What Does Being a Father Mean to Me?

I asked my husband last week sometime if he’d be interested in guest blogging on my site on the Monday after Father’s Day. I told him it was totally up to him how serious he was, how long it was, and what aspects of fatherhood it focused on. Needless to say when he officially emailed me his finished product I was blown away. I cried and giggled, edited pretty much nothing (he even did the italics and bold print!), and am so proud of this piece that he wrote. I’m thinking that maybe he should take over this site! Totally kinda kidding! Enjoy!

What does being a father mean to me? 


As I began to get my thoughts together about this post, I continually asked myself, “What does being a father mean to me?”  I answered with what I thought were meaningful and loving responses about how amazing being a father is.

“You have someone that is not only part of YOU but also part of the most important person in your life.”

“There is always someone waiting at home for you that is so genuinely happy to see you when you get there (at least for the first 10 years or so), no matter what happened at work that day.”

“Not to mention they do the cutest stuff.  I mean way cuter than anyone else’s kid.”

“Watching them learn new things and grow into a real life person is SO amazing.”

Thought after thought like this rolled into my head; and then another question emerged and I couldn’t shake it.  If all these wonderful things are what being a father means to me, then why is it so damn hard?  Why do I find myself longing for a break, just a little break?  Why do I pray as she starts to cry and wake herself up, “Please not tonight; I just can’t tonight?”  Why do I remind myself of how “easy” it was when it was just my wife and I?  And why do I always ask, “How do people do this with more than one?”  There is no way I have the energy for that.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my daughter more than anyone, aside from her mother, and I truly love being her father. That is why I had such a hard time with these emerging thoughts. Am I a bad father or am I just not cut out for this?  Maybe I should not be writing about what being a father means to me….

Then I realized I had it all wrong.  I couldn’t have been further from the question I should be asking myself.  The question that means everything answers everything about being a father.

What does me being a father mean to my daughter?”


Photo credit: Sarah Wood Photography

This changed everything in how I answered the not so amazing thoughts that had taken over my head.  The original question, while unintentionally, was selfish.  It only focused on me and what was easy and fun. But that is not what being a father is about. By asking what me being a father meant to my daughter I came to one answer; “EVERYTHING.”  That answered floored me and then I became to repeat the negative questions back to myself and this time they changed.

“Why would I take a break when she doesn’t take a break from needing me?”  “How much does it mean to her when she is scared and alone in her room at night and Daddy comes to save her?” “How much would I miss her if she wasn’t here; no matter how much ‘harder’ it seems at times?” “How much will her siblings benefit from her being first and giving me the opportunity to learn from her?”

Wow…  One question had changed everything for me.  And then I asked myself the original question again.

“What does being a father mean to me?”  “EVERYTHING”   It gives me all the purpose in the world.  I know everyone says that, but it is so true.  It means everything to me because it means everything thing to her.  By focusing on her it gives me joy to do the hard things.  Yes, they will still be hard I am sure, but instead of focusing on how difficult it is for me, I can draw strength on the fact that it is so important to her and to those she will one day be able to positively influence because of the person I helped her become.

Maybe next time being a father or mother is hard for you, try asking the question, “What does me being a parent mean to my child?”  And then remember the answer is “Everything”


{John is the husband of Chelsea, founder of And Then Life. He works in sales and when he’s not busy with being a daddy and hubby, he enjoys fishing, golfing, and watching sports.}

What’s on Your…TV Watch List

Excited it’s time for another link-up with some fabulous ladies! This month we are talking about what’s on our TiVo, Hulu, Netflix, etc. watch list. If this is your first month tuning in, this link-up posts on the third Wednesday of every month. You can share via blog post and actually join in on the blog link-up or just hashtag #2016whatsonyour and play along with on Instagram. Okay now that all the housekeeping is out of the way, here’s those fabulous ladies I referred to a second ago:

The Other Hostesses

Andrea || For the Love of Honey

Courtney || Love of Mommyhood

Maeve || Everyday Maeve

Patricia || Life of a Minister Mom

Sara || Crazy Cozads

Tabitha || Tabitha Panariso

Now onto this month’s theme….

What’s On Your…TiVo, Netflix, Hulu Watch List

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So this month’s topic was a tricky one for me. Why? Well, I don’t watch television. I know some of you may have just reread that to make sure you heard me correctly, but you did. I don’t watch television. I have nothing against the TV, but I just never make the time for it. For many it is a relaxing time, but I’m never able to get invested enough in a show because I’m thinking about a zillion other things I could be getting done. I’m very much a busy body so I have to be fully invested to actually relax and sit still for a bit. Books, blogging, and social media do that for me, television doesn’t.

