How to Turn Valentine’s Day Into 5 Date Nights

What's better than one Valentine's Day? Five!
What’s better than one Valentine’s Day? Five! (photo credit: Pixaby.com)

I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’m a romantic at heart, but I also think that Valentine’s Day is an important time to reinforce  the romantic side of our relationships. Between work, home and co-parenting, it’s deceptively easy to let romance slide. We can use Valentine’s Day to reconnect.

But, you know, Valentine’s Day is just one day. Is there a way we can leverage it to open up the opportunity for multiple date nights?

Yes there is. Here’s how:

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The Two Things Dads Can’t Do As Well As Moms

Many people believe the stereotype that moms are naturally inclined to parenthood and that dads are less capable parents, despite all the accumulating evidence to the contrary. There are, however, two things dads can’t do as well as moms:

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5% More Fun. A Mother’s Day Salute to My Wife

A mother's day tribute to the best mom I know
A mother’s day tribute to the best mom I know

My friends over at City Dads Group just wrote a great Mother’s Day themed article “What Our Wives Taught Us About Parenting” on their blog. What a clever way to recognize moms and to promote the notion of shared-care parenting. I highly recommend you read it.

Their post gave me the inspiration to write about what I’ve learned from Amy about parenting as a way of recognizing her on this Mother’s Day. Of course, Amy and I became parents at the same time, and had no hidden reservoirs of prior expertise.  But, she’s an awesome mom and I’d be silly not to have learned from her example.

The over-riding lesson I learned from Amy is that everything in life, including parenting, is better with 5% more fun.

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Author Q&A- Whit Honea, The Parents’ Phrase Book and Parenting with Love

Whit Honea recently wrote “The Parents’ Phrase Book.” Whit is a friend and a writer I respect, and I think his book is quite helpful for parents; I hope you find it helpful, too. (I did not receive any remuneration- even a free book- for this interview.)

Whit Honea's "The Parents' Phrase Book"
Whit Honea’s “The Parents’ Phrase Book”

The best advice I could ever give is to do everything with love—from packing a lunch to discipline, building a fort to volunteering at a school function—it can be frustrating and trying, but childhood is a small window closing quickly, and only we can decide if it leaves us with wonderful memories or too many regrets. -Whit Honea

Briefly tell us about your book

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Expert Perspectives: The Truth About Fathers from the Founders of the NYC Dads’ Group

The founders of the NYC Dads’ Group reflect on what they’ve learned from their members. Powerful stuff.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I am a huge fan of the NYC Dads’ Group, a network of about 900 dads in and around NYC. The group hosts “new dad boot camps” and frequent social activities- providing many opportunities for dads to support and learn from each other.

Founders Matt Scheider and Lance Sommerfield recently wrote a great piece in NY Parent magazine reflecting on five things they learned about dads through their involvement with the group. Click on the picture below for the full story.

A screencap of Matt Schneider and Lance Sommerfield's article in NY Family magazine
A screencap of Matt Schneider and Lance Sommerfield’s article in NY Family magazine

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Expert Perspectives: Five Reasons Why It’s A Great Time to be a Dad!

Hey, busy involved dad, are you feeling burned out? You are not alone- most dads are struggling to juggle work and family. But that’s a sign of progress. And in many ways this is the best of times to be a father. Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith explains five reasons why.

Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith
Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith

Jeremy Adam Smith writes on a variety of topics related to positive psychology and fatherhood and is the author of several books, including The Daddy Shift. You should really check out his work. In June, he wrote a great article “Five Reasons Why It’s a Good Time to be a Dad” which appeared at the Greater Good Science Center website. He was nice enough to allow me to excerpt it here at FWF. (Here’s a link to the full-length article.)

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What I Did Last Sunday Instead of Watching Football. A Photo Essay

I like watching sports as much as the next guy. But living life should always come first.

Nick and Jesse hamming it up on our visit to the awesome Storm King Arts Center
Nick and Jesse hamming it up on our visit to the awesome Storm King Arts Center

Being a New York sports fan, I have two football teams to follow. I’m a rabid Jets fan, but also follow the Giants. Last weekend, they both faced big early-season games.

So, when my wife said she wanted to take a family trip to the Storm King Arts Center (you should really go there if you are in the NY metro area), I was tempted to beg off to stay home and watch the games. I’m so glad I didn’t. Here’s why, in pictures.

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Thank you, Elvis, For Helping Me Raise My Son

How a conversation about my son’s favorite singer- Elvis Presley- helped me teach him a valuable lesson about drugs (and honest communication, and rock and roll…)

A cropped photograph depicts singer Elvis Pres...
Elvis is still the King. (public domain photo)

Resisting Pop Culture

In general I resist pop culture as it pushes our kids to grow up too damned fast. I do my best to shield my 8 year old, Nick, from the coarsening effects of pop culture, and I suspect you do as well. But it is really hard to do.

