As a father who works 40 hours a week, there are few times, I get extended time with my wonderful little girls. After my wife took a trip to Los Angeles for a women’s conference, inspiration struck me. Her Friday afternoon to Sunday night trip provided me the opportunity to have my little girls all to myself.
To say the least, it was a great weekend. I learned things about my daughters. They might have learned things about me. Most of all, they know dad likes to have a good time but isn’t a sucker. Believe me, my two and four-year-olds really put me through the wringer.
Nonetheless, it was a great time, and everyone is alive. *I almost decided to edit this comment out because it is such a terrible thing to say when dad actually fulfills his dad's duties, but sometimes it feels true.* All that to say, we have three more points to the guide.
Here are three points to the Intentional Dad’s Guide to The Dad Weekend:
1. One Outing
My wife does this on a regular basis. She plans all the food, diapers, water and pit stops to get out of the house. Sometimes it’s to go grocery shopping. Other times it's for a play date. On special occasions, it’s to the zoo. But this is part of her day-to-day.
To plan to be out of the house with our two girls who are under five, there is a special window for hitting or not hitting a nap. We need to be fully loaded with snack rations, otherwise, we will have an epic meltdown. And it is important to have plenty of diapers.
An outing is key for your time. It’s a special time where you spend with them doing something they like to do. And trust me, they need to get out of the house. Otherwise, they will be climbing you or your furniture like spider monkeys looking for poo to throw. So, pick a destination and prepare like you are going camping.
2. One Chore
Growing up, we did chores on the weekend. We cleaned the house, did laundry, or did yard work. Typically, on our farm, we did that first before we went somewhere fun. When it is a Dad Weekend, the fun comes first. But the chores have to happen.
There is a three-fold reason for having a chore you do with your kids. The first one is to get them to buy into your family unit and home. It gives them ownership.
The second reason is it burns off treat energy. We need some way to move that sugar through their little bodies at a fast pace. Nothing like laundry or vacuuming to make it a reality.
The third reason is specific to our household. It blesses my wife when we do something she does every day. It is more than picking up the house. It’s really cleaning something or doing something that is important or hard for her. This also shows our kids the importance to serve those who take care of us and do so much for us.
3. One Lesson
As fathers, we need to be leading our households. We set the tone(link). And one important area we can lead is by teaching our kids lessons. Sometimes we get the easy lesson about cleaning up messes after spilled milk. Other times, we get to teach lessons about kindness or generosity.
One thing I have learned about my four-year-old is how much of a people person she is. She loves to meet new friends,’ and see people happy. This is good, but it also provided us with a valuable lesson while we were at the park.
As I said, my daughter likes to make new friends. She gets that from me, and my father before me. We were at the park and she walked up to these two little boys. One of them was a couple of years older than she was and the other was about her age. She politely asked their names and introduced herself and they played and told stories. Their parents were nowhere to be found.
Our neighborhood is safe, but my six and four-year-old won’t be out by themselves. Anyway, they asked if my sweet little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl wanted to go to their house and meet their older brother.
ALERT, ALERT, ALERT!!!
At this point, dad steps in, and we walk home discussing their invitation and who are friends and who are still strangers. We talked at length about going into people’s homes when they invite us. It was a long conversation, to say the least. But she understood. She even thanked me for being there with her and her sister. It was a sweet time for us.