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Im a dad with two young daughters (5 and 3 years old), and from the moment I met them, they taught me the importance of caring for myself as well as them.

For example, before fatherhood, I exercised because I thought it made me attractive now that Im a dad, I exercise to stay “not dead” for my kids. Needless to say, my priorities have shifted tremendously.

But the holiday season always adds a ton of new pressures I rarely have time to think about myself, and because of that, I end up being completely stressed out and overwhelmed in effort to keep my kids happy.

So now that it’s the new year, I plan to give myself four gifts that didn’t come from a store, don’t require any shopping, and will benefit me and my family all throughout 2017.

1. I’m giving myself the gift of laughter.

In case you havent noticed, the current state of our world provides us with plenty of reasons not to smile. But if we focus our energies on that, we end up neglecting the people, places, and things that bring us so much joy.

So Im planning to smile and laugh more with the people I love, caring for them and doing the things we love together. In doing so, Ill be a much better dad, man, and friend.

2. Im giving myself the gift of slowing down.

Yes, Im that parent with kids who are constantly on the receiving end of me blurting out, Lets go! Hurry up! But in the big scheme of things, does it really matter if were a couple minutes late to some event? Not so much.

3. Im giving myself the gift of imperfection.

One of my mentors used to tell me that “perfect is the enemy of done,” and I completely agree especially when it comes to common parenting tasks.

For example, my daughters have really difficult hair to style. Johnsons “No More Tangles” makes life so much easier in that regard, but there are times when I cant help myself from attempting to create the perfect ‘do for my girls.

As a guy who released a childrens book that celebrates healthy essentials of fatherhood, I’m doing my best to ensure I enjoy every one of these special moments. Before we know it, our kids will be grown and starting families of their own, and we need to take the time to enjoy them now.

Am I the perfect dad? Nope, but thats because he doesn’t exist. I’m just a parent who’s figuring it all out as I go along just like you. I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of knowing that’s exactly the way it should be.

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