Labor of Love

The flurry of activity that passed before my eyes triggered a flashback to another event filled moment in our lives. The day my daughter was born.

Originally published on CuteMonster.com

Over this past weekend, my wife and I threw a party for my two children to celebrate their birthdays. A small army of kids were invited with a seemingly even larger contingent of parents in tow. My wife was wise enough to rent a facility with an open space for the kids to run and play including a giant inflated play castle which allowed our tiny guests to jump inside with reckless abandon. The flurry of activity that passed before my eyes triggered a flashback to another event filled moment in our lives. The day my daughter was born.

My son was barely 2 years old at the time when my wife was carrying my soon to be born daughter. The pregnancy, relatively speaking, had gone smoothly up until that point in time. My wife and I knew what to expect and consequently felt more confident as the due date drew near. At about 4AM in the morning, my wife gently nudged me awake ( more like a loving right cross to the arm) announcing it was time. We grabbed our stuff, drove over to the in-laws to drop off our son, then headed to the hospital. It turned out our baby girl was still in rehearsal for the big show which at best guess would not be debuting for several hours. My wife and I went for breakfast followed by a nap at home. Once again I was awakened with a love tap (a soothing shot to the solar plexus) with the news break “We need to go!…but make me sandwich for the ride, I’m hungry.”

As we drove to the hospital, my wife would oscillate between writhing in pain from the contractions to taking ferocious grizzly bear bites of the sandwich I made her. It was quite comical to witness, especially since that sandwich I prepared was a gargantuan hero meant for the two of us. My beloved extremely pregnant wife, barely able to sit comfortably in her seat, found the presence of mind to devour every single bite of that sandwich while barking orders at me the entire journey. Unbeknownst to us, our baby daughter had other plans having canceled her matinee performance to prepare for the evening show instead.

Fast forward several hours of labor pain, the day had been encompassed by breathing exercises, walks in the hallway, and finally capped with an epidural treatment to ease my wife’s pain. All of sudden, in an alarmingly quick pace, our daughter emerged to greet us. Yet there was only silence. Her tiny lungs were filled with fluid which needed to be drained. Remarkably professional nurses cleared her lungs and suddenly our little lady’s first cry graced the world. “Daddy, I want pizza.” “What?” “Daddy, pizza! PiZZA!” “Oh. Okay.” My baby girl, now 2, tugged at my hand to hasten my pace. We had a party to attend and the food was ready.

Life moves in a flash. Savor every moment if you can. Challenges await parents every waking moment, and still, the little miracles we’re so privileged to witness remind us of why life can take us by surprise and shape us in ways we’ve never imagined. Never take that for granted. At least that’s what I remind myself every day.

How about you? What have been some of your most memorable moments in the early years of parenthood?

CuteMonster.comVincent Daly aka CuteMonsterDad is a graphic designer, writer, actor, artist and most importantly a husband and father. He is the founder of CuteMonster.com, a resource for Dads.

The Revolution Begins from Within

The deconstruction of the existence you once held dear runs parallel to the construction of the new man you are to become. Read CuteMonsterDad’s take on the ongoing Dad Revolution.

One of my CuteMonsters SnackingFor me, the word revolution has always conjured up images of violent epic battles fought for a noble cause.  Revolutionaries would sacrifice nearly everything to ensure a better future for themselves and generations to follow. As for fatherhood, the revolution really begins from within.  The battle waged is fought in the mind between one's independent self and the father to be.  Stress laden thoughts, sleepless nights, irrational fears and more can all be attributed to the enormous change an expectant father must attempt to grasp in a small window of time.  Yet similar to every revolution, one moment in history can be traced to the life changing catalyst that sparked the call to action.  For most Dads I would guess the revolution began not with a bang but rather the soft spoken words, "Honey, I'm pregnant." [ Insert expectant Dad's primal scream here]

The days and months that followed rushed by like a cascading effect that knocked down previously held priorities and erected new ones.  The deconstruction of the existence you once held dear runs parallel to the construction of the new man you are to become.  My fiercely independent self would need to adapt or get crushed by the reality about to unfold.  I remember often hearing from my friends and family members with children how I should "enjoy myself" now because once the kid arrives, everything changes.  That the freedoms my wife and I enjoyed and took for granted would no longer avail themselves to us as parents.  And it wasn't that they were necessarily trying to be vindictive, it was more along the lines of getting me prepared for my new life as a Dad, a family man.

