#wineandboobs January, 7, 2017

For those that have never linked up on #wineandboobs (STOP GIGGLING WHEN YOU SAY IT!), it’s a linky I had been running up until September 2015. I am now bringing it back with my co-host Alan from OMG It’s a Girl! The theme of #wineandboobs will be the same each week… Link your favourite post up! It can be an old or new post. Thank you all so much who come and link up with us or just to read the awesome content linked on #wineandboobs! You will make my week and the posts I know will all be so great to read.
Please feel free to link as many posts as you wish. Make sure though to comment on at least 2 of the posts and give them a shout out on your favourite social network or all of them! If you want to share your post via twitter, make sure to tweet me @moderndadpages and Alan @OMGitsagirl2015 using #wineandboobs and we will be sure to retweet for you


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The linky will run from Saturday 6 AM GMT till Tuesday 6 AM GMT

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Happy linking everyone!

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Mum Guilt

Mum guilt is a very real thing and I have finally wrapped my head around exactly how it works (or at least how I see it works and you can correct me if I’m wrong?)! Mum guilt is a never ending circle feeling guilty! If you give too much attention to one child you feel guilty that you haven’t been giving enough attention to the other or if you give your children all your attention you feel guilty because you have been ignoring getting things done around the house, if you do all the house work and get everything done in the house you feel guilty because you haven’t spent time with the kids and if you have been eating out a lot you feel guilty about not making proper meals at home.

Ok so I think that’s enough to explain how I see it and how I understand it. There is almost never a point where a mum does not feel guilty for very long and I would like to say something…

YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

We all go through that! we all have our moments! We all feel guilt! Especially when it comes to our children. It’s all because we want the best for them and we don’t want them to feel that we don’t love them. All it takes though is a look, a smile and saying “love you” to them when you need to get things done. If you are spending more time with one child maybe because of homework or whatever else let the other child know that as soon as your done you will read a book together and have them go pick a book out, but don’t take it out on yourself as you are only one person and you cannot be everywhere all the time, doing everything for everyone and I know this because I am that way, I have done it now for so long it just feels that it’s supposed to be this way!

So the next time you are feeling mum guilt remember this! Your children will always be there, the housework will always be there, the meals will always be there and so will you! You will wake up every morning and do your best each day to get the things done you need to get done! Spend as much time with the kids as you can! Make as many healthy proper meals as you can and that’s all that can be expected of you.

I would totally love to know your thoughts and feelings on this? Please comment below!

The Dads Guide To PMS and Periods

So if you were like probably 99% of the boys in school that kind of glazed over and ignored health class when they talked about PMS and menstruation (period) (I was going to say 100%, but I can’t say that for sure! LOL) I am pretty sure you thought like I thought I would never really need to know the whole story, but surprise I have a daughter and one day I might be the only one around when she has her first period and I want to be prepared and I thought I would share the knowledge with you in an easy to read post!

Now I realize that this may make some of you squirmy thinking about it, but what better support can you be for your daughter with knowledge. I know Olivia is only just turning 7, but that leaves me so little time to prepare myself for the years to come. After all I may have as little as 6 years. Besides it’s always good to learn something new right?

Hopefully by this point in your daughters life you and her have that type of relationship where she’s not afraid or embarrassed to come to you because your her dad and a man. Let her know from a young age that she can come to you for anything and as she does get older let her know out right that when her period does come that she can come to you.

Premenstrual Syndrome – Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur 1 to 2 weeks before her period starts. The symptoms usually go away after she starts bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman. For some PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it may be so severe that it makes it hard to even get through the day.

Symptoms of PMS – Acne, swollen tender breasts, tiredness, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, headache, backache, appetite changes or food cravings, joint or muscle pain, trouble with concentration or memory, tension, irritability, mood swings, crying, anxiety or depression.

Ok I don’t know about you dads out there, but after listing all the possible PMS symptoms all I can say is WOW! I knew them, but when you condense them and actually write each one out that’s a huge possibility list! It’s good to know and to watch her as she may not realize what’s going on with her body as it’s all new to her as well. I will say though if you notice something quite off take her to her doctor so she can be seen. The doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication or alternative therapies.

