Posted by: babbo | December 19, 2012

Parenting and the Art of Balance


Do you have balance in your life?

I’ve been struggling with attaining it for years, and along the way I discovered something interesting — it doesn’t really exist, at least not  in the way I grew up understanding it …

Creating a Strong Foundational Balance

Finding balance between work, family and self can seem near impossible. As parents, it can often feel like we’re on a unicycle, constantly trying not to fall off while juggling work, kids, marriage, goals, etc.

But there’s a different type of balance that can be achieved. It’s called our Foundational Balance, and as the name implies it’s the foundation that we stand on while we’re juggling all aspects of our lives.

Our Foundational Balance is the very thing we need to be exceptional as opposed to acceptable. Exceptional parents, spouses, friends and professionals. And yet many of the parents I speak with feel they are just getting through each day, just getting by — instead of moving in a positive direction.

What is Your Foundational Balance?

Although it’s not  the same for everybody, your foundational balance consists basic things you need to excel in life. Here’s mine:

– Sleep
– Exercise
– Meditation/Spirituality/Religion
– Intimacy with my wife

As far as intimacy goes, I’m talking about more than sex (although I strongly advise you have it often). I define intimacy as quality time together — time to talk, date night, planning the future and helping solve each other’s problems.

Your Foundational Balance might include different things. Just remember, it’s not comprised of the things you must do each day. It is made up of the things that you need in order to function optimally.

You are Like a Car …

Think about the pistons in your car. They pump up and down — with great assistance from the motor oil you put in them. Now if I take the oil out of a car, will the pistons run? Yes. Will they pump? Yes. Will they eventually break down? Yes.

The pistons can accomplish their goal of pumping and getting you somewhere, at least least for a limited amount of time. But they are not going to be working efficiently.

They are not going to be anywhere near optimal.

You are the same. Without having a solid foundational balance — having your oil changed, your tires rotated, having enough gas and receiving timely tune-ups — you are going to run like a clunker!

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | August 8, 2012

Coping with Exhaustion

Exhaustion.

It’s something that haunts my existence constantly these days. And if you’re a fellow parent, chances are you feel the same.

The question is, how are we coping with our exhaustion? Are we treating our kids and our spouse in a way we’re happy with? Or are we constantly crabby, finding it hard not to be set off by the smallest thing.

When it takes just about every ounce of focus for us to accomplish just what needs to be done today, how do we find the time and energy to work on improving our family’s future?

I’ve become accustomed to feeling exhaustion. It’s the new normal. Problem is, I don’t see any relief in sight.

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up.

What I’ve found is that if I continue to work on what I call my foundational balance – which consists of exercise, sleep, eating well, some form of meditation, and having an occasional date with my wife – I’m still exhausted, but my temperament is far more positive.

I’m the first tot admit that when I don’t work on my foundational balance, I’m no fun to be around.

What about you?

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | August 4, 2012

Engineering Better Kids

Every child has his or her own personality.

But how do we discern what parts are genetic, as opposed to learned?

Both my boys are awesome kids, but my older son has had a growing tendency towards whining and complaining.

Condemning him for acting this way would be a bad choice. But allowing it go on unchecked would be just as bad.

What it comes down to is that whining and complaining are habits my son has developed to cope with certain situations. And the more we use habits – just like a muscle – the stronger they get.

My job is to call him on his behavior, AND to help him find alternative behaviors that are more positive.

If we allow our kids to whine and complain, back out of commitments, be rude to their siblings, etc, we’re creating adults who are likely to do the same. In other words, we’re disabling them. The trick is to help our kids without making them feel bad about themselves.

Not an easy task.

Which is why when we’re trying to engineer better kids, we have to start by re-engineering ourselves.

And remember, you are not alone …

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Father’s Day.

It can stir up strong emotions and memories for many of us. Some good, some bad.

Join me for the Father’s Day Edition of the Daddy Brain Radio Show on Monday, June 18th, 2012 @ 7pm CDT.

You can listen in from anywhere in the world! See details below.

The Topic?
How the way we’ve been treated by our dads has shaped who we are today – for better or for worse. We’ll also take a look at how our relationship with our dads has shaped the way we treat our own kids.

It’s true that Father’s Day is an opportunity to honor our dads, but it can also be a time to reflect on our own lives – who we are, who we want to be, and if we’re affecting our kids’ lives in positive ways.

I hope you’ll tune in on Monday, June 18th at 7pm CDTfor the Daddy Brain Radio show on the WORT access hour.

Local Listeners
Tune in to 89.9 FM

Listen from Anywhere in the World
Just click on the following link to download live online streaming audio in either MP3 or AAC format. It’s as easy as clicking a button to start listening!

http://www.wort-fm.org/listen.php

Want to Join the Conversation?
I’ll be taking calls throughout the hour at: (608) 256-2001.

