Your best resource for new and expecting dads

#3 – Adam Goddard: “Just Keep Swimming”

Ryan interviews Adam. Adam and Ryan are related through Ryan’s cousin. Adam is a dad of two girls aged 8 and 6. Adam is an incredibly thoughtful person. This conversation inspired me and I’m sure will inspire others out there. 

Topics discussed:

  • Difficulty getting pregnant and how to push through.
  • How best to deal with the hardships together as a couple.
  • The panic that set in when they finally did get pregnant.
  • The most exciting times during the pregnancy for Adam.
  • Importance of spending time with your partner and connecting.
  • Adam and his wife decided not to find out the sex of their first child before birth.
  • Why they wanted to find out earlier for the second child.
  • Routine changes during the pregnancy. 
  • Practicing empathy when your partner describes the changes they’re experiencing.
  • First few weeks after the baby was born.
  •  Adam’s nighttime routine of watching the baby sleep while playing video games.
  • The dad-daughter bond
  •  Activities dads can do with their daughters.
  • Adapt to doing things together.
  • Hobbies Adam does with his daughters today.
  • 90s cartoons have aged terribly.
  • Advice for couples trying to get pregnant. 
  • As Dory says, “Just keeping swimming.”
  • Advice for dads and expecting dads.

*** 

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#2 – Mario Telaro: Into the Eye of a Hurricane

Mario is a professional drummer and dad of an 8-month-old son. Mario has the opportunity to work from home which adds another dynamic to the conversation. Mario offers a perspective that is different from other dads in part because of his career. 

Topics Discussed: 

  • What Mario wishes he knew before his wife got pregnant. 
  • The time it took to get pregnant and being surprised.
  • The book Mario’s wife bought him: We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp
  • His gig schedule during pregnancy including one-night shows and touring. 
  • Most exciting time during the pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy as a transitional phase.
  • Hearing a newborn for the first time and how Mario felt.
  • Adjustments Mario made during the pregnancy to reconnect with his wife. 
  • First gig after his son’s birth.
  • Adjustments to working at a rented studio so as not to play drums in the house.
  • How Mario made sure to be present when at home. 
  • Leaving to tour for 3 weeks.
  • Mario’s memories that he shares from the road.
  • Ryan’s travel schedule for work.
  • The upside of being home right now during a pandemic.
  • Bobby Bazini: http://www.bobbybazini.com/ 
  • Staying in shape since the baby was born. 
  • Mario’s workout routine.
  • Balancing your time and your interests with your partner. 
  • Mario’s father-son time in the morning.
  • Sympathy weight and how Mario tracks his weight.
  • Mario’s current projects.
  • Mario’s advice for new dads and expecting dads.

Mario’s website: http://mariotelaro.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariotelaro/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thereadyroomstudio/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/mariotelaro

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarioTelaro 

*** 

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It can help us reach more dads. 

For show notes and past guests, please visit daybydaydad.com/day-by-day-dad-podcast.

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Effectively Working from Home

This week marks one year since I made the switch to my current job. With the obvious changes that come with switching jobs, my company is 100% remote. I spent the last 15 years working in offices. I traveled occasionally in the last 5 years which took me away from my desk. I did spend some time living and working from home in Toronto. It wasn’t the ideal setup for a home office. I’m still working on my new workspace and routine. Here are some tips on effectively work from home.


Designate a workspace

Laptops give you the flexibility to work just about anywhere. I see that as a negative because it means you really can work anywhere. It also means you can work anytime. The first thing any remote worker should do is designate a space in their house that is only for work. I purchased a Mac Mini for my office. I did it because I needed to upgrade my computer and installing a desktop computer meant that I have to work from my desk. I still use my laptop. I have designated the Mac Mini as my work computer. It makes it easier to enter the right headspace for work when I’m in my “office.” Give some thought to how you create your workspace.


Establish your work hours

When I worked in an office, we were expected to put in a certain number of hours per week. That can fluctuate depending on your job. I won’t prescribe a number of hours here. Whatever your work schedule, it’s important to stick to it. In my first remote work stint, I often found myself working all hours because I could work while I watched television in the evening. Today, I bookend my day with a morning and evening routine that takes me away from my desk.


