The gymnasium has already been swept up after Pre-K graduation. The teachers are breathing a sigh of relaxation. And I’m reflecting on this last year  living in Hong Kong  as a single parent. 

There’s much to reflect about in terms of my personal growth, business development, and physical fitness and health. But, since this is a single dad blog, I will focus this post on how my little family changed over this past year. 

living in hong kong
Being a single dad isn’t so bad!

My Relationship With My Daughter Improved

Before we came to Hong Kong, she was struggling with sleeping a full night’s sleep. As a single dad, I was dealing with this by myself and it was really wearing me down. 

My muscle tone was depleted, I was always tired, and as a result of my poor physique and tired mind and body, I was short with my daughter when she was whiny or in tantrum mode (which happens often enough that I was feeling like a pretty crappy parent at times). 

Now, one of the first things you might notice if you ever move to Hong Kong, is that your living environment is probably going to be much smaller than what you’re used to if you’re coming from the United States like me.  Like 1000 times smaller. 

If you know me, however, you know I don’t mind living in a small place 

And this time, I’ve found that it helped improve my relationship with my daughter.

Our small room in Hong Kong keeps us physically close, but we’ve also grown closer emotionally as she’s had the freedom to wake up in the middle of the night and sneak into my bed without waking me up.

No creaking doors, no squeaky floors, she just shimmies to the foot of her own bed, one-steps the gap to my bed, and crawls up next to me (or so I assume!). 

single parent travel blog
Auburn sleeping peacefully. With her underwear on her head! 😛

Sometimes she wakes me up by accident, but even so, single parent travel has been awesome with my daughter.

Since I’m physically close to her all the time, I’m also more keenly aware of her emotional state. I’ve been preventing tantrums as a result of seeing their onset early on and guiding her away from them. 

If you’re used to living in a big home and having lots of space to separate yourself from people, you might be surprised–like I am–to find that living in a small place can vastly improve the relationships in your life. 

single parent travel tips and ideas
Auburn in her scouts uniform in Hong Kong. They are known as Happy Bee 🙂

My Daughter Speaks a Language I Don’t Understand

Yup, you read that right. I have a 5-year-old who not only speaks a language I don’t understand, she also makes fun of me for not speaking it!

She’s just kidding with me, of course, and I love that she is speaking Cantonese! 

Seeing her speak with her Chinese grandma and grandpa–in their language–fills my heart, and I’m so proud of her for wildly exceeding my expectations in her language development. 

raising children in hong kong
Auburn and her Chinese grandma, grandpa, and half-brother

Living in Hong Kong Has Made Us HUNGRY For More 

Auburn and I have lived in Colombia, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, and of course we’ve spent time living in Hong Kong. Each place has given us a new perspective on life and encourages us to keep learning.

Now, after our year in Hong Kong, and despite the awesome outcomes we’ve achieved here, we are ready to escape the noise and hustle of the big city. 

living in hong kong, expat life
Auburn overlooking the city that has taught her so much this past year.

We both are yearning for consistently fresh air, easy access to the sea, and cheap, healthy food. 

That’s why I am ready to reveal to you where we are headed in just one week: Koh Tao, Thailand !

Of course, we’ve lived there before and it’s part of the reason we are going back. I love it there!

The school she goes to is awesome, the food is incredible, and I feel so healthy while I’m there.

In fact, I’ll take a before and after picture of my body, I won’t change my exercise routine at all, and I guarantee you that I will lose at least 8 pounds of fat–that I’ve gained living in Hong Kong and eating so much oily food–just from the diet we’ll be on. 

It’s a wonderful place. And that’s why we’re headed back for the next three months! I’m ready for more of this single-parent adventure travel!

Do you want to travel with your children one day? Let me know in the comments!


If you liked this article, SUBSCRIBE below to the mailing list where you’ll be kept up-to-date on our travels and will also receive awesome deals on my upcoming books and products!

