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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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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