Vacation!

It’s an honor to partner with Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. to show the world how much I truly value their products. My mom and dad used them on me as a kid and now I get to return the favor and use them on my girls — and we all benefit from it.

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All Work Just Doesn’t Work

By now you know that I have the Daddy Doin’ Work nickname, but I didn’t come up with it by accident. Not to pat myself on the back here, but I’m a ridiculously hard worker. But guess what? I think I have that in common with you, too.

Here’s some not-so-breaking news for you: Americans are overworked.

In a recent survey, over 50% of workers in the U.S. felt burned out. Additionally, many employees don’t take vacation time that’s offered to them by leaving a combined 429 million unused paid vacation days behind a year.

That’s just crazy.

But is it, really?

We live in such a hypercompetitive society that many parents feel as if they need to be connected to the office or risk being left behind.

Greg from Atlanta shared his thoughts with me: “I feel as if I have to respond to emails within a reasonable amount of time or else people will feel like I’m slacking. Even if those emails come in the middle of the night.”

Liz from San Diego shared her thoughts as well: “I want to be super mom and a super employee, but I’m failing miserably at both because I’m always so tired.”

The problem is that always being connected at the office leaves us feeling less connected at home. I know this is true because I lived it. I felt that I was being pulled in so many different directions and I couldn’t say “no” to anyone. It was always, “Sure, I can do that,” when inside I was like, “I have no clue how I’m going to do that.”

I became exhausted and irritable, and my family knew I wasn’t myself. That’s when I pumped the brakes to realize what is truly important – and it meant spending time with the people I love the most. My daughters are growing up so fast and I realized that my stress was taking away from my joy in raising them.

What did I do to fix it?

I went on a vacation – specifically, a Carnival cruise. Yep, I actually used real vacation time. I didn’t check email or obsess about the work that would be waiting for me when I returned. I just focused on having a blast and recharging my batteries.

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Not only did I have a great time with my family, but I felt that I reconnected with myself. Sometimes all it takes is to separate yourself from the craziness of life to learn more about your priorities.

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We’re all going to die someday, and when that time comes do you think you’ll wish you spent more time at the office or more time with the people you love? Exactly.

If you’re offered time off from work, I urge you to take it. Not only will it make you a better employee and parent, it will make you a happier employee and parent.

Not to mention, time is the only resource we can’t get back once it’s spent. Don’t waste it by trying to be a “hero” at the office by skipping out on vacation time. Instead be a hero with the little ones who love you more than anything.

Because at the end of the day, the only thing our kids want us to spend on them is our time.

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

Memories Are Greater Than Stuff

Before I became a dad, I met a couple in Los Angeles that loved traveling. Almost every month they visited a new place, and I was completely fascinated by them. No, they weren’t two rich, childless people who had nothing but money and free time to spend. We’re talking about an everyday, middle class couple with two young children.

One weekend they would take the kids to San Francisco. Another weekend they would drive to Arizona. When they wanted to go all out on a vacation, they would take a family cruise to an exotic location. But here’s the thing: all of this costs money. How could this typical all-American family afford to travel so much?

And that’s exactly what I asked them.

The dad looked at me and smiled, “Because we only spend our money on creating memories. We don’t have the newest gadgets, cable television, or fancy cars – but the time we spend together while traveling is so incredibly valuable. As a parent you’ll realize that memories are greater than stuff.”

Memories are greater than stuff. I’ll never forget that line. Why? Because it’s so true.

Now that I’m a dad, I splurge less on stuff and more on creating memories. I mean, think about it – will our kids remember that we bought them $20 shoes instead of $120 shoes? Or will they remember that we used the money we saved to go an amazing vacation? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can’t remember what kind of clothes or shoes I wore when I was a kid, but I remember every family vacation as vividly as I remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. That’s because the strongest memories are forged through strong emotions (happiness, love, fear, sadness, etc.)

When Carnival offered to take my family on an 8-day eastern Caribbean cruise, I didn’t hesitate to say “yes” because I knew the opportunity to create lifelong memories with my family would be there. Speaking of strong emotions, I remember how freaked out my daughter was when I asked her to go down the waterslide on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine.

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After a few hugs and a pep talk from Daddy, she finally decided to go down the kiddie slide and was completely overjoyed afterwards.

The noteworthy part of this story is my daughter still talks about that experience and smiles when she thinks of the fun she had on that cruise. Do you think she (or any kid) would remember anything about the stuff we buy them? Probably not. And if they did, the emotions evoked wouldn’t compare to the emotions that come from the things we do with them.

Memories are greater than stuff.

I’m thankful for that man who gave me such a valuable piece of advice as I navigate through the oftentimes crazy world of parenting. If there’s a downside to all of this, it’s that my daughter constantly asks when we will go on another cruise to create some more memories. But hey, that’s the price you have to pay when you’re having fun.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.


The Main Thing

The other day I was scrolling through some old photos on my phone, and I came across some baby photos of my oldest daughter (who is now 4.5 years old). I remembered how her birth changed my life for the better and how I promised that I would be the best daddy I could possibly be for her. Then, due to two different reasons, the emotional floodgates opened.

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Facing Fears

You know that I’m afraid of frogs, but there’s another fear that I share with my daughter. Here’s how I helped her get over it. #CarnivalPartner

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Doin’ Work In Cruise Control

I call myself a Daddy Doin’ Work, so there’s no secret that I put in a lot of work during the course of any given day. That fact doesn’t make me special, because doin’ work is a highlighted item on the parenting job description for all of us. Cranky babies, late night feedings, managing toddler tantrums, shuttling to and from soccer practice, and questioning our intelligence as we clumsily attempt to help our teenagers with algebra homework is enough to make the best of us exhausted.

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