Raising Children: Concepts I’d Like to Instill

Raising Children: Seven Concepts I’d Like to Instill

I’ve always had ideas of what I would like to teach my children once they entered the world. “Golf is the greatest sport of all time” or “Math is so easy” are two examples, but now that my son is finally here I’ve found myself thinking about things I want him to learn that hold so much more relevance and importance to life. I want him and his future siblings to be the very best humans, friends, and all around people that they can be. I’ve learned many lessons throughout my life, but I think the next seven concepts will help in raising my children, and I also think these ideas will help my children traverse this crazy world all that much easier.

Relaxing Without Technology

To me, this is the most important thing that I want to instill while my children are young. I don’t want them to be reliant on a phone, tablet, or computer to relax or settle themselves down. I’m sure there will be a time and a place when my significant other and I will use technology to soothe our children, but I would like those times and places to be very few and far between. There are so many other things that can be used to calm that fussing, and many of those also offer tangible benefits to development and brain activity. I’m sure there are countless individuals right now saying something along the lines of, “But Dusty, introducing children to technology at a young age helps them better understand it as they grow.” I can see your point with that statement, but I also think you can teach your children about technology without allowing them to glue their faces to a screen in order to stay calm.

I want my children to be as unplugged as possible. In fact, I want this to carry over into their adult lives as well. I’ll admit, I’m no saint when it comes to screen time. I’m a huge gamer so if I have any free time away from work you will more than likely find me plopped right in front of my TV grinding away at whatever game I’m currently playing. Clearly, I’m also a blogger (and I happen to be working on a novel as well), so you can see how I have a requirement to use technology there as well. But the thing is, I can distinguish when I need to set my phone or controller down to spend time with those around me. Nothing bothers me more than when I’m surrounded by friends or family and every single person is on their phone. I hope that by raising children to soothe themselves without technology they will also learn the social cues that will help them avoid becoming a nomophobe later in life.

Reading is Awesome

I don’t think there will be any problem instilling this within my children. I love to read, especially if it is anything within the realm of fantasy. Granted, working full time, blogging on the side, and writing a book doesn’t leave much time for me to read much outside of my own work, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. My significant other is an English and Reading teacher as well, so she constantly has her nose in books too. On top of that, I am a firm believer that reading grows one’s creativity exponentially, and I can say that I wouldn’t be as creative as I am today without the countless books I’ve read throughout my life. Ideally, I’d like to tie this directly into tech-less soothing and have my children remain relaxed via reading. It’s been proven time and time again that reading helps so many people deal with high levels of stress or anxiety, so why can’t it be used to calm down or relax a child?

Education Over Everything

This also ties into the previous concept since reading is such an integral aspect of education. When I was growing up, school always came first. The second I was home I sat at my desk and pumped out all of my homework before doing anything else. This not only taught me valuable time management skills that I still use to this day, but it also taught me how to prioritize the things that are most important, and to plan for things that are on the horizon. A good education can also bring a child much needed scholarship and grant money if they’re planning on going to college. Some people may argue that education may be important but athletic scholarships are more important. While I don’t completely disagree with that, what happens when your star athlete child is injured and can no longer play? They need that education as a fail-safe for any and all unfortunate occurrences, which is why I will try to instill in my children that their education stands well above anything else.

Be Outside During Daylight Hours

This was something that I wish I would’ve adhered to a little more when I was younger. As I mentioned previously, I am a huge gamer and have been ever since my dad bought me my first Game Boy back in ’98. The second I finished my homework I dove into video games until I went to bed. On Saturday mornings you would find me up at the crack of dawn watching cartoons, and I wouldn’t move from that couch until I was told to. Both of these things led to me being a pretty obese child, which is something I think could have easily been avoided if I had been an outside more.

Other than the clear increase in exercise or activity, there are many other additional benefits that we receive from being outside. The vitamin D our bodies absorb from the sun is a key ingredient in developing strong bones and immune systems. Their creativity and ingenuity levels have a strong chance of developing as they try to keep themselves entertained with new games and activities. It can also teach children important social skills that will help them socialize with other children their age.

