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Mar 262012
 

As you’ve probably been aware from some of my more recent posts I’ve been doing quite a bit of “self discovery” work. In fact, I’ve been working through a very formal program over the last 8+ months in which I’ve logged well in excess of 200 hours. My time has been spent in both group and individual settings in which I’ve worked through so many old hurts.

In fact, I would say before I started my work I was an extreme co-dependent. I couldn’t identify very well with “who I was”, I had no boundaries, plenty of false beliefs about who I was and who I wasn’t and for the most part was just not “aware”.

Since then I’m very confident in who I am. I have great use, understanding, and awareness of my boundaries. I affirm myself daily and no longer hold false beliefs of not being good enough as well as others. I’ve rid myself (not all but a good majority) of old hurts, fears, and bad feelings. I now know how to identify with feelings and welcome all of them. I’m a much better husband, father, friend, and employee. In many ways I’m a completely different person. The last 8 months were certainly the hardest (in terms of self work) I’ve ever done. It would be akin to extreme dieting with mega workouts. I went places I never wanted to go (emotionally) and saw things I only wished prior would’ve stayed buried. I’ve learned that to get to the other side you have to go through hell first.

I would describe my journey as having been driven down the wrong road most of my life. Now, I’m on the right road. It’s a long road and one that will only end when I pass on. I will continue to learn and grow as I travel down this new road. The gift I have now though is the unlimited ability to not only love myself but everyone else around me. I’m so much more free now than I’ve ever been and plan to give more than I ever knew I was capable of.

With all this said, I’ve started another site called, www.TinyChunks.com. Don’t ask where I got the name. Have you tried searching the web for an available name that doesn’t sound completely horrible? Yeah, well that’s where I was left. The tag line as it reads today is “of Love” so I suppose “Tiny Chunks of Love” is a little more palatable and hopefully relatable to the content. So what is the content? Well I gave myself a challenge a week ago. I have a list of all the qualities of our inherent nature. All the qualities that you and I (everyone) are born with. I decided to take on the challenge of putting these single words into short sayings that could easily and quickly be read. It allows me to remind myself that I have these qualities and as important it’s a great reminder for all of you as well. It’s something that will ring true for you, your parents, your children, and everyone else around you. I’m hoping to put a little bit of a creative spin on them so they’re as interesting to read as they are to be aware of. Right now I’m planning to post one a day during the week. Of course, at some point I’ll run out and I’m not sure what will happen then. I’m also thinking of other things I might be able to do with the site as well. By all means if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them! 

Lastly, I want to mention that although I’ve been away a bit from DadStreet it’s still a site I have every intention on maintaining and posting on. I found myself talking more about “well being” as it relates to adults and DadStreet has always been about parenting. So in the future when I speak about “well being” I’ll do so in the context of parenting and our children.

I hope you check out www.TinyChunks.com and share whatever resonates with you. Of course, I also hope you continue to come back to DadStreet as I ramp up postings in the near future.

Much love to you all and thank you so much for your support!

Jan 232012
 

Yesterday afternoon, men all across the country (I’m sure the world) were engulfed with the very thing so many of us have trouble explaining…feelings.

I know I speak from experience when I say that I was so anxious, scared, happy, pissed off, shocked, and disappointed as I watched “My Baltimore Ravens” GIVE the game away. In fairness, even if we made that very routine field goal in the end it wasn’t a guaranteed win but damn, did we play an amazing game!

Something occurred to me this morning though. I thought about all those emotions that go along with supporting our favorite sports teams. There are some guys that can watch a game, come out feeling happy or slightly disappointed (depending on the outcome of the game), and then an hour later act as though nothing happened. Of course, the reality and what’s much more common is mass emotions. If their team wins they are elated, the world around them is the most amazingly beautiful place and everyone is treated with love and kindness.

What happens if his team loses?

Watch out! Weeding out those guys that will actually get physical with someone you’re still left with your average dude. The average dude is going to be pissed if his team loses. Not just pissed for a few minutes either but for a while, maybe even days. He may take it out on his wife, his kids, his co-workers but he’s going to be pissed.

This morning I wondered why many men, myself included (in the past), take these things so personally and just get so upset! Many men are performance driven. We’re praised on the things we accomplish and criticized for the things we underperform in. What’s worse, many of us live under a false belief that we’re not good enough.

