Story Time: Why I’m NOT the best Dad.

Recently I was approached by an acquaintance asking for some advice. He said I inspire him to be a better dad. He is a new, young father and just getting used to the changes that come along with fatherhood.

I’m floored he was asking for advice. I don’t consider myself an expert, a lot of times I’m aiming from the hip and just make sure what I do is in the best interest of my minions.

When I asked what he needed help with, he asked for ideas how he can make more money so he can be a better dad without working endless overtime. He said he felt that he needed to bring home more finances to be a better dad, but mama bear is upset he spends too much time working and not enough time with them.

This shook me at the core, mainly because he thought he needed more money to be a better dad. I explained to him my point of view: making or having more money doesnt make you a better dad.

My biological father was a doctor and he’s a worthless piece of trash for many reasons, and having/making more money didn’t justify the other deficits.

From this life experience I have learned spending more time with my kids is more valuable than an extra few dollars. Working passionately for the required work hours is important, but being able to “turn off” work mode and spend time with the little one(s) is more important.

My parenting situation may be different than the next guy, but we all do our best (in most cases, we all know of an intentional deadbeat parent somewhere).

Comparing our situations and saying someone else does parenting “better” isn’t fair. That’s why I don’t call myself the best dad. Someone’s ability or inability to provide financially/emotionally/physically shouldn’t hinder their portrayal as a great parent.

We went deep in conversation deciphering his thought process and my theory on fatherhood. I get it, being financially stable is very important. But at a point there are things that money cannot buy.

Bringing home an extra $100 from overtime cannot amount to the value of hearing your child’s first words, it doesn’t equate to seeing your son score his first goal or see their performances at school.

In the end I told him that bringing home a little bigger paycheck is not going to make him a better dad, but spending more time at home doesn’t make him a better dad either.

He looked at me confused in silence, then I explained to him that I obviously understand spending less time working doesn’t make more money.

However, it gives him the opportunities to be the best dad more.

And in my book, being home with my littles more each day is trade-off I’d take every time.

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How Ric Found Comfort In Uncharted Territory

Being ashamed of your situation, relationship and/or decisions brings you nowhere. I’ve had so many of my guy friends and acquaintances approach me in the past months mentioning the recent blogs posted by Pinky and myself. All same shit, different diaper.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely flattered people read the randomness and actually absorb whatever message I’m attempting to convey: No matter how big, little or unimportant. The main thing is, these guys are ashamed to actually talk about it. Most of them ask questions on “how it happens” or how we make it really work. Slowly but surely the truth comes out. “Bro, to be honest me and my girl have been so rocky and your blog opened my mind up to so much….”

All of a sudden me and these acquaintances gain a totally different respect for each other. Our relationships are usually based on a common interest like my most obvious interest, cars. After a little heart-to-heart conversation about life, love and the future we take became closer and more open to conversations.

This all stems from what? A random rant or word vomit I decided to toss into a blog post. I would have never believed certain people I know have the same or similar struggles regarding their lives. At the same rate, the same goes for them towards me.

Why do we live like this? People we consider friends and acquaintances live in the dark with our situations and later on realize we all have struggles the same way. Not saying air your dirty laundry to everyone and their mother, but people we consider really good friends and/or acquaintances should be clued in just a little bit.

We all live a lie even in the slightest. “What’s up man? How are you? How have you been?” the cop out answer, “Not much. I’m good, you?” We shouldn’t always just burst out in the feels and bear out all the gripes and heartache, but there’s always a time and place.

Putting up a wall is normal, keep out the unwanted and undesired. Sometimes posting up an emotional wall could also end up keeping out the needed support and help we all seek. This hypothetical wall divides people all the time. I, for instance, meet someone new and put a wall up immediately! I give everyone the trust and respect off the bat that they deserve regardless of prejudice or previous forewarnings from others. I’m obligated to my own opinion of a person. However, the moment trust or respect is lost, good luck regaining it.

Sometimes this hypothetical wall is in place because we are ashamed of something or even afraid of another. Letting someone into your “inner circle” can be dangerous. Your heart, mind, body and soul can be sacrificed if one wrong move is made. That’s where rolling with the punches comes in. The moment something starts to feel like it’s going in the wrong direction, start to close the opening. Your gut knows best, learn to trust it and have faith that it will not steer you wrong.

