We all need help

We’re having a baby – a boy!

In just a few days, as he makes his debut in the delivery room I’m going to greet him with his first fist bump.

He’ll be our second child – our first boy. And as the due date has drawn closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about two things.

First – I’ve been imagining what it’s going to be like to hang with a boy – MY boy.

Second – I’ve been reminiscing about how much I’ve enjoyed our 7-year-old princess, Madison. I love her dearly. And she adores me (most of the time).

Sarah and I both spend a lot of time with her. And we love every minute. These days I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to successfully split time between the two coolest kids in the world. I guess I’ll figure it out like some of you did!

Madison has such a sweet, yet strong personality. As early as 3 years old we noticed her independent nature.

When I would offer to help her climb into my truck she would pull her hand away and announce determinedly, “I got it!” Or as I attempted to help her secure her seatbelt she reminded me – “Dad, I got it!”

One day, as we were riding in the car, she picked up my iPhone, entered my password, selected a program, and started using the application – followed by, “See dad, I got it.”

Madison’s independence has occasionally challenged me to rethink my own. Do I respond appropriately when others offer to help in my life and work?

So many people have offered a helping hand, yet occasionally I’ve pulled away and insisted, “I got it”.

Now, as I begin an exciting yet daunting new chapter in life, I’m not so foolish to think I can do it on my own. I need you. And you need me.

The truth is, we all need help – most of the time. No one is self-sufficient. We’re better together.

I’ve learned much from Madison – and I’m looking forward this new phase of  my journey – growing with my son.

So here’s my question – and I really need your help. No reading the post and leaving without commenting today! What is your best advice for me as I prepare for my new son?

Please note: We reserve the right to remove comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lorraine Gambacourt

    Hi Michael,
    I have a Madison as well! She is 24 years tomorrow. My son is 21. My best advice is to recognize that they will be likely be very different, and recognize that in them. Don’t compare the two as your boy gets older! They will both have their unique and special qualities. I definitely agree that it is important to spend one on one time, but don’t forget the DATE night, with your wife!

  • CRHnewsEssex

    PS: I know the challenges that will lie ahead because of the seven year age gap only too well, so you must work at involving both children with each other, early bonds matter, its easy for gap siblings to grow apart when one is a teenager and the other a ‘kid sister or brother’ so encourage them to be a blessing to each other!

    • Great thoughts! Thanks for connecting! Good point about the relationship building with the kids early. Hope you have a great day!

  • CRHnewsEssex

    I raised two girls and a boy so I know! Spend time with them, take them out on your own, I did and everyone thought I was a single parent, at one point I had three carried on my cycle, great fun, every weekend it was my turn to be with them 100 per cent, you cannot make up memories or wind the clock back its now or never, God bless you all, The Cap’n xxxxx

  • Valasta Smith

    I raise three boys and two girls! They are night and day not just in gender but in personality. I gave birth to two boys and thought I was good to go. They are easy going, tough on everything true boys. Holes in every pair of pants they own! Then God blessed me with a baby girl a year ago. She is so sweet and my beautiful jewel created by Him. It is just a different relationship as a mother. I can’t wait to hear about the differences you see and feel with your father/son bond vs your father/ bond. They are each amazing and special in there own way.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Valasta! So true – they are very different.

  • Lori Pelletier

    I have 19 years difference with mine (22 and 3) – and what I learned from the first in my 20’s and second entering my 40’s is to always take the opportunity for date night because it makes all the difference when you are juggling sleep, 7 year old sports or dance and our careers-and say YES more than no because it does allow people to show how they care by giving back! No advise for a boy though! Less hormones in the house 😉

    • Thanks Lori! I agree about the dates – Madison and I having a standing breakfast date every Saturday. I’ve written previously about some of the fun things we’ve learned together on Saturday mornings – we love our time together!

      I’m looking forward to when Andrew is running around!

  • Michelle Stanley

    As a mother of 5 girls I can definitely offer no advice for a boy 😉 But I can tell you I have learned that each and every one of my children are different and need to be treated in their own way, whether it’s discipline or love. I can’t discipline and love them all the same way. They have their own personalities and uniqueness and if I am not careful I will try to treat them the same so it’s easier for me. Each one needs time, care and love in everything. I never thought I could give equal time and love to 5 different children, but as time goes on you will learn the method that will work for your family and with God in control you and sarah will just fine. I think the most exciting thing about having alot of kids is, watching them develop into the lady I want them to be. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, they will be a unigue love and relationship with each one that will be special and unbreakable. Best wishes to you and may God bless your family!

