Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Do You Want To Abandon Your Life And Start Over?
Do you look around and just feel overwhelmed by all your stuff and responsibilities and commitment and just want to abandon it all and go on holiday or even buy a van, change your name and never look back?
Do you ever look at some of the things that surround you and feel guilty and overwhelmed? Do you feel like that about the things you do with your time? Like you don’t want to examine them too closely, because thinking about it feels bad?
You’re not supposed to feel like that. You’re not supposed to want a holiday from your life. Avoiding most aspects of your life because they hurt to think about is not healthy and it shouldn’t be normal.
It doesn’t have to be normal.
What Don’t You Want?
Now you’ve done a few exercises examining all the wonderful things you do want in your life, it should be clearer to you what doesn’t fit. What you no longer need or have time for.
Now is the time to clean out your closet of all the bad decisions and dead fashions that aren’t you anymore (and limit what you bring back in! Clothes waste is a massive issue.), clean out the gadgets and appliances that don’t work or that you never use, either take all the clean laundry off the exercise equipment and move it somewhere you will use it, or sell it. All that junk in your garage you haven’t been able to get to, let alone use in three years? Do you even know what it is? Can it really be that important? Read ‘The Magic Art of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo and purge all of that useless shit.
What about the time wasters? The websites and apps you would prefer not to go on, but always end up at? Delete them. Use browsers apps to block or limit them. You can set up blockers so you can only access facebook or twitter for a set amount of time each day. Do it. Free yourself.
What about the people? Who have you decided to take a break from? Who stresses you out? Regardless of how much you love them, who would you be happier without?
What about those niggling things you’ve been meaning to do that just sit around unfinished. They’re not negative, exactly, they’re not hurting you, but when you remember them, they give you a negative feeling. Frustration, guilt, etc. Maybe some things you have been meaning to donate or sell? Little household repairs and chores that have been waiting for months? The random detritus that slips between the cracks of day to day life?
What about the bad things that are a part of good things? Like, maybe you love your job, but you wish you had a shorter commute? Maybe you love the suburb you live in, but wish you had a garden instead of just a balcony.
What tasks do you wish you could outsource? What tasks do you wish you could find a more efficient way of getting done?
What about things in YOU you don’t want? Mental and physical health issues? Feelings, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, negative thought patterns, bad habits, etc. Do you want to be less angry? Snap at the kids less? Get fitter? Do something about your dry skin? Get rid of your boring haircut? Stop feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing when putting on make up? Stop procrastinating? Let go of those off-putting thoughts that stop you finishing your novel?
Now you’ve had some time to think about it, its time to make a list.
Exercise: The Do Not Want Pile:
Open up a word document (or Scrivener, or whatever you prefer, but its better to do this computer than on paper) and start writing a list. List all the things that are currently in your life that you don’t want.
You might want to break it into categories:
- Unfinished Jobs/Repairs
- Time Wasters
Under those headings, put in every single thing you can think of. Everything you would wish away, if there were no consequences. Everything you could fix, heal, mend, remove, cleanse and complete.
Once you have listed every single thing there is that makes your life hard, unpleasant or difficult, you are going to go through and look at each item. You are going to come up with a question that will help you come up with a strategy to fix this problem once and for all.
Some things will be easy. Lets say you have a huge collection of clothes you don’t want, or that don’t fit you anymore. Your question might be: “How can I get rid of all these unwanted clothes?”
The answer is probably pretty straight forward. You sort out the ones you don’t want, then sell or donate them. You could probably do it all in a single afternoon.
Sometimes, you might have to get creative. Maybe you hate your commute and you think: ‘I can’t do anything about that, I love my job, I can’t quit.’
However you could move house if you are renting. You could stay with the same company, but move to a closer branch, you could find a way you can work some days from home, you could car pool with others, so at least you aren’t always the one driving, you could catch public transport, so you can read, write or play video games during the commute. You could start using the time you commute by listening to audio books or using dictation to write a novel, and that alone might turn it from something you hate into something you look forward to.