Let people know what’s going on. Again, don’t air your dirty laundry out but let people know. The weight from the anxiety and uncertainty can be detrimental to your life. Posting a long, unwanted Facebook rant isn’t what I’m talking about. Go out, have a beer, take a breather with a buddy or seven and clue them in. You’ll be surprised, maybe they might just be going through the same shit. Get through it together, isn’t that the point of having friends as a support system?

Now the recent revolving question, “How are things at home, Ric?” GREAT! Probably the best they’ve been in years if not ever! I can honestly say me and my wife have hit a point in our life that we have been yearning for. Comfort, honesty, open-ness. We’ve confided in each other more than ever.

What are we doing now that’s different? Everything. For years it’s seemed to be the same mundane living and we just try to plow through our trials and hope to get over shit later. That was insanity.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

— Albert Einstein

We are changing our “norm.” We found a solution and it’s working, I think . Sure change is awkward and sometimes very unsettling, but we work. Things we say, do and see mesh better than they ever have: Better than I ever imagined. Communication is still key to anything, but we are learning more every day. Compromise and meeting in the middle smooth over the rough edges. I’m learning a lot, like to let go of what has burdened our past and embrace the happiness we find today. We are still ironing out the kinks, but when we are ready to present our grandmaster plan, be prepared… it’s a doozy.

 

–R.Guerrero

How Ric Found The One

How do you know if she’s the ‘One‘ you want to be with until the sun stops rising? She will be the one you can’t imagine another day without. Even though she eats only the top half of the bagels and puts all the bottom halves back in the bag, you’re ok with it because her half-ass explanation is too cute to get mad. She’s the one you can’t stay mad at no matter how many of your clothes are accidentally ruined from the pink sock that found its way into the wrong load of laundry.

She understands the silence after a long day, but can deal with the noise of game night. She knows just how to make the day better when you came home from a rough day. She’s going to be the one you wanna take home to Momma and show off to all your friends. She is going to be the girl who you’re willing to embarrass yourself a little bit just to see her giggle at your foolishness.

She will set roots in your soul, there will be no turning back. This girl encourages a better you, but is perfectly happy with the person you are. She’s open and willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. She’s going to be the one who makes you feel off balance when she’s not around, yet so secure in your life.

This mystery girl will be your future, making you forget about your past. She’s going to make you feel whole when you’re feeling lost and empty inside. She will surprise you. She will make you want to do better, be more, find a solution. There will not be a day she doesn’t cross your mind. She might not always get it right, but her thought and efforts will always be enough.

You’re going to love her freckles, her inability to hold back laughing when you’re a klutz, the way she pronounces works incorrectly. You’re gonna love how she’s finds ways to carry on conversations even when there’s an awkward pause.

She’s the girl of your dreams but better. Her perfume will make you smile. When you argue about trivial crap you will both laugh about it later over some wine. She might not be your best friend, but she will be your soul mate. She will make you feel confident in yourself when your mind isn’t in the right place. You will confide in her pep talks, find peace in her smile and melt from the twinkle in her eyes. She will appreciate your strengths and understand your flaws.

She’s not a figment of your imagination, she just might not be in your radar. As men, we are opposed to showing and sharing how we feel. But why? Fear of ridicule from our peers. Ironically, we all have the same thoughts but feel the need to show a front to appease your image. She won’t make you regret your past, but she will make you excited for your future.

She will make you a better person. She will be your better half.

She will be your forever. She will require your attention, your appreciation, your love. Without a little returned effort, she may be your white buffalo. She might slip through your fingers. Don’t think for a moment you deserve her, because you don’t. You will need to put forth effort, too. She will seem like she’s out of your league, and that’s probably because she is. She deserves to be happy, she deserves to feel your love.

Make her happy, keep her happy. Realize this early and realize this quick: do not make her feel bad about her life decisions, because in the end you were one of them.

–R.Guerrero

Don’t Get Married

As a married man, I can tell you whole-heartedlyDon’t get married. There’s some shit we go through to make things “work.” Is it worth it? The courtship is great, no strings attached. Just live. Get married, tie the knot, ball and chain… that’s a whole new story.