Have you recently heard the term ‘digital nomad’ and wondered what it means? I’m one, so let me tell you! It’s a person who works online and isn’t tied to any single location. We are location-independent entrepreneurs, writers, teachers, vloggers, computer scientists, marketers, photographers, musicians, and designers. Some of us are even digital nomad parenting. 

Digital nomads take many forms and infiltrate almost every industry. While there are many young digital nomads showing the world the power of the next generation, there are also people like me: single dads raising our children abroad while blogging about our journey. 

Do you think you’re ready to buck the system that breaks your soul? There’s another lifestyle out there waiting for you, are you ready for it?

I’m ready for the Digital Nomad Parenting Lifestyle!

*Affiliate links present; that means if you make a purchase through any of the links, a commission towards supporting this blog is generated at no cost to you! 

We come with extra baggage; dad joke on so many levels. 

If you’re a parent who is ready to make the leap from being tied to a desk and a plot of land–or a box in a building–to living the digital nomad lifestyle, there are a few key things you should do to prepare. 

1. Keep Your Children Well-Documented

Having your children’s birth certificates, passports, and medical records may be necessary to enter a new country. Having multiple copies of each is suggested, and always have a copy on your person. Also, have recent photos of your child on your phone showing your relationship.

If you’re a single parent, you’ll also need one of two things: your divorce decree showing that you have full legal and physical custody with no travel restrictions (like the photo below), or a letter of permission to travel from your child’s other parent.

digital nomad parenting

2. Diversify Your Income

What are you doing now to make money? Are there ways to expand what you’re doing?

I hope you’ve started a blog, if you haven’t, sign-up for hosting with this offer from Bluehost

 

Your blog is the base of your mobile life, if you don’t exist on the internet, you’re leaving money on the table.  Digital nomad parenting is hard enough without having to worry about cash flow, so up your income and your influence by starting a blog. 

If you want to copy the path I’ve been taking and find your way to working as a freelance writer, then check out  this course by Elna Cain, she helped me find my way when I was just starting and she will help you, too!

Having multiple streams of income will give you a surer sense of stability as you travel the world. I highly recommend using the programs and tools above!

3. Purchase Travel Insurance

Have you wondered about travel insurance and how it works? Is it reliable? Does it cover emergencies? What if my bags are lost? Is it expensive?

There are lots of questions surrounding travel insurance that need to be answered, but here is the most important: what’s the best company for travel insurance for Americans?

The answer is World Nomads

 
 World Nomads is well known for being reliable and covering everything from baggage loss to theft to emergency evacuations. 

Travel insurance gives you a peace of mind that is well worth it’s cost and pays for itself when accidents do occur. 

Conclusion

With the documents to move your children around legally, a diversified income portfolio, and travel insurance to keep you and your children protected, you’re ready to take the digital nomad lifestyle as a parent! 


If you found this article helpful, SUBSCRIBE below to the mailing list to keep receiving travel tips and free offers on my upcoming books!

Colombia, Vietnam, China. Do these places sound like somewhere you want to raise your child? They do to me! I’m a single dad and my 4-year-old has already lived in these countries and more. Some people ask me how do I–as a single parent digital nomad–raise my daughter?

My response is always the same: how couldn’t I?

single dad travel blog
My daughter and I in Hong Kong

Strapped with a mountain of student debt, exhausted from working two jobs morning-to-night, and thoroughly upset to return home only to see my daughter is already asleep, I was surviving in the United States, but not thriving. 

That’s when I started reading online and seeing phrases like ‘digital nomad’ and ‘travel family’ and ‘modern nomad’ and ‘location independent’ being thrown about.

I saw families like The Holcombe Family doing amazing things. 

I would think, “who are all these super-rich, ultra-privileged, narcissistic people bragging about their life with children as they go to all these amazing destinations?”

single parent travel blog
Us checking out a waterfall in Thailand

I should’ve reserved that judgment. It turns out, the nomadic life–the ‘travel family’ life–is just as attainable as the life I was living in the United States. 

That’s when I made a choice: I was going to work towards achieving what I saw as a better life for me and my daughter, the nomadic one. 

