Working hard or hardly working…

To all my fellow stay at home parents,

Today was a day that I wished that I had a 9-5. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want one, and I don’t desire to have to go back to that, but I was missing structure, accomplishing a task, and being told what to do… Ok I was missing 2 out of those 3, I’m still lucky enough to be told what to do on a daily bases by my loving wife. I have many great things going on in my life right now, things that I would not trade for anything, however, my days sometimes lack structure and I feel like I accomplish very little. I’m sure this is something many people can relate to.

As a father, there is a lot riding on my role in the family, and It is hard to see concrete proof that I’m accomplishing things I’ve set out for the family, or even for that matter, if I’m even on the right path. In all my other roles in life… Student, athlete, friend, worker, ect… I could tell if I was succeeding or failing but now as a parent it’s hard to tell if the day was a success. All that to say, today I was thankful I’m not working a job at Lowes anymore.

A bad day at home is better than a good day at Lowes.

Ross

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Help! … I’m Helpless!

sick mom and baby

The two sickies at the Dykstra household.

On Mondays MaKenzie works from home. They are generally pretty good days because I get to see her most of the day, I can run an errand or two, and we usually eat breakfast and lunch together. If she didn’t have to work all day, Mondays would be perfect. Today however, was a different story and it all started when the clock struck midnight.

Maebyn’s been a great sleeper ever since she was born (12 hours a night since 6 weeks Woo Woo!!) but the last couple weeks have been terrible and last night was much of the same. It’s not her fault. She just figured out she can roll to her belly and discoveries this monumental are enough to keep anyone up at night. All that to say, Maebyn has her first cold and she’s just not feeling well today. On top of this, MaKenzie has felt sick the entire day but has needed to work, thus adding to the frustration level in the house. I also may or may not have added to this stress by taking 2 hours to work out, a couple more to look at potential rehab houses, and generally just being out of the house longer than I should have on a day like today.

When I got home, MaKenzie and I calmly and quietly discussed a couple things that she thought I could do differently when she is working from home, particularly when she and Maebyn are sick. I politely agreed and thanked her for her correction and keeping me accountable to my responsibilities. I then led our family in a prayer where I repented for all my wrong doings and finally we all joined hands and began singing in perfect harmony. Pretty much the exact opposite of all these things is what actually happened. Use your imagination. It’s probably not far off.

I so badly wanted to take away MaKenzie and Maebyn’s sickness today but I couldn’t. I think it was my first experience as a helpless parent. There’s been plenty of times over the past 4 years where I’ve felt like a helpless husband but today was the first time I’ve felt it as a parent. Maebyn has a cold, so I know this is a very small scale to feel this on but none the less it sucks. I want to have control and on days like today I was reminded that I, actually, I have very little control over the day to day happenings of our life.

All in all it wasn’t that great of a day but a day spent with my wife and daughter can’t be categorized as a bad day. Till next time…

The only healthy one in the fam,

Ross

It’s snowing… kindof

20130125-135356.jpgSo I thought I’d try to write a more light-hearted post today but don’t be surprised if this gets a little sappy.

It’s snowing in the ‘Nati today and you would think by the way the city acts we are getting a foot of snow. Don’t worry we are not, only less than an inch. We’re never that lucky here. For those who didn’t know, I was born and raised in Holland, Michigan. I’ve heard Holland described as a little slice of heaven, Gods favorite city in America, ect… You get the picture… I love Holland, MI.

Right now, Holland has about a foot of snow that has fallen over the past few days. I could not be more jealous. I don’t care too much for cold, the winter, or the extended periods of darkness, but I love the snow. If its going to be cold, dark, and grey outside it may as well be snowing… a lot. When it snows in Cincinnati we gear up for storms that consist of a whopping 1-2 inches and the city still goes into a panic. In Michigan, 1-2 inches doesn’t even justify getting the plows out. I know that last statement made me sound like a pretty hard-core Michigander, but that’s ok because I most defiantly am. Is it bad if when I hear Tim Allen’s voice come over the radio and talk about Pure Michigan man tears well up in my eyes? When I hear those blessed commercials all I can think of is, Tim Allen gets it. If you’ve somehow missed those genius ads, click here to fall in love with Pure Michigan.  >>man tears<<

I know it seems crazy that someone that loves Michigan so much wouldn’t live there right? Well, I agree. If I had my choice I probably would be living in Michigan. In fact, in high school I think my friends said I was the least likely to go away from home to college, and I agreed. Thankfully, God had different plans for me and brought me to the city of Cincinnati (sometimes referred to as Suckinnati… Patent-pending on that word by me and my 6 year old pal, Miles Zimmerman). One things for sure, I know I am here for a purpose and am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life here in Cincinnati. I’m also grateful that God knows exactly what our heart needs and where it needs to be. I miss my family, friends, and the home state when it snows, but it all reminds me that I am not here by mere chance.