Menstruation – Is a woman’s monthly bleeding. When she menstruates, her body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb) Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out the body via the vagina and usually lasts 3-5 days.

So thanks to Google you can get the information on what a typical period is like!

What is a typical period? During her period she sheds the thickened uterine lining and extra blood through the vagina. Her period may not be the same every month. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy in terms of how much blood comes out. This is called menstrual flow. The length of the period also varies. Most periods last from 3 to 5 days, but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal. For the first few years after menstruation begins, longer cycles are common. A woman’s cycle tends to shorten and become more regular with age. Most of the time, periods will be in the range of 21 to 35 days apart.

Problems she can have with her period – Women can have a range of problems with their periods, including pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods.

  • Amenorrhea – the lack of a menstrual period. This term is used to describe the absence of a period in Young women who haven’t started menstruating by age 15 or Women and girls who haven’t had a period for 90 days, even if they haven’t been menstruating for long.
  • Causes can include – Extreme weight loss, Eating disorders, Excessive exercising, Stress, Serious medical conditions in need of treatment, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding
  • Dysmenorrhea – painful periods, including severe cramps. Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin. Most teens with dysmenorrhea do not have a serious disease, even though the cramps can be severe. For some, using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease their cramps. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms like Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen or Naproxen. If these medications don’t relieve the pain, you should take her to see her doctor.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding – vaginal bleeding that’s different from normal menstrual periods. It includes Bleeding between periods, Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle, Bleeding heavier or for more days than normal, Bleeding after sex.

Ok so that is a lot of information, but it’s all good information to have! You never know the things that can happen and I can’t stress enough… If you don’t know and there’s concern take her to her doctor!

Lets talk a bit about sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups!

Although this is going to come down to personal preference as your daughter discovers what makes her feel more comfortable I would imagine if it was you that had to run out and get a feminine hygiene product it would be a pad (sanitary napkin). I say this because it would be the easiest for her to use and understand and I am sure most doctors would recommend it! So here is what each of the products are as you might as well understand what each does.

Sanitary napkin (pad) – A sanitary napkin, sanitary towel, sanitary pad, menstrual pad, or pad is an absorbent item worn by a woman during her period to absorb the flow of blood.

Tampon – a plug of soft material inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.

Menstrual cup – A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.

Well there you go I tried my best to keep this post as compact as I could and give you as much information as I possibly could. I hope you find this helpful and at least a starting point.

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Is It Ok For A Parent To Break Down?

I’ve had this post title sitting in draft for more than a year now! It’s not that I didn’t want to write it, but more how would people receive it? I mentioned in my last post that I am making this year of me and I am going to write about things that I think are issues we should talk about. I am not going to be afraid to just write and write whatever I want to0 anymore.

This year I have a few posts that I like to call “darker side of parenting” dealing with things that we generally don’t or won’t talk about.

As parents we are expected to be on point all the time! Ready to solve the latest issue or problem arising in the household, but many of us use it as a distraction from our own feelings and what’s going on with us inside to ignore how we feel! It’s easy… Take on everyone’s issues and I don’t have to deal with what I have going on!!!!

So my question to myself was “is it ok for a parent to breakdown?” and My answer to myself was YES of course it’s ok! We tend to forget that parents are people to, we feel, we have emotions, we have our own issues we are dealing with (no one really knows what anyone is dealing inside or what problems they are having?).

So often we see our neighbors, our social media feeds and see how happy everyone is around us and we assume how happy they are because they are smiling, but we never stop to think “what are they dealing with”? There could be any number of things be it money, relationship, personal issues or even possibly mental health.

The dad you see as he gets in his car to head for work, the stay at home mom you see as she loads her children in the car to take them to school, the teacher, the store clerk, the gas station attendant or everyone else you cross paths with each and everyday they may get in their cars, their homes or wherever else and feel so overwhelmed that they cry, breakdown from stress from carrying to much inside! We are strong till we can’t be!

So the next time you see a person smiling or a photo and feel a little envy, remember you have no idea the struggles that person has going on inside them as we have become masters of disguise and we only project what we think the world wants to see!