I’ve always loved travel ever since I did my study abroad in Costa Rica. But I knew the way I ‘studied’ in university was not going to look like my parenting life. 

I needed an attainable path to location independence. 

That’s when I started to work for it. I already had a skill: writing. I just needed to monetize it.

So, I started this blog with this post talking about some serious mistakes I made in my personal life.  

If want to get started with building writing as income, I suggest you also start a blog! Check out Bluehost for an awesome web hosting service!

Once I started my blog, I was able to fully engage with my choice.

The Choice of Being a Nomad

Let’s start by saying that I love the United States, and if I could afford to live there full-time on the work I do now, I would spend at least half my time there. Probably the summer in Michigan where I’m from, for example. 

single dad travel blogger
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

I’m not to that point yet, so the choice I made was this: if I’m going to live off my writing now, before it’s enough to live in the USA, then I have to find somewhere where I can afford to live

I felt compelled to live off my writing. Not because it gives me the chance to live nomadically, but because I love writing, and I love the work I write about. 

 

My choice was this: give up a pair of good jobs in the United States that provide economic freedom, or live a life of love and freedom of choice each day.

Both ways of living have their merits, anyone who chooses a good job in the USA is doing okay in my book, but it’s not a life I’m suited towards.

I’m not built for alarm cooks, punch cards, and bosses staring over my shoulder. That kind of stuff drives me spiritually and mentally insane and takes a massive toll on my body. 

I’m built to wake up with the sun, and then fall asleep when it does. I thrive under my own direction, and when I fail I have no one else to blame it on.

single parent travel blogger
Koh Nangyuan, just 15-30 minute boat ride from Koh Tao where we used to live

The integrity the nomadic life–and being a single parent digital nomad–has taught me keeps me driven and engaged in a way that is meaningful to me.

And, as a bonus, I love the freedom to map out each day the way I see fit. 

How does a single parent digital nomad raise his children?

I do it only by knowing it’s the best route for my daughter and me.

Her well-being is directly tied to my state-of-mind, and my state-of-mind is best when I am living a life that is self-actualizing. 

My daughter is safe, healthy, and learning so much about the world that she could never get out of a textbook in the US. 

No, I’m not making nearly as much as I once was, but I worry less about my income level on the road because it’s so much cheaper than living the US.

And I’m able to live a healthy life full of activity, delicious food, and heaps of time with my daughter. 

So if you’re curious how a single parent digital nomad can raise their children on the road, I ask you back: how can’t they?


If you enjoyed this article, consider SUBSCRIBING to my mailing list below 🙂 You’ll receive free content like this and awesome offers on my upcoming books!

Is chocolate better with peanut butter? Does pineapple belong on pizza? Is Donald Trump a good president? Should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

There are lots of questions you and I may disagree on. But there is one question that is undeniably, unequivocally, abso-freaking-lutely a ‘yes’ to: the last one.

Good thing my single dad, parenting blog is here to bring you all the answers! 😛

Should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

Discovery Bay Hong Kong

Yes. Like I said: yes, again.

The beach is massive and has heaps of space available. Bring your own shade, however, because the massive beach has little of it.

The water is warm and pleasant with a sandy and clean bottom.

There are heaps of restaurants along the piernext to the beach and plenty of other establishments to explore including nearby grocery stores if you’re keen to bring some food and drinks to the beach.

What’s in it for the kids at Discovery Bay?

Well, the beach, for one.

But don’t miss the awesome zip line for kids!

You can watch this video of mine and Auburn’s day there where she took a ride on it. Needless to say, she loved it!

There is also a great playground right on the beach that the kids flock to.

What’s in it for the adults at Discovery Bay?

As I said before, food, drinks, and businesses are readily available in Discovery Bay.

The biggest draw for me is the ease of access. How to get to Discovery Bay?

If you make it to Central, head to Pier 3 where you’ll find a quick boat to Discovery Bay. After you get off the boat, you’re a 3-5 minute walk along the pier until you’re at the beach. It’s super easy to get there.