    • Great thoughts Michelle. Thanks! We’re looking forward to those experiences.

  • My best advice:

    1. Savor EVERY moment.
    2. Take TONS of photos.
    3. Jealousy happens: Make sure to spend quality time with your daughter; especially during the first few weeks after your son is born.
    4. Savor EVERY moment (did I mention that already?)

    God Bless!

    • Thanks Michael. Duly noted. We’re lookin forward to havin a blast!

  • DS

    I have two boys and will be requesting the same when we have a girl.
    The messy part depends on personality. If you had brothers (I think I saw a comment about 4 boys and a roadtrip), I’m sure you’ve got an idea of what to expect.
    I love the fact that my boys wait to see me when I come home, and try to mimick their dad. I can toss them around if I want. I can teach them to be strong, and respectful. To take care of their mom (and in your case – big sister too), and about being spiritual leaders.
    The toys and clothes, I would imagine, will be easier for you to figure out.
    You might check out James Dobson, “Bring Up Boys” for an additional resource:

    • Great resource David – thanks for sharing. Yep 3 brothers – I am looking forward to tossing him around. 😉

  • AtTheInfiniteJoel

    If I must leave a comment…. My wife and I had decided to be conscious parents, to do things on purpose, to have a plan and not just parent by reflex, not just react to what our children do. I read a lot of books when she was pregnant with our first and ended up finding the best resources. My advice is to click on this link ( http://www.loveandlogic.com/ )and buy some books, or at least read some of the free articles…..

  • We had two girls and then added our son. Our oldest daughter is the most willing to get messy. Our son does not intentionally get messy, but if it happens, it happens.

    Get ready for some interesting times. The splitting of time will happen, but better will be the all together times. Let his older sister help out, but also as he gets bigger, try to encourage them to be brother and sister. Our oldest was 5-6 when our son was born, and she so much wanted to be a little Mommy, but we wanted to really encourage her to grow up a sister.

    It will be fun to watch. The personality development is crazy and wonderful.

    • That’s awesome – sounds like you guys have had some fun. Our daughter, Madison, will probably gravitate towards being a little mommy too.

  • Chris

    Michael CONGRATS! I have 3 kiddos (1 boy and 2 girls) While they are all different they are also the same. All of mine love to get dirty and play rough. I enjoy playing with them all together and also spending individual time with them. I never though there would be enough love for them all but I guess I didnt know my capacity to love as it has grown with each additional child. I wish you and your wife the best over the next few days.

    • Thanks my friend – looking forward to the next chapter!

  • Congrats!
    I don’t have a girl, all I know is my son but I can see a difference in how he plays vs girls I know. He loves to get messy! He loves to get dirty! It’s great!

  • I don’t have any kids, but since I’ve recently lost my Dad- I can tell you what I wish I had, and that is more documented things from him. Letters, notes, blogs, cards. I wish I had more things that reminded me of him.
    So, my advice would be to document everything. And take LOTS of pictures with your kids. Get in every picture you can.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. Yes – It seems we don’t think about these things until it’s too late. I appreciate your thoughtful advice.

  • Well, this is easy. I was looking for the “donate” button!! Sounds like you have a pretty good head over your shoulders – just let us know if we can help, help. 🙂

    • I will! I may need to invest in a diaper factory soon! 😉

  • Time stands still at that very moment our child takes their first breathe and when they are ushered into this world with the trumpets sounding and the angels singing, oh what a glorious moment of our existence. Capture the moment, be present, do not allow anything, anyone, to rob you of the joy you and your family are about to experience!

    My son Joshua turns 21 years old next week and I’ve been reflecting upon and wondering how in the world did this young man grow up to be such an amazing, compassionate, caring, creative and loving person.

    I wish I could say I had the perfect plan for raising a “Modern Day Knight”, but I did not even though I had a lot of help with the likes of Robert Lewis and many others.

    So here’s my advice albeit, it’s nothing new or it’s not like it hasn’t been said before, but it’s worth repeating.
    1. Give your son the gift of the Precious Present, be present physically, emotionally and spiritually.
    2. Be an example (1Timothy 4:12-16) of the person you desire him to become. Things are caught not taught.
    3. Passionately pursue Jesus.
    4. Passionately pursue your bride.
    5. Passionately pursue your children.

    Finally, celebrate the glorious riches of all that God has created your son to be and become.

