain development, or as they say explosive brain development. Thinking about it logically it’s actually quite easy to understand but it doesn’t remove the embarrassment or frustration out of the equation for us parents.

What can we do to deal with the Terrible Twos?

Thankfully the Terrible Twos isn’t a new phenomenon and even if there isn’t any scientific research to support it there has been considerable unofficial research into how to deal with these dreaded tantrums. Often we will find that the tantrums are caused by a lack of understanding from our toddlers perspective and this is actually quite reasonable as I know I get frustrated when I don’t understand something (why my toddler is having a tantrum for example).

Emotions, every males favourite topic, typically when your toddler is having a tantrum their emotions are running through the roof! But how can we deal with these emotions? Advice I’ve seen, ignore them. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone (or themselves) it may help curb that nasty tantrum that your son/daughter is having in the middle of Kmart. Walking away from the situation may help, not only the toddler, but the parent as the frustration of a screaming toddler could often cloud our judgement and send our emotions into a downward spiral as well.

Your toddlers search for independence can be frustrating for you but another option is giving your favourite little person a choice. This could help foster that curiosity that they so badly have for the unknown. By giving your son/daughter a choice (a reasonable choice of course) it can help boost their self confidence and give them that feeling of independence that they so long for.

Enjoy the time you have with them

I think it is important to remember (especially for me who doesn’t get to spend to much time with my daughters) that it doesn’t last forever and we need to enjoy the time we have with them. In 10 years from now, I guarantee that my daughter probably won’t want to go to the shops with me and these tantrums that are frustrating me now are going to be a distant memory. Remembering that these are our children’s development years and sometimes that “no” could be for a valid reason and not just because Daughter 2 wants to make a scene in Kmart. Remember, no one said it was easy…

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What to do when a child has lied

Taking a stand against your children’s lies!

I found this meme on Google+ and I would definitely hate to be in that kid’s shoes!

I like it.

Raising kids

Taking a stand against your children lying

Let me know if you have any good pointer on how to deal with lying.

“What’s wrong? Are you pregnant or something?”

This was the question that I asked right before I found out I was going to be a Dad for the first time.

Christine and I had been dating since January, right before I deployed for 6 Months. I’d known her since December 2009 and in June 2010, she was pregnant. Holy crap what the hell is going on!

I was at work when I got a text, “hey do you mind coming over tonight I want to talk to you”. Now where I come from that means one of two things, I am going to break up with you or I’m pregnant. Fortunately (at the time I thought unfortunately) it was the latter and Christine was 5 weeks pregnant. I think I’d been back in country for 6 weeks so do the math!

A few minutes pass and I can’t handle it, I give her a call. “What’s up” I ask, “nothing, I just want to see you” I get back. This goes on for a couple of minutes until I ask the question that will change my life forever “What’s wrong? Are you pregnant or something?” “Yes” I hear from down the phone.

WHAT THE F**K!

This wasn’t meant to happen to me! I’m not ready for kids! Do I have to marry her now? What the hell am I going to do!

Just a few things running through my head after that phone call and I’m sure if you’ve ever been in that situation you would have had similar thoughts.

So I left work. “Boss, I’m taking the rest of the day off” (Luckily we had nothing on and I had a good boss, thanks Jon!) Driving to see Christine, more thoughts. What are we doing? We can’t have kids together. I should mention, at the time Christine had a beautiful 4 year old Tahnee who I now consider my own and I am looking to legally adopt her in the coming year.

I called my mum, “Christine is pregnant” I shouted down the phone in a panicked voice. “Oh James, don’t worry, you’ll make an excellent dad”. Thanks for the encouragement mum but I’m not sure I can be a dad, I can’t even organise my own life let alone another person’s. I was 22 when all this was going on mind you.

What do you want to do?

There was no doubt in Christine’s mind. She was having the baby. I think because I am so good looking it was too good an opportunity to pass up. She’ll argue otherwise.

Being a complete newbie at kids and pregnant women, we discussed what was next and left the bigger picture stuff to another time when emotions and thoughts weren’t running circles in our heads.

Needless to say, we proceeded along the pregnancy pathway. Months and months passed, Christine’s belly grew bigger and bigger. My nerves grew bigger and bigger.

We found a place and moved in together. This wasn’t too hard for me, as living on a ship with 15 men in a room the size of a bathroom for months and months. Tahnee (Christine’s daughter) was all a bit lost I think. Suddenly she was moving into a strange house with a man her mother had been dating for 8 months, although 6 of those he wasn’t around and she was pregnant. Needless to say, Tahnee was excited to have a little sister.

26th March 2011

It was a Saturday. Christine was 3 weeks out from her due date. Her back pain was excruciating. Her knees were collapsing and I was scared. Last thing I needed was her falling and hurting herself. I should mention, I was deploying for 4 months in 7 weeks. Admittedly it was to Hawaii but I was leaving my now Fiancée for 4 months with a new born.

I rang the hospital, “look she needs to have this baby now! She’s collapsing all over the place. Enough is enough!” I politely shouted down the phone to the midwife. “I’ll ring the doctor and see what he says and call you back”.

Longest 5 minutes of my life!

“Present to the hospital at 0800 tomorrow”

Activate, Overdrive.

That’s what it felt like. Right what are we doing with Tahnee? Is the car seat in the car? Is your bag packed?

Then I remembered. Crap! I am on my promotion course tomorrow and I can’t miss it. Please be a quick, uncomplicated labour! That night, I tossed and turned and tossed and turned some more. I was ready, well I thought so.

Newborn baby.

Mikayla Grace Tew

The next afternoon, Mikayla Grace Tew was born, 2.8kg heavy or for you non-metric types, 6lb 2oz.

My first, biological daughter. I held her, listened to her cry and the midwife asked “Would you like to feed her?” “How do I do that?” I asked being 100% serious. The midwife chuckled and told me it was simple.

As you can see in the photo, I was scared as hell.

Nothing you do will prepare you for the first time you hold your own child

I thought that I could read books, blogs and watch videos. But I’ll say it again. Nothing will prepare you for that first time you lay eyes on your child.

They are fragile, beautiful (even with cone shaped heads), vulnerable and looking for food. Go with the flow. I know in my situation I was scared as hell but it’s all about going with it. Sure, having a bit of background knowledge probably helped, but every situation will be different because if we were all the same, life would be boring.

Biggest lesson

Do a bit of research, but don’t expect it to be all peachy. Mikayla came out not breathing. We were lucky but a lot of people aren’t and my heart goes out to all of you. But as the saying goes, prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.

Also, listen. Listening is the best way to learn. If you don’t know, ask. The only stupid questions are the ones that aren’t asked.

Most importantly. Keep a level head. Nothing worse than falling apart in front of your partner/wife who is literally falling apart in front of you.

Have you got any tips or opinions to share?

Let me know in the comments below.

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