Practice Makes Perfect

I know, what a cliché, but it is 100% true. I learned this very early on in life from my father, who believe it or not, bought me a multiplication book that changed how I did math for the rest of my life. That may sound extremely lame, but I am dead serious when I say practice does actually make perfect. I was probably six or seven when he bought me that book and I tore through it once he showed me how to do a few problems. From there I started doing math in my head whenever I had the chance. I was that weird child who would calculate tax out at dinner or figure out the cash back at the grocery store before the teller input the amounts into the computer. I still to this day am the friend in my friend group who everyone looks to when they need any sort of math done.

Now, this obviously doesn’t only apply to math. It can apply to sports, reading, playing an instrument, or even something as simple as riding a bike, and that is what I want my children to know. They will fail at some point, but getting back up, dusting themselves off, and trying again will lead to better results. Along with all of this my children will hopefully realize that all of that practice also instills other key life skills: drive, dedication, a solid work ethic, and how to have fun just to name a few.

You Can be Anything You Want To Be

This is something that most children probably hear from their parents at some point in their lives, but I don’t think many kids realize how true that statement actually is. I want my children to know that they can be anything they want to be, but that sometimes, you won’t actually know what that thing is until later in life. For example, when I was growing up I told everyone I could that I wanted to be an architect. Funny thing is, I got to high school and my architect teacher told me that I would be a better engineer because I was good with math and science. So I went to college to be an engineer… and hated it so much that by my second semester I switched to economics. From there, I changed my mind three more times before settling back into finance which is what I do today. But I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was two years removed from college! It’s hard to find something in this world that you are truly passionate about and can enjoy doing for work, so I will urge my children as they age to cast their net wide in the hopes of finding what they truly want to be.

Be Confident in Yourself

As an obese child, confidence was something I severely lacked. As I aged, I gained little chunks of confidence here and there, but nothing ever really helped. However, by my junior year of college I finally became comfortable and confident with myself, and since then I’ve felt like a completely different person. I was no longer afraid to be in large groups of people. I no longer afraid of getting called on during class. That confidence even carried into my career and has helped me become a better analyst. I no longer fear what could happen if I make a wrong assumption with my work. I’m not afraid to ask a tough question if I know the answer will better me or the company. Like I said earlier, sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed, and as someone with little to no confidence you may be afraid to fail. That fear of wondering what may happen if you fail can eat away at you, and that is why I want to be sure my children are confident with everything they do at a young age. I don’t want them to worry about standing in front of people to read, perform, et cetera.

While all the above are important, the one concept we want our children to adhere to day in and day out is to be kind. That goes above simply “treating others the way you want to be treated”. We want our children to know what it means to be a good friend or a good partner. This means our children will be willing to be helpers as well as listeners, they will stand up for what is right even if that means they will stand alone, and they will not pass any judgements on others. Kindness is something this world needs more of and the best place to start in creating more is raising our children with it.

For more original content, be sure to follow the link below. From there you will find all of my blog posts, anything related to my book or mini-series, and even some bonus content every now and again. Thanks for stopping by DustyPosts!

Child “Milestones” I Can’t Wait For

Five “Milestones” I Can’t Wait for My Son to Reach

Before you read any further, I just want you to know what type of post this will be. I’m sure you noticed that I have the word milestones in quotations, so this will not be an ordinary dad blog factoid milestone post. My child “milestones” will be much less developmental and will mainly just be things I want to see my son do. I’m obviously still excited for his first words and all of that other stuff, but these upcoming items are things that I rank much, much higher in the grand scheme of things.

1 – The First Time He Swings a Golf Club

It’s an understatement to say that I love golf. My friends and I have been playing together since freshman year of college and I have been playing since I was in elementary school. My grandfather got me into golf when I was about eight years old so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I played up until my sophomore year of high school, which was when baseball began taking up every waking second of each and every day. Looking back, I wish I would have stuck with golf rather than baseball, but you live and you learn.