Are you ready to give someone your all: give them your heart, mind, body and soul? Does showing your selflessness and desire to make a life together really worth it? Don’t get married if you’re not ready to show your strength in admitting your weakness.

Sometimes we show more love than we are given. Sometimes we give more attention than is received. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter right? I believe as men we are programmed to provide, regardless of the repercussion. There’s no other way about it. Whether it’s financially, emotionally, mentally or physically we have no excuse to fall behind. But what about us? No! Happy wife, Happy life. This is basic programming for us.

Where do we draw the line and say, “You know what it’d be nice to see appreciation in return.” Truth be told, there is no line to be drawn. Shut up and open your eyes. She said “Yes!” when she could have said “no” just as easily. Sometimes it looks like she may take, take, take before she gives anything in return. But did you realize she takes what you give and returns it seven-fold.

I gave her a house, she made it a home. I gave her children, she gave me a family. She took my heart and gave me hope. So really, are we opening our eyes and seeing this all from true perspective.

If you’re debating on marriage with your girlfriend and you’re wondering if you should .. DON’T! It shouldn’t be a matter of debate, pros and cons or a convenience. Falling for someone is an involuntary motion, much like your heart beat, breathing or blinking. Loving someone unconditionally should be natural, no forcing or convincing. If you love them, it just happens. If you can’t breathe without them by your side, your heart doesn’t beat without theirs, if you close your eyes and hope when you open them they’re always there… They’re the one.

Back on topic, marriage. The ring doesn’t matter, it’s a sign of your love and devotion. Some women may be more particular than others, and if you’ve got yourself one of them… good luck. I was always told to strive to be happy, not rich; this way I know the worth of things, not their price. Sure, she won’t say no to a 5 karat ring laced with the finest cut and clarity, but will she appreciate the thought behind it?

When I proposed to Pinky, it wasn’t with a huge diamond worth a quarter of my yearly salary. I found a ring that was just right, brought her to a special place dear to my heart. It had a  name none other than, “My Spot.”

Years before, it was a deserted park unheard of by many. A little hike up the trail, over a hill through some bushes and BAM… a breathtaking view of Vegas unmolested from tourists and ongoing bystanders. It was secluded, just enough for a guy to sit, think and ponder. 

After a day with Pinky galavanting around town, I knew it was the right moment. Asked her if she wanted to visit a very special place to my heart. She obliged. There was an awkward drive as she asked, “Where are you taking me..?” We drove farther and farther into the dark of night, and suddenly as we arrived at this deserted  park her eyes got big. She thought this was it, this was the end.. This is where she will die.

In essence, she was right. This was where her life ended and our life really began. Pinky was dressed up, heels and all. I made her hike a trail, climb a hill and jump through a bush. As we reached the top her shortness of breath wasn’t so much from the climb but the beauty of the view, the breeze, the absolute bliss.

This is where most people expect the violin’s to be playing, a candle lit picnic or something of the sort. I can assure you, it was far from it. However, I did drop to one knee and poured my heart out.

I don’t know how long we will be together, but lets start with forever.

I was vulnerable. My mind hung on a thread as a brief pause felt like a decade. We all know, she obviously said yes. That concludes this episode of “Ric and Pinky’s Life Season 1.” Take out disc 1 and insert disc 9, We are here, gasping for air. Is this really what we expected? NO! Of course it isn’t. We never once wrote a time line saying in nine years we will be where we are today. We knew we would fight till the end of time to ensure our happiness, but that’s about it.

Are you ready to give someone else your heart, mind, body and soul? I signed up for this and I wasn’t ready. As much as I say I was, I wasn’t. No one is really. You can never be ready because life throws curve balls left and right. Life pulls the rug from beneath your feet when you least expect it.

I give my wife and my family every last bit of energy I have. Am I giving with little in return? No, because as I open my eyes I’m not giving awaiting a return, I’m giving back rather. I’ve been blessed to have such an amazing wife and family, what I do just keeps the wheels moving.

If you aren’t ready to put in a little elbow grease, endure some pain or embark on an emotional roller coaster: Don’t get married. You don’t get to enjoy the view from the summit by standing in the valley. To really appreciate and enjoy the fruits of your marriage, you have to remember the heartache and turmoil that got you there.

Allow yourself to be picked. Allow yourself to break. Allow yourself to hurt. Open yourself to all these things and you will appreciate everything most people tend to ignore.

