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New dad who asked when he'll get his 'life back' gets great advice from experienced parents

"My question is, when does it get easier?"

newborns, dads, tired dads
via Pixabay

A father reads with his baby.

The change from being without a child to a parent is a whirlwind that happens overnight. Babies demand so much care and attention that it’s easy to feel you’ve lost the life you had before and traded it for a little human who needs to be fed, rocked, supervised, played with, and changed 24-7.

Having a baby is exhausting, and it can be challenging for parents to admit that, for most of us, life pre-baby was much more fun than after the new arrival.

A 33-year-old Redditor named RCerberus90 took to the Parenting forum to ask if he’s ever going to be able to enjoy the life that he knew before having kids, and he received a lot of support from parents who told him it gets better.


However, things will never be like they were again.

“My little lad is 13 months now, and I am struggling socially,” the dad admitted. “Every day feels like Groundhog Day. My weekdays consist of getting up, going to work, coming home, playing with blocks, and then going to bed. My weekends are the same, except I don't go to work.”

“My question is, when does it get easier?” the dad asked. “Everybody I speak to laughs and says: ‘It doesn't get easier" [and it’s] not helpful. It’s one of those really frustrating answers where people think they're being comical.”

“Realistically, I know my life has changed forever, but at what point do parents find that they started to get their life back?” the dad continued.

One of the most popular responses to his question provided hope for the future while making the subtle but essential point that it’s crucial to enjoy the moment, as hard as it may be.

"Rest assured, it does get easier! I found that from 3 to 4, you can start to (try to) reason with them, and from 5, it’s noticeably better and then progressively better each year. I found it exhausting from 1-5 but now look back with fondness wishing I could spend time with my toddler kids who no longer rely on me so much,” Hexusmelbourne wrote.

Another commenter noted that working with your partner to give one another a mental and physical break makes things a lot easier.

"13 months is still pretty firmly in the ‘baby’ stage, so normally parents trade off responsibilities, invite people over, or find hobbies that can be done after the kid goes to bed or around kiddo’s schedule. For example, I used to listen to podcasts on my drive to work and then read a book on my lunch break. Maybe your wife could have one night off a week where you handle dinner/bathtime, and then you also get one night off a week? Maybe you could invite a friend to join you at the park with your son? Maybe you could look into hiring a babysitter for monthly date nights?" Stardewseastarr wrote.

Another commenter agreed. Having a partner with whom you can share the load is one of the most important ways to navigate the infant phase.

“You have to dedicate time for yourself each week,” aHostileApostle wrote. “The old life is not gone, you need to create balance. If you have a partner, sit down and hash out some ‘me’ and ‘us’ time, including pints with the boys. It’s all about balance. You got this.”

Orney-Tea-795 was slightly bothered by the dad's desire to get his “life back.”

“I’m confused on what you mean by 'get your life back.' This is your life,” they wrote. “Your lifestyle has changed because of your child. If you need to go out and hang with friends, then get a babysitter so you can do so. Just because you have a child doesn’t mean your life stops, it just changes around the baby and what the baby needs a bit more. Also, get a hobby to do after the kid goes to bed or goes down for a nap.”

In the end, the father was happy to get some support and learn that there is hope that the daily grind will get easier.

“Thank you all for the replies. Sorry, too many to reply individually, but I have read them all,” the dad wrote. “In regard to my comment about ‘getting my life back,’ it’s more a figure of speech. Of course, I ‘have a life.’ It’s more quality of life that’s degraded. Simple things I took for granted before have gone. I like to think I’m very much a ‘do-er’ — before my son, I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting in all weekend watching Netflix. I would rather do a physical activity. I think that’s why I’m really struggling. Simple things like going for a pint with my dad on a Sunday, going for a drive, or having a project to work on in the garage have all stopped.”

“Thank you all for the comments and your stories. It has helped,” the dad concluded.

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O Organics make eating organic affordable

True

Friendsgiving might have started as a novel alternative to Thanksgiving, but today it’s an American holiday in its own right.

For many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, Friendsgiving offers an opportunity to get creative with their celebrations without being obligated to outdated, even problematic traditions or having to break the bank.

However, some of us might not want to go to the extreme of only having pizza and beer. What if there were a way to balance the decadence of a traditional Thanksgiving meal while still keeping it easy and laid-back? And could we make it healthy too?

As it turns out, we can.

Here’s a super simple breakdown of what your next Friendsgiving prep could look like. An appetizer, salad, side, entree, and dessert. All done in an hour—even quicker if you assign certain dishes to different partygoers. #spreadsheetsrule

But wait, it gets better—all of these meals can be made organic at an affordable price, using O Organics® at Albertsons. O Organics helps shoppers find quality ingredients at reasonable prices every day of the year. Friendsgiving is no different.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Appetizer: Charcuterie Board


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Nothing quite hits like the fancy, grown-up version of Lunchables. Crackers, meats, cheeses, and various fancy toppings that can be combined in endless ways. The easiest form of culinary creativity there is.

