In the morning when I get home from the early classes at Activate Fitness I rush to make shakes for my wife and I. With the sound of foot steps and ice being crushed and blended for our morning smoothie, the little critters begin to stir. Our neurologically impaired cats tip and tumble their way to their food bowl and begin begging for breakfast. The other little critters yell for Mommy or a show. They want to sit and watch Bo on the Go or Care Bears or some other stupid children toon show. But we have to go. I run a mid morning class at the gym, and they come with. It’s a dash to get out of the house early enough to make it to the gym so I can get my personal workout done before the next wave of awesome Activators rolls through. Some days I get half a workout done, and I’m cool with that. Once the members come in and class begins it’s often a fight to get my kids to sit in their gated area away from swinging kettlebells and flying jump ropes. But they listen and usually it’s only because I promise them Turkey Bacon Jerky or a lollipop.
In between the mid morning class and the evening classes at Activate Fitness, it’s home for us and the insanity ensues. Being a stay at home dad has changed my life and while it’s for better there are times when it’s been for the worse as I’ve had to battle with emotions and feelings about getting the job done and handling the constant need for attention. Here are five things I have learned in my time staying home with my two silly fun kids.
1. I have more Patience than I thought.
Screaming kids, spilled milk, carpet stains, nap fighting, and kids not listening on a consistent basis is nerve racking and mind blowing. Some days I feel like mush and brain fucked but I realize that I have more patience than I ever thought I do. While it can get crazy and completely overwhelming, it’s just spilled milk. I’d rather see spilled milk than baby shit on the walls.
2. Tend Your Field
As a business owner and someone who enjoys books and writing, I find it extremely difficult to get the job done. There are too many days that go in a row where I don’t write or read with total concentration. This used to infuriate me until I heard a man named Earl Nightingale talk about “tending our field” and doing the best we can. What he means is that in this moment we have a field that needs to be taken care of. It could be driving to the store or giving your children a bath. That moment is the field of life that you’re in and your purpose at that moment is to take care of that field to the best of your ability. So when I am home and I’m stressed out about setting up consultations at the gym and my kids are telling me they’re hungry, my field isn’t booking a consultation. It’s sitting down and feeding my children a healthy meal and being present with them. This is by far the hardest struggle I face each day but recently after a talk I heard by my mentor, I’ve been working on stopping and smelling the roses.
3. Each Day Is A New Day
Kids have much to teach us, especially about letting things go. Each day is a new day for my kids and they act like it. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday’s matters or tomorrow’s worries. They just be. Part of me tries hard to let it be and I think that’s the problem. Trying to let it be and actually letting it be are different. I believe there is no trying, it’s just being. This lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids. Circumstances arise each day and being like water and going with the flow is a lot easier on the mind and creates less stress than trying to plug the holes and mend the dam.
4. Their Eyes Are On You
And they want me to put my eyes on them, they want you to see them. Kids watch our every move and listen to everything we say. They create their personalities based off of what ours are like. Kids only want love and approval from their parents and each day they want to learn something new about life. They spill milk and they look at us to see how someone should react. They build a fort out of sheets and toys and look at us for approval of a job well done. They look at the problem they face and look at us to see if they have the ability to find the solution or for advice on how to solve the problem. Kids are watching every move we make and every move they make they are watching us to see if we notice. Stop and take it in.
5. Time Management
I believe there is a need for three to five things to be done daily to help my business grow. I believe they can be tackled in an hour or two. The rest of the time is spent wasted and by being constrained with time because of tending to the needs of children, I’ve learned that with focused effort the work needed to be done can be done quickly. There is a lot of time spent wasted when we don’t concentrate on the vital tasks that need action. Many people create useless meetings, useless reports, useless filing, and instead of doing the three to five things that create progress, they waste time that could be spent building relationships, loving family, or taking care of our self. It’s amazing what can be and how fast when you have kids running around.