In the beginning of this post I intentionally referred to “My Ravens” and “we” when talking about the Ravens. I was born and raised in Baltimore so of course I support the Ravens. However, it’s more than that. The Ravens have somehow now become me. “We lost”, “We won”, “If only we…”, “How could we…”, and a myriad of other things we tell ourselves about “our” team. Some how the success or failure of the teams we support become personalized and we define ourselves by their actions. What happens is that the false belief of “I’m not good enough” gets reinforced. It’s not just that the Ravens lost. It becomes, “we lost”, “we suck”, “we’re not good enough”….

Of course, we don’t go around actually saying, “we’re not good enough” but that’s exactly what we tell ourselves inside. Afterall, what would explain acting out like a small child, screaming, pissed off, and overall sour over game?

We’re not going to be able to resolve these not good enough feelings in this post but the next time the guy in your life ruins the rest of his day, your day, and everyone else’s day around him remember the following:

He’s not this mad that the (Insert favorite sports team here) lost the game. He’s this mad because he’s been lying to himself about who he is and he was just reminded about that lie. Validate his feelings and let him know it’s perfectly okay to be pissed. More importantly let him know how much he’s loved and how important he is. Any opportunity you have to remind him that he is good enough will go a long way to ensuring that he doesn’t have to wait for his team to win to feel like a winner. He’s already a winner, he just doesn’t know it yet.

Feb 162011
 

It was late afternoon and I had received a call at work from the wife. She works four days a week as a Lead Radiation Therapist. It happened to be that this was the one day a week she stays home with O and Jake. She had been in a lot of pain and thought that she pulled a muscle in her back. Having back problems never occured to me in the past but since having kids  I’ve come to realize it’s only a matter of time. Given the severity of her pain I thought it’d be best if I came home to help her.

Shortly after getting home she took off for Urgent Care. I spent some time with O and Jake while trying to finish up some work I had to do. At one point Jake actually wound up falling asleep in my arms which was terribly sweet. I know those days are numbered and I’m going to cherish those moments forever.

The wife came back with a story that really got under my nerves. She told me that the Dr. who saw her started questioning about her breastfeeding. Jake is 17 months and she still partially breastfeeds him.

Dr. Ignoranus: Are you breastfeeding?
The Wife: Yes
Dr. Ignoranus: How much does your baby weigh?
The Wife: 27 pounds
Dr. Ignoranus: Wow, he’s big! How old is he?
The Wife: 17 months.
Dr. Ignoranus: Well, this may be a sign you should stop breastfeeding.
The Wife: Why is that?
Dr. Ignoranus: Well, he’ll be hitting “the terrible two’s” soon and it’s going to be really hard to ween him if you wait much longer. Plus, it’s putting this extra stress on your back.
The Wife: **dumbfounded**

When she shared this conversation with me, I was pissed!! Terrible Two’s? Weening? The answer to solving your back problem?

Furious!

Both my wife and I have been advocates for breastfeeding. Part of the reason more women don’t breastfeed is because there are ignorant health care professionals out there that disuade Moms from doing so. Why?? I haven’t the slightest clue but it’s robbing a natural birth right of the Mom! For millions of years Moms have been breastfeeding their babies. Two thirds of the world still practices breastfeeding. Look I’m not saying that there aren’t physical or medical reasons not to breastfeed. I’m saying that for your “normal healthy” Mom she should be encouraged to breastfeed. Again, if you’re a Mom and you cannot for whatever reason that doesn’t mean you’ve failed or are wrong in anyway. I’m just speaking to the encouragement of breastfeeding from the public.

Dr. Ignoranus brought up the “terrible two’s” and back problems as reasons to ween. What? First of all, how in the world does she know that Jake is going to go through the “terrible two’s”? Second of all, you don’t stop breastfeeding cause it’s going to take an extra week to ween. That’s just stupid! She continued to say that she should stop because she pulled her back muscle. What? Oh, so if I injure myself eating, should I just stop eating? How about encouraging her to excercise or hold Jake a little differently? Just ridiculous!

Anyway, as you might be able to tell I’m a bit livid about this. It bothers me that my wife received unsolicited advice and completely ignorant and incorrect advice at that about the raising of Jake. I’m all about giving advice, I do it all the time. But this is ridiculous.

If you’re a dad or about to be a dad and are reading this? Please, support your wives as best you can. No, we don’t actually have baby sucking on our nipples…Thank GOD!! But if this is something you’re wife is pursuing, encourage her the best you can. Just because you’re not physically breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t help her with purchasing products she might need (like Lansinoh breastpads, creams, etc.). I’m not going to get into the benefits of breastfeeding on this post but Dads you should own this responsibility and really, “Gift” as much as your wives do. Support breastfeeding, support your wives, and question all the time when it comes to the health, safety, and well being of our little ones.

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