I run up the stairs, I run down the stairs, I run up the stairs…

I’m really beginning to 2nd guess our decision to purchase this two-story fixer-upper. At the very least I am heavily considering moving the baby’s room to the middle of the living room… perhaps to the middle of the garage.

I love my children. Fatherhood has forced a posture of servant-hood inescapable and void of choice. These two-story castle princesses give commands, I respond. Mostly in love, some days in fear (our baby is trying to kill me).

Working while serving these lovely ladies requires a lot of planning and a little bit of self-defense. I’ve come up with a list that helps me get all of us through the day, still alive and if all goes well, still loving one another…

1.) Your 1st priority is yourself. If you are not OK, you are not going to be able to be the best you can be for your family or your work. Also, babies and toddlers sense weakness like bloodhounds and will strike at the 1st sign of vulnerability. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Give yourself time in the morning before everyone wakes for a little “you” time.

2.) Silence is NOT golden. If you cannot see your children, hmm… not the end of the world. If you cannot hear your children… CODE RED! Silence is bad and usually means $h!% has hit the fan. Literally… poop is currently being spread on the walls of the hallway. Gracefully mute your conference call and run as fast as you can towards the silence. Be sure not to slip in the $h!%.

3.) Your children are people. Treat them as such. There is no substitution for spending time with your kids. While you obviously have projects and tasks and emails in need of your attention be sure to schedule a time for playing. Even if it is just for 10 minutes at a time. Those moments will go a long way towards communicating to your children their value and will, with all hope, spare them the desire to pursue a career in reality TV. Dad’s, don’t raise reality TV stars!

4.) Feed your kids.

5.) Have grace. The quickest path towards destruction is you losing your cool. So what? Your 3 year old just flipped out, knocked the phone out of your hand disconnecting the call with a client, while screaming what sounded like an obscenity, all because you whispered to her she could not have cake right now. You are not a failure. You are a parent. Remain calm.

Remember they are kids and the withholding of cake is a very valid reason for anyone to flip out. You kind of had it coming.

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