My Daughter, The Life Saver
My Daughter, The Life SaverShe’s not even 3 years old, but she’s already a hero. Although she may not be aware that she’s saving daddy’s life, she is doing it nonetheless. Over the years, I have found ways to become increasingly stressed about everything. Always having something to do, thinking ahead and worrying about what’s to come, getting mad at minute details, etc. I’m Guilty. Yes, with a capital “G”!
My wife always gives the best support a husband could ask for over the years, and she keeps me from going berserk….usually. Now, thanks to our daughter, she has reinforcements. I shared about the long journey of having our daughter and how stress was a major factor in the issues we faced. It sucked, I was miserable, and so was everyone around me. I never considered that stressing so much could be such a powerful and dangerous force, but now I have learned it can be deadly.
This is beyond scary! Something that many of us consider to be purely mental, can actually lead to our demise. Armed with this “stressful” knowledge, I am working on making changes to remove myself from the dangerous mindset. Becoming a stay-at-home dad is one major change as my old job sitting in an office completely stressed me out.
Do I still stress over things? Sure, just ask my wife! A little stress, however, is natural and even good for us. But my constant worrying about washing dishes, food, exercise, always having a plan for the day, and never living in the moment has subsided. I once lived in a carefree world, and now, with my energetic toddler by my side, I’m beginning to find that place again.
With the help of my beautiful wife and daughter, I’m slowly (read, slowly) lowering stress levels and re-learning how to live “in the moment.” Since most of my time is now spent with Avery, she has been helping me in many ways; all unknown to her. Yes, kids are hard work and create plenty of stress, but that’s a different kind of stress, one that exudes pride in parenting, not one of complete and utter dread.
One way Avery helps is by simply being so adorable. Every time I look at her or at the thousands (literally) of pictures of her, my heart fills with joy and happiness. How can you not be happy with your kid’s beaming smile?
I’m adamant about keeping active, and thanks to Avery, she’s up for getting outside and “working out” or exploring around the neighborhood. Follow that up with a swim in the pool and we’ve had a busy day full of fun, keeping active, and bonding. There’s nothing like experiencing new things with your kid and seeing them so excited about life.
Probably the biggest factor in Avery saving my life is with play. She still has a ways to go before she can wrestle around without risking me crushing her, but she’s active enough for a little rolling around, tickle time, playing airplane, and chasing mommy and daddy around in or outside of the house! Whatever the activity, Avery “plays” a major role by keeping me in check throughout the day and my mind off of that S-word.
When I’m standing over the sink washing dishes and she’s pacing all around me with book in hand, I make it a point to stop and get down to read with her. The instant I’m on the ground and I see her smiling back at me, all of my worries disappear.
As she grows, Avery’s playfulness will grow with her, and I will be right there to play along in the dirt, swing in a swing, jump on a trampoline and pick her up when she falls. All while caring less about the materialistic things and more about emotions and family.
Of course, I still make it a point to clean those dishes and do other chores, but the fact is, I’m having less of a “must do it now” mentality and learning to enjoy things more often. Although I still feel stress, this is more of a beautiful “I have a child and I’m raising her” kind of stress, and I’m happy to take it on as a wonderful father!
About R.C. Liley:
Stay-at-home dad to a beautiful girl, Avery, as of November 15, 2014 and happily married to my wife, Kelley, since August 17, 2007.
Worked in Finance for almost 6 years before becoming a stay-at-home dad. I don't do well in an office setting and love being able to stay home with our daughter instead of resorting to daycare.
Health is of the utmost importance in our family and we make it a point to lead by example for Avery to follow in our footsteps. We avoid eating out as I prefer to prepare food using mostly organic, whole foods so I know each ingredient that is used. We follow a plant-based diet making sure the fish, meat, and eggs we eat are raised humanely and fed a diet they were made to consume.
I'm an ex-marathoner who, after running Boston, felt my endurance training is complete and now I have the goal of gaining strength.
I write about my journey with Avery as we both grow together on my blog, Going Dad, and frequently share my thoughts on exercise, health, and green living as well as products in these areas.