    • All great thoughts Dave. Love the concept – Wherever you are, be all there. Be present.

      Thanks my friend.

  • Nancy

    Keep up the good work. A boy is different than a girl (profound statement, huh?), but as long as you continue to love and nurture Madison and do the same with new little Nichols (you didn’t say what his name is), you will do just fine. Each child is unique and it sounds like you have already tapped into Madison’s uniqueness. Do the same for him. I pray that they both will be a blessing to you and your wife even as they are blessings to you.

    • Thanks Nancy – and it’s Michael. Middle name still in the works. 😉

  • Rachel Zinzer

    Have to comment? Okay… Give him back to God immediately and daily… Coach while he’s young and be his best cheerleader especially in his teens. Let him see and hear you read your Bible and praying over him. With Sarah as his Mom – You’ve got a dynamite team! – Smile and Trust God.

  • Tim Krupa

    If I may be so bold, might I offer a few thoughts from my experiences with my daughter and son, now 25 and 23. My first thought is to be the man you wish him to be. When he is grown let him be able to look back and know that he has benefited from your daily example of living your values. Honor, integrity, courage, leadership, accountability, responsibility, team play, compassion, fiscal responibility, and a sense of community were among my values I wished him to see. You have your vaues ; make sure he sees them. My second thought was to let him see how to live. Love his mother first and always. Then let him know that you love him and his sister and that your family comes first. Remember that your actions will always speak louder than your words. If you do your job as his father, you will have shown him that to live, to love, to laugh, to learn, and to leave a legacy is what his life should be about. Congratulations and enjoy yorur coming journey.

    • Thank you for sharing advice from your experiences. Like the thought – “be the man you wish him to be”.

  • They pee standing up 😉

    • Nice Anita. 😉 Thanks for the tip. Appreciate your candor!

  • I’m smiling! Your family dynamic is very different from our 2 children…14 months apart! However, I am the BIG SISTER! My little brother is 6 years younger! I adored him! Madison will be his second mama! However, there will be those years when he will be a real pain in her neck… literally! I remember the drive to Florida when he had a hotwheels track and a few cars! The Florida trip from Ohio is brutal now, back then the flexible track was used to “snap” me when I’d begin to nap! My parents never quite believed me…until they saw the marks!
    You are receiving some great advice. And just like the first baby…you are amazed that you are capable of SO MUCH LOVE! There is always enough to go around, especially with parents and a big sister that already practice loving one another!
    You will have enough time! In many ways…again from my perspective as the Big Sister, you are raising two, “only” children! You get to enjoy each of their young years independant of the other!
    I have no doubt you’ll keep us “posted”! Praying for your continued blessing, peace and strength!

    • Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Made me recall some of our trips – with 4 crazy boys in the car. I’m not quite sure how we all made it out alive!

  • Tom Hyll

    Hey Mike,

    I did not know you were having another
    child. Congratulations! You don’t need any advice. Time will dictate how
    you react. I can tell you that I have 2 boys and although it was my
    dream to have daddy’s little girl that was not in the cards for us. Boys are
    cool. You are going to have a lot of fun doing the “dude”

    btw, I read almost all your blogs. You are doing a great
    job. I hope readership reflects that.


  • Shirley Vorhees

    Michael, loved your post! Having raised two sons, both of whom
    were very different from each other and in many ways different from us as well,
    my greatest advice is to study the DISC Model of Human Behavior so that you can
    understand how your son is “wired” and what the particular needs are
    of his personality style so that you can give him what he needs to grow into
    all he was created to be. The gift of understanding is one of the greatest
    gifts we can give to a child – or anyone, for that matter. That Model is
    the closest thing I know to an “operator’s manual”. 🙂 (For
    more information, go to http://www.personalityisnights.com)

  • Your heart will grow and you will realize that you have more than enough love for both of them. They will be different, and that is the most amazing part. You truly understand how God uniquely designs each of us when you have more than one child. She is at a great age to help and understand that your time focus will shift some. You will love it! Congrats!!

  • Advice: Those 7 years of “experience” with your daughter may not help with your son! I have 2 girls (ages 12 & 8), and they are totally different. While I could simply raise my eyebrows to get the oldest to change her behavior, the youngest requires a sherman tank. (Well, not actually a tank, but you get the idea). So, don’t compare, just enjoy each child as the individual they are.


  • Scott

    Congratulations, Michael. I too have a boy & a girl, and it’s such a blast.