What do you think? Is it ok for a parent to breakdown?

 

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2017 The Year of ME!

I have as I have every year chosen not to make New Years resolutions, but this year I have done something I have never done before and made myself a promise! I promised myself that this year I am making it of me! I am going to be selfish and build my dreams that I have in my head and make them happen. Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to have a big heart and am always trying to help someway somehow, but now it’s time for me to take some me time and better myself (it doesn’t mean though that I won’t be there when needed though).

Something that no one knows is that I suffer from depression, anxiety and self doubt! I put on a great game face though everyday so as no one knows what churns on my insides! 2016 has been a brutal year for me and my struggles with those and that’s one reason why I haven’t done any kind of blogging much other than my Instagram. I won’t get in to the gory details, but I will say that I am pretty sure it’s beaten and bruised me in every which possible way, but somehow I manage to put a smile on my face and make the best I can of everyday.

I decided to tell you all that so you know that if you are like that you are not alone! For all I know we could all be depressed, anxiety filled and full of self doubt? Unless someone comes out and says it we will never know! I also decided to write this so I start 2017 with a clean slate… no more hiding! I promised myself about a month ago to start introducing myself surely but slowly so you all can meet and get to know who I am so I am finishing the year with an honest post about me.

Now to get on with what I have promised myself to work on! I have loads to do and make happen and as I start the new year it will all start to come out. First off though is a promise to blog, vlog and be more active on my social media as you can see I’ve started already. On Instagram I’ve started putting more quotes on it and something you all probably never knew is I read quotes on a daily basis, some mean something and some are more for a laugh so I decided to start sharing the quotes that make me laugh or feel good!

I hope you all enjoy the ride! It’s going to be a different one than what’s been so far! Oh yeah I am going to try and finish every post with a song that I love! Play it if you wish or read in silence but it will be there!

Advice For New Mums From Mums

I’ve wanted to put a post together with advice to new and expecting mums for a while now and finally asked for mums to send me their advice. I love the advice these mums have given and look forward to sharing it with you!

Cathy of Wishful Wonderings – The best advice I could give to a new mum is to trust your instincts.  Babies do not come with a handbook and each one is individual, people mean well when they offer advice, but you are the one that knows your baby better than anyone else. Let your baby guide you and as time goes by you will instinctively know what he or she needs

Karen of Stopping at Two – Sometimes you just have to stop focusing on little details (I KNOW they don’t feel like little things at the time) and look at the big picture. Everyone is different. You as a mother are different to every other mother and all children are different. Don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over when they meet milestones, if they aren’t sleeping through the night or if they are refusing to eat certain foods. Don’t ever feel guilty about the decisions you make as a parent – only you can make an informed choice about what is best for you and you baby.

Shamaila of Instagram – My advise to new mums would, when other mums are telling you what to expect, don’t stress too much and get yourself worked up, as everyone’s journey is different and what someone tells you they couldn’t handle is probably something you find yourself handling really well. Also it is not selfish to take some time out for yourself and give yourself a break, even if it means a couple of hours at the salon to get your hair & nails done without your baby or going for a coffee with your friends.

Gianna of Blood Sugar Ecmo Magik – Ready for the cliché Avalanche? Here goes… Expect the unexpected. I sailed through a perfect pregnancy expecting to come home with a baby at the end of it and begin a new, exciting chapter in our lives and I was very wrong. We hit a lot of bumps in the road and didn’t anticipate any of it. Sure enough it was all super rare stuff but I certainly did go through my next pregnancy a little more cautiously. The next piece of advice I have is to trust your instincts as a new mum, it’s easy to go along with what people may tell you but at the end of the day it’s best to trust your maternal instincts 🙂 Finally, you’re doing a fab job. Sleep deprivation, suddenly having a teeny new bundle at the center of your world and never having done it before may make you question your capabilities, don’t underestimate the fabulous job you are doing!

