Welcome to my Middle Class Dad blog!
I’m a guy probably a lot like you. Sure, society puts a lot of labels on us and many of those end up dividing us; race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income level, political affiliations, etc., but at the end of the day, we’re really all a LOT more similar than we are different.
And just so I’m clear, this blog isn’t here to talk about ANY of the above. I’M HERE TO HELP IDENTIFY CHALLENGES and find solutions together!
I’m here to figure out what matters to you, what you’re struggling with and the areas of life you know you want to improve and then together, building a community along the way, we’ll tackle those things together.
Because if it’s one thing I know, it’s that the chances that a problem you or I are facing being the first time in history anyone has faced it, is virtually non-existent.
In other words, someone has faced that challenge before and dealt with it. Some may have tried and failed and some may have tried and succeeded, but we’re here to learn, and we learn just as well (if not better) from mistakes, and while there’s (unfortunately) no substitute for making our own mistakes, you bet we can learn from other people’s mistakes too!
Thought for the week. And even better, learn from other’s mistakes pic.twitter.com/88Q0iMTzys
— Ian Matheson (@IanMatheson) February 27, 2017
LABELS THAT MATTER!
According to the Census Bureau, there are:
- 151 million males in the US
- 117 million of those are adults
- The vast majority are under age 68
- About half of adult males appear to be married, so we’re talkin’ about 70 million husbands
- Upwards of 30% appear to be dads.
So potentially there’s almost 20 million middle class dads for whom this blog is for! OK, for this first post, I’ll be lucky to find 20, but you get the idea. There’s a lot of us!
Father, child, husband, employee, bread winner, home owner; Middle Class Dad. These are just a few of the words that describe me, and I bet, since you found my blog, at least some of those describe you too.
If at least some of those words describe you, then you’ve come to the right place. You see, many of us; millions of us, just want to work hard, make a decent income, provide for our families, raise great kids and be great husbands. We want to have fun in that process too, but sometimes we get so bogged down in trying to make all that happen that we forget to make the journey a great one.
Paying off your house early or that lifetime trip to the Bahamas doesn’t matter much if your marriage is rocky or your kids avoid you or you’ve lost your health.
I DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS
I don’t. I’m just a middle class dad like you looking for solutions to life’s challenges. But am a guy who’s been around the block a few times, a guy who’s read and listened to a lot of folks who are a lot smarter than I am and most importantly, I’VE MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES! The trick in life is not to never make a mistake. The trick is to LEARN from those mistakes so that next time we don’t make the same mistake (or at least recover more quickly).
To slightly deconstruct a great Stephen Covey quote, are you a product of your circumstances or are you a product of your decisions?
WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE
We don’t have a lot of control over anything in life, but the one thing we can control is how we react/respond to what life gives us. THINKING WE CAN CONTROL LIFE OR OTHERS IS AN ILLUSION; something we need to let go of to be truly happy.
Many folks, and I used to be one of them, try to keep control over everything in their lives and they get desperately frustrated, mad, sad or out of control when things don’t go their way. I get it, I’ve been there.
This morning as I type this I had 45 minutes before I had to start my very busy day (last day of school activities before work and a dentist appointment to squeeze in) and in those 45 minutes, my plan was to cut the grass in the back yard. Guess what? It’s raining.
Now, I could get mad and throw a tantrum, I could get dejected and say something dramatic like “it ALWAYS rains when I have time to mow the grass”. Or I could be defiant and go mow in the rain, proud of my ability to defeat the weather, and get soaked. Risking breaking my mower all in the name of control.
Or I could take a deep breath, accept that it’s frustrating to not get to do what I need to do, acknowledge that I have to modify my plans, understand that I can’t control the weather and MOVE ON.
It’s an older book at this point, but a great book still about the illusion of control and how we deal and adapt with change.
IF YOU STRUGGLE WITH CHANGE, GET THIS BOOK!
Now I’m not naive enough to think this is the only blog out there designed to help folks. I’m far from the only Middle Class Dad! Whether its Finances, Marriage, Parenting, etc, you can bet there’s a million other folks out there with something to say, and a few of them I follow and will quote or link to here on occasion; I especially like to give credit where credit is due.
