I rush into the bathroom and time is of the essence. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” is the YouTube video that is playing in my head. Yes, my morning coffee is kicking in and I probably have to use the bathroom for the tenth time this morning but that is not why I am here. I need to change a diaper. Our son’s diaper. And it needs to happen now!
I make eye contact with the changing table like James Bond makes contact with his villains. With my eyes locked on my target, I hastily approach the changing table and utilize it to fulfill my assignment — a fresh, new diaper for our son. Mission accomplished!
While this is a familiar task to most moms, it is one of the daily struggles that I encounter in the #DadLIFE. Locating changing tables in the men’s room while out and about is a minor issue compared to a lot of things. However, it does reveal something else about our society — it does not really understand the #DadLIFE.
I am not in favor of creating an uprising or a movement that glorifies what men bring to society.
I do believe that we need to bring an awareness of equality. Equality doesn’t mean giving more, it means providing the same resources to both genders to be able to contribute equally to the family dynamic. When we succeed as a society, a culture, a neighborhood — it is contagious.
While the lack of changing tables is just one struggle of the #DadLIFE, another struggle is the aspect of self-care. I will stick to the term “self-care” because it is known to so many people. Self-care, aka “me time,” feels so selfish. What if I take time to myself? What if something on my to-do list does not get completed? Will the diapers create a revolution and try to take over our home?
Approach the exercise of self-care with caution: there are extremes to this practice. Some people become so obsessed with their hobbies that they forget that they have a life outside of that particular hobby. On the other hand, some people are so driven that they never relax.
Steven Covey called this burn-out prevention “Sharpening the Saw.” In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he lists this as Habit 7, but mentions that we won’t be so effective at the other 6 habits if we forget to “sharpen the saw.” We need to practice self-care and not make it so weird. Everyone needs a break. Everyone needs a moment to recharge and refocus. This is vital for parents and for children. This is equally important for moms and dads, working parents and stay-at-home parents. If we are going to be effective at all in the development of others, we need to develop ourselves first.
Covey mentioned the mind, body, heart, and spirit as key areas where we can sharpen the saw. Here are some ideas to refresh your soul:
The mind: Read a book or take some time to write out your thoughts.
The body: Get on a sleep schedule. Yes, you are not a toddler but your body needs sleep. Your brain and your family will thank you!
The heart: Spend time with REAL people. Show them how much you appreciate them.
The spirit: When was the last time you took a walk in nature … by yourself?