Today marks three months since my son was born. It sounds like a cliche, but the time really does fly. I had ideas of accomplishing so much with the Millennial Dad project, and having a new born baby was going to be the icing on the topical cake. Or so I thought.

Instead of being a dad blogger who capitalised on the arrival of a new baby, I did the complete opposite and withdrew from blogging almost entirely.

I’ve barely had any time to write a post, read other bloggers, or follow and contribute on Twitter. If you look at my profile, you would think I’ve gone off the grid.

I’ve failed at blogging… but that’s ok!

Despite becoming a dad for the second time, I’ve realised I definitely don’t know it all. This baby is different from the first one. And I’m different, too. It’s been a big adjustment going from 3 to 4 of us. And just as the oldest one was beginning to play by the rules: social graces, sleeping through the night, that kind of thing, along comes a new one with its own agenda that we have to fit around. Three hour sleep stints, anyone?

So, I may have failed to blog very much, if at all, but here’s three reasons why it’s ok not to do all those extra activities.

 

1. Family.

The arrival of a new baby takes every ounce of effort. From waking up every three hours to rocking to sleep, it’s not easy to get things done with a newborn. Accept help when it’s offered and try to get things done around the house. It’s never going to be perfectly tidy or clean for a while, but that doesn’t matter. Don’t forget to spend time with the other one so she doesn’t feel left out. And try to make time for each other as a couple. Yes, a newborn truly throws family life upside down and inside out.

In the idle moments when you’re not trying to catch up on sleep, you could try to be creative, if you have any capacity left. So, yes, blogging may have to take a back seat for a while.

 

2. Work.

The term “do you live to work, or work to live” may be a conundrum for some people, but those with families should know which side of the fence to sit on. Work should exist to support your family. Yes, do something that fulfils and excites you if you can. Actually this is a must. But don’t confuse work as a substitute for spending time with your family. Especially as man, it’s easy to get sucked back into the world of work after the standard two week paternity leave.

Work is important. It pays the bills. Work hard, go home, be with your family. For however long you’re working, blogging can’t really take precedence. Unless, of course, your job is blogging and social media. And you earn enough to make a significant difference in supporting your family.

 

3. Self-preservation.

Dads and mums can spend a lot of time together in the first few weeks of a new baby’s life. However, it’s not always time spent together in the normal sense of being a couple. You’re both employees, no, you’re unpaid labour solely to care for and grow a baby. Time for yourselves is pretty much non-existent. The time that you do get for yourselves quickly becomes sleep. Not deep, regenerative sleep, but only the light kind that you might snatch on an 8 hour coach journey in a stuffy old coach with sweaty leather seats.

Your body treats any free time that you do have as some form of self-preservation. Given half a minute it will shut down and convince you to rest. This doesn’t lend itself well to the creative arts of blogging. Sometimes you’re just too damned tired to blog. And that’s ok.

I enjoy reading and writing parent blogs. It’s a fun community and I’ve gained a lot of useful tips. I like to contribute when I can and I’ve still got some bigger plans for my blog. Right now is not necessarily the time to execute them. I know when to fight my battles and there’s no point trying to enforce something that’s not absolutely essential.

The key word in all of this is BALANCE.

Each new parent should try to find the right balance of what they want to do in their lives. Those crucial early weeks and months of a baby’s life are so special, you deserve to be at your best to enjoy them.

I want to talk about three C words: content; consume; create. 

Only 60 years ago the UK had just one BBC TV station. Channel 4 wasn’t launched until the early 1982 when the first of the millennials were being born. Some of us may remember the launch of Channel 5 in 1997 led by the Spice Girls, and for years afterwards the analogue signal was so bad most of the shows were covered in a snowy landscape. 

The rise of internet connectivity and its increasing speed means that access to online video and other content is quicker than ever before. Apparently 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Eric Schmidt said in 2010 that the world created as much information every two days as we did up to 2003. I’ve no idea what that figure would be now in 2017.

There’s an overwhelming amount of content in our day-to-day lives, more than any generation before us. This comes with opportunities and challenges. In one way, the world is open to explore in ways our predecessors never even dreamed possible. In another, it’s a dangerous world where a young child can access the most adult of content. None of this should be regulated in my opinion, but it should be used responsibly.

 

We are unprepared to deal with the level of content in our lives.

We are often prone to procrastination, and it can be easy to wile away the hours on social media simply scrolling through other people’s posts for news that really doesn’t matter to us. 

We consume a lot of stuff. Our world is all about information and millennials consume more than anyone else. The next generation after millennials are even more exposed to this content. Yet no one is teaching our children how to deal with the level of information available.

 

Millennial parents have a tough time, trying to weigh up all the responsibilities of parenting with achieving more in our professional and social lives.

The first thing to remember is that we should stop comparing ourselves to all the content in our lives. Content is simply someone’s point of view, whether it’s a blog post, a news item, Fake news, or Instagram posts. Content is merely a way for people to convey how they want to be. The more people consume their content the more popular those people become. 

It’s fun to consume, to sit for hours binge-watching a Netflix series or even reading a book. But if we want to achieve more in life we simply have to be aware of how much we consume. We need to follow a simple mantra:

 

Create more than you consume. 

If we’re to leave our own mark on the world we should create our own content, not just consume others. That means putting down the TV remote, or switching off the computer. When we want to do more we need to focus on the task at hand, and cut out all the content surrounding us. 

Sure it’s fine to consume. In fact, people who don’t consume are unenlightened and uninformed. I’m not just talking about the internet. We need and want to consume art, plays, concerts, books, there is so much out there from the oldest classical texts to the latest business thinking.

 

All prolific authors, painters, and bloggers, know when to stop consuming and start creating. 

Sometimes you will need to focus entirely on the task at hand and stop consuming altogether. Other times, when you’re trying to unwind on holiday all you want to do is read a good book. The choice is up to each individual how they spend their time. But the millennial parent knows that time is limited. If they want to be productive they need to create more than they consume. This is the way they can produce more, and be more in their day to day lives. 

 

Another upshot of creating more than you consume is that you start to “budget” your content.

You start to choose only the content that will make the greatest difference to your life. Therefore, you will only watch TV shows that you want to rather than idling flicking through channels. When you consume consciously you consume the best and enhance your life, better positioning you to create and achieve even more in the future. 

 

It’s a simple mantra: create more than you consume. It’s never been more important than in today’s world.