With mountains in the background and islands out to sea, it’s a wonderful place to relax.

So, if you’re asking yourself: should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

The answer is yes, you should.


If you liked this article, SUBSCRIBE to the mailing list below to stay informed and receive free offers on my upcoming books!

And don’t forget to follow The Single Dad Nomad on Facebook, Instagram, and on YouTube! See you around, my friends!

As a child, I always had a fascination with anything that crawled, slithered, or creeped through the garden. It’s no wonder I now have a fascination with the snakes in Hong Kong.

I would capture every animal I could to examine it further; I even once caught a bluejay a rake when I was in the fourth grade. Fish, lizards, scorpions, snakes, I loved catching them like they were Pokemon. Who knew this love would lead to a scary story in this single dad travel blog?

Thankfully, I was never stung by a scorpion. But I was bitten by snakes as a child, nothing dangerous. But I witnessed their speed and precision first hand. 

Doi Suthep, Thailand
Happy to be alive enough to tell you this story!

And though I was never bitten by a poisonous snake, teeth are teeth.

Now, let me tell you about the time that I missed death by three inches.

The Encounter, Snakes in Hong Kong

As I made my final descent through the mountains of Sai Kung, I reflected on the    unique juxtaposition of city and nature in Hong Kong   . How just a few hours prior you can be in one of the world’s most important financial sectors, and in this moment be encapsulated by green mountains filled with fluttering butterflies, chattering cicadas, and resting snakes. 

I spent the day soaking in the sun on Ham Tin Wan, possibly Hong Kong’s most beautiful beach. The day’s tranquility belied the danger I was going to encounter upon my exit.

single parent parenting blog
Hiking through Hong Kong with my dad and daughtr

I left the beach with a several hour hike through the mountainous jungles ahead of me. 

The trail was partially muddy, a patrol of mosquitoes rose from its sludge and chased my legs as I squished through the trail. Then I felt a strong bite on my left calf muscle. Mosquito, of course. 

I reached down to slap it, inspect the splatter of blood between my hand and lower leg. 

I saw my hand, and slightly out of focus behind it on the ground was something black and pulsing

My eyes dilated and rapidly focused on what I was seeing: hundreds of large, black, diamond-shaped scales wrapped around a curved tube of a body thicker than a softball bat.

snakes in hong kong
I think you get the idea. This isn’t the actual snake I saw, it was not in a woven basket.

Its scaly body pulsed in ominous breaths just inches from where my hiking boot had landed before being bit by the blood splattered mosquito on my leg. 

Time to Die, Thank You Snakes in Hong Kong

Easily within striking distance, the large snakes’ fangs inside its cotton-colored mouth could easily deliver enough venom to kill me.

In the best case scenario, my brain quickly identified, you’re going to be hit with neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, you need to remain calm after you’re bitten to slow their progress through your body.

Knowing I needed to keep calm, I instead jumped, screamed, and nearly lost my balance on the slippery trail. 

The black mass flinched and slithered off into the tapestry of leaves and ferns. 

Had I stepped on that snake–just three inches to the left–with my hard ass hiking boots, it almost certainly would have struck me in defense. 

Hours from the nearest hospital, and quite possibly, the nearest antivenom, I could have easily died in the lush mountainside of Sai Kung. 

Hiking in Hong Kong can be dangerous–would you risk it?


SUBSCRIBE below if you like stories like these!

Ladies, you’ve got me in a rage. I just tore a phonebook in half and bodyslammed my kitchen table. Why? Cuz I hate you and your single parent blog.

You might be saying, ‘whoa, whoa, calm down Nicholas, what did we do to you?’

My answer: nothing in particular; I just have problems. 😛

single parent blog and single dad blog
Me, frustrated by how awesome you are.

But there’s something you’re doing that ruined my day: you’re too awesome for me.

I Can’t Win as a Single Parent Blogger

I bust my ass taking photos, creating content, optimizing my language, distributing my creations, and still, you beat me. And it’s not even close.