I’ve always known that I wanted kids, and on top of that, I’ve always known that I wanted to be able to share the game of golf with them at a young age. So, when my son Jack was born, I started planning it all out in my head. The second he could stand and start to put steps together, he was getting clubs. When we’re bored with whatever is on TV, the swing tip and trick shot videos are getting busted out. I would build a putting green in my backyard so the two of us could challenge each other to putt and chip-offs whenever we want. All of this will be followed by a full ride to Stanford too if you were wondering (LOL). And the funny thing, my friends have the same mindset. My best friend’s fiancĂ© told me that she had to remove a set of toddler clubs from their Amazon cart before they came to visit us in the hospital!

Golf clearly runs deep in our veins, and the mere thought of my little boy wrapping his hands around those cute little baby clubs and taking his first hack gives me butterflies. I know it may sound like I am doing this to make my son become the greatest golfer to ever play the game (which isn’t an awful idea), but it’s truly not my goal. Golfing with my buddies is one of my favorite hobbies and the joy, memories, and endless loops of laughs will always be remembered. But I imagine having all of those same memories with my son and I can think of nothing better. It’s something we will always have too. I will play until my back breaks, my legs give out, or a doctor tells me my body can no longer take the strain of the greatest game ever played. I know that first swing is going to melt my heart like an ice cream cone taken outside on a warm Florida afternoon, and I can wholeheartedly say that I can’t wait for that day to arrive.

2 – His First Bite of Ice Cream

This is a weird one, but if my son is anything like me, I think this will be quite the sight to see. If I had to pick one food item that I would eat no matter what time of the day, how full I was, or where I happened to be… I would choose ice cream. More specifically, Publix’s very own Moose Tracks ice cream. I’m not sure why, but eating it makes me so happy. It’s probably because it’s one of those things my dad would always have for me when I went to visit him growing up, or it could be because I’m just a tub of lard (LOL), but either way it always puts a smile on my face. So, now I just sit here imagining that same ridiculous smile spreading across my son’s face when that delicious vanilla ice cream filled with peanut butter cups, chocolate chunks, and fudge swirl graces his taste buds for the first time. It will be pure bliss for both of us, and I can guarantee you that I’ll capture it on video.

3 – When He Finishes His First Harry Potter

If you’re familiar with any of my content, you know that Harry Potter was a cornerstone of my childhood. I’ve read each book many, many times, I’ve seen all the movies and played all the games, I own an array of HP blankets, and have even dedicated an entire shelf to the Harry Potter aesthetic on the book case in my home. Granted, the latter part is mostly because my son’s mother is an even bigger Harry Potter fan than I am, but you get the point. We’re both super nerds when it comes to Harry Potter (which makes sense as we’re both Ravenclaws) and we’re itching to see our boy dive into one of the greatest novel series of all time.

Along with answering all the questions he will have as he speed reads through each book, I will have a permeant excuse to binge all the movies whenever “he” wants to watch them, tell the story of how I once corrected a few mistakes on a librarian’s Prisoner of Azkaban test after she told me I didn’t get a 100%, and seeing the joy on his face when he also finds out that he’s a Ravenclaw (otherwise we’re disowning him LOL). Sounds like a win-win-win in my book.

4 – His First Steps

I know I said I wasn’t talking anything “developmental”, but I lied. This is probably the thing I am most excited for over the next year of my son’s life. The first steps mark an incredible monument for any child, but it also means he can stand… which means steps to begin developing numero uno can finally be put into action. I’m pretty sure my boy will be walking very early since he has the strongest neck and legs of any two month old I have EVER seen, but even if it happens around the usual mark, I know that means the other milestones I’m itching to see are around the corner.