The right question can make a world of difference to the answer, and thus, the solution. Get creative, go through you list. If you can’t find an answer that solves or at least improves the problem, ASK A DIFFERENT QUESTION. Keep asking questions until you find the right question. The right question will give you the right answer.
When you have gone through the entire list, and you have questions and solutions or improvements to every single problem, you come to the third part of the exercise.
You need to plan how you are going to start to IMPLEMENT all those great ideas.
Hopefully some of them (like clothes sorting and small home repairs) you can implement very quickly and easily. You might want to aim to do one a day, for a few weeks, until all the easy stuff is done. It will give you a great sense of achievement and make a huge difference in your day to day living.
Some things might be huge and require months of work and planning, but they will be worth it in the long run: moving house, for example. Or finding a new job. Or any other big life changing changes that will have a huge impact on your long term health and happiness.
Many things will require sustained effort to have their desired benefits. EG: new exercise or eating plans, changes to behavior and personal development. That’s okay. Small steps every day will add up over the long term and you will be so happy you started taking those steps toward the life you want.
However you can’t make those changes without a plan. You wouldn’t just buy a block of land and start building, would you? No, you’d design the house first! Get council approval. Buy all the supplies you needed. Get insurance.
The more you prepared and set up plans to deal with problems, the less likely you are to fail. So plan. Organize. Then have a wonderful life.
Next week is the final post in this series! I really hope it has made some small difference to your life. I have loved writing it. Its very long though, so I am also excited to finish it and move on to new topics!
So tune in next week for our summaries and goodbyes to the Happiness Series.
Jake, In Summary:
This making a list of things that make me unhappy and making solutions has been something I have done for years. I call it the ‘Things Stressing Jake List’ and I like to check in on it once a month or so. I delete the things I have fixed, and I add new problems as the arise or as I become aware of them.
For me, one of the really therapeutic parts is knowing ALL my problems are written down, and there are solutions ready. I don’t have to keep thinking about them, the computer will remember them for me.
This lets me focus on one thing at a time, and greatly improves my quality of life.
I hope it does the same for you, let me know. I’m always happy to hear from you!
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
The Perfect Week
These exercises can be a bit of a double edged sword. I love them, and they help me a lot. However there is a way to do them very badly. We all know comparison is the key to unhappiness, so when you do these exercises, you have to prime yourself to focus on the right things.
If you find yourself comparing what you want, to what you have, and feeling a sense of despair, then you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself.
However the first time I did this exercise, I realized a lot of the things I wanted to be doing, I could already do. Things like gardening more, learning an instrument and doing more art. They were things I kept putting off until ‘everything else in my life was under control’. But there was no reason to put them off, and honestly, my idea of ‘under control’ is usually me working more and more.
So remember, the goal of these exercises is not to compare what you want to what you have and feel bad. Its to look at all the ways you can make what you already have a bit more like what you want.
Your Perfect Working Day
When I first heard about this exercise, the instructions were to imagine that money wasn’t a factor, but you still had to work. You were to design your house and workspaces, as if you had unlimited funds. And you could pick any career you wanted.
There are two glaring problems with this. Firstly, what you want may be so far from what you have, it could be depressing. And secondly, you might imagine a career you don’t have is fantastic, while if you actually tried it, you might hate it.
I’m going to let you decide how big you want to dream. Its really not about the size of the dream, or how different it is. Its about the details and the things you want, and how you can bring those into your current life without winning the lottery.
Lets imagine, very quickly, that you say your perfect working day is working on a luxury yacht, that you own, surrounded by models. How could you bring that into your life? You could start taking your laptop to the wharf, to be around the ocean and the boats. And you could take lessons to drive a boat. However you might find you hate the sun, hate the sounds of seagulls, hate the smell of brine and get seasick when you try and drive a boat. What about the models? Well, quite frankly, I’ve never found anyone who wants to be surrounded by models who really understands what its like to be surrounded by 10 bored, hungry young women all day.