You’re absolutely crushing my blog. Blogs like Wealthy Single Mommy, Confessions of a Single Mum, and Single Mother Ahoy all produce compelling content on a regular basis and are kicking my ass while being kick-ass mothers.

That’s why I’m enraged, in fact, I’m downright frenzied!

I checked my rankings on Google today and was incredibly excited for the first one I checked, ‘single dad blog.’

On Being a Single Dad Blogger

I’ve been hovering between page 2 and 3 for some time now and I’ve been working to move it up to page one and eventually to the first spot overall.

Today was the day I first saw my blog on page number 1!

single parent blog single dad blogger
First appearance on page number 1

Feeling confident, I moved on to the second keyword I wanted to check, ‘single parent blog.’

I wasn’t on page 1, nor 2, 3, 4, nor 5. I was on page 8.

I might as well be the left-over crumbs on the underside of the dinner plate compared to the feasts of content that are today’s single mom bloggers.

single parent blog single parent blogger
Hidden on page 8

Single Parent Blog Competition is Stiff

How am I supposed to compete with these freaks of marketing? These wordsmiths, zen-like parents, and givers of love and value? I’m not sure I can.

As for the other single dad bloggers, I’m coming for you. Every spot on page one of every keyword related to single dad blogging will be mine.

You’ve been warned.

But for you single mom bloggers, I’ll just try to keep up and not fall off page 8 into the depths of algorithmic hell.

|If you can’t tell this post is written tongue-in-cheek, I hate you, too|


If you liked this post, SUBSCRIBE below to my mailing list to get FREE offers for my upcoming books and to stay informed on all things a single dad does while traveling the world with his daughter!

The Smell of Rubbing Alcohol

My feet clicked along the linoleum, one direction, then the other. Occasionally, I would stop and sit on the 3-person wide bench along the white wall and write down the recent events: 10:06am barely miss the down elevator. 10:15am stop at library. 10:45am get food @ restaurant I hate. 11:00am wait for bus; I want taxi. 11:12am get in taxi. 11:32am $93.50 HKD to taxi driver. 11:47am Miranda* checks in. 11:49am I am in waiting room.

single parent blog
Typical taxi in Hong Kong

Outside the air was heavy and a sparse fog made the orange street lights glow like jack-o-lanterns. Horns and sirens echoed through Hong Kong as life for 7 million people zoomed by during the most important moment of my life.

Inside, a large, circular, convex mirror hung in the corner, but no one was coming. Was I the only person waiting? 7 million and no others here? Where are the other-

The double doors swooshed open for a lady with a white face mask and a poofy, white hairnet that made her look a bit like a walking mushroom. The mushroom gave me a status update, refused me entry, and I wrote down what she had told me.

best single parent blogger
Hair nets look a little mushroomy.

            2:14pm Mirandas contractions hit one minute.

As much as I was hurting to finally be allowed in, I couldn’t imagine the pain she was in.


No Fear of Pain

“Are you sure you can handle it? You’re pushing a football through your body.” We had already agreed that short of having the birth at home in a tub, the more natural the labor process, the better.

“Mmmmm, no, but if it’s good for my baby then it’s good for me.” I was proud that my daughter would have such a strong mother, then thought about what it would be like pooping a football, and then felt deep relief that I am male.


Like Nat Geo

5:00pm Admission to labor room.

The first thing I saw of her was a little tuft of hair. It was matted to her scalp like someone had taken a warm sponge to it. The doctor said something in Cantonese, then a nurse handed her some gauze.

Out popped two brown eyes and a nose that a button would wear as a button. I don’t remember crying at this point; but, afterward, her mother would tell me that the nurses had kept asking her if I was okay.

top single parent blog
Have no shame crying man-baby

If I had understood Cantonese and been able to respond in kind, I probably would’ve laughed and cried even harder. Okay? Okay?! I was more than okay; I was rhapsodic!

