Writings for an expecting father: The Start

Three things:

  • Learn to swaddle
  • Focus on your wife’s sleep
  • Babies cry

Nothing else matters until you’ve mastered these points.


Done well, these points bring relief and create space for the rest of your life.

Downstream effects

Where you’ll be sleeping => I spent a lot of time, alone, in the basement.

Sleep schedules => Baby, Mom, You => in order of priority.

Use of outside help => support the marriage by supporting your wife’s sleep and up-skilling everyone’s ability to swaddle and deal with the reality of the baby (they cry).

Pay attention to what works, and doesn’t.

Keep what works and build a schedule.

Writings for an expecting father: Why

How do you deal with the risk that your body lasts longer than your mind?

Serve the young.

A pregnant wife is the start of an outstanding opportunity to de-risk the back end of your life. The skills required to take advantage of this offering are likely to be very different from what you’ve been using so far.

You don’t need to be a father to take advantage of these posts – young spouse, young students, other people’s kids, grandkids, neighbors… the key element is consistent service to others.

Now, in my own case, it wasn’t a desire to “get” future help.

Rather I had a strong desire to “avoid”.

  • Avoid another divorce.
  • Avoid the pain of future regret.

Still not sure? Listen quietly while grandparents talk about their life decisions.

Adversity Reveals

This picture reminds me that leaning into the difficulties of fatherhood has one of the highest returns on investment, in my life.

Saturday’s entry in my Daily Stoic (link is to Amazon) was a reminder that adversity reveals, an excellent topic during these times.

I have a hunch, Colorado is in a lull in our virus process. I’m taking advantage of the lull to get outside.

This week, my kids are wrapping up an academic year’s worth of math.

Five weeks to learn, one week of review – on to the next year’s concepts.

Financial price was ~$500 per kid. The price in time was 4 classes a week (1-on-1, 30 minutes) and 4-6 homework sessions of 20-45 minutes each. The classes were led by a Middle School teacher. Her skill is how we made such rapid progress.

My role was making it happen and dealing with the occasional fallout when the kids struggled with the new concepts.

  • Financial investment – less than expected.
  • Time investment – less than expected.
  • Emotional Investment – more than expected.

It’s probably like that with a lot of things.

The true skill lies in pushing through the emotional hurdle of the status quo.

Bison Peak, Lost Creek Wilderness.

Our experience with Summer Math reminded me that harder is more meaningful. The kids have gotten a lot out of their struggles. In overcoming “math,” they know they have achieved something.

The challenges of these times have demanded more from all of us. Hopefully, you’ve seen the benefit of having to step up.

Difficult does not imply worse.

Right around 12,000 feet in the Rockies.

Governance matters.

Our local and state governments have done an excellent job at navigating through the early stages of this crisis. I disagree with a lot of what they’ve done! Part of what they’ve done well is manage all of the disagreeing voices.

The process of translating “the choices of government” to “an outcome in society” requires social trust and cohesion.

America has trust issues and many are making them worse. However, the lesson here isn’t for our country or your local jurisdiction. The lesson is for your family and your marriage.

There’s a balance between competence and cohesion. To lead, to govern, you need to be keeping both in mind and acting in a way that builds social cohesion.

Time and time again, I have been surprised by outcome.

We are 15 weeks into a process that will take far longer than I expect.

Adversity will continue to reveal.

The Preschool Years

Lots of my pals have new arrivals so I thought I’d share from my years of living with preschoolers.

Three years ago, I can remember feeling overwhelmed. Our oldest was a terror, we had a new baby and I could see no end to the frantic energy and whining. Today, we’re up to three kids but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Where should a new parent focus?

Three things come to mind…

Marriage – it’s easy to lose each other in the craziness of a young family. Make time to be with each other. We try to spend 2-3 evenings with each other each week. Money spent here has the best return on my discretionary spending.

If you look closely, the baby is purple!

De-escalate – At my best, I have the skill to de-escalate my kids by relaxing myself.

How can you train yourself to not escalate when faced with a screaming child? Here’s my practical mindfulness program…

  • Courtesy to people with no recourse against me
  • Yield in traffic
  • Always polite to spouse
  • Pause when you feel anger
  • Train your relaxation reflex – perhaps by taking a big breath occasionally – here’s an app to help you learn to relax

None of the above has anything to do with kids – most of my parenting habits started far away from any toddlers!

Health – While you may, or may not, regret losing your spouse (or temper) through the preschool years, you will absolutely regret losing your health.

My trap is confusing athletic performance with health.

Other traps:

  • Confusing success with my bank balance
  • Measuring how effective I am by what I publish
  • Co-dependence, where I use serving another as an excuse to neglect myself

I share the above because our minds will convince us that there’s always a good short-term reason to ignore our long-term health. I don’t know your reasons but I know we are all prone to rationalizations.

All up, this phase of my life is going to last seven years.

1,000 days to go.

Soon they will be wiping themselves!