So if you don’t really want to be on a yacht surrounded by models, what did you want? Probably to feel rich and adored. You’re more likely to feel rich and adored if you 1) work out your finances and set up a fantastic system of savings and investments and 2) work on cultivating stronger friendships and relationship skills.
So, with all that in mind, on to the exercise.
I want you to write out your perfect working day. From the instant you open your eyes in the morning, to the instant you close them in the evening. What sort of work are you doing? What are the nitty-gritty details of that kind of work? What sort of breakfast do you eat? Lunch? Dinner? What is your recreation time like? What is your workspace like? What is your house like? What are your interactions with family and friends like? Who do you interact with as part of your work? What are those interactions like? Do you work alone or in a team? What is your boss like? Do you even have a boss? What is your commute like?
Aim to make this as detailed as possible, a few pages long at least.
Now, I want you to sit down and really think about how you can make your dream and reality closer together. If you really hate cleaning, can you find $80 a week to have a cleaner come twice, for a few hours? Is it worth it to get that time back? If you hate cooking, can you get all your food through a meal delivery service? If you imagine your houses is minimalist and tidy, can you do a purge of your possessions and set things up the way you dream? You might not be able to move into a mansion (or a cabin 100’s of kms from civilisation), but you CAN take steps to bring the day to day minutia of your life closer to what you wish it was.
Your Week Divided
This exercise was only introduced to me recently, but it made me feel a lot more relaxed and in control of my time.
We tend to think of what we need to do on a day by day basis. We try and cram a lot into every day, because we have a lot of things we are interested in and want to do. But you can’t do everything in a day.
However you probably can do everything in a week. There are 168 hours in a week. If you sleep eight hours a night, which you should, you take away 56 hours and leave yourself with 112 hours.
For this exercise, I want you to take this 112 hours and work out how much time you want to spend on things over the course of a week. For example, if you are a writer, how many thousand words do you want to write in a week? How long does it take you to write that? That’s your weekly writing chunk.
In my case, I wanted to write 10k, which takes me about 7 hours. So if I do 5k on Monday, then 2.5k each on Wednesday and Thursday, I have reached my writing goal for the week. So instead of writing every day, I now have four whole days I can devote to other things.
Don’t forget basic things, like eating, cleaning, commuting and basic hygiene. And don’t think you can fill every second of every day with productivity. Leave some down time for TV, reading or whatever you do when you are exhausted.
Your Perfect Working Week
In truth, exercise one and two were preparing us for this! This is the big one, that will probably take a few hours, or even a few days, to complete. Its very similar to the first one, however instead of a single, perfect day, you are going to map out an entire week. And, if like me, your perfect working day was about 2000 words, then your entire perfect week is going to run somewhere around the 10k to 14k mark.
Don’t feel bad if yours isn’t that long. We all know I am a bit… obsessive. Still, if it isn’t up around 5k, I’d be suspicious you were skipping over some details.
Using your week divided exercise, and your perfect working day exercise, map out an entire perfect working week, including your days off. From the instant you open your eyes, to when you close them, on all seven days.
This is going to show you what you wish you were making time for, and the things that aren’t in your perfect week, are going to show you what you need to cut out of your life.
If you have a long commute, and hate it, its time to start job searching closer to home. Don’t quit before you find a new job, wait until you find the perfect job, or you could end up desperate and with a longer commute. If finding a perfect job means doing some courses and updating your resume, do that first.
If spending 4 hours a day on social media isn’t on your list, then its time to uninstall those social media apps on your phone, and put blockers on your browser, so you can only access them for 1 hour a day. Or less.
DO THE THINGS YOU THINK WILL MAKE YOUR HAPPIER.
No excuses, no guilt. Do them. See if you can actually organize your perfect week. Start to finish, see if you can line it all up so you can actually live it. What was as good as you thought it was going to be? What was better? What was less good?