Set a routine

My morning routine is similar to when I had a commute. I still get up, get dressed, workout and have coffee. The lack of an hour-long commute gives me the flexibility to add in reading and writing. My commute to the office is now upstairs and rarely do I run into traffic unless the dogs follow along. Reo, my Lab-Weimaraner mix, is so set in his routine that he will tell me when it’s time to work. He will stand at the stairs until I follow. Check out my morning routine.

My evening routine is more fluid. When my workday is over, I shut all of my work-associated programs down and head down to the living room to decompress with my family. We will take a walk together or just hang out and talk. I try to avoid going directly from work to some other task to avoid burning myself out.


Take breaks

You have the option to head to the water cooler or chat with others in an office setting. I have the luxury of my wife and two dogs at home. Although my coworkers love to sleep on the job, I can take a break to decompress with them during the day. I’m talking about my dogs sleeping, of course. If you’re alone all day, then make sure you have a way to break up the day. Take a walk, workout or just sit and read. Do something that takes your mind off work and helps you to recharge.


Manage inputs and distractions

It’s far too easy to turn on the television or watch YouTube videos all day. I like to work with music while I’m head down and in a flow state. My favorite playlist. Aside from the obvious distractions, I also like to manage all notifications. We use email and Slack. It’s easy to switch tasks when you are notified of something seemingly important. Here’s a secret: It’s not that important. Avoid task switching and try to only check those different apps a few times daily. This is called Batching. Suffice it to say, you’ll be much more effective if you can manage inputs. I go a step further and batch my email sends so that I don’t receive replies periodically throughout the day.


Enjoy it

I love working from home. I have decorated my office with lots of action figures, bobble heads, and LEGO.

My desk is clean and minimal because I find that helps to keep me centered. Whatever you do, whether you follow these tips or others, make sure you enjoy it. That’s the key to effectively working from home.

My Coffee Habit

Coffee and I have had an up and down relationship. I love the taste of coffee. I’ve used caffeine as a way to stay away through long shifts, studying and just simply as a crutch over the last decade. For a long time, it was my way of coping for other terrible behaviors like missing out on sleep. Today, my coffee has changed. It is no longer a reliance on caffeine but rather meditative. The act of making coffee can be meditative if you want it to be.

I’ve run the gamut of ways to brew my coffee including French press, standard coffee pot and espresso machine. The end result is often fairly similar, but you aren’t really involved aside from adding the grounds, water and pressing a button.

On a recent trip to Toronto to visit friends, I visited an amazing little café in the Distillery District called Balzac’s. They have a number of locations in Ontario. I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve always loved coffee shops. One of my favorite parts of visiting Paris.

 

But I digress… On to my coffee habit

They had a pour over coffee maker from Chemex. It’s a beautiful glass coffee maker that reminds me of a decanter. It intrigued me. I did some research on the coffee making process with a Chemex later in the day.

For anyone looking for a quick cup of coffee without any hassle, this isn’t for you. I have extra time in the morning because I work from home. I also like that it forces you to slow down and appreciate the process. It gives you another level of appreciation of the cup of coffee too. It takes about 10 minutes to make the coffee. I usually listen to a podcast while I do it. It really helps to slow things down and put me in the right frame of mind for the day. Much like a meditation practice.


What you need:

  • Chemex coffee maker – I have the 8-cup one
  • Coffee filter – I’m using the Chemex paper filters, but I want to switch to a Coffee Sock for environmental reasons
  • Coffee beans
  • Coffee grinder
  • Kitchen scale
  • Kettle – The purists suggest one with temperature settings because coffee should be brewed at specific temperatures. I have a Breville with the temperature settings, so I heat the water to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Optional – Tea pot – this helps me to control the pour over the grounds.
  • Coffee mug
  • Time

Process:

  • Heat the water to your desired temperature. I use at least 700g of water which makes two big cups of coffee.
  • Measure your coffee beans and grind to a coarse ground. I use about 30g of coffee.
  • If you’re using paper filters, then fold and place the filter in the neck of the Chemex.
  • Pour some water over the filter. This will help eliminate the taste of the paper from getting into your coffee.
  • Empty the water.
  • Add your grounds to the filter.
  • Here is where I pour the water into the teapot.
  • With the Chemex on the kitchen scale, add 100g of water, pouring slowly and moving in concentric circles over the center of the grinds. Be careful not to pour directly onto the paper to avoid getting any remnants of the taste in your coffee.
  • Set a timer for 90 seconds and wait for your coffee to bloom. More on blooming: https://www.homegrounds.co/coffee-bloom/
  • Pour the remaining 600g steadily over the grounds starting in circles and then pouring directly over the center.
  • Let the water go through the grounds. You should end up with a perfect funnel of grounds when all the water has gone through.
  • Grab your favorite mug and enjoy your coffee.