–R.M. Drake, Broken Flowers.

–R.Guerrero

How Not To Let Go Of A Marriage

Bring yourself back to the days where you were smitten by the thought about seeing their face, where hearing their voice would immediately put an ear-to-ear smile on your face. What happen to those days? Being in love with your spouse is never lost, it’s only prioritized differently as time goes on. Not saying that’s right at any level, but that’s life. It’s ineviteble.

Marriage is more than just a couple becoming one in all they do. It’s a business at the end of the day. You both invest time, your mind, body and soul. We, as a couple, do not search for monetary profitability but for something strikingly similar. We ultimately search to take in more value from whatever we put out; you give some, you take some. Being business partners, I’d expect when I put forth X amount of effort it is returned in equal or greater value. Everyone has to pull their own weight.

Now you’ve gone back and forth, giving and taking. What do you do at the end of the business day? Cash in! With all these “brownie points” from doing your Honey-do list of sorts you gotta spend it somewhere right? Can’t go spend it in real life, so how do you cash in? Reward yourselves together. Indulge in a night out together, grab an ice cream cone, watch a movie, it doesn’t really matter what you do. Just do it together.

Just because you tied the knot and you’ve got a bunch of mini-me’s running around savagely doesn’t mean you should stop dating your spouse. Take a second and think, when was the last time you surprised him or her with a small token of your appreciation. No, I’m not talking about the last time you bought them something they wanted without them asking. Some may find that sufficient, but really when did you do something meaningful for them that allowed them to sit back and think, “damn, I am appreciated… He does think of me.”

I’m just as guilty as the next guy. I get so hypnotized by my every day life and my A to Z tasks that I forget that there’s a woman who loves me dearly that sits behind To-Do lists and daily chores. She gets me when others don’t understand all the silence. Why do I neglect her the way I have? I blame my work schedule and all the stresses of daily life. That’s a lie whether I were to admit it or not. There’s no excuse. She’s given so much of her life to me, yet I’ve only continued to take, take, take.

Now we’ve established how shitty it is to be the average husband, what do we do about it? Do we just nod our heads in agreement? Each situation may be different, some may just need to do the dishes when it’s not their night to do them while others will take some vacation time to spend one-on-one time with their spouse. But whatever you do, be more than average.

Being the first of my friends to be married, I was the first of us to blaze this trail. At times it felt like I was explaining the color purple to a blind man: Things just didn’t make sense, they were hard to figure out. I didn’t have much to look out to when I needed to find my way. So naturally I messed up a lot, figured out how to reconcile. 

I’ll admit when Pinky and I were dating, I was one creative sonovabitch! There would be so much going on, but I would find a way to make or say or do something that reminded her that I was the one she wanted. Why? Because I didn’t want for one moment her to forget that she was loved and appreciated. Now being married, it was almost drowned out and it was almost an assumption. “Yeah she knows I love her, I tell her all the time.

Was that the message she was actually seeing? After careful debate and a recount on votes, I was wrong. Sure I tell her every day that I love her, and often I remind her that she’s appreciated. What do I actually DO to show it? I’ve taken advantage of her kindness and have lacked returning the favor. Sure, I buy what she wants, when she wants. I take days off she says I need for events, I oblige when she wants to go somewhere I’m not exactly a fan of. But what do I do outside of the box?

That’s on the agenda for Repairing What’s Broken 101. It was well worth fighting for years back, it’s still work fighting to keep. We all need breaks between the rounds, but take a knee, breathe, collect your thoughts, hold on tight with white-knuckle grip and get ready to roll with the punches.

“I was born the moment I fell in love with the world, because I knew, somewhere, someone like you existed in it.”

— R.M. Drake, Broken Flowers.

— R.Guerrero

How To Stay In A Marriage

After an avalanche of replies from a recent blog posted by Pinky, I was subtly nudged towards sharing my thoughts and ideas. Most guys I know don’t exactly advertise or share much of what’s really on their mind, so naturally we all follow suit. But what really goes on in the mind of a man with so much going on?

Where do we fit our marriage into our every day life? Being as young as we are, we have drifted away from the cute love birds we were years ago. The “spark” is easily diluted when you add three kids, a dog, a mortgage, school, hobbies and everything else thats consumes our 24/7365.

