Doing Everything At Once: Father’s Day 2015

Dan Brosgol and his children - Courtesy image
Dan Brosgol and his children – Courtesy image

By Dan Brosgol

When I tell people my default position is feeding seven people every day, they stop and think about it.

They laugh, I cry, we move on.

It’s hard enough taking care of yourself in this world. Work is hard, friends require time and effort, getting to the gym necessitates willpower. Now multiply those challenges with a spouse and five children and, congratulations, welcome to my world. Life is impossible, and yet possible at the same time.

But really, zero complaints. It’s a full life. And in general, year after year we get by, our kids are clothed and fed, and we still pay our mortgage. We overcommit ourselves and our kids to a thousand activities, spend our spring Saturdays in a non-stop barrage of soccer and baseball and everything else, and maybe once a week eat dinner together.

People ask us how we do it. Well, it’s about timing, balance, and an ever-increasing threshold for how much chaos we can endure. Once you’ve surrendered to the fact that nothing will ever be calm enough, organized enough, or perfect enough, it’s actually not too hard. But you’ve got to go all the way.

Want my advice? Sure. Here are five things I’ve learned just this past year since the last time I penned something about Fathers’ Day.

  1. Volunteer your time. It’s easy to sit around and watch another Netflix show. It’s harder to serve on a committee but it’s absolutely a better use of your time to attend a meeting and meet interesting people than to watch the next season of OITNB. And do you really want to be a spectator as the world makes decisions around you? I’d rather have a say.
  2. Coach your kid in sports so you can be responsible for screwing them up instead of another coach bearing that burden. Better yet, do a good job so you can bask in the partial credit of them doing well.
  3. Do stuff as a family while you still can, because once that oldest hits middle school, it’s five minutes to midnight. Pack in those family adventures while there’s enough little kid left in them, and hopefully you won’t take the big kid to Storyland and have him hate you for it. But at the same time….
  4. Divide and conquer. Want to enjoy your kids the most? Spend time with each of them, alone. For my kids, it’s different. My oldest and I could throw and hit a baseball for hours. My second would be happy to come to work with me and read all day. My oldest daughter wants nothing else but for me to take her to Starbucks and read books before school. And they’re all adorable when it’s just them. Be careful, though… mix the ingredients and they are combustible.
  5. Save your stuff. Box up your clothes. Save a ton of money by handing down everything. But as soon as you can, LET IT (all) GO. Five kids generates so much stuff/clutter/laundry/mess that clutter is my arch-nemesis.

Enjoy the end of the school year and a (rainy) Father’s Day. I’ll see you around.

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Virginia Packer
Virginia Packer
7 years ago

Great advice, Dan! I’m forwarding this to our kids.

Dorothy Bergin
Dorothy Bergin
7 years ago

What a beautiful family (and good advice from Dad, too.)

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