Overjoyed, Overwhelmed, Overly Wordy

It’s often said that people who aren’t parents don’t know what it’s like to have a child; the love you feel is like nothing you’ve felt before.

So, what I tell them is this: imagine someone kidnaps you (this got dark quickly, I know, but stick with me even though it gets darker right now), chops off your arms, blinds you, removes your inner ear, and sterilizes you. Imagine it hardcore…like it’s real. You feel that dread and that horror?

It’s the exact opposite of that. It’s cup of water under a running tap; continuously overflowing and uncontrollable. It’s trying to hold back a wall of marbles; it’s too much, it completely takes over your entire world.

Only that running water and that wall of marbles are not wasteful nor painful. A parent’s love isn’t just the overflowing cup; it is the water, the spigot, and the drain. It’s not just a million marbles crushing you to the ground; it is the marbles, it is the ground.

It is everything.

After her face completely emerged, the rest of her seemed to slide out of a purple water slide. It’s not as gross as people make it out to be, at least not all the time. When you finally see it, it just is.

There is no judgment on the body fluids, the baby that looks like a sweet potato, or the tears pouring out of a grown man’s eyes. It just is.

And it’s beautiful.

A Fragile Moment

babies have no fear of pain
Auburn and I

The doctors wanted to push me to cut the cord immediately. But, as Miranda and I had discussed, we were going to wait a few minutes and let the last bit of placental food give our daughter the best start she could have.

She looked so helpless on her mauve towel. Limp little arms and legs wiggled as she adjusted to gravity. Lips and eyes closed and opened slowly. A few grunts, but not the screaming baby you see in the movies. Like I said: helpless.

The scissors sliced through the cord in one quick snip. The nurse clamped it shut and wrapped her in a towel. She picked her up and handed her to me. Every YouTube video, all the pantomiming, all the practice I put into holding a baby all came down to this one moment: don’t drop your baby, don’t break her neck.

And I didn’t.

With her head gently resting in the crook of my elbow, I looked down at her little face and saw the same look I still see in her eyes today: she knows I’m Dad.


If you liked this story, please SUBSCRIBE to my mailing list below to stay updated and get free offers on my upcoming books!

 

Three Unique Things to See in Asia that You Won’t See in the USA

If I wanted, I could write this post forever because there are such vast differences in the food, culture, and landscapes between the United States and Asia.

Also, they’re both gigantic and could feature an endless amount of content based on them.

I’m going to stick to 3. Not just three things, but three things I was able to capture on video (I’ll get better at this, I promise).

Here are three unique things to see in Asia that you won’t see in the USA. Courtesy of this single dad blog.

The Mekong Delta

Incredibly beautiful, exotic (in an American’s eyes), and relaxing. Unless, you hit the overcrowded, hawker-filled, easy-to-find tours that we did.

mekong delta vietnam travel
One of the few shots I could get that wasn’t filled with other boats/tourists.

It’s a mangrove of palms trees, home to countless numbers of birds, insects, fish, and things with four legs. I’ve always wanted to visit it ever since I saw it in National Geographic when I was a kid.

Nature was still there, but the main tourist destinations are anything but natural. People are constantly bugging you about money and trying to sell you something. I’m there to relax, so fuck off guy who wants money for showing me some bees I didn’t want to see.

travel mekong delta vietnam honey bees
Stupid bee guy. Nothing against the bees. Long live the bees.

You’re probably better taking a multi-day trip to the more remote parts of the delta if you really want to see what it’s like. I’m not sure, I only did the crappy tour I found in District 1 for $8.

More Motorbikes than Bike Week at Daytona Beach

Seems almost everyone in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and other Asian countries only drive motorcycles. Hondas and Suzikis are everywhere in these countries. Sometimes carrying an entire family.

motorcycle asia vietnam thailand cambodia
Become one with the shoal by renting one of these bad boys.

It’s madness. But it’s madness in the same way a shoal of fish is madness. Everyone moves together and it seems much more peaceful than the rush hour anywhere in the United States.