We fought so hard to make us work throughout our high school years. On and off, we  would fight endlessly to ensure we had a future. One of these days we will share our whole story with the world (those who have had a glimpse of the storyline already know, it’s definitely one you don’t want to miss out on. )

Getting married at the young, ripe age of twenty I was so in love and ready to tackle the world with my hot wife! Literally no obstacle was too big or idea was too small. As time trickled on, days got longer and patience got shorter.

Fast forward almost nine years and here we are, its no longer just my still-hot wife and me. We have my three minions we have to coordinate schedules with. So as if making time for just me and my wife was hard enough; mixing in three additional mouths to feed, three minds to mold, three hearts to teach to love, three smiles to keep from turning upside down… where’s the time for “us“?

Date night! That’s everyone’s favorite textbook answer. Sure, we have the best nanny on this side of the Mississippi, but sometimes it’s harder to break away from our lives than it sounds. I’ll save the long-winded back story, but I grew up from one hell-ish household and was pretty much trained to live a mundane life of work, work, work. Even when you’re off or on vacation: work, work, work. So you can only imagine how hard it is to peel me away from my work.

To an employer, I’m the perfect employee: determined, malleable minded, persistent, etc. To a family, I’m just the dead beat father/husband/son/brother who only takes time off when there’s a funeral to attend. I’m willing to admit, that’s 100% true. Sadly my siblings and I are all cut from the same cloth. Hard to believe but the last time me and all my siblings took time off to be in the same room together was May 2014 when my grandmother passed. The time before that, seven years prior. Could you imagine that?  As much of a tragedy as it may be, that’s life for the Guerrero siblings.

I try to break away from the mold, try to add spontaneity to our marriage and lifestyle. But at times it becomes a hassle and too time consuming to follow through. This is key to maintaining a strong, long lasting marriage. I know that now more than ever.

For shits and giggles, a few months back Pinky suggested we take one of those online tests about the language of love. It was quite comical answering questions which seemed to be overly repetitive but the results were utterly honest. I’m not a materialistic guy, I’m very simple: show me appreciation and share your time with me. Pinky on the other hand, had a different language of love. Regardless of her results, we both absorb the thoughts and efforts of love differently.

Now put that into context. How do you keep that flame of love burning bright through the darkness? Easy! Speak the language your significant other understands. Easier said than done at this point. But why? Am I compelled to try? Am I convinced? I love my wife, that’s enough reason to keep trucking along and doing what needs to be done.

Am I afraid of change or am I incapable of changing. Sometimes my arrogance tells me, “You’re dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, it’s not up to you to make all the effort,” while the level minded self says, “you need to strive to do more, be better.” Which side is right? Both. It isn’t my sole responsibility to make this marriage work. No matter what you do in any relationship, if you give your 100% effort you’re still only 50% of the equation.

Marriage is about compromise, showing another person that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Sometimes resolutions aren’t met, but as long as you’re working towards accomplishing a goal you’re headed in the right direction.

Again, am I afraid of change? Are YOU afraid of change? Change is inevitable. What are you going to do? Fight against the waves of change, or keep pushing to make those waves work in your favor? Action cures fear. A saying I live by, day in and day out. Act now, act fast. If you don’t pay attention and realize your spouse’s true worth, someone else will.

As I slow my days down, I realize I’ve taken advantage of my wife. I’ve taken for granted the things she does to make sure our family functions like a well oiled machine. What happened to me? How did this happen?

Night after night as I felt her slipping away, I’d wake up from a dead sleep. As I turn to see my queen peacefully at rest, I hurt and embrace the pain of my neglect. I don’t deserve her love, I don’t deserve her time. Endless thoughts would consume my mind, “Am I really letting my selfish thoughts getting in the way of our marriage. Am I willing to let her go? ” What have I done to our marriage? What do I do now

Regardless of the circumstances, we can’t turn back time and fix the past. We are only capable of taking what we learn and being productive with the results. As the days go on, we continue to calibrate the balance of our marriage. We are not perfect by any means, but we refuse to give up on us now. There’s too much at stake to throw the towel …

At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.” – Norman Maclean.

 

Comments? Advice? Any other type of input, leave it in the comment section below!

 

-R.Guerrero