7 Things I’ve Learned to Love About Being a Dad

Houston Dads Blog{For just two weeks, we are handing over our computers to the men in our lives and turning this little piece of the world wide web into Houston Dads Blog!  Read along with their joys and their struggles, and find out why we are so very thankful to have these awesome dads in our lives.}

7 Things I’ve Learned to Love About Being a Dad

7 Things I Love About Being a Dad1. Experiencing the change from being just a husband to my wife to being her husband AND the father of our children.

When you think of marriage, IDEALLY you and your significant other have the same family goals in mind before saying “I Do.” {Hopefully before buying a ring. Wink.} You know that person as well as you do/can when you get married, but you have no way to know who that person will be as a mother.  All the good and bad influences from your parents when you were a child now have the invitation to rear their head as you endure parenthood…together.  But, I can honestly say I have loved being a dad with my wife as the mom to our two, oh so crazy kids.  You get to see a whole other side to their heart, who God made them to be, and their vulnerabilities that lead them closer to God to persevere this so called life.

2. Enhancing my negotiation skills in the event that I choose to pursue a career as a hostage/terrorist negotiator.

I took zero classes in college related to business, and as an engineer I have some opportunities to make deals to get what I need done.  As a parent, however, I get to fine-tune these skills.  The two textbook forms of negotiation include distributive and integrative negotiations.  I think the experts should include “Mind of a Child Negotiations” as one of them though too.  Whether it’s trying to optimize the evening routine that includes the fun stuff {snacks and just one more old-school Mickey Mouse cartoon} or the necessities {brushing teeth, going potty, etc.}, never have I been so challenged in getting what I want done.  I think my kids could negotiate a new foreign policy, address immigration for the greater good, address increasing tax values, or even gun control better than our current politicians.  And that would just be on Tuesday.

3. Watch your children with your own two eyes and not through your camera phone.

Technology is cool, but kids are cooler. As much as I love to capture the funny saying or the goofy impersonations of Buzz Lightyear or Aerial on my iPhone, I think I have missed more of my kids’ unique personalities than I have captured {or shared} on my camera. In an effort to capture the cutest moment of the day, we tend to miss out on the experience of our children being wonderful. How many pictures do you have to take to get one that you keep? Me, maybe ten. But how many times do your kids make you smile during your day when you don’t have a means to capture the digital moment? If you do not have your camera phone in your hand at all times – it’s okay. Neither did our parents and they still love reminding us and their friends of all the memory-making moments of when we were kids.

4. Baby wipes are the bomb.

If there is one thing I won’t and did not skimp on, it was baby wipes {diapers too, but not my point here}.  Never would I ever think that such a simple, moist, square shaped towel would be capable of so much.  Baby poop on a baby bottom…baby wipe.  Ketchup on a t-shirt…baby wipe. Milk stain on a couch…baby wipe.  Booger-crusted nose {mine or my kids}…baby wipe.  And, these things are dirt cheap.  Why spend five-bucks on a tube of Clorox wipes for your kitchen when you can spend $11 on a GIANT BOX of baby wipes. And thank you, Amazon Prime.

5. Embrace multilingualism if you want to survive your marriage through parenthood.

Whether it’s about communicating with your spouse what you want to do for Christmas, birthday presents, dinner, or which kid is going to get a bath first – you have to be able to speak in many-a-tongue.  If you and your spouse both have some Spanish 101 in your academic history – by all means ‘se habla espanol’ about who is getting what from Ole Saint Nick.  If you each have a different language from high school under your belt, then turn to spelling things out.  This only works as well as the poorest speller in the family – and in my family that is me {including my kids – I said I was an engineer, not a journalist}.  At any rate, spell like it was the National Spelling Bee.  Be prepared to be humbled when you do not know how to spell a given word.  In that case, just pick a different word or seven word phrase for the word you wish you knew how to spell.  And when your kids can hear their name spelled out like a shark smells blood, time to move on to another code talking methodology.  Pig Latin orksways ometimesays, but this too relies upon your spouse’s ability to improvise.  I think the next three means to communicate for my spouse and I include: Morse code, charades, and lip-syncing.  Be careful – If your kid can read lips, he will have a future in the NSA or as a mob henchman.