Now don’t be fooled, that’s not to say our television is never on. In the rare times that we are able to spend some time together my husband and I enjoy watching movies or reruns of the sitcom Friends (we own all 10 seasons on DVD).

We also use it, maybe a bit too much sometimes, as an at home date night. An excuse to do nothing, hang out together, and make some yummy snacks, which are often simple (popcorn, trail mix, chips and salsa), but we also like to splurge (olives, fine cheeses, crackers, wine)

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We also rent movies at Redbox every once in a while and snag a sitter for a night at the actually movie theater, but it doesn’t happen often.

If we do rent/go see a movie soon, what should it be? Help!

Check out the lists of all the other hostesses and be sure to add your’s. If you don’t have a blog, post it on Instagram. Or do both! (That’s what I did!)

Follow Along with Us on Instagram!

Andrea || Chelsea || Courtney || Maeve || Patricia || Sara || Tabitha

And be sure to use our hashtag so that we can see what you share!


Now is time for you to set your calendars for July 20th, grab our button and show us

What’s On Your… Feet! 

Crazy Cozads

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10 TOTALLY Free Summer Activities!

Edited 5/28/18 to update dates & information.

Summer has arrived and you’ve suddenly got kiddos to keep entertained all day, every day. (or maybe you’re like me, and your child isn’t school aged, but you’re always trying to find things to do!)

Now if I’m being honest, I am all for splurging, especially during the summer, on activities and trips that we don’t do throughout the year, but you just can’t do that every day/week. (At least this family can not!)

The following is a list I’ve compiled to save your sanity and your wallet this summer!

(All the activities on the list are COMPLETELY FREE! I also kept the cost of gas in mind and chose things that you most likely have locally, regardless of where you live.)


TOTALLY Free Summer Activities

1. Go to a local park / playground: Many parks have nature trails and picnic areas. Check ahead, but many even have bicycle paths. Spending time at a park is a great opportunity for your child to truly get back to the nature.

2. Attend a workshop/class/camp/club at a local store:

Home Depot offers workshops for children of all ages, but the younger they are, the more supervision they’d obviously need. For this activity, make sure you register ahead of time. They need to have enough materials ready. 

Pottery Barn Kids has a weekly story time every Tuesday at 11:00 am (excluding NYC stores). Once children attend five they receive “a special surprise”

Apple Store offers a day camp for children ages 8-12. It runs for three days in 90 minute sessions. Children choose a subject offered and focus on that for the three days.

Michael’s offers a variety of arts and crafts related classes. Although many of their’s have a cost attached to them, there are many that are also free. (Be careful though, many of the free ones require certain supplies, which may need to be purchased).

Lakeshore has a different craft class every Saturday. These classes are for children ages three and up and parents can visit their website ahead of time to see the particular craft for that weekend.

Barnes & Noble is hosting a summer reading program from May 15 – Sept. 3, 2018. Your child must read and keep a journal on eight different books. The journal is then turned in in exchange for a free book!

3. Hike It Baby: This is an organization I recently found out about and immediately fell in love! They take walks/hikes almost daily and the group consists of two leaders and caregivers with their children. Hike It Baby not only offers a schedule ahead of time, but also describes what the walk/hike will entail (location, amount of time, etc.) so you know what ages are appropriate to bring and whether it would be better to use a carrier or a stroller.

4. Go to the library: This one you may have already thought of so that your child can keep up their reading throughout the summer, but don’t forget about classes as well. For example, my local library offers classes that run throughout the week and are offered completely free of charge. You just have to make sure you register your child before the class fills up for some of them! Find your local library! (I was pleasantly surprised at how many we actually have in our area).

5. Go to a public beach: You can build sandcastles, collect shells, and play in the surf, among other things. (If you’re not near a beach, consider a lake or river too!)

6. Backyard camping: No cost, no worries. Pack some snacks, play outside, and stargaze while falling asleep. Worst case scenario, pack up and go back inside to the comfort of your own bed!

7. Volunteer: This can be done at many places, just call ahead and see or use a volunteer matching website. Some places you could consider are wildlife centers, churches, nursing homes, day care centers, or a historical society.

8. Learn more about a local factory: Not every factory offers this, but many will let you go “behind the scenes” and give you a tour of how things are run. Click here to find factory tours in your area!

9. Go for a walk in the neighborhood: While this one doesn’t sound overly interesting you can make it intriguing to little ones by playing I Spy along the way or taking a different route each time you walk. (Update: I just stumbled across this wonderful blog post written on exactly what I was talking about in reference to neighborhood walks. There are even free printables!)

10. Take advantage of your time: Do things that you just didn’t have the time for during the school year – more quality time together, visit family and friends who live close but you don’t see enough, cook together, do crafts, watch movies. Try to enjoy the time you have with your children because before you know it they’ll be starting school again, another year older.



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