What a week! My wife and son are home and my mother-in-law is gone for planting season, so we’re learning our way around this new schedule for 4. It’s completely different than adjusting to the first child, and a little easier if only because I know what to expect. Of course, that’s easy to say since I’m not the one waking up every hour in the night to nurse.
Division of Labor
This time around, we’ve taken a practical approach to the division of labor. For all intents and purposes, I am primarily responsible for our older daughter while Sawa cares for our son. Of course, there is some crossover help; I cannot be trusted to select Nina’s clothes for school without assistance, for example (let’s face it, I can barely be trusted to select my own clothes on a daily basis), and as small and light as our son is, there are times that I need to carry him. That sort of thing.
But in general, the tasks are split, and this is mentally easier on me than when the two of us were taking care of Nina alone. Before, I would approach a weekend day thinking to myself that we would each take a turn watching her for a few hours so that the other could relax and do something non-child-related. And I’m ashamed to say that I would get a little frustrated when this didn’t work out and I finished the day having had no time for myself, even though I expected it. Now that I know I am 100% on duty for the day with my daughter, I don’t expect free time and I don’t feel bothered when it fails to materialize.
I don’t mean this to sound self-sacrificing at all, but this is how my mind works. If I expect something (time to myself) and do not get it, I am frustrated. If I never expect it, and go through the same experience, it doesn’t bother me at all. So, the trick as I hinted last week, is to make sure my priorities are straight and I’m not expecting anything. Do not let my desires control me – this is the way I have tried to live most of my life, with varying degrees of success.
It’s also the reason I struggle as an entrepreneur, but I’ll get to that later.
Keeping Up with My Goals Anyway
I am full-time on duty as Dad during the day, and I’m ok with that. It gives me a sense of what I have to do next at all times: make coffee. It also gives me the base I need to plan the rest of my life and pursuit of my goals, because I’m not giving up on those.
In a recent episode of the Smart Passive Income podcast, Pat said (and I’m paraphrasing) that he’d heard a lot of people say that they gave up on their dreams when their kids were born to focus on the children instead. They tell their kids this, too. Saying that they focused on providing a stable income and providing for the family, instead, so that their kids could follow their dreams. What a horrible way to screw up your kids! (My thoughts). What a terrible message. Maybe you mean to tell your kid how important they are to you, but if your kid has one fraction of the guilt problems that I suffer, what she’s hearing is “You killed my dreams, so now you’d better succeed and make it all worthwhile.”
Sawa and I have talked about this in the past and decided that we always wanted to show our children that we were pursuing our dreams throughout life- her dream to be a composer and mine to be a writer/entrepreneur (a writer is and entrepreneur, but that’s a subject for another post). We want her to see us working toward those dreams, too, so that she has the example that she can follow her dreams throughout her life.
So, I have made time to keep up with writing and my web entrepreneur project each day, despite the new and chaotic schedule. That is to say, I have better learned to recognize and maximize the time that I have: the early morning. This has always been my time, but I’d been getting lazy of late. No more! Everything must be done by the time the rest of the family wakes up and being Dad becomes priority on.
I’m keeping myself accountable with Habit RPG to write my minimum novel words and web words each day, and to keep up on my exercise routine. Earlier this week, I “finished” the landing page of my new website, which will become a resource for students to find the best places to study abroad for their individual goals and aspirations, as I flesh it out, little by little.
So far, so good. But we’ll see how next week goes. On Sunday the 24th, I leave for 10 days for the NAFSA conference in Boston and a business trip to Richmond, VA, so that’s the next big challenge!