Like I said, this process usually takes me about 10 minutes. I have a podcast going and then I can sit down at my kitchen table to do some writing. My coffee routine slows everything down and relieves a lot of stress about what I might need to accomplish. It helps me to appreciate the process and my cup of coffee. Oh, and if your coffee gets cold and you’re using the Chemex, then you can heat it back up on the stove. Just be sure to follow the instructions!

Coffee may not be your thing. In my case, coffee brewing is a reminder to appreciate the little things that seem routine and mundane. Slow down and smell the coffee.

Feeling the Baby Kick

The mother’s life changes drastically from the second you have the positive pregnant test. She now has dietary restrictions, can expect to limit her exercise routine, and she’s incubating your future baby. As a future dad, I was elated. My life didn’t change much. I could not wait to start feeling the baby kick. As I soon found out, that takes time!

Your new reality will become more real throughout the pregnancy when you get to see your baby during ultrasound exams. Your partner’s belly is also going to grow as the baby develops. For me, the second ultrasound was the most exciting time. The next most exciting moment was feeling the baby kick.

There is so much emphasis put on feeling the baby moving. The mother will start feeling flutters as early as Week 20. It could take another 8 to 10 weeks before you’re able to feel anything. In my case, I wasn’t able to feel her until Week 28. Even then, it was light movements that feel like muscle twitches. Oh, and you’ll miss them if you’re not concentrating.

Going into the third trimester, I had felt the baby kick a few times. They were still faint. After Week 30, I can say that I can feel each and every movement. It’s like clockwork! As the baby gets bigger and bigger, there’s less space for her to move around. I can see exactly which way she is leaning in my wife’s belly now. We’re in Week 35 and she’s the length of a standard 18” tent stake, according to DaddyUp. We measured it and she’s longer than our Chihuahua!

Chip is a 2 year old Chihuahua weighing 7lbs.

Feeling the baby kick - Chip

We confirmed with the doctor last week that she’s moved to “head-down” position. It’s self-explanatory. She’s prepping for her trip through the birth canal to make her appearance on center stage. She’s not rolling around like she used to. You can feel distinct features now like what I assume are her feet and her little bottom.

Feeling the baby kick and being able to discern her specific body parts has made everything more real. I catch myself getting more and more excited each day.

My advice to you: Enjoy each and every moment. Commit them to memory. Writing this post has brought an incredible level of joy to my morning. I’m excited that I can share them with you.

Preparing for the Baby’s Arrival

I’ve already shared my thoughts on nesting and preparing the baby’s room. In the last few weeks, I’ve been mentally preparing for the baby’s arrival. Within a few weeks, we’ll have a new person living with us who is entirely dependent on us for everything.

I often compare babies to puppies because my experience up until now has been with bringing home a puppy. I remember the level of excitement with both of our dogs when we got them. I distinctly remember the first night with each of them. It hit me that I would not get a full night’s sleep for 6-8 weeks. I committed to take them out in the middle of the night to avoid any accidents in the house. Let’s face it, peeing and pooping in the house are the hardest part with a dog. Unless you’re terribly unlucky, that ends quickly.

I bring up the comparison with a puppy because I am so excited for my daughter to be born. Since I’ve been able to consistently feel her kick, I’ve been seriously counting down the days. Labor is not going to be easy for my wife and I will do my best to support her throughout. I found a great resource called Supporting Her to prepare myself. I’m also well aware that any “training” will go out the window when the urgency sets in. I’m as ready as I can be for all of that. I’m working on my preparedness for taking the baby home.