daddy and ryan          daddy and quinn

6. Little girls love to dance and little boys love to throw things.

In short – I wish I could teach my daughter how to be lead when dancing and my son how to throw a 99 mph fastball.  But I won’t.  I accept it.  However, I will not turn down the opportunity to dance with my daughter at night before I put her to bed.  Or to attempt to show my son how to grip a football at the laces.  I can only show them my best, and encourage them to be THEIR best and not THE best.  For Quinn, I try to sing her George Strait’s ‘The Chair’ before bed.  To her, it is ‘the chair song.’ It’s easy for me to remember the lyrics; therefore, it’s easy to sing to her.  Regardless of the meaning of the song, she asked me one time to dance with her one night before bed…while singing ‘the chair song.’  So I did.  And it will take a lobotomy for me to forget that tender moment of holding my little girl close to my chest while I sang to her and danced with her sweet heart.  My next goal is to teach her to two-step – and to be patient with the real boy with real fears who will one day ask her to dance…and one day she may fall in love with him.  Ryan does have a little arm on him.  He is anxious to throw anything that is round – and soon he will actually be willing to let me try to teach him.  For now, I have to dig deep and think of things that will allow him to have fun as I try to teach him.  If I can incorporate Superman or Spiderman into throwing – then I have him hooked.  But even if he never throws a touchdown pass or a strike in any game, I will still allow him any opportunity I can to throw stuff…so long as it is not at a window.

mothers day7. Stay at home moms do more by 10 am than I do in a 10 hour work day.

In a typical work day for me and school day for my kids, I typically wake myself up and put myself to bed, brush my teeth three times, prepare two meals for myself {breakfast and lunch}, drive myself to and from work, get myself dressed three times {for work, after work, after shower}, go to the restroom a half a dozen times or so, and hear a bit from coworkers about what’s bothering them and what they like.  By 10 am, my wife has fed herself, fed my two kids, has two {completely different} lunches ready, brushed three sets of teeth, gone to the bathroom a couple of times and encouraged two kids to go the bathroom about 10 times each, dressed my son once {if he does not pee in his pants} and allowed my daughter to change three times before leaving for school, dropped two kids off at school, made a couple of appointments for some necessary doctor, daycare, or church needs, and paid all of the bills for our family.  All by 10am.  I jump at the opportunity to help out around the house the moment I get home because she’s done all of that and more before my work day is done.  God bless stay at home moms and dads.

Meagan’s Note :: If you don’t know my husband, you don’t know how much this post is so HIM. Every.single.word. Clearly, brevity is neither of our strong suits {it’s a wonder how we NEVER stop talking}. But in these words, I see exactly why I married this man. I knew from almost the moment I met him that one of the reasons I was heads over heels is because I could SEE him just like this. An amazing father. Who loves his kids powerfully. Who would do anything for his family, no matter the personal cost. Who brings light and humor into our lives each and every day. Who, admittedly, is a very fun playmate for them {do I have 3 kids???}, but also embraces the more difficult aspects of discipline, guiding them to know and love God, and be well-rounded, just good kiddos. He brings out the best in me as a mom. And to see that #7 on the list? Well. I think I’m just going to print that out, frame it, and sleep with it under my pillow. It’s so powerful to not only HEAR the “thank you” but to SEE it? Blows me away, brings tears to my eyes. I am so blessed to have Matt as not only a wonderful husband, but the most incredible father to our two crazies. He lifts me on days that I can’t lift myself and for that, I’m eternally grateful. 

Black & White Photo Credit :: Kendra Martin Photography

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I really have been trying to “cherish the moment” regarding watching my kid through my eyes and not my phone. Sooooooo many times I just want to sit on the couch & watch TV yet she wants to play, so I go play instead….so far so good.

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