You already know how to make one of these bad boys, but here’s a basic template if you’re needing a dose of inspo:

Meats: Some tasty choices here are salami, prosciutto, sausage, etc. I made a smaller-scale board and decided to go with salami. If you or your friends aren’t a fan of pork, sliced turkey or smoked salmon are some yummy alternatives.

Cheese: The possibilities are endless here. You can even opt for a dairy-free cheese option!

Bread or Crackers: Artfully arranged. Speedily snacked upon. Some O Organics options here and here.

Fillers: this is where the charcuterie really shines. Fill in the spaces with splashes of color and flavor. Be sure to go for both savory and sweet. That means olives, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, nuts, and a vibrant array of fresh or dried fruit. A yummy fruit spread doesn’t hurt either.

Time: 5 min

Salad: Squash And Feta Salad

Ingredients:

(3-4 servings)

1 small red onion (O Organics sells them in a bag)

1 bag O Organics frozen Butternut Squash

6 cups fresh O Organics spinach, arugula, kale, or whatever salad green you like

1/4 cup O Organics pecans

1/4 cup O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil

O Organics Lemon and Olive Oil Salad Dressing

CrumbledO Organics Goat Cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop some onions. Sautee them in olive oil. Add a bag of frozen squash. Dress some salad greens with dressing. Add the onions and squash. Top with pecans, cheese, salt and pepper. Badda bing badda boom.

Time: 10 minutes

Side: Autumn Seasoned Air Fryer “Roasted” Potatoes

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As any millennial will tell you, we love our air fryers. Nothing quite ticks all the quick, easy and healthy boxes quite like one. And if you haven’t yet had a perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside air fryer potato, then what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

One 3 pound bag of O Organics red or russet potatoes—honestly any potato will do

2 Tablespoons O Organics olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

That’s it. No really.

Cut potatoes into one-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss the potatoes in the basket and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender and crisp.

Time: 20 minutes. TOPS.

Entree: Coconut Chicken Curry

cravingsomethinghealthy.com

Because who needs turkey? This one pot piéce de rèsistance is the very essence of Friendsgiving—unique, versatile and not without a little spice.

Being the entree, this dish calls for a few more ingredients, but is honestly not much more demanding. You’re basically looking at 15 minutes for prep, and about 30 minutes to simmer.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon O Organics olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 teaspoons ginger minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 15-ounce can O Organics full-fat coconut milk

2 ½ cups O Organics cooked chicken breast

1 8.8 ounce package O Organics 7 Grains & Lentils Blend

1 16 ounce bag of O Organics frozen peas

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Lime juice

Cilantro

Chopped O Organics cashews to garnish

Using a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), saute the onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, for about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and saute for one more minute.

Add the Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and the diced sweet potato. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and catch up with friends for 20 minutes while the dish simmers.

When the sweet potato is tender, shake the can of coconut milk well and pour it into the pot. Add the chicken, 7 Grains & Lentils Blend, and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congrats! You are finished. You can add salt, lime juice, cilantro, extra curry powder/paste, or garnish with roasted cashews. Each bowl is customizable.

Time: 40 min

Dessert: Holiday Kettle Corn Bark

onbetterliving.com

Of course, you can always opt for pie, but sometimes people might want to opt for something a bit more bite-sized when it comes to desserts—especially after a hefty meal. This sweet and salty finger food does the trick quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 bag (6 oz) O Organics Kettle Corn Organic Popcorn (about 9 cups)

1 bag (10 oz) O Organics Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

8 oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2/3 cup O Organics Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp O Organics Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp salt

Line a 12x17-inch baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spread kettle corn on the lined baking sheet in one thin single layer. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over kettle corn, reserving about a 1/3 cup for finishing touches. Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the kettle corn evenly.

Follow the same melting instructions for the white chocolate, then drizzle evenly over the kettle corn. You can follow with any remaining semi-sweet chocolate for a layered effect. Let the kettle corn stand for 5 minutes.

Place the kettle corn bark in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Once the bark has hardened, break into pieces.

Time: 20 minutes.

OR…if you want to make life even easier…just grab some pints of ice cream and call it a day. No judgment here.

Time: literally a few seconds to open the freezer and grab some bowls.

And there you have—a no muss, no fuss, healthy and affordable Friendsgiving spread. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your chosen family.

Get to your nearest Albertsons today and find everything you need to make these yummy dishes! No Albertsons in your area? You can also find O Organics products exclusively at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Pavilions.

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