Next week, we’re going to talk about the things that are part of your life, that you didn’t include in this exercise. Sometimes what we choose to discard is even more important that what we choose to keep.
Only two more weeks of happiness project to go!
Jake, In Summary:
I love these exercises. I probably re-do them about once a year, and I love looking back through the old versions to see what has changed, how my goals have shifted, and what has stayed the same. I find the consistency very reassuring.
One of the things I find hard, I suppose, is that there is a few things in my life that could be very different, but where I would be equally happy. Do I write a version of the perfect week where I am engaged? Where I am married with kids? Or do I continue to write them for myself while I am single? I am equally happy with all three of these scenarios, though they each look very different.
As most of you know, in February I will have a new little person under my care. I would like to do a new perfect working week for next year, but its a bit hard. I am sure whatever I am imagining being a dad is like, reality will be quite different! I can’t plan a week by ‘guessing’ how much time he will take up—because no one will know until he is here.
The one thing I do know is I want to get a yearly pass to Australia Zoo and take him a few times a month. I also want to talk him on bushwalks and to the beach. I am looking forward to these little adventures, and to showing him the world. So any new plan will involve those things.
How about you? Want to come to the zoo with me? Or are you too busy with a whole new, very exciting plan for your life?
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
In modern days, romantic relationships are more important than they have ever been. The social and family networks we used to rely on are fading out. Community is giving way to friends we see once a week, or once a fortnight. Our romantic partner can easily become our primary support network in every aspect of our life.
Honestly, I think this is a huge problem. Particularly for men, who are often now in a position where the only physical contact and support they can receive is a romantic partner. Its not fair to expect your wife to do all that emotional labor. Get friends you can hug and talk to, for fuck’s sake.
Anyway, my personal feelings on toxic masculinity aside, your romantic partner is often you partner in every way. Financial, parental, they help you with problems, be they logistical or emotional, you are tethered together in every way people can be.
So it is important to have a healthy, happy, successful romantic relationship.
How To Fix What You Have
Maybe last week you did the exercise and you realized you aren’t in the relationship you want to be in. Maybe your partner doesn’t meet your needs and you’re wondering if there is something, or someone, out there who is better.
I’m not here to end relationships. I am here to strengthen the good ones, to make them better. So before you make a decision, I want you to do something for me… and, for you.
You want thinks from your partner you aren’t getting. I want you to think really hard about the things they want from you they aren’t getting. Would they like you to be happier? More attentive? Sexier? More helpful around the house?
For two months, I want you to throw EVERYTHING YOU HAVE into being the best partner you can be. No nagging, no arguing, be an enthusiastic, welcoming, giving lover, do more than your share of the housework, let them have their way, be considerate, give everything you have to being THEIR perfect partner. No matter how they act, no matter how little appreciation they show. Give them the best two months of their entire lives.
That is the exercise, but to facilitate it, take a moment to write down your goals for those two months. Make a list of all the things you think your partner wishes you did/said/didn’t do/didn’t say, then make a game plan for how you are going to avoid those things. EG:
‘Ravi hates it when I nag about dirty clothes on the floor, when I see clothes on the floor, even if they aren’t mine, I will just put them in the wash basket and say nothing.’
If at the end of two months, they haven’t changed, you can make the decision to end it. But don’t make that call before you have given 100%, until you have down everything in your power to meet THEIR needs, so they can meet yours.
This is a great exercise, even if you are in a happy relationship. You might find you can be in an even better one, with just a little more effort, love and understanding.
(And if it still isn’t working out, well, don’t be afraid. You have just proved how awesome you can be to a partner, how much you have to give when you really put the effort in, and now you can find someone willing to put in the same.)
How To Find What You’re Looking For
Maybe you are single. Maybe you don’t want to be single. Maybe you are struggling to find the sort of relationship you want to be in. If this is the case, I believe there are three possible reasons for this.
