Blowing up 5 O’clock

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Weird title eh? What does this guy have against 5 O’clock? Is that morning or evening? Fair question.

For most 5 O’clock in the pm is awesome. It’s home time for most. A time of joy and hope for a fun evening ahead. 5 O’clock for many is just the best.

In our house, this time of day is also pretty sweet. In the week, we are pretty much home and, on the weekend, it’s when my wife and I actually get to sit in a room in peace and no children.

Where the kids at?

Well, 5 O’clock has become like Christmas that comes around every 24 hours. As our youngest would gleefully say – It’s video game time!

Yes, for many years we have all gotten into the habit of being ruled by video games or in most cases, the iPads. Oh, those wonderful devices that do so many good things, but also take over our children’s brains like nothing else.

The entire day has pretty much become a countdown clock to 5pm. Decisions are made 100% based on if it will fit into the time that comes before 5pm. Want to play outside? What time is it?
What to go to a friend’s house? Hmmam 5pm is in several hours, not sure if there is time.

And if anything messes with the greatest hour of the day, there is anger, chaos, sadness, frustration and more anger. We are talking more important than food and shelter.
Yep, we have created a mess in our household and it’s time we blow it up. As parents, are we just making it harder than it needs to be?

It’s time to add a little variety back in the day. Make 5 O’clock not just be about Roblox or Minecraft.

Other things can happen at the part of day that happens before dinner. Especially for our youngest who is six. This is his life. The best part of the day, week, month and year. I won’t go as far as saying addict, but the thought of doing a detox scares us. Trainspotting for tech? Well it won’t be a baby crawling on the ceiling, it will be our kids.

Now how do we blow it up and change the narrative of our day? Hell, if I know. I just know it will take a lot of energy and patience that I don’t tend to have after work or when we just want to sit and listen to music or take joy in cooking food.

We don’t want the hovering. We don’t want the kids just waiting around for us to plan what they are going to do next. We want those imaginations to kick in again. I know they are there. We have seen it.

Instead my wife and I get frustrated and just give in to make them go away. Kids for the win. But for the most part it felt like a fair trade off. We get what we want, they get what they want. Nothing bad can happen with that formula, right?

Well it has. Our boys are stuck in a world of not knowing what to do with time other than filling it with video games.

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We know other parents that have a similar issue and their solution is to jam pack the day with schedule activities. Sure, that works. But man, that is tiring for the parents. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of brain power to also be a Contiki tour operator for kids.

Then we just end up repeating:

  • Go do something.
  • Go do anything.
  • Go do something elsewhere.
  • I don’t care what, just go do something.

When I remember back to being a kid, I remember loving “free time” and just doing whatever. Now I know it was a different time. There was no option for screens or addicting technology, but I like to think for each generation it’s all relative. It’s still about firing up the imagination or to be honest, just be bored.

Being bored is okay. We now seem to think it’s like running from evil. Idle hands can get you into trouble, but they can also spark new ideas. I do some of my best thinking when I am doing nothing. Your mind needs it. For me, doing nothing is the same as people going to do yoga. It reboots me.

So how do you convey this idea to a kid? Well it used to be just ignore them and hope for the best. That’s no fun. I like being involved and around my kids. But we can’t produce everything like a scripted TV show.

If you want a baby bird to successfully fly out of the nest, they need to figure it out themselves. Or it will be crash city.

There is only so much hand holding you can do.

So back to blowing up 5 O’clock.

What should we do? I know rationally there are a few easy things to implement. Maybe make a few days of the week void from screens. Let 5pm become a time for other activities. The nicer weather will help. Let’s do a quick bike ride before dinner etc. I know that’s not totally them doing something on their own but it’s a start.

Week days are more about after dinner if the weather is crappy. For the most part if it is decent outside, the boys will be out and about.

Before dinner, it’s actually just easier to let them veg after a long day playing Roblox while we do dinner. But that’s the catch. It’s easier, but in the long run it establishes the expectation. I have a friend who has successfully removed screens from the week and they only get them on the weekend. Well done.

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When the boys were younger, we referred to it as transition time. Going from one activity to another. Because once they actually get into something, they can really be into it.

