With everyone talking today about Ash Wednesday fasting rules, it’s official. Lent is upon us, which means many folks have sworn off one thing or another as a way of thanking Jesus for all the sacrifices He made for us. Truth be told, Lent has kinda snuck up on me this year. As such, I don’t have anything that I’m officially forgoing. In fact, with the added pressure that Caroline’s pregnancy has brought to our household, these days it seems like all I can do to just to get through them. As such, I can’t imagine trying to give anything up right now, anyway.
But when you think about it, all parents give up countless things once their kids arrive. Today I thought it’d be fun to count down five things that fatherhood has forced me to give up and also list five other things that, now that I’m a parent, I could never do without!
As for the five things that parenthood has forced me to quit (or at least totally cut back on):
- Reading: The last book I read was No Country for Old Men and I read it in two days just a few weeks ago. But only because Caroline and I snuck away for the weekend alone. Now that we’ve got all kinds of little ones running around, the most reading I get done is bits and pieces on the laptop after they’re in bed.
- Going Out to Eat: Caroline and I used to go out to eat once a week. We’re lucky if we do it once every two months these days.
- Going to Football and Basketball Games: We live in Knoxville, TN. That means I’m all Vol, y’all. And I love to go to games. But I didn’t attend one single football or basketball game this year. Quite literally, that’s never happened before. Even when I used to live in Seattle, WA. We hope to change that once the toddler phase passes.
- Me Time: I get some, but nowhere near as often as I used to. My me time is now Kiddie time.
- Sleeping: It’s to the point where on the rare weekends I am gone, I can’t even sleep in.
But there’s a flip side to the things parenthood has forced me to give up. I now have things that, because of parenthood, I could never give up in a million years. Here are five of them:
- Reading to My Kids: Nothing is better than at the end of the night when Caroline and I read to the triplets. Just seeing the different books the three of them select shows my wife and me glimpses of the little people they are becoming. Nothing is more magical than reading to small children.
- Grilling Out: Don’t mean to brag, y’all, but I’m money on the grill. Want me to rock perfectly seared, medium rare, inch and a quarter NY Strips? Done. Eight minutes total. OH. You’d rather have bone-in chicken breast in our near-famous five-day marinade? No problem. Or perhaps you’d prefer smoked pork butt and or a coupla racks of ribs? I’ll peg the smoker at 225, throw ‘em on at 9 in the morning and we’ll eat at 7. Good by you? There are very few things in the world I enjoy more than cooking out.
- DVR: Let’s face it. Kids interrupt stuff. And when interruptions occur, it’s always nice to be able to push pause. Especially when I’m watching one of those games I didn’t get to attend.
- Annual Appalachian Trail Trip: One time each year a friend and I section hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Technically, that’s where the vast majority of my me-time goes. But the backpacking trips are so arduous, that it’s hard not to think about all the things I love about my regular life while I’m away — my family being at the very top of the list.
- Our bed: Caroline and I have the most comfortable bed ever. And it’s a King which is good for those Saturday mornings when four little creatures and one not-so-little creature aren’t afraid to join us at 6:00am.
Hey, I just noticed something… the things that parenthood forced me to give up? I’ve kinda made up for them with the things that I couldn’t live without. Funny how that happens, no?
Are you giving up anything for Lent? What things did you have to give up as a parent? Anything that you couldn’t live without as a parent?