I’ve heard a few dads describe the feeling of leaving the hospital and driving home with their new baby. The consensus has been one of being dumbfounded that they now have a baby to take care of. Within a span of a couple of days, they went from just being a couple to being parents. It sounds similar to that feeling when you get home with the new puppy. It usually came with the thought, “What did we do?” Obviously, I know that will subside and I will trust my instincts.

There is this excitement that my daughter will be here so soon and potentially born on my birthday. It’s easy to get lost in the thought of what is to come. I’m working on taking stock of our here and now. Making sure that I am as ready as I can be without trying to overthink and over prepare. You know, like a Boy Scout of sorts.

For the first time since my wife got pregnant, I’m sitting here with a nervous excitement. It’s now real. I understand that it gets real for women almost immediately when they find out they’re pregnant because there are so many changes. I’ve asked other dads about when it got real for them and there are differing answers. For this future dad, it is now real. At 36 weeks and 3 days.


To My Daughter:

We’re so excited to meet you. I’m going to take the best care of you that I can. I’m going to make some mistakes because to err is human. I will remind you of this so you never forget it, I love you. We love you. Having you is already the best decision we ever made. See you soon, little one.

Podcast Launch

Here we are on the day of the podcast launch! But first, I want to take you back to understand where this came from. When my wife and I found out we’re going to be parents, I immediately rushed into action! That is to say, I started researching every part of pregnancy. I wanted to be well prepared. A pregnancy boy scout of sorts. I’ve already written about how I felt when we got pregnant.

I realized that there are limited resources for dads out there. Many of the available materials are presented in a specific light. Dads aren’t generally presented with the expectation of being the supportive, loving dad they might aspire to be. Many of the conversations I’ve had with dads would either start or lead to a level of negativity that worried me. I am not worried that I will adopt the negative outlook. If this is the prevalent message, then I am concerned that more men might feel the same way I do.

I started writing about my experiences, but I didn’t think it was enough. I’m not so self-absorbed that I think I have all of the answers. Nor am I trying to find all of the answers. Every experience is unique. I’m an avid podcast listener and really enjoy long-form conversations like those of Tim Ferriss and Peter Attia.

I wanted to find a way to speak to other dads about their experiences and tease out their unique ways of balancing being a dad with the rest of their lives. Selfishly, it’s also been a way for me to get free advice.

Today marks the podcast launch day. I’m so lucky to have had a number of conversations prior to the launch. I’ll be releasing episodes every second Monday. The guests will vary and so will the topics. A lot like being a dad.

I hope you enjoy listening to them even half as much as I’ve enjoyed recording these incredible conversations. I can’t thank my guests enough for being so gracious with their time and especially for being so open about their experiences. I’m looking forward to where this journey takes me. The Day by Day Dad Podcast, much like fatherhood, will be taken one step at a time.

New Morning Routine

No, this isn’t another preachy post about how you should definitely set a new morning routine. There are two goals I’m trying to accomplish with writing about how I’m now organizing my mornings.

The first is to set a level of accountability to keep myself focused. I often find something new that interests me or change something up that feels like my new ideal. Then I jump in with both feet! This is my attempt at being more scientific in my approach.

The second goal is to have my routine written down. It’s easy to have everything in my head and to deviate when it’s convenient. I rely strongly on lists to keep me organized and on track.

I’ll sneak in a third objective. I’m also going to look at this as an experiment. Both to see how long I can commit to this new routine and to know whether or not I can continue it after the baby’s arrival. That gives me 4 weeks until her due date.

Enough chatter. Let’s get after it!

new morning routine - day by day dad

ALARM!


Check Phone

I don’t spend much time checking but I do look to make sure I haven’t missed anything pressing in texts and phone calls.


Read

After avoiding any and all books until my 20s, I’ve become an avid reader. The problem, as always, is finding the time. No excuses, 15 to 30 minutes after I wake up is as great a time as any. I focus on reading anywhere from one section to a full chapter in this time.


Cuddles

I work from home so that means I’m home more often than I’m away. It’s easy to take that for granted and not be present with your loved ones. I take some time each morning to remind my wife and dogs how much I care about them. There’s no time limit on this. I’m definitely looking forward to adding the baby to our morning cuddles.


Hygiene

The boring and necessary stuff. Rinse face, brush teeth, shower, get dressed, etc.