Suffice to say, I was in crisis mode throughout most of my wife's pregnancy.  As our due date approached, my anxiety heightened.  When we attended Lamaze class my heartbeat would often drown out the sounds in the room.  I was lost in thought all except for one, our child will be what saves me.  Like a zen meditation mantra, it was the thought of our child "saving" me that gave me a sense of calm.  It was the one clear connection that enabled me to brush aside the mountain of thoughts that weighed heavily on my mind.

My son arrived two weeks early.  I remember in the months prior expressing to my wife how I was adamantly opposed to being in the room for the birth of our son.  "Just too much for me to handle!" I'd lament.  But on the day of my son's birth, it was all a blur.  I was in the room comforting my wife as she endured excruciating pain like a champion, then I remember a nurse rushing in demanding I "hold her leg!"  Several exhausting pushes later by my beloved and I was officially a Daddy.  I felt dumbstruck but not anxious.  The weight had been lifted and replaced by awe.  Shortly after a nurse had cleaned up our son and approached me.  She asked if I'd like to hold my son.  I almost unconsciously replied to her, "no, that's okay" because quite frankly, I had never held a newborn baby let alone my own.  She smiled at me knowingly, handed me my son and I in turn just stared for what seemed like hours at this little life before me.  The revolution was in full swing.

Three years later I'm now the father of two beautiful children.  The joy and challenges of fatherhood continue to evolve as our children grow.  So too does the context of the Dad revolution.  External factors such as the economy have introduced many men to the world of being a full time parent commonly called a Stay at Home Dad (SAHD).  Overall, the parenting landscape has begun to shift dramatically towards an equal partnership between men and women.  A partnership in which men and women are not interchangeable in their roles as Fathers and Mothers, but rather complement each other in a concerted effort to provide the best upbringing for their children.  I look forward to the days that lie ahead.  My own revolution continues and there will be stories to tell, laughter to enjoy, and lessons to be learned.  Long live CuteMonster and long live the Dad Revolution.

Not all revolutions are faught with guns

Hello, I am @TheDADvocate better known as Kevin. My story starts slightly differently from my fellow revolutionaries as it should. I started bloging on April 11, 2009 at  MySpellingSucks.com. Only a few weeks into my new blogging hobby I wrote an article on the seventh aniversary of the loss of our first pregnancy. The article was titled Seven Years and one of my wife’s friends read the article and pointed my wife to it. After reading the article my wife decide to do something completely out of character for her and submitted it along with a beautiful letter to our local magazine, The East Cobber.

Every June The East Cobber runs a Father of the Year contest and the article won me the honor of the position.  I was very honored, but I was also puzzled. Why did a simple article about loving my family qualify me as father of the year? The question stayed with me through the summer and into the early fall. At one point I was running to The Home Depot <not a sponsor but we sure would welcome them> and observing all the other dads doing their homely duties and the term DADvocate shot into my head. The term had imeadiate weight and meaning and in combination with the question of why expressing love for my family made me father of the year, sparked a new project. The DADvocate Project: I launched The DADvocate Project in November. I wanted to find out if most dads were like me. I believed that they were. I wanted to do a project related to my family because I’m happiest when interacting with them. I knew nothing about the daddy blogging community yet. I was on twitter but more to network locally then to find a community of dads. I defined three phases to the project with a survey, an interview series, and a book. I always need one more dad to take the survey so if you haven’t and your interested in being part of it go to The DADvocate Project Survey. Finally: I was honored when the dad’s here asked me to join their Dad Revolution as I have been a lot less involved in the daddy community then many of them have been. That said you should expect to see a different perspective form me in the following ways.

  1. As far as I know I’m the only dad here who has a childe with  a disability and I will blog on issues with that occasionally. IF you are truly interested in the disability aspect watch MySpellingSucks.com
  2. I will often talk about the numbers, according to my survey results, related to a daddy topic that is being covered.
  3. Finally, I can’t avoid it if I wanted to, I’ll share ancditoes about my children and everything I learn from them and hopefully occasionally things I taught them.

The DadRevolution is not about guns or bringing an edgy attitude but much more about being a real man, one who lives up to his responsibilities, not down to societies standards. The DadRevolution is about a bunch of MEN who are great dads because they want to be not because they have to be. The DadRevolution is about loveing your family and kicking lifes butt at the same time. The DadRevolution is about helping us and other MEN understand our roll in society. It is also about helping society understand our role as we have defined it not as society/Hollywood defines it. We are here to take back our role in society now Join The Revolution  or get out of the way.