1. You aren’t prioritizing dating, time wise.
2. You are dismissing people before getting to know them.
3. You are presenting yourself very poorly.
Lets talk about 1. If you are bemoaning not being able to meet someone, but you haven’t gone anywhere it would be possible for you to meet anyone that week, you’re a moron. Its like complaining you didn’t win a prize when you didn’t enter the competition.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of online dating. The pros are that everyone is looking for a date, so it would SEEM you are talking to more eligible people than, say, at a party where most people may already be married. However people are hard to read online. There is very little information, so we tend to place too high of a value on the information at hand. Maybe you want someone who loves dogs, but not every dog lover is going to put it on their profile. They might fear it is a turn off. Or, someone who says they love dogs might just be trying to look more friendly. However if you are out with someone and they point out every damn dog and talk about their dog and show you a photo of their dog, they probably like dogs.
Plus, body language is important. Confidence, openness, expressions, interest, or lack their of in what you as saying. None of this can be assessed online.
So if you spent two hours swiping on tinder, don’t tell me you spent two hours trying to meet people. It doesn’t count.
You are better going to events and, *gasp* talking to people. There are thousands of things you can attend, often for free, where there are like minded people. Rallies, music festivals, food markets, dog walks, church, art events, book launches, exercise classes, choirs, dancing classes, library events and classes, sporting groups, friend’s parties, etc, etc.
The trick is, not just to talk to people you think are hot. Talk to everyone, make friends, connect. Please just connect.
Exercise: Commit to spending X number of hours a week meeting new people. Use those hours in situations where you can meet and talk to people face to face. If you don’t make conversation with new people at those events, you don’t get to count them toward your hours for the week. And when deciding on the number of hours, make sure it reflects how important you SAY finding a partner is. If it is your number one priority, I expect you to put in 10+ hours a week, not two.
Back to the list, 2. You are dismissing people too quickly. It takes time to get to know someone. Hopefully, if you met someone at a class or group, you can keep meeting them there. But if you go on a date with someone, and it didn’t go well, they might have been super nervous. If someone was a bit dull, give them a few more chances. Let them come out of their shell.
Exercise: Get to know people, don’t just compare them to some mythical person in your head, then decide they’re not close enough and move on. If they aren’t a creep, and are interested in you, give them at least three dates to prove themselves.
And number 3, you’re coming across poorly. This could be a lot of things, from how you dress and your personal grooming, to the things you talk about, or it could be your body language (no one is attracted to anxious, needy or insecure body language).
If you think: “Well, people should like me for me!” but you have pit stains and bad breath…..no, no they shouldn’t. Its disrespectful to show up looking like a slob. Its also disrespectful to bore the other person stupid talking about yourself for an hour.
Exercise: Identify your weaknesses. If you can find someone of the gender you want to date who is willing to be very honest, they may be able to give you a list of your flaws. DO NOT ask someone you are attracted to, the blow to your ego will take a long time to heal. Look for the sort of person you want to date, and listen (genuinely listen) when they describe the sort of things they want in a partner.
PRO TIP: Its not as much about looks or money as you think. Men tend to want people who are kind, fun, generous and who think they are sexy. Women tend to look for people who are confident, kind, fun, generous and who treat them with respect. Ask yourself how you can demonstrate those traits with your actions. Don’t be that idiot who goes around trying to tell people how ‘nice’ or ‘smart’ you are. No one believes you.
Exercise: When you have identified your weaknesses, go on youtube, and learn about personal grooming and fashion. Go on youtube and learn how to be a more interesting, engaging conversationalist. Go to acting classes and toastmasters to learn how to have more confidence. There is no single thing on the planet that you can’t be taught if you are willing to put the effort in. You are never going to be happy or find someone by moaning.
Stop bitching and improve.
This is the hardest one of all. We can’t choose family. They are family regardless of if we estrange ourselves. And, often, that fact seems to make some people think they are entitled to things from you, and that they should be able to act however they like and still be forgiven.