Quick Workout

This is open to whatever I feel like doing. It could be pushups, pull ups or any other activity that gets my heart rate up. This isn’t the time to do a full workout. It’s just a primer.


Airpods In and Listen to a Podcast

Silence is beautiful. I take advantage of silent moments at other points during the day. I like to listen to a podcast in the morning. There’s no real rhyme or reason. It might just be a way to go back to my commutes to an office when I’d have up to an hour for podcasts.


Feed the Dogs and Let Them Outside

They each get a piece of chicken jerky and then their food. Once they’ve eaten and taken care of business outside, they’re happy to go back upstairs to cuddle with my wife.


Hydrate

I’ve read countless accounts of the importance of hydration and I understand it. I always have a mason jar of water with me in the house. I’ll use my water to take my vitamins and supplements. Maybe more on that another time.


Make Coffee

I’ll write a whole post on how my coffee routine has evolved from a French press through to a Chemex with stops along the way. Here’s my latest coffee routine.


Write

I like to give myself about an hour to sit down at the kitchen table and write on my laptop. Most of my writing is focused on this blog now. I have a running list of things I’d like to write about. There isn’t a set goal for my writing time. I switch to a playlist on Spotify that helps me get into a flow state and I write whatever comes to mind. It’s therapeutic and almost meditative.


Reconnect

After I’m done writing, I’ll take some time to reconnect with my family before I go into my office.

Start Work

Working from home is a luxury. I don’t take it for granted. It’s nice to not have to commute to an office but I have felt the need for clear delineation between my work and home hours. It’s far too easy to work 24/7. That’s why I’ve separated the spaces accordingly.


Why?

The goals of this post are entirely selfish. It has helped me to clearly define how I want to approach each day. There may be some changes based on what’s going on like travel or the weekends. I do believe that outlining my intentions will help point me in the right direction. And if I can’t complete everything on this list, then my goal is to accomplish the majority to win the morning.


#1 – Jamie Brasseur: Big Head, Small Space and a Tripod

Day by day dad podcast - Jamie Brasseur: Big Head, Small Space and a Tripod

Ryan interviews Jamie. Jamie and Ryan have been friends for a long time. Jamie is a dad of a one-year old son. Jamie has always wanted kids and is a great dad. He went through a period of worrying about everything and offers great perspective on it.

Topics Discussed

  • Jamie’s struggle with worrying about everything when the baby came.
  • Learning about a bump on the baby’s head.
  • Jamie’s life didn’t change much during the pregnancy.
  • What was the most exciting time during the pregnancy for him.
  • The story of the second ultrasound.
  • The story of their gender reveal.
  • Supporting his wife during the pregnancy.
  • Why Jamie deferred his parental leave to later in the year.
  • The first 40-days after the baby was born being more difficult.
  • How Jamie adapted his workout routine.
  • Jamie’s advice to new dads and expecting dads out there.

***

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For show notes and past guests, please visit daybydaydad.com/day-by-day-dad-podcast.

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The Second Ultrasound

The second ultrasound is a very exciting time. I would argue that it was the most exciting time in the pregnancy up until now. I’m writing this at the 35-week mark. My opinion may change.

The first ultrasound is exciting because you get to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see what looks like a human. Aside from a silhouette and heartbeat though, there isn’t much else. Our first ultrasound was around the 12-week mark, so it is still too early to know the sex of the baby and, in our case, we hadn’t completed the genetic screening.

The second ultrasound was at the end of Week 19. We had the results of the genetic screening and the baby had developed enough that there was so much more to see. Our ultrasound technician is a dream as well! She clearly loves what she does. During this ultrasound, she has a number of measurements to take and she made sure to describe every limb, bump and movement that she saw while she worked. We ended up with well over 30 pictures printed for us of our little Jellybean. It was even more exciting because the baby was lively, and you could clearly see every feature from her face to her feet..

The Second Ultrasound - the camera roll

We found out the sex of the baby from the genetic testing and had confirmation that we are having a girl during the ultrasound. Hearing her heart racing at 150+ beats per minute put it over the edge. It was an incredible time and I was so thankful to have been there to experience it.

I hope that most fathers-to-be attend as many appointments as possible and feel included. If you can only be there for some, then make sure you attend the ultrasounds! They are what made everything real for me ahead of finally feeling the baby during Week 28.