Hey, dad! Thanks for checking in for month 10. If you’ve been with me for the long haul, you likely know that this blog isn’t written like a diary (if it was, these last few months would read like poorly written science fiction/romantic-tragedy absent enough realism to be believable). When I write a blog entry, I try my best to include information relevant and helpful for the every-day-dad based on my own experiences without always delving into specifics or current events. It keeps the blog timeless and lets the advice apply seamlessly to a variety of personalities and situations.
That said, the world is a wee bit different than it was when we last got together, and it would be a disservice not to address it. This month’s blog is less about your baby’s moments and milestones and more about the big picture. If you’re reading this in 2030, it’s likely not going to be as helpful (let’s hope) as past entries, but I think dads need help at this moment now more than ever, and that’s what I aim to do.
We’re Still Climbing
As this is being written, we’re approaching the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. These are tough times for everyone. Unemployment rates are unprecedented due to the economic shutdown. If you have a brand-new baby and you’re out of work, you might be nervous or outright terrified about the future.
For starters, I wanted to provide a few links of substance for those who might need economic help. I also want to remind you (as I often have to remind myself) that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it (and accept that some things are beyond our control). You’re still a bad-ass dad. Never forget it.
Help with Unemployment (Soon to include the self-employed): https://www.usa.gov/unemployment
Small Business Grant and Loan Advance: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications
Food Assistance: https://www.usa.gov/food-help
Help with Energy Bills: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/liheap-state-and-territory-contact-listing
Children’s and Parent’s Healthcare: https://www.usa.gov/medicaid#item-35462
You may need to do some digging to find programs specific to your state, but those should provide a solid starting point.
How to be Social from a Distance
Look, I understand that your baby is starting to put sounds together, and it’s amazing to watch them mimic our noises and try to put words to objects. Unfortunately, they’re probably not the best conversationalists. You might be going a little crazy without seeing friends and family, especially if you’re a single dad (represent).
Last week my family and I had a virtual game-night. We used the phone app House Party. Overall it was pretty enjoyable—there was an Apples to Apples style card game, Pictionary, and a wide range of trivia. A few more games would have been nice, but I’m sure there are more apps out there for you to find to keep connected to family and friends. If you didn’t recognize just how important these people are to you, being isolated has brought it to the forefront. Find ways to spend time (apart) together.
A Whole New World
I’ve worked from home long before the pandemic, so I’m used to hanging with the kids, grinding away on my laptop while they nap. For those of you new this type of gig, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The most important advice I can give you is to set aside a place, free from distractions, for you to work. Get everything else off of that desk or table other than what you need to get the job done. If you have a baby at home, distractions will be inevitable, but having that clear space ready for when they’re napping or preoccupied will help tremendously.
Is That the Sun I See?
Hallelujah, it’s finally starting to get nice outside in my neck of the woods, and it can’t come soon enough. One of the few entertainment options deemed essential enough to remain open is hiking trails and similar outdoor locations. While it’s imperative to keep your distance from others while out and about, getting fresh air and exercise with your family is critical. Hit the trail and you might just kick some of that cabin-fever funk and isolation irritability.
Missed the other months? If you’re new to fatherhood, there’s no judgment here. You can find the previous month here: