What happens when you are an over-the-road driver and your wife has twins? Prime driver, Daniel Skidmore and wife, Kerry, recently faced this challenge when they welcomed a set of twins to their growing family. When Jackson, age 3, was joined by Isla and Finley, the family grew to five and the diaper count to 10 million.
In a recent conversation with Daniel, we asked what it was like to transition from driving a truck to being home and “being dad.”
The “Dad Mindset Mode”
Daniel assured us that he loves his family and wants not only provide for them financially, but to also be present and help out wherever he can. He noted that driving a truck, as other jobs, requires a lot of concentration. You need to be in a certain mindset to do your job well. When you are at home taking care of three children, that working mindset changes. Daniel explained that when he first gets home, his wife and kids give him a bit of time to get into a dad mindset mode. Once he has had a moment to acclimate to his surroundings, he enjoys every moment with them, and really tries to support his wife by helping when and where he can.
As someone who lives with a toddler, and who will soon welcome a second child, the question I often ask myself is how I can do my job to support my family while also participating in day-to-day life with my wife and children. Whether you are a stay-at-home dad, a work-from-home dad, an over-the-road dad, or some combination of these there are three simple techniques to ensure you and your partner work smoothly as a team to be a strong couple, and raise happy healthy children:
1. Define your roles but be flexible.
It is important to know who does what. There are times when things do not get done, but not because the other wanted to ignore it. This often happens because both you and your partner were unaware or the chore that needed to get done, or you assumed the other would do it.
Whether it is taking out the trash, doing dishes, or helping with the children’s nighttime routine, have a plan and work together to get it done. It is very important to be flexible. Your partner may love cooking dinner, but if they ask you one night to help because of a tough day, do your best to jump in and make sure the family is fed, regardless of whether or not this is your usual role.
2. Set time aside for the two of you.
Especially with new children, this is so important to a successful relationship. You and your partner were a couple before you were parents. It is easy to get sucked into the day-to-day chores and forget that you like the person you are living with. It does not have to be an extravagant date night, but time alone together can-do wonders for keeping love alive.
3. Get the kids involved.
I am not suggesting you make your one-year-old dig trenches, but children can enjoy being a part of the day-to-day activities. Giving kids chores gives them a sense of ownership and accomplishment, and sets a precedent for helping around the house as they get older.
Whether you are home every night, once a month or once a week, helping your partner and having your children see you model this behavior will enhance your relationship with your partner. It will also enable your children to become stronger, more mature adults.
If you would like to listen to the podcast with Daniel and hear more about his journey with twins, click here.
Drew Dilisio is the Community Support Specialist and Counselor at Good Dads. He is a recent graduate of Evangel University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, a husband and father. He can be reached for question or comment at [email protected].