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | May 24, 2012

Are You An Unemployed Dad?

Daddy Brain is honored to be one of the guest writers over at Life of Dad.

My latest article, Are Your an Unemployed Dad?, is live if you’d like to check it out.

While you’re there, be sure to sign up for Life of Dad. It’s an excellent resource.

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | April 23, 2012

Living with Loss

Loss. It’s something we all live with every day.

There are times where I find myself harping on what I’ve lost in life instead of what I have, or what I’ve gained.

The loss of a job, a loved one, or one’s own health can make it difficult for us to move forward with our lives. It can often feel that we’ve lost the ability to smile.

On the one hand, I don’t want to ignore how I’m feeling. But I also don’t want to dwell on the past. I have a future to create, and my family is depending on me to succeed. 

In order to counter my feelings of loss, I’ve started being very conscious of how I perceive my curent situation. I’ve been looking for the positive, instead of lingering on what’s lacking.

Every morning I smile, grateful that my wife is next to me, and that my two boys are healthy. I’ve started realizing how lucky we all are, and that although I have experienced loss in my life, every day we all wake up is a good day.

Each of us are creating our tomorrows. And what we focus our attention on has a way of manifesting as our reality. 

If we’re focusing on loss, than we’re perpetuating more of the same. And in doing so, we’re losing time to make a difference in our future by dwelling on the past.

I for one am tired of this. How about you? 

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | April 2, 2012

Madison Mamas: A Great Local Resource for Parents

Are you a mom or dad looking for support in the Madison, Wisconsin area?

Madison Mammas is a great local resource for parents – bringing you information on groups, classes, activities and more.

A place for modern families with young children in the Madison, Wisconsin area, Madison Mamas was created by Rachel Barnes, “the mother of two and wife of one who lives in the beautiful city of Madison, Wisconsin. Madison Mamas is a resource of links dedicated to modern families, focusing on pregnancy, support groups, classes, activities, fitness, services, dining and shopping.”

By the way, don’t let the name Madison Mamas fool you. You’ll find support for the whole family here in a well organized, easy to use format.

And remember, you are not alone …

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The Daddy Brain Workshop
A Dads-only Event

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
7-8pm CST
The Goodman Community Center
Merrill Lynch Room C
149 Waubesa St.
Madison, WI 53704

This Month’s Topic …
The Discipline Dilemma: How to teach our children without traumatizing them.
Positive and negative forms of discipline are discussed, along with some of the adverse affects that negative discipline causes – including physical brain damage and the impairment of brain development. In addition to providing positive alternatives, we’ll also cover how the parent’s brain is wired, and how each of us can develop new habits that will help our kids grow into happy, healthy adults.

Click here for more information on Daddy Brain Workshops.

Reservations suggested. Walk-ins welcome. FREE.

Contact: Joey Donovan Guido

E-mail: daddybrain@live.com

Phone: 608-216-6760

And remember, you are not alone …

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Posted by: babbo | January 28, 2012

There are Little People in My House

There are little people in my house

Not as little as before,

Yet compared to me, still small

They’re my boys, Max and Joss,

And they are a great gift

Especially great,

Since we lost two children to ectopic pregnancies

These little people are filled with sweetness and innocence

But enjoy them much, I do not

Distracted I am with the stress of the day

The apparently never ending struggle

Children fighting, whining

My wife’s diabetes

And my own issues with my gut

Detract me from the simple fact:

I have a beautiful family

The universe has blessed my wife and I with two little boys

One day they will be grown

And I will yearn for these times

When Legos and coloring and playing the Wii

Were what was requested of me

It’s not too late to stop and play

Before there are no more wondrous days

Of little people in my house

Possibly there is a better way

To enjoy these precious gifts?

And remember, you are not alone …

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How Much Value?

How much value would you put on a dad’s relationship with his children?

Could you put a price on it? Considering that this relationship is going to have a huge impact on that child’s future?

I’d say it has incredible value.

From the relationships that our sons and daughters will form, to the types of people they will marry, dad’s influence has a huge impact. A child’s relationship with his or her dad will play a big role in how they perceive themselves throughout their lives, and how successful they’ll be as professionals and as human beings.

So why aren’t dads supported, encouraged and challenged to be better dads? Instead of being insulted, degraded, and dishonored by the media, the court system, society — and even their own families?

What kind of seed is this planting in the minds of future fathers? Not to mention our kids?

The good news is that, as of late, there has been a transition manifesting in the media. There’s a commercial running on TV from Foundation for a Better Life with a hockey player singing to his daughter, which speaks volumes about a man’s ability to be a good dad — even in the face of ridicule. Two current films also portray dad in a positive light: The Descendants with George Clooney, and We Bought a Zoo with Matt Damon.

Dads are a tremendous value to their kids. More support will only mean better lives for the entire family.

And remember, you are not alone …

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