Oddly, we often don’t want to be vulnerable to family. We don’t want to tell them how we feel—we expect them to know. Sometimes the solution to family problems is communication.
1. Make a list of the problems you have with family, big to small.
2. Write down how those behaviors or words make you feel.
3. Craft a short, self focused statement you can say the next time it comes up, that explains how it makes you feel. Try and use ‘I’ statements and don’t accuse or go on too long. Say something like: “When people make jokes about my weight, it makes me feel very sad. Often I go home and I cry about it. It makes me not want to socialize.”
Likely, they will say something in their defense, like: “I just say it because I’m worried about your health.”
Stick with the same accusing tone and self focus: “I don’t feel motivated when I hear those things, I just feel sad and hurt and unloved.”
Then, once you have expressed those feelings, it may be best to walk away, distance yourself and give them time to think about it. Don’t lash out, stay calm, be honest. You may have to have this conversation several times with the same person. If they mock you, or are intentionally cruel, it may be worth estranging yourself from that person permanently. However its worth being vulnerable first. You don’t loose anything, it doesn’t make you weak—sharing your feelings makes you strong, and braver than them.
Friends And Connections
Friends can be the best thing that happened to us, or the worst. Friendship is dangerously devalued in our society. Divorce is seen as a life-changing, devastation, but you could end a twenty year friendship and have people shrug and changed the conversation.
Friendships can have the same problems as romantic relationships—friends can abuse you, hurt you, betray you, damage you—just as deeply as a romantic partner. They can also lift you up, support you, and be as important to you as a romantic partner.
The difference between friends and partners or family, is you can have lots of friends, you can make new friends all the time, and you can often adjust the intensity of friendships, leaning in or pulling back as life dictates.
Friends should be a lot more important than they are. Your friends should be the bulk of your emotional support, possibly even your physical contact. Spreading your emotional needs over many people, takes pressure off your partner and kids to be sole support for your needs.
So it is important we have good friends, and it is much MORE important that we ARE good friends.
1. Write down ten traits you want your close friends to have. (EG: Loves animals, believes in equality for everyone, loves books, kind, relaxed, passionate, supportive)
2. Write down ten traits you want to have as a friend to others.
3. Write down at least two ways you can demonstrate each trait to your friends.
4. Add all your close friends birthdays to your yearly planner, and stop relying on facebook to remind you.
5. Write down ten ways you can be a better friend to your friends. You might get some ideas from the demonstrating trait’s list.
6. Look objectively at your close friends and identify the friendships that are doing you harm. The friendships you are putting all the work into. The friendships you are chasing, with no reciprocation. The friendships where you are being dragged into drama and bad behavior you don’t want to be part of. First, stop chasing people who aren’t willing to put the same effort into you. Secondly, think about how to disengage from the bad behaviors. If a friend always wants to drink and you end up doing things you regret with them, see if you can arrange to do non drinking things, like going to the beach. Or if a friend is constantly negative, tell them you love them and you think they are great, but you don’t want to engage in negativity and gently prompt them to talk about positive things around you.
7. If you realize all your friends are toxic and ditch them all, go out on a mission to find the sort of friends who have the traits you want in a friend. Be the friend you want to be with them. Enjoy new, awesome friendships!
Wow, that was a long post. Are you still here, reading this? I am so impressed with you! Next week we’re going to talk about the perfect week. Its an exercise I love talking about, and I hope you love reading about it.
Jake, In Summary:
A few years ago I realize I had let myself focus on toxic friendships. This was mostly because I was so ill, I thought I had to be friends with whoever would tolerate me. Some of them had to go, and some of them had to change.
I stopped chasing people who didn’t care about me. (If I stopped messaging you all the time, now you know why. Shoulda picked up the damn phone, peeps.) I addressed some problems, and I let some people go entirely.
