7 Promises I Always Make And Never Keep

by Jon Helmkamp
Originally Published: 
svetikd / iStock

Ever since the birth of my daughter about a year and a half ago, I feel as though I have been hurtled into the passenger seat of a Ferrari. It’s really fast, I am in no way in control, and everything is flying past me in such a blur that I can hardly make out what I’m passing.

This is the time of year for resolutions. Yes, a vast majority of individuals will excitedly rush to the gym for about six days before falling back to their Netflix binge-watching habits, and parents everywhere will tell themselves that they will get it all together. I’m going to cut through the crap, though: I am most certainly going to continue to fail in my next year as a father. Despite my best efforts, here are seven promises I will end up not keeping:

1. To Be Cleaner

My car is a joke, my sheets haven’t been changed in I-don’t-know-how-long, my daughter’s high chair is still covered in last night’s dinner, and quite frankly, I’m just never going to be the kind of father who lives in an immaculate house (sorry, Mom). Life is messy, my house is messy, and that’s just a reality I am going to have to accept.

2. To Make Sure My Daughter Is Fully Clothed

I do my best, and I’m doing a lot better than I did when she was a newborn, but I can’t tell you how many times I forget her jacket, her socks or her shoes, let alone the times she takes them off and throws them into the abyss without me noticing. I swear, I really want her to be protected from the elements, but I’m pretty certain that the portion of my brain responsible for such memories has been permanently corroded by the acid in the gallons of coffee I drink per day. Bonus: At least I don’t forget her pants anymore. Progress.

3. To Always Have Snack Options

Let me ask you a question: How many of you have left the house thinking you were only going to be gone for about 30 minutes and that your child was going to be fine, only to realize that your errand took three hours and now your child is yelling at you for food? Always pack snacks. Always pack snacks.

4. To Cherish Every Moment

I’m going to put to bed the notion that every single moment in the life of your child is magical and full of unicorns farting rainbows that cry tears of gumdrops. It simply doesn’t happen. When your little angel turns into a screaming, whining, inconsolable mess, it is not a time to be cherished. It is, in fact, a time for immense patience to persevere the battle. Sometimes I wonder if this view makes me a less-than-awesome dad, but then I remember something important: I’m human. I’m not perfect, and it’s OK not to be perfect at this fatherhood thing.

5. To Drink Less Coffee

I know, I know. Who is this imposter and what has he done with the coffee-swilling version of Jon? Science tells me that drinking a ton of coffee is not ideal, so I’m going to try to limit that intake to a somewhat reasonable level like, you know, 18 cups or something, per hour. Just kidding, coffee, I still love you. Please don’t leave me.

6. To Sleep More

Seriously, this is something I really want to work on. I know how important it is for my health, my cognitive ability, and my attitude that I get a good amount of sleep every night, but it just seems to be dang near impossible. We all face periods of our life when we are insanely busy and don’t feel like there is enough time in the day to accomplish all that we set out to, let alone what it would take to simply feel like we are staying afloat. So, I’m going to try setting a bedtime for myself, but then I know that after a mere week or two I’ll be right back to my five-hour-per-night average. I reiterate point No. 5: I love coffee.

7. To Not Mess Up the Laundry

I seriously don’t know why something as simple as effectively cleaning and drying clothes without ruining them is something that I struggle with on such a grand scale, but I can assure you, I do. I will do my best to work on reading the tags and trying to understand why this one piece of my wife’s clothing should be washed in cold water and tumble-dried on low while the other should be washed in warm water and dried normally, and why that piece needs a gentle kiss on the sleeve before entering the dryer, and why this piece needs a bedtime story read to it. But to me, it legitimately all seems like total garbage. I don’t get it. I will never get it. My wife’s sweaters will continue to get ruined each and every week.

So there they are, the promises I more than likely will completely fail to follow through on. While I might be inclined to talk a big game and tell my co-workers about all my plans for self-improvement as a man and as a father, it’s all a bunch of smoke screens. I’m as messed up as everyone, and my promises will probably end up as kindling in about a month. But hey, at least I’m honest.

This article was originally published on