Alright, me and the Maebs are off to the mall. All this talk about Michigan has made me want to go buy something with the Detroit D on it and she couldn’t agree more.

Your Michigander,

Ross

Thursdays use to be HersDays

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photo(22)Thursdays have become my most favorite and least favorite day of the week all wrapped up into one. How is this possible? Well let me explain…

Every Thursday I go to crossroads church from 11:30 to 1 to a fathers midrash. What’s a fathers midrash? Simply put, it’s a group of fathers that come together to try and understand truth, found in the bible, on how God is calling us to lead our families. It has had a profound impact on my life to say the least. I look forward to going every week and it has revitalized the way I read scripture. The fathers midrash along with Story Formed Life have allowed me to see that the role of an intentional father is the most vital thing that exists in a family. I have always wanted to be a dad but I guess I never really knew why. Being a good dad to me meant providing for the family and teaching them about God. Although these are things I still strive for I have learned that there is much more to a fathers role than just provision and teaching. I am responsible for the vision, identity, and guidance of our family. If I don’t lead who else will?

So I know it looks like Thursdays can’t possibly be that bad, right? Well, they have a dark side. Every Thursday morning MaKenzie wakes up at 5ish a.m. It’s her early day to go to work and its a rough one for her. She’s tired when she gets home and has little energy to do much else than get ready for work on Friday. She has never complained once about her responsibilities and if I didn’t know her so well I would say the long hours didn’t bother her at all. However, I know Thursdays take a toll on her. Every Thursday is hard for me because I wish it was me going out to provide for the family. Feelings of failure creep in as I watch MaK leave in morning. It’s the hardest part of the week watching her go to work so tired wishing I could take away her burdens.

The final reason Thursdays are just not the same is because before we had Maebyn, Thursdays use to be “Hers Days”. Anyone who has a mild obsession with their dog/pet will get this… so, before kids were in the picture, every Thursday we celebrated our dog Beazy and her many redeeming qualities: excellent barking skills, ability to identify squirrels that occupy our property and her three cheats on death itself (hit by a car, fell out of a tree, swam half a lake… don’t worry I’ll cover these in a future post). One of her thousands of nicknames happens to be “Hers”. Ah, a perfect play on words. Thursday = HersDay. Weird, yeah we know. It was fun though and we had some great memories. Those days are now gone and our dog Beazy is appreciated more than celebrated. I don’t think she minds but when I look at our dog it’s just another reminder of how Thursdays are just not the same.

Happy HersDay everybody,

Ross

My first entry…

Hi, my name is Ross Dykstra and I am a stay at home dad. I am married to a smoking hott, brilliant, genius woman (MaKenzie Noelle) and together we have a daughter (Maebyn) who is a fresh 5 months old. The purpose for this blog is tell our family story and how it is intrinsically intertwined into the larger story of our Creator God.

Being how this is our first post, I think it’s only right to give a little background into our story. MaKenzie and I met at the one and only Taylor University, as two fresh-faced 18 & 19 year old kids. We got married the summer after she graduated, on August 23, 2008. We both entered marriage with the common American dream of career, house, dog, kids. These things were all I ever wanted and I had found the girl that was perfect to accomplish this with. Next up? Get a job, have two and a half kids and let the wife stay home. To make a long story short, this isn’t our story. Or at least our story isn’t the version I had dreamed of my whole life. It’s taken me 4 years to get to a place where I am no longer angry, frustrated, and upset about my failed dreams.

Like I said earlier, my wife (MaKenzie) is the cats pajama’s. She currently works full time to pay our bills and does countless other things for our family as well, like maintaining a side business she started (shout out). With out her I would be in a bad place. For now our roles are reversed, I’m the care taker and she’s the provider. Our goal is not to stay in these roles forever but for now we see how this is exactly where we need to be. God is discipling us through our unconventional lives right now and we can see him at work. This has probably been the toughest season we have had in our marriage but also the most rewarding. We see that God is on the move and we are excited to see where he leads us.

This blog is meant to show that God is a God of details. We hope that through the story of our family, one that looks much different than the American dream, we can illustrate how there’s more to each of us than what our culture and society defines.

So when you feel like culture around you demands you to be something you’re not, in the words of the beloved family man Clark Griswold, “Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass.”

Happy Reading,

Ross