Dealing with the Illness of a Spouse

Dealing with the Illness of a SpouseUnexpected.

Causing uncontrollable sobbing on my part.

The feeling of living in multiple worlds that sometimes clash or collide and cause these severe emotions because these worlds are so DIFFERENT.

Nothing like we desired or expected. And yet it IS.

So how do we best deal? Move forward and see if there’s a way to improve things? Or accept it (at least for now) because it might never change.

The Daddy Brain Workshop: Upcoming Events

The Daddy Brain Workshop

DaddyBrain

Dads and dads to be, join us at one of the following Daddy Brain Workshops:

Dads Day @ Meriter Hospital
February 7, 2015, from 9-11am
2650 Novation Parkway
Madison, WI 53713
Register for the workshop

The Daddy Brain Workshop @ Matrix Collaborative
March 4, 2015 from 6-7:30pm
6302 Odana Rd.
Madison, WI 53719
Register for the workshop

The Daddy Brain Workshop @ Stoughton Hospital
March 26, 2015 from 6-7:30pm
Stoughton Hospital Bryant Health Education Center
Register for the workshop

Dads Day @ Meriter Hospital
May 16, 2015, from 10am-12pm
2650 Novation Parkway
Madison, WI 53713
Register for the workshop

WORKSHOP TOPICS INCLUDE:

  • Dad’s emotional life
  • Transition into fatherhood
  • Co-parenting
  • Positive and negative forms of discipline
  • Maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner
  • Intimacy issues
  • Coping with exhaustion
  • Bonding with baby
  • Second-class parent syndrome
  • Goals for dad, kids and the family
  • Maintaining a balance, as best as possible
  • Supporting mom and and asking for support

The workshop is a safe place for dads, and dads-to-be to share, learn and be heard. Hope to see you there!

And remember, you are not alone …

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The Loss of Time & the Art of Surviving

Lost Time & The Art of SurvivalI find it hard to believe that it’s been 4 months since my last blog post.

I have plenty to say, but three jobs, karate, swimming, financial stress — and doing my best to be a good dad and husband have left me tired and out of time.

Blogging, which was once done 3X per week, is now perpetually on the back burner. And this makes me sad.

I’ve recently started exercising and meditating again, which is helping me hold everything together. 15 minutes here, 10 minutes there, I feel like a thief stealing time that no longer belongs to me.

Survival trumps just about everything. But if all we focus on is survival, then we’re essentially standing still — or worse sinking in metaphorical quick sand. Yuck.

So, how do we get unstuck?

MOVEMENT.

Especially moving our eyes up & over the junk that lies before us. If we can look past the junk, we can see where we’d like to go. Once we accomplish this, we can take steps to get there. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing one or two major things each week to move my progress forward. And inch by inch, I am moving closer to my goals.

You can do this, too. I know you can. The trick is to stop thinking about it, and start doing it. Put it on the schedule — actually on your calendar — and do it.

Start today. Even if it’s only for 3 minutes.

And remember, you are not alone …

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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Living with the Loss of a Child

Have you experienced the loss of a child?

Before we had our two beautiful boys, my wife (Kara) and I lost two children to ectopic pregnancies. During the second ectopic pregnancy, my wife almost died.

Although we lost our first two children over eight years ago, there is still an unhealed part in my heart – and I will always miss them.

We believe they are two girls – Sheila and Sky.

Why do I use the present tense? Just because we lose someone doesn’t negate their existence. They are still here with us – part of our family and alive in our hearts. And when I allow myself to do so, I can feel their presence watching over all of us.

This is not an easy topic for me to think about for an extended period of time, but I think it’s important to raise awareness that MANY couples have experienced this type of loss. Just about every one of my friends has experienced miscarriages. One even lost his child after she was born.

This loss is not something we heal from, but something we live with. What confuses me is why we’re not encouraged to talk about it. It’s as if somehow it’s taboo or wrong to bring it up.

You know what? It’s not wrong. It’s part of our lives, and it hurts.

I met a lady the other day that recently lost her daughter, who had lived long enough to become an adult. I can’t even imagine the unbearable pain she and her husband are going through. To watch one’s child grow up, only to pass away so young – leaving a void that can never be filled. Although we had just met, once I gave her “permission” to talk about it, the words and the tears poured out.

She needed to talk about it. Sometimes we all do. 

Feel free to share your own stories, and tell me about your children – both the ones that made it into this world, and the one’s who didn’t.

And remember, you are not alone …

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The Romance Challenge: Learning to Date Your Wife Again

When was the last time you went on a date with your wife?

Did your conversation include talking about the kids, the bills or some other type of responsible discussion?

If so, then there’s a good chance you’ve lost the romance in what’s supposed to be the most romantic relationship in your life. I’ve never been overly romantic, but compared to how I was when I was dating my wonderful wife, I’ve slipped even further away from my romantic side.

Do I still love my wife? Of course. Do I sill find her sexy, interesting and attractive? Indeed I do.

But if I don’t take the time to be romantic with her, there’s a chance the connection we have will wither away. In other words, I can’t let stress, exhaustion, work, caring for my kids, my speaking career, mowing the lawn and all the other stuff in my life get in the way of keeping the romance alive in my marriage.

I have a friend who recently got divorced. Last time I saw her, she told me that the marriage ended because her and her husband had simply become friends. There was no fire left, no spark. If we don’t procure the romance in our marriage it might just disappear forever.

It’s time to begin the romance challenge. First up, making a date, and learning how to actually treat it like a date.

Who’s with me?

And remember, you are not alone …

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