Another benefit of a more flexible work schedule is that Iâ€™m able to be a father who is both present and actively involved in the life of his child. Rather than abdicating my parental role, leaving most of the decisions to my wife, Iâ€™m able to exercise the duty God has assigned me to be a leader of our family, to steer us in the right direction and help keep us on track.
Iâ€™ve always believed the key to success is knowledge. So I make it a habit of reading books on whatever topic Iâ€™m dealing with in my life. If I need to think about retirement, Iâ€™ll start reading books on financial planning and investing. If Iâ€™m buying or selling a house, I read about mortgages and real estate. If I want to travel somewhere, I read about where Iâ€™m going and how to get the best deal on hotels in the area. In my professional life, Iâ€™ve got about 20 books that Iâ€™ve read or am planning to read. Iâ€™m not sure how I manage to find time to read it all â€¦ Iâ€™m sort of a human vacuum cleaner when it comes to reading – I just suck it in and absorb whatever I need to learn.
In terms of parenting, weâ€™ve picked up several books and videos that have proved invaluable. Usually, Iâ€™ll make my way through a book, then Zuzana will read it and weâ€™ll discuss it, deciding how best to proceed. That way, the two of us are united in our parenting decisions and our actions are more consistent.
Iâ€™m having a great time being a Dad. Just in the past four weeks, Iâ€™ve started to shoulder more parenting tasks, such as taking Kerrigan for a walk in the stroller down to Starbucks for my morning coffee. Iâ€™m also spending more play time with him. I can even see a bond starting to form between the two of us, and heâ€™s beginning to distinguish me from a total stranger, or even other friends and relatives. Like my role as husband, I strive to be â€œhands-onâ€ – literally. Especially since we canâ€™t communicate verbally (other than babbling baby talk), I make it a point to do as much non-verbal communication as possible, like picking him up, rubbing his tummy, holding his hand, playing hide-and-seek with the swaddling blanket. In fact, I think my hand has actually become his favorite toy!
So for all you new Dads out there, my recommendation is that you dive in head first. Get down and dirty. Youâ€™ll be glad you did, and so will your family.