by Jeff Segura
In the journey and everyday life of fatherhood, you learn and pick up on things every day. Sometimes it’s understanding your child better and other times it’s coming to realizations about yourself. So as I was reflecting on the time I’ve had as a father, I wanted to share some things that I believe can help you reflect on fatherhood and be a better dad! So here are the 5 things I’ve learned as a dad.
1. Let the kids be kids
Kids will be kids right!? Of course! Parents are the first people in life to limit children’s imagination and curiosity and telling them they can’t do something simply because we as parents don’t want to clean up after them, is limiting them in their daily exploration and learning abilities. This, however, does not mean you should let your children do whatever they want, we as parents must always use our better judgment and common sense to keep our children safe and away from any danger or harm. The toddler ages can be frustrating and a challenge to most parents and most are quick to discipline simply because we don’t like what they’re doing. So don’t be afraid to let the kids be kids, they can learn a lot from simply being a kid.
2. It’s not all about teaching but also learning
This one goes hand in hand with the first point. As parents, we are quick to tell our children what to do, discipline them, or teach them. There’s nothing wrong against discipline and teaching them right from wrong, but what I’m emphasizing here is that we are “too quick”. In the time that I’ve been a dad, I’ve learned a lot of things from my daughter and other children too. Many times we want to teach them something when in reality if we take a few moments to realize, they are actually teaching us something about themselves or the world around them. Some of the things I’ve learned from observing my daughter are perseverance, friendliness, being adventurous, and showing love to everyone.
3. You’re the Dad
This one may seem a little out of place right? The truth behind this one is that we live in a society that lacks good examples of father figures and most dads think they have to be like the few good role models. At the end of the day, you are the dad to your own children and needless to say, all children are different, and only you know your children best. Many times, people will come along and tell you what to do and what not to do when it comes to raising your children, it’s ok to listen, but you as the parent, are the one who decides what you will take as advice. Be the dad your kids look up to, only you can do that. There’s nothing better to your kids than having a loving, caring, and involved dad.
4. Be flexible
I don’t mean flexible as in being able to touch your toes or putting your legs behind your head. Being flexible when things don’t go as planned is frustrating and for some could even be infuriating, especially when you take the time to plan an itinerary! However, be willing to be flexible and enjoy the moments you have with your family and kids. If there’s a delay, see how you can be of help and make everything go smoother instead of complaining. As adventurous and spontaneous as some parents can be, we all get a little frustrated when something doesn’t go as we thought it would, but truthfully, some of our best moments have happened when we have taken a wrong turn and gotten lost. Learn to enjoy all the moments in life and be happy to enjoy the company of the ones that love you the most.
5. Full-Time Parenting
Some parents may say they spend time at home but that doesn’t mean you spend time with your children. Those are two different things and being a parent means you spend quality time with your kids. I understand what it feels like to work 12-14 hour shifts and come home tired but happy to be with my family. This can go both ways too. Some dads are stay at home dads (SAHD) and the other parent works all day. But one thing I learned from this period of time was that my daughter didn’t understand or see that I was tired, she was happy for the mere fact that I was home and I could be with her. As adults and working people, we are blinded by all the things going on around us that we can’t see the simple joys right in front of us. This does not only pertain to spending time with oru children but also when it comes to changing diapers, taking the kids a bath, cooking meals, and cleaning the home. Parenting is a full-time responsibility and if your partner isn’t able to do something at the time, well, it is your responsibility as a parent to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done.
Native Houstonian, Jeff Segura is the creator and author of Daddy Style Diaries, a blog about fatherhood, lifestyle, and travel. Jeff is a husband, father, aspiring fashion savant, and adventurous soul. You can follow Jeff on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit his blog at www.daddystylediaries.com.