5 – That First T-Ball Game

You may be wondering why this isn’t “his first swing of a baseball bat”, but I can explain. As excited as I am for my son to follow in my footsteps and play baseball, I am probably more excited to watch his mother’s face when he begins to play baseball. Earlier I mentioned that golf was the greatest game ever played. However, if you asked my son’s mother what the greatest game ever played was, she would simply respond by claiming that it was on a Wednesday in Cleveland. She is a die-hard Cubs fan and has already assured me that our son will be too. She’s one of those people who will watch every single game that’s televised, and if she can’t watch, you damn well know she is checking the box-score on her phone. When we first met, she actually paid more attention to the Cubs game that was on the TV at the bar than she did to me! Her love for baseball makes me so happy, so you have to imagine how important his first game will be for me. I’ll get to stand by her side as she coaches our son, and the second he does anything, whether good or bad, I will get to watch her fill with joy knowing that our son is finally a baseball player.

After all is said and done, if my boy ends up hating golf, if he tells me that Moose Tracks is the worst flavor of ice cream he has ever tasted, or even if he ends up being a Slytherin, I will always be proud of him. I know he will grow up to be an incredible man who will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by with him, and before I know it, all of these “milestones” will have come and gone. So as much as I can’t wait for everything mentioned above, I’m also completely content with waiting for them. I’m going to enjoy every single waking second with this handsome young man, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in our next chapter together.

Six Newborn Diaper Bag Essentials

Six Diaper Bag Essentials for a Newborn: A Dad’s Perspective

As a first-time dad, there’s a lot of strange, new things that get thrown your way within the first few weeks of your child’s birth – much of which you have absolutely no idea how to handle. Like when your little boy continuously pees out of his diaper because no one at the hospital told you to point his downstairs mix-up south when changing diapers. Or the fact that babies sphincters don’t always fully close, which causes reflux, so they can sound really phlegmy and sick (which is big deal with COVID-19 looming over everything) after eating. With all of that being said, one of the biggest struggles I’ve faced so far has been packing the right items into the diaper bag at any given time. So, for all the other first time dads and moms out there who have no clue what to bring, enjoy my newborn diaper bag essentials list. Most of which were things I had to learn the hard way, but you may not need to.

The Diaper Bag Itself

It’s pretty hard to do just about anything for your newborn once you’re out of the house if you forgot the one key item that holds all of their key items. If I’m being honest, of the ten times I’ve left the house with my son in the last month, I’ve forgotten to grab the diaper bag on seven or eight of those occasions. I’m usually the least forgetful person, but for some reason that darn diaper bag never hits my radar of things to grab as I’m leaving. So don’t forget this, or you will be the butt-end of some jokes… trust me.

Diapers and Changing Pad, Duh

Newborn Diaper Bag Essentials

Another no-brainer that I have left out of the diaper bag a handful times is spare diapers and somewhere to change my son when the time comes. Luckily for me, the only times we’ve had to change him in public I had remembered to pack the changing pad, but there have been times when he needed a diaper change, and he didn’t get one because there were no spare diapers. Good thing for me that we haven’t been any more than ten minutes away from our house at any given point over the last month LOL.

Extra Outfits for Unexpected Messes

Another area we have been very lucky in so far has been the explosive poop everywhere category, which has only happened once. We were at home when this happened, but let me tell you what, we will never leave the house without extra clothes after seeing what that boy did to them with that poop! I could not imagine that happening and having to walk, carry, or smell him any longer than the walk from our living room to his room took.

Wipes and Hand Sanitizer for, Well, More Unexpected Messes

Newborn Diaper Bag Essentials

One thing I never thought I’d be okay with was having baby poo on my hand, but over the last three weeks, I’ve just grown to accept that it’s going to happen and I’m going to have to get used to it. All it takes is one swift leg kick while changing a diaper and the hand holding that leg slips from your newborn’s leg and slides right into some liquidy brown child matter. Which is where the saviors of all saviors, wipes and hand sanitizer, come in. If my hand touched poop while I was in public with my son and I didn’t have wipes or sanitizer, he would be getting handed off ASAP in order for me to sprint to the nearest restroom and wash my hands before I got sick.