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For Busy Dads, Reading (with our kids) is Fundamental

Reading with our kids is important for their development- and, with some creativity we can also use reading as a way to stay connected with our kids even when busy or when traveling for work. Here’s expert Chris Cottrell’s evidence and advice 

Guest blogger Chris Cottrell who founded a NFP to encourage reading as a way to strengthen the bond between dads and their kids
Guest blogger Chris Cottrell who founded a “Daddy Read A Book”, a NFP that encourages reading as a way to strengthen the bond between dads and their kids

I’m writing this post from the perspective of a son, looking back on great things my dad did. When I was very young, my dad had to be away from the family for almost nine months, practically a lifetime for me at that age. To help keep us connected during that time, he filmed himself reading my favorite children’s books out loud and gave me that video to watch while he was away. Reading out loud together became common at home and it is a very fond memory of my childhood.

Why Is Reading Out Loud So Important?

Reading aloud helps your children grow their imaginations, learn words and languages, think critically and succeed in school.

Here’s the evidence:

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Staying Connected with Your Kids When Traveling for Work

Traveling for work is often a necessary evil for busy working dads. Here’s one dad’s experience and advice for staying connected with family while on business trips.

Guest blogger, Jason Swann with his kids
Guest blogger Jason Swann with his kids

Staying Connected When Traveling for Work

A Guest Post by Jason Swann, who blogs as The Cheeky Daddy

It begins with dinner, moves to bath and jammy time, eases into books and stories, then ends with hugs and kisses. Simple, yes?

NO!

I’ve seen cowboys break a mustang before and THAT looked easier than building our homestead customs. People, our children have let us know that they need routine, stability, and for heaven’s sake, DON’T forget that story! It runs like clockwork and I say again, one tilt in the balance of our family ecosystem and we’re either up throughout the night with little ones, or it all ends in tears.

So when I announce that there’s a trip of any significant length coming up, the groans begin. First, The Wife expresses her reservations, then her fears, then her acceptance. Once the kids get wind of it, there’s even more complaint, but in the form of a sweet siren’s song of “daddy, don’t go.” Heart strings are pulled, emotions run high, and I begin to wonder if I might be able to support my family as a man of leisure. You know, a man’s man, or man about town. No? Bah,…worth a try. It still begs the question: How does our family get by when daddy has to travel?

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What I Want My Son to Learn About Work and Family (part 3): Family First

Our job as fathers is to equip our children to have productive, happy and meaningful lives. The best way to do so is by role-modeling the values, priorities and actions we hope they will aspire to.

At last, the finale! If you haven’t already, please read Part 1 and Part 2, which were posted last week. This article picks up where those left off.

I hope I can role-model work-family priorities for Nick as well as my father did for me
I hope I can role-model work-family priorities for Nick as well as my father did for me

Someday, and sooner than we think, my Nick (and your kids) will be making choices about their careers, marriages and families. When the time comes, I hope Nick will:

  • Choose a career that makes enough money for his life to be comfortable and so he can take care of his future family.
  • Choose a career he enjoys, finds interesting and meaningful, and through which he can make a larger contribution.
  • Understand the importance of balancing his career with that of his future life partner
  • Understand the relative importance of work and family while having a balanced set of priorities.

In the prior articles, I focused on the first three bullet points, Today, I’ll focus on the fourth.

One day, I hope Nick will be a father, and while I want him to value his own (part 1) and his spouse’s career (part 2), I really want him to know that family comes first. As in the case of the other lessons I’ve discussed, this is not a lesson that is taught effectively through words. I hope that, by seeing how I try to juggle work and family, he sees a role model for himself- just like I did when observing my father. This article is much more about my father than it is about me.

4. Work has its place, but is never more important than family

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What I Want My Son to Learn About Work and Family (part 2): My Wife’s Career is as Important as Mine

Our job as fathers is to equip our children to have productive, happy and meaningful lives. In my opinion, the best way to do so is by role-modeling the values, priorities and actions to which we hope they will aspire.

I hope I can role-model good work-family values for my son
I hope I can role-model good work-family values for my son
One day, I hope Nick will get married, and I want him to value not just his own career, but also the career of his life partner. This is not a lesson that is taught effectively through words. I hope that, by seeing how supportive I am of my wife Amy (and she is of me), he will seek out a supportive spouse and that he will value his spouse’s career as much as his own.

First off, if you haven’t already, please read Part 1, which I posted on Monday. This article picks up where that one left off.

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