My wife went to Los Angeles for a women’s conference recently. That means I get to be full-time, no partner, no tap-out dad all weekend long. And I love it! This was the first time with both our little girls, we had a lot of fun. And I drank a lot of coffee.
Every dad has these weekends.
Some of us more than others. It dawned on me most of us don’t start mentally preparing ourselves for it until the week of the trip. Why do I say that? I was talking with a co-worker the other day. His wife is going out of town too and he wasn’t quite prepared yet.
Our conversation got me thinking, maybe we dad’s like to fly by the seat of our pants, but we still need to have some basic guidelines for our weekend adventures. Otherwise, we will let our wives come home to a messy house, dirty kids, and a wild-eyed husband.
Here is your ever-growing Intentional Dad’s Guide to The Dad Weekend:
1) Remember What Makes You A Father: Raising Our Children
“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” — President Barack Obama
I came across this quote a few months ago and totally agree. Every moment we have with our kids is a moment to raise them up into the people that we will send out to the world someday. Think of this weekend like a conference for your kids to see how awesome their dad is and how awesome they can be.
2) Plan Your Food
We all know those Snickers commercials where people get hungry and turn into Betty White. Our children will go 0 to 100 on the ‘Hangry’ scale in a matter of seconds. My two-year-old is the prime example. She will be fine, happy, and cuddly one minute, and then all of a sudden she is screaming in my face mad.
Now, some dads are lucky to have wives who will do this ahead of time. My latest Dad Weekend, I told my wife we will be fine. She still got specific groceries and things we typically feed our girls, but she didn’t make it ahead of time. It was an adventure.
My One Tip: Time Your Meals
We went to the park the first day, and I let the time slip away. The girls began to meltdown. It is about a five-minute walk from the park to our house. I did it in a two-minute run with them strapped into the BOB stroller. We got back, I put apple sauce packs in hand and started working on the Mac ’N’ Cheese. It was a close one.
3) Treat Them to Something Special
Both of my girls like specific things. It's easy with my four-year-old. It’s a little harder with my two years old who isn’t quite talking full sentences yet. However, I tried to find somethings we could do specifically with each other on more of a one-on-one experience. It is hard if you are all by yourself, but it is possible.
My four-year-old and I did a movie night after little sis went to bed. We had popcorn and sweet drinks on the couch and watched a silly movie we rented. It was our own little in-home movie daddy-daughter date night. She loved it. And then she was exhausted and slept all night.
With my two-year-old, we did something a little more crafty. While we went to the park, I had brought a sweet treat with us. I brought two just in case we were caught by big sis, but we say down on the bench while big sis played and ate our treat together.
Both little experiences were fun and sweet times we shared just for us. And I know it means the world to these little girls to carve out that one-on-one time together.
Being focused 100% all by yourself can be a lot of work with your kids. Especially if you aren't prepared for it. Yet, when you have a plan, it isn't near as difficult. One of the best things You can do is make sure you have everything ready before the trip.
That makes life a little easier.