New Restaurant, Dirty Dishes

Apparently, many restaurants in Hong Kong don’t entirely clean the dishes they’re placing on your table. They leave behind soap residue and cleaning materials. Weird.

asia things to see and do
Thankfully, this is what post-meal looks like.

Normal. For locals. They have their own way of cleaning the dishes in a bath of hot water and tea before they eat. Maybe this is why no one leaves a tip here at the end of a meal?

Check it all out in the video below! Pardon the language, this is a single dad blogger here.


If you liked this post, SUBSCRIBE below to my mailing list! It’s a great way to say thank you and keep me enthusiastic about sharing with you 🙂

Is there shame in being a shit parent? Yes. And guilt. And regret. And self-loathing. But it’s not the end of the story.

Parenting isn’t easy is fucking hard. There’s no sleeping in if you stay up late, you occasionally get another person’s poop on your fingers, and half your ice cream always gets stolen by someone a third your size.

how to be a better parent
Snarfing ice cream.

But those are the easy struggles.

Sometimes you have a 4-year-old, virile monster who won’t settle down, refuses to relax during their bedtime stories, and keeps yelling for food and water when they literally just filled their bellies with both. And half my ice cream.

How I Know I’m Shit

It’s right about 45 minutes into that situation that I lose my shit.

As negative reinforcement for her already scrambled emotional-state (exhausted and playful at the same time) I take away a book each time she gets rowdy, then a stuffed animal, then they’re all gone, and she loses her back tickle.


Her emotional state deteriorates because I’ve just removed her bedtime routine entirely as a punishment for not following her bedtime routine. Great idea, Dad.

So she starts yelling and screaming in frustration, as toddlers sometimes do. So I threaten to put her things in the garbage. She doesn’t stop. Garbage bin: book. She screams.

Garbage book. Screams. Garbage book. Yells. Garbage stuffed pig. Screams. Garbage stuffed elephant. Wails. Garbage stuffed panda.

how to be a better parent
All the things I threw away.

It doesn’t stop until we’re both mentally and physically exhausted and pass out upset with each other.

Then comes the morning. The wake-up routine goes perfectly well, and I take her to school.

On the public bus ride back to my home it hits me like a baseball bat: I’m a shit dad. I handled the previous night like a rookie.

Where do I go from here? I asked myself a question, “how to be a better parent?”

I took myself on a three-step process to right where I had wronged.

If you’re how to be a better parent, do what I did.

Take These Three Steps to Know How to Be a Better Parent

be a better parent
Me, being a good parent.

Step 1: Recognize It and Admit It.

Say it with me: “I did something shitty. I can do better.”

This is probably the hardest part because you have to own it. But taking that ownership and letting go of the idea that you’re a great parent is freeing up yourself to committing to better. You’ll set your goals higher for yourself because you know you can improve.

Once your goals have been refocused, step two is a bit easier.

Step 2: Act Sorry.

When learning how to be a better parent, it takes effort. When I got Auburn home from school, I had her books and her stuffed animals laid out on her bed.

She’s very perceptive, “I thought you threw these out!”

“I did. And that was wrong,” I put my hands on her cheeks so she would look me in the eyes. “I overreacted yesterday, and I’m sorry about that.”

be a better parent
We usually get along 🙂

I’m not sure exactly what was going through her mind at that moment, but I hope it was understanding. Understanding that I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, even though my reaction wasn’t. Understanding that I’m trying my best and I can admit when I’m wrong. Understanding that I love her, even if I don’t always show it.

The important thing here is that I’m not just saying I’m sorry, I’m acting sorry. Her books and animals were cleaned and placed nicely on her bed. I made eye contact with her while I sincerely apologized.

It goes a long way, and if you’ve set your new goals to reach that standard of recognizing and reconciling your mistakes, you’re already on the path to becoming a better parent.

That brings us to step three.

Step 3: Do better.

I’m not going to be using my negative reinforcement tactic of throwing away books and toys anymore. It’s counter-productive and only escalates the situation. I want to honestly know how to be a better parent.

how to be a better parent
She’s generally a happy kid and makes it easy to be a parent.