Harps of Baby Brain Memoirs – The most useful and home hitting advice I’ve ever received since I’ve had Arjun. It’s probably applicable to a lot of things in life. I often find myself worrying about the past or attempting to plan for the future and I often forget to live in the present… This very moment… Now… Sometimes I wish I could just stop, sit, close my eyes, breathe and become aware of my surroundings instead of being so scatter brained with the millions of things I have going on!

Jenny of Mamazou – Best advice to new mums:  Trust your instinct – you might be at the very start of your motherhood journey but if you have a gut feeling about something, listen to it.  You know best — after all you’ve known your baby much longer than anyone else has!

Bex of Mummy Bex M – The best advice I can give to a new mum (or dad) is to trust your ‘gut’. Trust your instinct; your intuition; your feelings and listen to your body. If something isn’t working then don’t try to force it. If you’re exhausted – tell someone and ask for help. If you can’t face cleaning the house whilst the baby naps – then leave it for another day. Your emotional well-being and the happiness of your child is far more important than cleaning the dirty dishes or dusting the telly! Trust yourself.

Tamily of InstagramMy advice would be, don’t compare yourself to other new mums or other old mums for that matter! When you fall pregnant, it will begin. Before you know it, you will be comparing bump size, niggling aches, how many times you feel baby move & so on with other mums-to-be at yoga class or in the supermarket. Then as soon as baby is out, it’s all about the labour length & weight comparison. Oh yeah & how amazing (or not) your birthing partner was! It will not end there, trust me, it gets worse. The next phase of comparison is how well you are coping, how long baby is sleeping for, whether you are breast or bottle feeding, feeding on demand or timed slots, co-sleeping or ‘crying it out’, how your emotions are compared to your other new mum friends, whether you are considering baby-lead weening or not, enough tummy time, are they crawling, standing, talking, walking……..argh!! Stop it! My advice? You are enough. You are doing the right things for you, your baby & your family. Yes, please do seek advice, but do not compare yourselves to others around you. None of you are going through things at the same speed & you will all experience pregnancy, birth & motherhood slightly differently. As one who compared herself to how others were coping as a new mum causing deep postnatal depression, please know that behind closed doors, all new parents are fighting their own battles. They may not be the same as yours exactly, but they are still learning how to look after a small person who is learning how to be alive. If you think about it like that, it’s a huge thing you are going to be doing or are doing. You are enough. And you are doing a great job.

Amy of Amy Being Mum – Be kind to yourself.  Don’t expect too much of yourself.  Treat yourself as you would a friend who has just had a baby.  Allow yourself days at home in your pjs enjoying your new bundle.  Nap often.  Enjoy this time, Your will look back on it as the most special time of your life.  When your tired and anxious and your partner doesn’t seem to “get it”, give them the benefit of the doubt.  It’s new for them too.  Talk to each other.  Its a huge learning curve, don’t expect to know everything from day one.  Be proud of your little creation!

Jade of Raising The Rings – The best bit of advice I could give to new mums is that motherhood is not a competition. Nobody is handing out awards if your baby reaches a milestone before another baby or vice versa. There is no science to being a good parent, it’s truly an art form and it’s about embracing what’s right for you and your baby. Don’t get hung up on feeling like you’re not as good as someone else because, believe me, they’ll be struggling with something. No parent is perfect and good parents come in many forms just do your best and as long as you’re doing that, that’s enough.

Gemma of Coffee, Kids & Ice Cream – Ronan Keating wasn’t wrong when he sang, Life is a Roller coaster, and the same can be said for parenting. As a new parent your life will have more ups and downs than a kangaroo on a pogo stick and this is to be expected. One day you’ll think you have this whole motherhood gig down pat, the next you’ll barely be able to get off the sofa let alone in a shower and out the front door. Everyone is the same. That perfect mum you spotted in the supermarket? She’s the same. The spotless mum in the baby sensory class? She’s the same. It’s highly likely that you’re just viewing them on the good days and they too will be covered in baby vomit tomorrow. My biggest piece of advice? Just be kind to yourself. Yes, today might be a shocker but always remember tomorrow’s a new day.

