This year our twins turned 5-years-old.
It sounds cliché, but it seems like yesterday that my wife and I were regularly changing diapers (like 25 a day!). Now this fall they’ll enroll in kindergarten. This blows my mind.
These past 5 years as a father have taught me a lot (and I’ve still got a lot to learn). So, I wanted to share 5 life lessons I’ve learned in 5 years as a father. These lessons are useful whether you’re a parent or not.
1. Routine Is Key (aka Don’t Wing It)
My wife and I learned right away that when you have twins, routine is key. As the kids have gotten older, we have witnessed firsthand how they thrive with structure, consistency and knowing what to expect with each day. There is no second guessing when it comes meal times, teeth brushing, getting dressed, bathing, bedtime, and all the other jazz. Because of this (for the most part), we rarely have to “negotiate” with our kids as the decisions have been made. Sure, we have to “wing it” now and then, and (and that’s a BIG and), I’ve found that winging it is easy when you’re well prepared.
2. Just Because You Didn’t Have It Doesn’t Mean They Shouldn’t
At times over the past 5 years, I’ve found myself saying things like, “They don’t need that, I never had it and I turned out ok,” when it comes to certain items or experiences. But here’s the thing, just because I didn’t experience or have something, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t. How I grew up has nothing to do with my kids. I have the opportunity to provide a life for them that I never could have imagined and I’m going to do it without my past or old stories getting in the way.
3. What Shows Up When You Show Up?
Though I work in the public eye and can regularly be seen smiling on stages and making people laugh or giving a compelling television interview, at home at times I can be more quiet, reflective, and dare I say…serious. I’ve seen how this energy (that sometimes I’m unaware of) can impact the kids. So, I regularly have to remind myself before entering our home, or leaving the home office after a day of work, to choose to bring joy and playfulness to my experiences with my family. Whether I’m tired or not doesn’t matter. We have to ensure we give our best to the people who matter most.
4. Have Something On The Calendar
At our household, we have Meatball Monday, Waffle Wednesday, Pizza Friday (so much for alliterations), and Pancake Sunday. I never knew how much fun and value it would create having these events on the calendar (and also make meal planning easier). This makes each day feel special rather than a repeat of the day before and helps avoid monotony. Further, it keeps forward momentum. Even more, it brings me so much joy to make them pancakes from scratch on Sunday mornings and I truly look forward to it.
5. Your Kids Will Be Your Teachers
Before I had kids, someone I greatly respect told me that my kids will be “my teachers.” I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time but I’ve found this to be 100% true. From my kids I’ve learned to greet each day with enthusiasm. I’ve learned to pay attention to the small things. I’ve learned to get lost in play. I’ve learned to unleash my inner artist and imagination. And I’ve learned not to take things so seriously.