What to Do When You Meet a Diaper that TESTS your COURAGE?

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It happens to every young dad.  It happened to me twice today.  You bring your child in to get their diaper changed expecting it to be just like every other time, and then the panic hits.  This isn’t every other time.

To make matters worse you are likely out of wipes, diapers or…worst case scenario, your child starts trying to flip, kick or squat down after you already have begun to carefully peel that diaper off.

You want to call for back-up, but your spouse isn’t home.  Your heart races, your stomach turns.  You must think fast, but what do you do?

5 Dad Emergency steps when you are hitting the diaper panic button

1. Control your Breath|  Its not as a bad as it seems.  Everything is washable, including your hands.

2. Sing a song| What will get your child’s attention so they won’t move.  Just make sure it isn’t a song with motions…

3. Use whatever you have around|  You are the MacGyver of that space.  You are the Chuck Norris of that moment.  Seize it and own it.  You can always wash that other outfit.  Put it under your child to minimize other stuff getting on the changing table.  Its easier to wash another outfit than the whole changing table.

4. Keep your eyes or hand on your child at all times|  You will be tempted to run. Don’t.  You’re the leaders, the hero, the rescuer in this moment.  Your child is counting on you to show courage in the face of demise.  Be careful when you are looking around the room for a towel or something else to grab.  Don’t walk away thinking it will just be a minute and your child roll off the bed.

5. The best offense is a good defense| Check your rations daily to make sure you are stocked on diapers, wet wipes, towels…etc.  Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and don’t come unprepared to the baby changing table.

6. Pull the emergency hatch| If all else fails put them in the bathtub to stabilize the situation.  That’s kinda gross, but you can pour some comet on it later.

I know the thought went through your mind, but you’re better than that young dad.  Don’t wrap that diaper back up and wait for their mommy to come home and act surprised.  You can do this.  You’re a man of valor.

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How to Be Successful as a New Dad|Adapt

I am a father of two little boys and I love it.  Joel is two and a half and Jedd is nine months.  As much as I thought I was prepared for fatherhood, it is a steep learning curve.  This series of posts unpacks my advice to myself if I could go back and write a note to myself before we had our first son.  It captures the important concepts that have helped me grow as a new dad.

ADAPT

If could reset anything in my mind before we had our first son it would be this; ADAPT.  It is hard to prepare mentally for the different reality that a new child brings. So much joy, tiredness, laughter and uncertainty, all bundled together.  Think of a snow globe being shook up.  That is my experience as a new dad.  It was unsettling.  I lost my rhythm of life and struggled to adapt my habits, the structure of my dad and my relationship with my wife to the new experience of being a dad to a little boy.  Having a child will change your sleep habits, your eating habits and structure of your day.  Being prepared to shift the way your day looks is essential if you are going to maximize the transition you are in.  You cannot rule out, structure out, completely push out the chaos that comes with a new addition to the family, but you can pursue some attitudes and actions that will help you adjust better.

1. Identify your priorities, and adapt your day around them. 

The more you live proactively with a new child, the easier the transition.  You don’t identify what is most important and then proactively plan around those things, you will likely live in reverse.

2. Adjust your speed

The first few weeks may feel like a dead sprint, but it won’t last forever.  Endure as best you can. Everyone survives it.

3. Plan on adapting your schedule

You may have to wake up earlier, wake up later, work out in the morning or at night.  I really struggled to adjust my schedule and I think it made the transition tougher.  I kept operating for awhile like I did before we had kids and that caused greater friction and frustration in myself and our home.

4. Adjust your commitments

Be careful about taking on big, new commitments until you see how you adjust.  Everyone is different. Every COUPLE is different.  It is not just a matter of how you adjust, it is also about how your spouse adjusts.  Paying attention to how you and your spouse are adjusting will lower the tension in your home during this new season.  Make commitments based on both of your adjustment levels and not simply your own.

5. Adjust your communication

Be prepare to possibly adjust your communication as a couple. Will you have to move your date time to morning or to evening depending on the baby sitters?  Will you be disciplined to make time for just the two of you?  As you might experience personal tiredness amongst the joy of a new child, it will be easier to put both your focuses on the child as a couple and start to see your communication with each other diminish.  Make sure you keep feeding that relationship, because your relationship with your spouse always forms the foundation for the health of the home.  The area of communication may already be an issue, or you may be thriving in it during the first year, but the main thing is to pay attention and be ready to shift how and when you communicate/connect if necessary.

 

Reflection Questions|

1. What are you looking forward to the most about becoming a dad?

2. Which of the five focus areas above do you think will be hardest for you to adapt?

3. What does it look like to have an adaptive attitude in the first two years of father-hood?

4. Why is it important to have an adaptive attitude to thrive?

5. What is the difference between a reactive and proactive attitude when it comes to adapting your preferences, schedule and commitments?

How to Be Successful as a New Dad| The first two years

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As a new dad with one son who is two and half and one son who is nine months, here is my advice to myself if I could go back and write a note of guidance to thrive as a new dad.  Look for follow up posts that will expand and explore each of these actions that fuel health in the blender of new father-hood during those first two years.  Every dad is different, so these may or may not be relevant to you, but it is always helpful to think about yourself and your relationships to make sure you’re pursuing the path you want.