Diyana of Wollywrites – What’s your best advice to new mums? In one word: Worry. Everyone will tell you not to worry, stress, panic or freak out when sometimes that’s exactly what you want or more importantly, need to do. My controversial advice for new mums would be that you should worry, panic and go through all the emotions because that’s how you develop parenting instincts and learn to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.

People will tell you not to worry when your baby cries and don’t pick them up so as not to “spoil” them – but newborns don’t have a concept of being spoilt or demanding. They are communicating a need when they cry, and it breaks my heart to see new parents letting their babies cry just because they think it’s the right thing to do. Pick them up, cuddle them and soothe them as many times as they need it. It’s ok, it’s good for them and it’s good for you!

I ended up trying to control and manage how I felt and behaved, so that people wouldn’t think that I was being “over the top” or a “drama mama”, when in fact you have every right to react and feel the way you want to. Especially when something is happening to your baby and you have no idea what to do- the best thing is always to err on the side of caution. Like when our little one  was only a few days old and he had eyelashes stuck inside his eye (these will either come out by themselves or use a little warm water that has been boiled and cotton wool to ease them out), and when he kept making rasping breathing sounds at night (apparently very normal for newborns to have irregular breathing patterns), or when he was 9 months old and he fell off our bed (take them to the hospital and have them checked and monitored), or when he had bumps on his eyeball (it was just hay fever but I thought he was going to go blind!) – for all these incidents (and more) we rushed to the hospital to see the doctor. We even had a little gadget attached to his nappy that would vibrate and ring if he were to stop breathing in the night. People laughed at us and thought that we were being unreasonably paranoid, however, we would much rather have that than anything bad happen to our baby.

I believe that worrying and being hyper vigilant can save lives. We know a family whose 1 year old sadly died from choking on a fruit pip and another whose perfect baby suffered extreme burns from a flask of boiling water left on the counter. Maybe these ‘freak accidents’ could be avoided if you equip yourselves with first-aid training and how to handle a choking baby or just by remaining ultra cautious and seeing the world from a baby’s eyes. Is that knife within reach? Are the blind cords hanging too low? There was a time where our baby’s arm swelled up due to a mosquito bite and I didn’t want to panic, until I thought that it could be a spider bite or he could be having an allergic reaction. Also when they fall or bump their head, never take it lightly. I have seen parents posting up questions on Facebook and describing to people their child’s symptoms after a fall, and it’s beyond me that they can spend time on Facebook instead of spending that time seeing a doctor. So to all new parents out there, please worry because your baby deserves it.

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A Christmas letter to my parents

Christmas hasn’t been the same for a few years now! I miss you both so much! When Christmas comes I remember how special you made it even if you could afford it or not. I remember that for us Christmas basically started in October when you would make your fruit cake mom that you and dad would eat with your tea everyday and soon to follow would be all the buckets of tarts and cookies.

When you would start the Christmas baking we knew that Christmas was close, but yet so far away and the anticipation of it would almost kill us as we waited. Soon after the baking was done about mid November dad would break out his Christmas records and start playing carols and before we knew it, it was the first of December and the tree would go up and the countdown began.

Oh what I would give to relive just one of those wonderful memories I have being a child at Christmas. The sights, the sounds, the smell of baking as it filled the house. The Christmas carols that seemed to be playing from when we woke to the moment we fell asleep. The love that we felt inside because we couldn’t contain our emotions. What wonderful memories you created for us and for that I am ever grateful!

Today this moment as I sit and write this I miss you both so much and it has me shedding a few tears. It’s because I miss and love you both so much and I really want to give your grandchildren those same memories you gave to me. I know somewhere out there you are watching us as we celebrate Christmas with smiles on your faces knowing you did a good job raising us and the legacy you left behind will forever be with us.

Merry Christmas mom and dad! I love and miss you!

Raising Strong Girls

There’s a quote I often see floating through social media and it makes me smile every time I read it because it reminds me of what I do as a dad is so important in Olivia’s life! Now I have often thought there is a line in there that doesn’t quite fit for a dad “may we be them”, but really why shouldn’t the quote work for a dad? To really understand the importance of raising a strong girl we have to understand what it means to raise them.