You know, when it gets really quiet and it’s like man this is the best. Then you here some order of yelling and crying.

But as they are getting older, they seem to be living in this Bermuda Triangle place between things. Just hovering around, looking at the clock and getting on our nerves. Maybe we are just that cool that they never want to leave our site? I doubt it.

That’s where we are at. What to do before this trance gets worse. We have done iPad breaks before to great success. Maybe we need some more. Maybe we don’t look at our phones while they are around. I am game.

I just want to get away from the living room clock dictating our day. I want them to forget that it’s 5 O’clock one of these times instead of running for the iPad and vanishing.

Do I think it can happen?

What do you think Kevin Garnett?

My Son Actually Picked The Biggest Upset in NCAA Basketball History

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The following story is as true as it is hard to believe.

It’s always easy to look back once history has been made and say, I called that, but sometimes, it’s just how it goes. As we head to the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio, something I thought would never be mentioned again, came up today while I walked the kids to school.

The something that came up? Well it’s a tale that Harry may hold over me for the history of time. He made a choice and then changed it thanks to something I said.

  • A true, Dad, I can’t believe you stopped me from predicting history.
  • Dad, remember the time I made that pick and it came true and you used your bias to sway me?
  • Dad you owe me money.

What the hell am I talking about? Well as they say on the National, first a little back story.

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It’s Finally Time To Acknowledge the #DadBod In The Room

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Yes, all this week I have been living in past by looking back at how the first seven years of parenting has gone. Our oldest just turned seven so that makes sense. Our youngest is about to turn four. That pretty much means he is self-sufficient right? Okay, he is not ready to go to the store and buy be some beer, but we now have kids that have their own lives. We are starting to gain back more free time. Oh, when I say free time, I don’t mean sleeping, eating or taking the TTC to work. I mean actual free time to get back to doing things just for me.

One of the areas I wish I had done better at during the first seven years of parenting would be taking better care of myself physically. I am by no means a whale, but I can certainly relate to the term #DadBod

The positive is there is a lot more of me to love. But of course when you kids slap your belly and laugh, you know it’s time to do something about it.

So when opportunity knocks, you put down the chips and answer the door.

One of the cool perks of my job is they just signed a deal with GoodLife for a very substantial discount. And since I can walk to two different locations in less than five minutes I decided to jump on board.

Yep, starting next week it looks like this #dadbod is going to start working out again.

I am keeping expectations pretty low. This could not be more clear when I found myself celebrating that I bought a padlock. Small things eh?

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Let's play Why Did I Buy a Lock? #buildingamystery

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The plan is to try to go to the gym a few times a week on my lunch break. I simply need to get into a routine because the last time I did the gym thing, I got very into it. Then I fell out of the routine and pretty much never went back.

The motivation of course is in the mirror every day. I want more energy. I want my clothes to fit better. I want to get ready for the next decade when it would be pretty easy to go downhill fast.

I would be more than thrilled to get back to where I was pre kids. So that means losing about 10-15 pounds and actually having some energy past 3:30 pm.

I don’t plan on sharing photos of my progress or even talking about it much. I’m doing it for me really and those who need me to be around for a long, long time. Besides, there are enough #dadbod photos all over the Internet.

So that’s my story. Hopefully I am all set and going strong as we hit October. I figure a week back at the gym warrants a giant Thanksgiving dinner right?

Wish me luck.

 

Culmination Of Irritation: 25 Things That Bug Me

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I believe there is a book called Don’t Stress The Small Stuff right? I believe I even read it back in the day. It’s true, worrying about every little thing can be paralyzing. But what if let the little things that you are not stressing build up into a dirty bomb of annoyance and anger? Yes, I believe I am feeling it these days and I am simply chalking it up to the culmination of irritation. Tick, tick.

We all have several things that bother us every day. That’s not news. For those of us who are parents, I have to say, those several things multiply faster than the cost of buying Diaper Genie refills. Why? Because you are taking on the worry and problems that your little kiddies bring to the table. Oh and spoiler alert, it does not seem to bother them, so that weight gets even heavier on your already tired shoulders.

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