Laughter, slowing down, imperfection, and 'me time' are this dad's plan for the new year.
True
Healthy Essentials

I’m a dad with two young daughters (5 and 3 years old), and from the moment I met them, they taught me the importance of caring for myself as well as them.

For example, before fatherhood, I exercised because I thought it made me attractive — now that I’m a dad, I exercise to stay "not dead" for my kids. Needless to say, my priorities have shifted tremendously.

But the holiday season always adds a ton of new pressures — I rarely have time to think about myself, and because of that, I end up being completely stressed out and overwhelmed in effort to keep my kids happy.


So now that it's the new year, I plan to give myself four gifts that didn't come from a store, don't require any shopping, and will benefit me and my family all throughout 2017.

1. I'm giving myself the gift of laughter.

In case you haven’t noticed, the current state of our world provides us with plenty of reasons not to smile. But if we focus our energies on that, we end up neglecting the people, places, and things that bring us so much joy.

So I’m planning to smile and laugh more with the people I love, caring for them and doing the things we love together. In doing so, I’ll be a much better dad, man, and friend.

All images via Doyin Richards, used with permission.

2. I’m giving myself the gift of slowing down.

Yes, I’m that parent with kids who are constantly on the receiving end of me blurting out, “Let’s go! Hurry up!” But in the big scheme of things, does it really matter if we’re a couple minutes late to some event? Not so much.

Time is the world’s most valuable resource because once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. Our kids will only be the ages they are right now — right now. If I’m constantly rushing around, how can I possibly enjoy the moment I'm currently in?

Slowing down is hard, but I'm realizing that it's necessary if we all want to reduce our stress levels. Other than requesting to use the potty at the most inopportune moments, kids rarely display a sense of urgency about anything — and that's probably why they’re so happy all the time. That isn't a coincidence.

The next time my daughter asks to put a BAND-AID® Bandage on my "boo-boo" and take care of me for 30 minutes in her "hospital," I’ll let her without losing my mind like I used to. Because as my parents always tell me, there will be a day when I'll miss moments like these.

3. I’m giving myself the gift of imperfection.

One of my mentors used to tell me that "perfect is the enemy of done," and I completely agree — especially when it comes to common parenting tasks.

For example, my daughters have really difficult hair to style. JOHNSON’S® NO MORE TANGLES® detangling spray makes life so much easier in that regard, but there are times when I can’t help myself from attempting to create the perfect 'do for my girls.

But now I want to think about things a little differently. Do I really have to create the perfect braids for my daughters' playdates? Will anyone care if my daughters' ponytails are a little lumpy? Kids are constantly disheveled in one way or another, and I need to embrace that in order to remove an unnecessary stressor from my life.  

Recently I let my kids rock their pajamas and messy hair to breakfast, and it was really hard for me to do. But then I noticed how happy and secure my kids were, and I realized that I should be happy and secure with it as well. Because true perfection is found in imperfection.  

4. I'm giving myself the gift of "me time."

Stop me if you've heard this before, but parenting is really hard. No two days are the same, our patience is constantly tested, and we're amazed at how much we can get done while in a perpetual state of exhaustion. More often than not, I find myself completely overwhelmed, and I know I'm not the only parent who feels that way.

In the new year, I'm planning to engage in some self-care. There's nothing wrong with saying, "You know what? I'm actually going to the spa to get a massage today." Parenting is all about putting others before ourselves, but the gift of "me time" allows us to have the energy to do that.

So go catch a nap and don’t feel guilty. You’ve earned it.  

As a guy who released a children’s book that celebrates healthy essentials of fatherhood, I'm doing my best to ensure I enjoy every one of these special moments. Before we know it, our kids will be grown and starting families of their own, and we need to take the time to enjoy them now.

Am I the perfect dad? Nope, but that’s because he doesn't exist. I'm just a parent who's figuring it all out as I go along — just like you. I hope you'll give yourself the gift of knowing that's exactly the way it should be.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less