10 Actions and Attitudes that Will Help You Succeed as a New Dad

1. Adapt

2. Think about your spouse

3. Pursue your spouse

4. Be ready to change your life rhythm

5. Take Care of Yourself

6. Ask others for advice who have kids

7. Mentally prepare for a challenge

8. Learn constantly

9. Practice Patience

10. Enjoy life in the chaos

At the end of the day as a follower of Jesus, the most important thing to thrive is to keep cultivating your own heart and “followership” of Jesus.  Nothing can replace that.

Reflection Questions|

1. What excites you the most about becoming a dad?

2. Of those attitudes and actions listed above, which ones do you think you need to really focus in on to thrive?

3. Why is it so important to be intentional about your attitudes and actions as a dad?

4. What are 4-5 words or phrases you want to describe your home in 4-5 years?  Plan for tomorrow with your attitude and actions today!

Which “What If” is Influencing You?

What if We/I succeed?  What if we/I fail?  What if people’s lives are transformed?  What if no one comes?  What is people respect me and value me?  What if people see my failures and write me off?  What if…

One of those two “What if’s” is influencing you right now.  Either you are influenced with a hopefulness of what may come, or you are in a place of fear and anxiety about what may not happen.  Only one of these two influences results in life lived to the fullest.  The other results in a lack of joy and a endless cycle.

God calls us and has enables us to move towards a life of hopefulness through are restored relationship with him.  This hopefulness then spills into the way we see everyone and everything around us.  But we must choose to let go of fear and to welcome hope.

What if…

Are You Seeking to Coach Others? Do you have a Coach?

Good quote from Becoming a Coaching Leader:

“A coach helps others win by helping them to discover the knowledge, strategies, action plans, inspiration and accountability they need to excel and reach even greater levels of success.”

You will the most significant legacy with your life if you seek to give to others by coaching them.  You will grow further faster if you have a coach who is speaking into your life. 

What You Do Next Might be the Hardest Steps in a Long, Beautiful Journey

You stuck?  Stuck in patterns of thinking that are putting you through the spin cycle?  Stuck in emotional pain that feels like a prison?  Stuck between a rock and a hard place because you’ve burned everyone around you?  I have not only experienced these moments in my own life, but as a pastor and friend of others I have looked into the eyes of guys and girls who are stuck.  Many times, in those “I’ve hit rock bottom” moments, your next choice is the most significant because it will set the trajectory of what follows.  If you commit yourself to inviting God into your life and to lead you from this point forward, it will require changing patterns, habits and paradigms that we’ve been carrying with us for so long we don’t even realize that we are in a cycle of brokenness because we keep thinking the same thoughts and acting out the same actions thinking something different is going to happen.

I ‘ve looked into the eyes of hopelessness and known that they are probably right.  Because  it is hard to change.  But here is the earth shattering, world re-ordering reality of the good news of Jesus Christ.  He is risen from the dead and now is reigning and bringing every aspect of this world back under his rule.  His kingdom is here, not in fullness but it will be some day.  His is a kingdom of love, joy, peace, and grace.  A kingdom of resurrection life and power.  I look across my desk, I look across the space between our chairs into your eyes of coldness, sadness and defeat and I think to myself…you’re right.  Your situation is really, really hard.  You willingness to to begin a long journey where you will have to take small steps over a long course of time and allow God to walk you through a whole bunch of brokenness inside of you will be way harder and more challenging either of us probably even know.  And then resurrection reality, Jesus Christ risen reality floods in and over-takes the hopelessness and I know.  I know. I know, because I have seen God transform the most ridiculous situations.  I know that it is possible.  In his grace, by his power it is possible.

But what you do next, your next move might decide the rest of your journey.  What trajectory are you going to pursue.  What outcome will you seek that is different?  How will your vision for life shift?  Because we need a vision shift and not just a quick make-over in these moments.  Something is fundamentally wrong with the way we are looking at ourselves, others and the world around us…and it must change for us to break out of the old ways that keep us stuck.  We may not know what it is, but we must believe that our perceptions are faulty somewhere in order to be open for God to redo whatever he needs to do in our lives.

Sometimes I’ve said it out loud to myself, sometimes I have said it out loud to others.  What you do next may be the hardest step, but it is not normally what is easiest which leads to fullness of life.  Sometimes the road to peace, joy and maturity goes through the valley of the shadow of death.  Here is the good news. God doesn’t wait at the end of the path for you to get there.  He walks with you as your shepherd and guides you through into green pastures.

What will you do?

Practical Next Steps if You’re Stuck Somewhere Deep:

  • Share it with a friend
  • Become a learner
  • Meet with a counselor
  • Don’t quit the journey because it is long.  Be in it knowing it will take 3-5 years to probably be where you want to be
  • Ask for accountability in your life (financially, sexually, laziness, relationally, job…etc.)
  • Don’t run from others when they challenge you
  • Fight with yourself…Fight the voices that say you can’t do it, you’ve already made too many mistakes, this relationship has gone too far, the debt is too much, you’ve got nowhere to turn so its hopeless.  Replace those voices with God’s voice.  Listen for his in the midst of all the condemning voices
  • Never, ever quit.  Never give up.  Ever.  Not even a chance.
  • Find people you want to model your life after and spend time around them
  • Look to God for grace and strength every day.  Don’t try to do it by your own power