Father and son bonding in the mountains

Elbow Grease in the Parenting World

You’ve got a little one or little ones, and suddenly, your immaculate household has turned into a stomping ground for insane activity. Sure, they’re cute now. Maybe your little one hasn’t even started crawling yet. Point is, as a dad, you have to learn to get messy and get in the habit of fostering your child’s independence, no matter what stride that comes in.

 

Eating on Their Own

Hate to tell you, but at some point, you won’t be feeding them with a spoon. It does end, and while you’re happy that they’re becoming independent, it’s a little sad at the same time. Don’t hesitate to get in there, roll your cuffs up, and show them how it’s done. Help them hit their target, and when they grunt and take the spoon away from you, it’s probably going to splatter on your shirt. Get a new one, and get over it.

 

First Sports

 This is a fun one. Even if it eventually withers away, kids get into sports at an early age, and that’s unavoidable. They love to run around and play. Pretty soon, they’ll be throwing a ball, and picking up a bat, even if it’s only to determine that they don’t care for it. That’s alright; but you need to be there to show them how to slide to home, even if you’ve just gotten out of the car, and haven’t made it into the house yet. Every time you tell your kid, “Not now, I have something to do first,” it’s another memory that isn’t being made. I doubt you’ll make memories by power washing the back deck. Get in there, get dirty. Remember, at a really young age, the memories are also for you-you’ll remember them when you’re old and gray, even if your kiddos don’t.

 

Fatherhood Is Always Messy

Try as you may, there’s going to be a mess no matter what. Kids bring a sizable mess with them—that’s part of the fun. Get messy with them, and remind yourself that, at the end of the day, they’ll go to bed knowing that their dad is involved, even if it isn’t in those exact words. Building bonds with your children through the messy stuff is going to ensure that they feel comfortable calling on you during their teenage years when they need someone to bail them out. It’s all about setting your relationship now, enjoying each other’s time, and building the father/son bond you only see in the movies.