Almost nothing out there in print or on the web is completely original or never been said before, but certain folks do put a unique, succinct or alternative spin on the information overloaded society we live in today, and it’s my hope to fall into one of those categories for you!
The links above are to my favorite experts in those categories and well worth your time & exploration if you aren’t already familiar with them and their works. They have all helped me in my journey and I have books from all of them. Without a doubt, in their own way, each put a unique spin on the information they provide.
Now Ramsey gets political sometimes and Meeker gets religious, things I noted at the outset that can divide folks. If those things prevent you from embracing their teachings fear not and read on. As I said, this blog is about finding our common ground and staying out of the things the world uses to divide and categorize us. Besides there’s plenty of blogs out there already that enflame, separate and rile us up!
THIS IS A PLACE TO EMBRACE WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON
Why listen to a Middle Class Dad?
What makes me different? Why come to my blog? After all, I’m not a self-proclaimed expert, don’t have any best-selling books, nor do I have a loyal following in the hundreds of thousands. All I will say, is that many folks out there in the blogging and/or self-help world, however humble their beginnings may have been often lead lives very different than yours or mine. They may:
- Be Ivy League educated
- Live in a million dollar house
- Appear on Oprah, etc.
- Be a New York Times best-selling author
That’s not to knock any of those things, and who knows; maybe you or I will be there in 10 years. But I do think that when we find ourselves with celebrity status and completely removed from the segment of society we’re trying to help it makes it very hard. Because while they’re hearing, talking to and reading about people like you and I, they aren’t actually feeling what we feel or seeing what we see.
A good analogy would be in my former career in the natural foods grocery world. Often there were people in regional leadership roles. The best of them likely came up through the ranks starting in hourly roles. But even those folks were now spending most of their time behind a desk or behind the wheel.
They saw what was selling not because they put their hands on it or heard it from customers but because they saw it on a computer screen. They were trying to tell store-level employees how to do a job that they themselves were almost completely removed from (and in some cases never did themselves to begin with).
IN SHORT, THE BEST WAY TO HELP SOMEONE IS TO KNOW THEIR STRUGGLES PERSONALLY!
And the longer someone stays in that removed and isolated role the worse that divide gets. Again, I’m not knocking those folks, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with succeeding, but I’m just like you; I live in a modest home, drive a 10 year old car and work 45+ hours a week. That gives me a significant advantage in trying to help and brainstorm and be part of a community designed to help Middle Class Dad’s; because I know your struggles, as they are my struggles too.
I’m just like you. I cut the grass on the weekends. I get worried about our household budget. About having enough money to go on vacation, save for retirement or pay for my kid’s college. I struggle over what to get my wife for her birthday. I try and do minor repairs around the house.
Heck, I even built a wooden deck on the back of my house (with some invaluable help and design from a good friend). I just changed the brake pads on my wife’s car (which I’ve never done before). But I sometimes struggle daily with balancing all the needs and all the pressures and all the things and people that want something from me.
If personal finance is of specific interest, I have a blog post on my personal journey through debt and coming out on the other side. See that post here, entitled 5 great ways to improve your finances & save your future!
I’M JUST LIKE YOU
Alone, I’m just one middle class dad, but together, you and I have just doubled our energy and effectiveness. Grow that to 10 and now we’re a team! Grow that to 100, or 1000 or 10,000 and now we’re an unstoppable army; a force to be reckoned with in terms of moving our personal, financial, parental and marital needles forward and by then, that increase could be exponential!
AT THAT POINT, THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN’T BEAT!
My goal in launching this blog will be to have a few main categories. And write at least 2 blog posts a month in each category. For starters my plans are to have the following categories:
But if you have a category you’d like to see, I’d love to hear from you. After all; this blog is for you! This blog will hopefully become a community of like minded folks (obviously geared towards men and dads, but hey; I want to hear from anyone and everyone!) and ideally we’ll grow like a community; sharing tips, ideas and resources and being there for each other.
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I’m glad you’re here! Let’s get going!