There were, of course, lots of friendships that remained untouched. I have a lot of awesome people in my life. But what really surprised me, was when I cut out the bad stuff, so much good stuff flowed in. I thought making new friends would be hard, but over the past two years I have met so many fantastic, lovely, wonderful, supportive people. I am honored to be friends with them and love and support them. And now I am open to it, I see potential new friends everywhere I go.
Toxic people stain you, and they scare away the good people. If you clear them out, and are committed to being good yourself, you won’t be lonely, I promise!
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
I am interrupting the happiness blog series to bring you all some very happy news! I am four months pregnant. I started IUI (like IVF, but less invasive) in May and my first attempt was successful. So, I bet you have some questions! I have some answers:
When are you due?
Mid February, 2019. Possible valentine baby.
Is it a boy or a girl?
Still not sure! I am having a scan in about a week that will hopefully shed light on the issue.
Do you have names picked out?
I have a short list. They're all pretty traditional.
Who is the father?
Me! Obviously. My children will know me as Dad.
Who is the other parent?
The donor parent was part of an anonymous donor register from the USA. I selected him based on his profile and essays on the donor company's website. When the children are 18, they will have the option of contacting him, if they wish. I have never met, or spoken to, the donor.
So, you'll be a single dad?
Yep. My mother did a fantastic job as a single mother, so I am not worried. In fact, I have a lot of friends who are outstanding human beings who were raised by single parents. And I know some outrageous scumbags who had two parents, so let's not have this debate, okay?
Why did you decide to have kids?
I have always wanted children. I decided to have them now for two reasons. 1. I am 33 and looking young on the outside doesn't make me young on the inside and 2. I want to start HRT and it causes a lot of fertility issues. Not to mention, it would be impossible to breast feed after I have top surgery.
It was now or never. And never wasn't an option.
Will you be chest feeding?
Yes. But as soon as that is done, I will be starting HRT and having top surgery. The sooner I can get these flapping milk factories off me, the better.
Will you be vaccinating?
Of course. My children will receive all their vaccines on the recommended schedule, just like I did.
Will you be raising your children gender neutral?
I will in the sense that when they are babies, I will not put them in gendered clothes. This is because I don't want strangers knowing what my children's genitals look like. People start treating boys and girls very differently from the moment they are born, and I will do my best to avoid that sort of mental pollution.
I will also be keeping the house free of any toys I feel push gender stereotypes, and they will not be allowed to watch harmful gendering on TV or movies. That means most Disney movies are out.
If you are confused, I will give you an example:
Plastic cooking set in primary colours? Fantastic.
Plastic cooking set in bring pinks and pastel purple? Bad.
What if they like classically gendered toys?
I could talk fluently by 18 months old. I am sure my children will /loudly/ voice their opinions on the matter. Let's assume they don't need you fighting that battle for them.
Will you be raising your child with gender neutral pronouns?
No. Even though I know /a lot/ of trans people, generally speaking, trans people aren't all that common. It is very likely my children will grow up wanting to be the gender they are, however as they will have a trans dad, they will know being trans is something I will support, if they feel that way.
Will you be cloth diapering?
Yes. I have dozens of them already. I went a bit hard on aliexpress. They're so cute though!
Will you be rehoming your cats/dogs/snake/birds?
No. I will house the snake in a locked room though, because she is big enough to strangle a grown man and if the worst happened and she got out, she might smother a baby trying to get warm.
Are you dating anyone?
Are you hitting on me? If you are, you better offer to massage my goddamn feet or stop wasting my time.
Can I send you a gift?
Thank you! Yes, you can. PM me for my postal address. Baby and children's books are a huge plus. I have a lot of cloth diapers and soft toys already, so maybe avoid those, but you can never have too many books. Please don't buy any gendered clothing (any clothing you can guess the baby's gender at a glance), or clothing with weird slogans like 'all the chicks love me' or 'daddy's little girl'.
Thank You All So Much For Your Support!
For all the support I have received and for all the support that is yet to come. I have the most amazing friends (and sometimes family) and I am so grateful for all of you each and every day.