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Guest Post: 30 Days (Or More!)

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

This is a guest post from Jeff Allanach, a newspaper editor in Maryland. Jeff is a married father of two children, and writes about fatherhood in his weekly column. You can follow Jeff on his Facebook page, Adventures in Fatherhood.

I’m at my best when I do one of two things: play with my children and write.

I feel like Superman when I combine the two, so I saw a great opportunity to leap tall buildings in a single bound when I signed up for “30 Days to Be a Better Dad,” the National Fatherhood Initiative’s program to kick off 2011.

I figured I would write in great detail about my efforts to hone my fathering skills as part of the program. I would share my triumphs with anyone who cared to read about them by answering every question the initiative asked and doing every task challenged of me.

I could do it, I figured. After all, I'm Superman. It would be “American Idol” and “The Justice League” combined in one string of blog posts.

I started out OK by answering a couple of questions in the first e-mail in early January. Yes, I know what my children need (a father who loves them) and we do follow daily routines (two, in fact, morning and night) they find comforting.

It wasn’t as much as I originally planned because I couldn’t find the time to write as much as I wanted. I shrugged, figuring I could still be Batman if not Superman. After all, driving the Batmobile is kind of like flying, right?

I checked off the first week, and waited in anticipation for the next one. When it came, I quickly read through it and gravitated to one tip in particular: “Stay focused.”

No problem, I said. I’m Batman. He has to focus to work all his cool gadgets. I went about my day, which slipped into a week, and then some. So much for staying focused. I tweaked my plan again, and figured I would be Aquaman instead of Batman. After all, talking to fish is kind of like driving the Batmobile, right?

The third week came, and I realized that I already do most of the activities the initiative suggested. I play with my children. I read with them. We bake cookies and have movie nights. The only problem was that it wasn’t the third week. I had fallen behind to the fourth week. I shrugged again, and figured I could be Plastic Man if not Aquaman. After all, being super stretchy is kind of like talking to fish, right?

I looked back at the previous 30 days to account for my time. How could I not find time to write? It’s what I do best. Saturday mornings are a great time to write, but I’ve been taking my daughter to gymnastics, so no writing then. It snowed several times, and that gives me a great opportunity to write because I’m trapped inside. But then again, the best time to make a snowman with your children is when it snows, so no writing then. Evenings are another good time to write, but then there’s homework and Wii Lego Star Wars with the kids, so no writing then. Let’s see, we also did a 500-piece Barbie puzzle, played Legos, and had a marathon session of Connect Four.

No wonder I didn’t have time to write as much as I planned. I was too busy being a dad, and being dad beats Superman every time.

Topics: father involvement, 30 Days to be a Better Dad

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