    First, I would suggest that you not thinking of “splitting” your time between them. You should SHARE it. I find that if I’m hanging with one of my little ones, the other soon finds us. It’s a natural balance, with the kids enjoying their ‘daddy time’ together. The age difference will change things for you as Madison starts her SERIOUS independence as a young adult. When your boy arrives, it’ll be healthy to keep her nearby when you’re with him.

    Second, each little one is different. Where Madison is independent, don’t be surprised if your boy is the opposite. You can’t shape it – it just happens. Your role is to foster whatever that is…

    Third, I had a similar feeling before my second, and someone gave me some great advice. “It’s like growing a second heart.” Whatever you think you’re dividing actually is multiplying. Weird, but true. You’ll see!

    As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Thanks for sharing your heart Scott – each of these are great tips. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  • Adrian Punga

    Ask Madison to help you parenting. She would feel involved and you will have
    less to worry about splitting your time because it will be naturally divided
    between coaching Madison for responsibility and loving your son.

    This was by far one of the coolest emails I got. Congrats for your new son.


    • Thanks Adrian! We are looking forward to involving Madison – I’m sure there will be many leadership-development opportunities for her! Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Congratulations!

    It’s like self improvement and leadership and running a company. As long as you know that there’s so much you don’t know, but you have a desire to learn, improve and do what’s right, you’re probably doing all right for yourself.

    Don’t give into the notion that kids are “raised” – because while you are crucial in caring for them and teaching them all about boundaries and discovery, the amazing thing is that they have a personality all their own that comes out and continually surprises you.

    I don’t speak from immediate parenting experience, so if I’m completely wrong, tell me, so I can learn from you and be that much more prepared when I have a little one of my own. (I’m going to come out and say that… I probably cannot possibly be anywhere near prepared for it. Sometimes… you just have to ship!)

    Thanks for sharing – I love the personal, human side of this post!

    • Thanks Jason. I love your thought – “Don’t give into the notion that kids are “raised” – because while you are crucial in caring for them and teaching them all about boundaries and discovery, the amazing thing is that they have a personality all their own that comes out and continually surprises you.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • I can’t offer any specific advise on how to raise a boy, or how to help you split time between your precious young girl and your soon to be baby boy, since I’ve only raised girls ! What I can tell you is this: “Do whatever you did with Madison…it has worked so far.” From what you wrote, it’s obvious to me that she loves you, which means she will love her new brother too, and she will want to help you take care of him. Perhaps it won’t be when his diaper need changed, but more likely when he needs fed that you will once again hear Madison say, “Dad, I got this !”

    Congrats…and enjoy the time when they are young – they grow up so fast !

    • Great perspective Eric. I have the feeling that Madison is going to retain her independence. 😉

  • Rob Wright

    God put Adam in a garden with everything he needed to flourish; food, shelter, intimacy, relationship, companionship, responsibility. And then, after laying a few ground rules, He left it up to Adam to make his own decisions. So my advice is don’t make the mistake of trying to control behaviour. Make it your job to create the perfect environment for your family to flourish – & let them know you’ll still be there for them if they screw up…

    • Nice Rob! Great thought. Thanks man.

      • Rob Wright

        Thank you, Michael. I’ve had to learn the hard way that the command-&-control approach my father demonstrated to me is the easiest path to take, but is often the least productive available…

        • Yes – A posture of control is more natural for me also. I’m learning to chill.

  • Don’t know if it’s advice — more of a principle. My first son was born in the wee hours; a few hours later, I made my way home to our apartment in Dallas to shower and sleep a bit. I came up the hill to a stop light and the thought struck me: if you’ve never been an authentic man of God, it’s now time. I sensed, and rightly so, that a man is observed and followed by his son in unique and powerful ways.

    • Great thought, Dean – the influence of a father is profound. I need your help – prayer. Thanks my friend.

  • Love his Mom.

    • Thanks Mark. I love her more today than ever before. Good advice for every dad!

  • Wade Harris

    As someone shared with me the other day two of the most important things for you to do is take your relationship with God seriously and take your sin seriously. This advice puts you in the best place raise both your children.
    I would encourage you to keep many of the same habits in place that you have kept with Madison and make new ones for your son at different times. The other cool thing is that Madison is old enough to help a lot with the new little one. She will probably want to as well so let her. My 9 year old is amazing with our 2 year old. I think she is more responsible that most teens!
    Finally just enjoy him for the blessing he is!


    • Wow! Thanks Wade. Maybe we’ll catch up with you someday – 4! 😉