2016 was a tough year for a lot of people. Our nation showed how divided it is, many icons passed away, and a lot of our kids put Hatchimals on their holiday wish list. However, the one thing we all have in common is we had to raise our kiddos in spite of it all, and we did a damn good job at it (at least let’s keep telling ourselves that).
And with that, here are 23 things I learned about myself as a dad this year.
In 2016, I realized…
1) Potty training has the ability to completely break my spirit.
2) I bathed my kids at least three times as much as I bathed myself.
3) I’ve been kicked, elbowed, head-butted, etc. in the Hang Low more times in the 5.5 years I’ve been a dad than in my whole pre-dad life combined.
4) I’ll never be able to create a perfect French braid. I also realized that my daughters couldn’t care less.
5) I traded in my alarm clock in for one that cries at 3:00 AM or yells, “Daaaaaaaaadddddddeeeeeee!!!”
6) The best reflection of a parent isn’t how smart their kids are, but how nice they are.
7) I talked to other dudes about how wonderful and versatile skorts and jeggings are more than I talked about our favorite sports teams.
8) 99% of the time I spent awake from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM didn’t involve partying.
9) The majority of the world’s problems would be solved if more people watched Zootopia.
10) Chasing imaginary creatures on Pokemon Go seemed pointless since I was busy chasing the human creatures I’m responsible for raising.
11) I became OK with wearing Crocs. Stop hating. Seriously, they’re comfortable as all get out.
12) Working out at the gym became less about staying attractive with my shirt off and more about staying “not dead.”
13) Authoring my first children’s book is my greatest professional accomplishment by far.
14) “I trust you, Daddy” and “I love you, Daddy” are the two best sentences I could ever hear from my kids.
15) “I’m sleepy, Daddy” is the third best sentence I could ever hear from my kids.
16) “Oh, I won’t cry during my kids’ first day of school” is the most inaccurate parenting statement I said all year.
17) Odd injuries courtesy of my kids are just a part of life. Scratched cornea, anyone?
18) Creating a meal that both of my kids actually enjoyed is a bigger ego boost than being called hot, smart, or funny by anyone else.
19) Going to bed for the night at 8:30 PM is the coolest thing ever.
20) Whenever I hear someone claiming to be a parenting expert an involuntary eye roll reflex follows shortly afterwards.
21) If a restaurant has a kid’s menu, but doesn’t have an option for dads to change diapers (no family restroom or no changing table in its men’s restroom), they’ll never get my money — even now that my kids are out of diapers.
22) I’ll always cringe whenever a dude equates parenting to babysitting.
23) I realized this became the best job I’ll ever have – and I knew that the second I laid eyes on my daughters for the first time. #truestory
I’ve partnered with Plum Organics for a couple of years now, and I truly enjoy working with them. One of the main reasons I love this company is due to its Parenting Unfiltered campaign — a movement that’s about sharing and celebrating ALL of the realities of parenting —the good, the bad, and the smelly.
Speaking of which, do you know those perfect holiday cards with the perfect looking kids and parents on them? Well, I have a feeling more parents can relate to my card below.
You can create your own card in minutes (and it’s completely free) to share with your friends and family, too. It’s a great way to show that no matter what your skin color, religion, or political views are — we share the same challenges as parents.
It’s another small, but important way to help bring us all together.