This post is sponsored by the Every day, care™ project with Whirlpool® as part of Socialstars. #EveryDayCare

Boys being messy #EveryDayCare

I really like the idea of a spirit animal.

“Wow. That came out of nowhere,” you might be thinking.

Well, that’s kind of the way my mind works. But all for a good reason…or at least an explainable one.

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Every child, at one point or another, imagines being an animal or creature of sorts. For whatever reason, I went so far as to mentally assign my friends – based on their personality – to their most fitting animal type. My shy and skittish friend was a deer and my outgoing but mischievous friend was a raccoon. I am a bear. Not just because bears are super cool and the best animal ever. And will eat a tiger in a fight. Your eagle, as great as it sounds on the surface, has no hands and would fit in a bear's mouth. 

The bear actually works for my personality. I’m pretty laid back for the most part, very powerful and I’m ok with being with groups of people but keep pretty much to myself. I can be stubborn but also very caring.

In the last four years though, my “spirit animal,” if you will, has started to really prove itself. I have three little cubs that are gregarious and…well…destructive. Just like in nature, the cubs play and go where they will up until the point I consider it a safety issue. People are sometimes miffed that my kids are all over but hey, who’s going to challenge a bear? I mean, it’s a BEAR. You don’t poke the bear.

What’s even truer is my role as the “bear father” in the home as the seasons change. Bears hibernate during the winter and come out during spring. This is not to say I’m MIA during winter. Rather, spring and summer are the seasons of outdoor adventure, and that’s where I really shine with my kids. It’s my territory. If playing outdoors and with the boys was a workout in the gym, I'd bench 550lbs on the dad rack.

Three primary categories that really change at home with the season and ‘shift to dad’ are cooking, cleaning and washing. Summer is the season where Chelsea needs – and basically commands – a step up in the care game on my part.

Most people with school-aged children can probably relate.

Dady teaching preschooler how to cook

The most classically visible of my three tasks is cooking. Who can’t picture the yuppy dad in every ad, catalog, magazine, website pop up ad and TV show wearing his polo shirt and manning the grill with some cheesy apron? They wave to the mailman as they somehow hide from their family in plain sight. I am not this dad. Cooking is something I’ve loved since my mom had me help in the kitchen as a kid.

What makes cooking as a dad great in summer is how it fits with my pragmatism and how, if I want, I can bring in the boys to help and learn. The barbecue is a place for the boys to gather around dad and sometimes watch the food cook right in front of them in an updated version of the most ancient style of cooking: meat plus fire. And since it is usually just seasoned meat (not always), Some Boy gets a chance to try out his seasoning skills and see how food gets its flavor.

Learning how to cook #EveryDayCare

This lends itself to the summer of father cleaning. When Chelsea is nice enough to give me a heads up and says, “Dinner is on you this week,” I don’t see this as a chore. NO! This is a challenge and you can bet your pants that I accept. I take it as a competition to make my meals faster and using fewer dishes. There’s a lot less laughing than you’d anticipate when I do an end zone dance into the living room after the boys go to bed. I finish the five dishes and run up to Chelsea to exclaim, “Boom! Done. Fewer dishes. IN. YOUR. FACE.”

A mom of three boys on little sleep can crush your soul with a single look like Vader in that scene where that general dude didn’t do his job right.

Moms are pretty powerful.

Dad doing laundry: this is NOT an oxymoron

And washing. What can I say? It’s just not that hard. I don’t know what she’s complaining about. Chelsea is all about mixing and matching outfits for the boys. WHY? They’re going to be playing in the dirt and having FUN. Who cares if they repeatedly wear the same three sets of shorts, pants and shirts rotating throughout the week? It’s actually really simple and keeps the rest of their clothes safe from destruction. All I do is wait for the “set” of clothes to get soiled, then throw all of them in together on a speed cycle and dry on the same settings. Sixty seconds of folding later I’m back to watching The Bachelorette.

I mean…sports.

Football.

Yeah.