That doesn’t necessarily mean that my next tactic is going to be a useful and effective one, but I’m going to try.

I’ve been reading about using fewer words and remaining nonchalant in times of stress; enacting those behaviors have been a different story, but I like to think I’m improving.

And that’s what step three is all about: doing better. It’s about making an effort by reading, exploring, and experimenting with what works for you.

All you have to do now is repeat steps 1-3 for the rest of your parenting life, and you should eventually be a substantial parental figure.

how to be a better parent
Is your kid this cool? Mine is, duh.

Parenting is a wild ride–are you in control?

If you liked this article, please subscribe to my email list below! It encourages me to keep sharing the madness.

learn cantonese in hong kong

“Do you know, Daddy?” She blinks.

“No, sweetheart. I don’t know what that means.”

“Ugh!” She stomps her foot.

“Honey, I don’t speak Chinese.”

“Oh, right.”

This was a snippet of a conversation I had with my 4-year-old today.

Why? Because she was trying to tell me something in Chinese.

language immersion in hong kong
Auburn and her Chinese grandma at the park. She’s so loved!

I recently took a solo 12-day trip to Cambodia. It was my first time spending time away from my daughter in over three years. During these 12 days, she stayed at her Chinese Grandma’s home.

Before I left for Cambodia, Auburn’s Chinese language skills were relatively basic. Her speaking was minimal, though her listening skills seemed well-developed (she’s been learning for roughly six months). I really want her to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong, but overall it’s been difficult.

However, since I’ve returned to Hong Kong to reunite with my daughter, she’s been speaking and communicating in Chinese in full sentences, constantly.

And I’m not at all surprised.

learn cantonese in hong kong
Here’s her surprised face. 😛

How I Predicted My Daughter’s Rapid Advancement in the Chinese Language and What That Tells Us About Language Learning

Before I left for Cambodia, her  Chinese skills reminded me of myself a few years ago before I traveled solo to Mexico.

I was speaking a little bit of Spanish at the time, I could understand much more than I could speak. I didn’t at all feel fluent or confident in my skills. I could ask for directions to the bathroom, but I couldn’t always understand them.

However, I spent two weeks in Mexico. The majority of my time was in Morelia, but I saw some other, beautiful places as well, such as San Miguel de Allende.

I knew I was immersing myself in the Spanish language–that was my goal. What I didn’t realize while I was there: I was rapidly developing my ability to speak Spanish.

language learning in hong kong
I lost my phone in Latin America and all the pictures I had, so here’s Hong Kong Harbor

How? I was hearing it in the grocery store. Listening to it on the bus. But most importantly, I was speaking it every day because I had to. I was finally working a muscle that hadn’t been effectively exercised. And it quickly strengthened.

Before my two weeks in Mexico, I understood enough of what people said, so the words were already in my head. Much like my daughter’s comprehension of Chinese before I left for Cambodia.

How to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong

In her 12 days of staying with her Chinese family, I knew she was going to do what I did with Spanish. She finally made the jump from understanding and knowing, to speaking.

learn cantonese in hong kong
Auburn and her older cousin. Great to see them getting so close while Auburn learns her language!

Only she did in

I did it in my late 20’s. My daughter did it before she was 5. Anyone can do it.

Anyone Can Rapidly Speak a New Language

But only if they’re willing to put in the work of learning the words and recognizing the sounds. This I think is the most tedious part of learning a new language. It’s a rough adjustment phase, it takes time, and the process feels slow (and sometimes frustrating).

Once it’s passed, however, speaking skills rapidly improve.

And it’s totally worth it. For Auburn, it was imperative that she learn Cantonese in Hong Kong. it means the chance to communicate with family, and it makes my eyes get a bunch of dust in them. Stupid dust.


Learning a new language is possible for anyone–now it’s your turn to commit. Please subscribe below to my email list if you liked this article and want me to continue writing! Your subscription is my favorite form of encouragement!