You Were Built For This

A lot of people have kids. Not enough people are parents.

As some of you might remember, those are the opening lines to The Daily Dad: 366 Meditations on Parenting, Love, and Raising Great Kids. That book came out a year ago, which seems crazy. It seems crazy too that my kids are a year older—and how much they’ve grown. Even , I started writing (hey, Ryan here, breaking the fourth wall, sorry) these daily emails five years ago. My kids went from tiny babies to these people I have long conversations with, who teach me things (mostly about dinosaurs but still).

Tempus fugit, right?

But in this time—which did fly by—I’ve lived and learned a lot about the idea at the heart of The Daily Dad: What does it really mean to be a parent and not just someone with kids? How do you let this thing change you and at the same time, change yourself to be what you need to be for your kids?

And sure, there are tons of parenting books already out there that will give you an answer—in theory, a good parent does this or that. But what I was looking for, and probably what you’re looking for if you’re reading this (thanks, by the way!), was what parenting looked like as a practice. I was looking for help, day-to-day, because that’s after all what it is…something we do every morning, every afternoon, every night, always…

What were the real-world examples and world-class practices of being a parent? Who, throughout ancient and modern times, should we look up to and follow to become a better parent? Where was the practical advice and perspective from those with boots on the ground, parents who embraced the challenge and the journey, who could say the quiet part out loud—that being a parent was beautiful, exhausting, wonderful, complicated, incredible, confusing, hard?

One joke you often hear around the birth of your first child is, Careful, they don’t come with an instruction manual. And it’s true! They don’t. It’s insane. There is quite a bit of literature out there that helps and guides you through pregnancy and the birthing process, but once the baby is delivered happy and healthy, they send your new family home alone with a pat on the back and wish you good luck.

At first, it seems crazy! But that’s also what I learned from writing and working on The Daily Dad and being a parent myself—that this thing we’re doing, our wild, chaotic daily existence, filled with joy and difficulty, labor and love, is a timeless one. Parenting is one of those rare experiences that links us across time, space, and culture, that connects us in an unbroken chain, back thousands and thousands of years. That’s the other thing about parenting—you, me, everyone, we’re literally built for this, designed since the very beginning to do this parenting thing.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Raising children is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But as so many parents have expressed throughout the centuries, it will be the most important and rewarding thing you ever do. That’s the whole purpose behind The Daily Dad—sharing the hard-won wisdom of generations past to help parents today create a better tomorrow.

Because while they send you home alone with that newborn, no parent has ever been alone. We’re all in this together. So whether you’ve been around since the beginning (if that’s you, hi!) or new around here, I wanted to use the 1-year anniversary of The Daily Dad as an opportunity to say thanks. The Stoics say we learn as we teach and I have learned so much writing this and from hearing from so many of you. Thank you for letting me do it. Thanks for all that you do for your kids, too.

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It’s been an honor writing these notes each morning to you. If you’ve gotten anything out of them—if you enjoy my writing at all—we’d love for you to consider grabbing a copy of The Daily Dad, either for yourself or as a gift for a fellow parent, wherever they are on their parenting journey. Your support, as always, means so much. Head over to The Daily Dad store to get a copy today!

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