Pacifiers and Pacifier Clips

This may not seem like that big of a deal, but having a pacifier (or three) nearby can always be handy. They’re perfect for right after feeding and burping when your newborn is acting like they want more food. It can calm them down just enough for them to drift off to sleep, or it could just soothe them to continue that feeding motion and feel like they’re eating. However, at a certain point, your newborn will not want the pacifier anymore and it will fall from their mouth. Or, in my son’s case, will projectile out of his mouth with such velocity you would have thought a five-year old just threw it across the room. And this is where the pacifier clips play a crucial role, because they save that binky from flying away from you and onto the filthy floor. These clips have saved countless binky rip outs, spits, and falls so far and you will not catch me without one attached to a binky at all times.

A Spare Bottle and Some Formula

Newborn Diaper Bag Essentials

Now this one falls more towards the first time father side of things, but having a spare bottle and some formula packed in the diaper bag can be quite the life saver for any dad roaming on his own. I’d like to think that seven out of ten times when your newborn is crying, they’re hungry. So if you run out for what you think will be a quick trip somewhere but end up being out longer than anticipated, that baby is probably gunna get hangry. And, as a father, if you aren’t with the child’s mother or if she isn’t breastfeeding, you’re kinda SOL since, you know, you can’t breastfeed. So, be sure to always have that bottle ready with the formula on hand to make your newborn happy.

Parenting can be rough some times. The sleepless nights, the endless flow of poop from your child’s rear, and the constant worry of something being wrong already make life hard enough. With the help of these newborn diaper bag essentials, you don’t need to let a disgusting poop hand, a stinky diapered baby, or the absence of a diaper bag make your life any harder.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the parenting tag on DustyPosts often for more advice, life-hacks, and all around general baby knowledge.

Five Must Buys for Newborns

Five Must Buys for Your Newborn

Taking care of a newborn can seem like quite the daunting task. Constant diaper changes and the fear of doing something your child won’t like loom around every baby-proofed corner of your home, but it doesn’t have to all be so difficult. This list includes five must buys for newborns that have made my life as a first time parent so much easier, and I bet they can make yours easier too!

#1 – A Great Stroller

Must Buy for Newborns

This might seem obvious, but a good stroller goes a long way. As a finance guy, when the stroller research began I immediately took note of how expensive they were. Even for a generic, run-of-the-mill stroller you’re probably going to spend close to $200. Before we pulled trig on buying one we decided to run up to the local target to test out a few of the ones we had read good reviews about online. I knew within about five minutes of testing though that we wouldn’t be going with any of the basic strollers. They were all clunky feeling, and none of them were that easy to fold down. That was a big concern of mine because I didn’t want my significant other to have to struggle with a stroller once I went back to work. On top of that, none of them were all that aesthetically pleasing, which I know sounds ridiculous, but I just want my kid to look incredible in whatever he’s rolling around in (LOL).

Ultimately, we decided to get the Nuna TAVO. It’s definitely a borderline luxury stroller, but after testing out the others and comparing prices, it just didn’t make sense to be unhappy with something our child would be in on such a regular basis. The TAVO will typically run you $399, but if you grab it while Nuna is having a sale you can save a decent chunk of change! We were also fortunate enough to have some pottery barn gift cards left over from our baby shower, so we actually ended up paying even less than what we would have if we just bought a basic stroller. And let me just say, I am absolutely in love with this stroller. It has a simple one click folding mechanism with zero effort needed to fold down, it’s super lightweight yet also very durable, it has all sorts of angles for your child to lay and also comes with multiple areas where you can peel back certain areas for better ventilation. It is the Rolls-Royce of baby strollers and I would highly suggest going down a path like this if you’re planning on having multiple children. This stroller looks like it will last us our entire lives!

#2 – An Even Better Car Seat

Having a top of the line car seat is very important in my opinion. Think about how much time you spend in the car already… now wouldn’t you want your child’s time in that same car to be as safe as possible? The car is one of the most dangerous places for a child to be, especially if they aren’t in the proper car seat OR if the car seat is not installed correctly. This was another thing that we put a good amount of research into. But, since we were so sold on the Nuna brand already (and because we had already purchased the stroller LOL), we decided to stick with the Nuna car seat too. We ended up with the Nuna PIPA, and in all honesty, this car seat is also a top of the line masterpiece.