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Raising a strong girl is simple (at least to the point where I am now at almost 7 years old)! Let her know it’s good that she voices herself (this point is important whether your raising a girl or a boy, you can’t expect them to be obedient and just listen to you because your the parent and not do the same with everyone else). Really its good that they learn to voice themselves and who else are they going to learn to do that with besides you at the start of their young lives? Take the time to stop, listen and respond!

Something we also have to think about is the body issue! This one is a touchy one as far as I am concerned! How do you deal with this delicate issue? We all love to know that we look good, beautiful, handsome or gorgeous it’s in our DNA and our nature and there is nothing wrong with that, but how do you deal with the media onslaught of how a person should look? Even men have this problem… We are not all created equal!

I often have conversations with Olivia and she has a strong grasp at this point that people in general come in all shapes and sizes. They are all beautiful in their own way and we should celebrate that with them rather than tear them down. She understands that beauty is only skin deep and a handsome man or a beautiful woman can be ugly inside (I am not saying anyone does, but I want her to know that just because they are good looking outside that their insides are too) and that beauty starts from the inside out!

Here’s to raising strong girls and yes “may we be them” dads! Do you have anything to add? drop it in the comments below!

Mums do you have anything to add? Drop it below in the comments!

 

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Christmas is bittersweet

I do love Christmas! Anyone that knows me will know that! The Christmas lights twinkling, the sound of carols playing in the background and the smell of Christmas treats being baked. There is though a bit of a dark side for me at Christmas though! The memories of Christmas past. Although most times I will remember them with a warm heart and a warm smile I have come to realize that I will never have another Christmas like my memories again.

The smell of my moms kitchen as she did the Christmas baking and me sneaking in to steal what I could. The sound of my dad and his record collection of Christmas carols as he played all his favourite carols. The excitement that was brought when the smell of fruit cake being baked filled the air (I still don’t like fruit cake though, just the smell) because we knew Christmas was coming.

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Although I know I am lucky to have three beautiful children to spread the joy of Christmas too and create beautiful memories of Christmas past with them I sometimes find myself when I am alone and a carol plays shedding a tear because I miss my Christmas so much! You know that feeling you get when people and traditions you had that just aren’t there anymore and no matter how hard you try to recreate them it’s never quite the same?

Lately I have found myself choking back a lot of tears missing my Christmas past. The memories are flooding back like never before and my longing to have them just one more time has never been stronger. All I can tell you is if you still have your parents hold them tight every moment you can and tell them you love them, because one day they will be gone and you will wish you could just one more time! So this Christmas make a point to spend quality and quantity time with them and make their Christmas even more special.

I miss my mom and dad this time of year especially! They are with me in memory and never forgotten the gift they gave me of Christmas and all the precious memories. They made my Christmas special the way it is meant to be, filled with love, kindness and generosity. They gave me everything they could even when things were tight. I love you mom and dad and everything you did for us. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas wherever you are!

A letter to my children about marriage and kids

I wanted to write this for some time now talking to you about marriage and kids! I want you to know that there are alternatives to being married and having kids. As we grow we see marriages, children and white picket fences everywhere from our own families, to friends, in movies, in TV… Literally everywhere! It’s instilled in us at a very young age.

I want you to know it’s ok if these are not things that you want in life! It’s ok if you do not want to marry or have children! I am not saying that I wouldn’t love for you to find the love of your life or have amazing grand kids for me to play with, but I don’t believe we were all meant to be married and have children and the pressure created by our culture to have a family is crazy! If you do get married, it’s because that’s what you want and that’s all that matters!

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Something that no one tells you is there are alternatives to life other than settling down, marrying, having children and living in the same house with the white picket fence for the next 25-30 years. Life is about experiences, not what society has made us think what a life well lived is. People are placed in our lives to teach us, to help us grow, and to live life with us as I have been put in to yours.

There are things you can do like travel the world, Spend time with friends, live where you want to, do whatever you want to when you want! Now I am not saying this to discourage you at all! I just want you to know that I am not expecting anything from you except your happiness! I just want you to know that there are alternatives to life and don’t fold if it’s not what you want!

Love Dad