The installation was a little difficult in my car, but that was more because of my car being difficult and me not reading instructions rather than the car seat itself being difficult. Once installed though, I couldn’t budge this thing if I wanted to. It truly locks itself into your seats and it even has a neat little support that extends from the base of the seat down to the floor of your car. It is also extremely easy to snap into and remove from the base. Plus, all of that same ease is applied when moving the car seat to the stroller as well. The Nuna brand is very pleasing to the eye as well and comes in a navy blue that is to die for. I can’t imagine parenting with any other brand of stroller or car seat!

#3 – A 4moms mamaRoo Swing

Must buy for Newborn

This little swing, bouncy chair, and pure heavenly contraption has been an absolute lifesaver in my first week of parenting. It has six different motions and a wide array of soothing sounds (plus you can play music from your phone too) that perfectly mimics our movements as parents. When nothing seems to be working to calm down my son, I put him in here on the car ride motion and play the heartbeat sound effect for him. Within seconds, he is fast asleep and those frowns are turned into the cutest little smile. Thankfully, he is not a big crier and I haven’t had to use this too much yet, but it is nice to know that I have something so wonderfully helpful as back up when I need it.

Depending on what site you get this from, you could spend anywhere from $200 to $300. However, many sites now have the Affirm option, which is a simple way to make low payments on items like this over the course of a year or two. I would 1,000% recommend taking advantage of a deal like that if you can, because this swing/chair will be a bigger help than you could ever imagine. This could have easily been my #1 must buy for newborns too, but the stroller/car seat just have a safety factor that moved them to the top of the list.

#4 – Tons of Diapers and Somewhere to Put the Stinky Ones

Coming in at #4 on the “must buy for newborns” list is… diapers! Once again, this may seem like an obvious thing you would buy for your child, but there is more that goes into this purchase than you think. Throughout the entire pregnancy, we were told we were probably going to have a smaller child. Nurses and Doctors both all guessed we would have a baby that ranged from seven to seven and a half pounds. Well, last week when our child finally decided to come, he came out weighing almost nine pounds! “How does that affect my decision to buy diapers?” you might ask. Well, think of it this way: If we hadn’t bought a few different sizes of diapers, we would have ONLY been prepared for a small baby with newborn diapers. That would have been a problem, because our son probably hasn’t been a size where he would’ve fit in newborn diapers for close to a month or so. So then I would have had to run back and buy more diapers, and who wants to do that on day one with their newborn!?

Along with the diapers, you will also need an airtight, stench free zone to put them in. Personally, I like stainless steel the best because it has that sleekness factor that fits just about anywhere in your house. Not to mention, a stainless steel trash can at Target is about half the price of the usual diaper pail. So it seemed like a no-brainer to save that extra money! Another fun tidbit about diapers is that they are exchangeable, so even if you do end up with loads of the wrong size you can easily exchange for the size your ever growing baby may need!

#5 – A Bottle Warmer

As a dad, I think bottle warmers are easily must buys for newborns. I know, technically, you can warm up bottles or milk with warm water from the sink. And breastfeeding or formula are already both at the temperature they need to be at, so you wouldn’t need a warmer then. However, when your newborn wakes up at 3 A.M. and you grab them to let your child’s mother get that well deserved extra few hours of sleep, a bottle warmer will come in so clutch. It’s perfect for one hand use while holding a baby, and they’re extremely simple to use. Ours has five warming options, all with pictures to easily identify what you need. It is definitely much easier than attempting to hold a bottle under warm sink water for 5-10 minutes while your newborn is screaming for some food. On top of their extreme usefulness, they’re also relatively cheap. The Phillips Avent model that I have only cost us $23!

Being a parent is no joke. It comes with loads of stress, countless sleepless nights, and thousands of poopy diapers. But with this guide, I think I can assist in easing some of that stress and allowing you to enjoy more of the little things with your newborn.

Thanks again for the read! Be sure to check out all of my content over at DustyPosts, and be on the lookout for more parenting guides as well!