february baby sweater

Every Wednesday, I gather up and share some great blog posts from around the Internet and this week’s collection focuses on just the essentials. We start off with fellow daddy blogger Jonathan Ervine and his take on so-called baby essentials. It’s easy to buy into the marketing hype of the baby product industry, getting told that you’re a horrible parent if you don’t buy this item or that. Ervine breaks it down to where you should really be spending your money and what items you can probably do without. Yes, you can never have too many burp cloths and washcloths.

My wife has the good fortune of being able to take a full year of paid maternity leave, but that’s not the case for everyone and it’s definitely not the case for people who work for themselves. Allison Martin discusses the concept of maternity leave for entrepreneurs and how these working women can balance the needs of their newborns with the needs of their businesses. While the article is geared toward new moms, it’s just as applicable to new dads. After all, I didn’t take any leave either.

As parents, we make a lot of decisions for our children. Some people will argue that one option is better than the other, but it’s really a matter of personal circumstance and what works best in your situation. Education will always be one of the biggest essentials and Daree Allen shares some of her thoughts on what she learned from homeschooling her daughter. It’s incredibly administrative and time-consuming, so while there may be some tremendous upside to homeschooling, it’s certainly not for everyone.

Compared to many who came before him, Pope Francis is incredibly forward-thinking. For instance, he recently stated that “evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation.” Uninterested in luxuries and lavish living, the Pope has also provided ten tips for a happier life, a list curated and shared by Mbiyimoh Ghogomu. We should all just focus on the essentials of being generous with others, avoiding the anxieties of consumerism, respecting the beliefs of others, working for peace, and proceeding calmly in life.

And do you know what is one of the most critical elements to a happy life? Good food, of course! We finish off this speedlink with a great recipe from Nathan Clayton. The self-described “awful cook” says that his slow cooked pot roast is always a big hit and there are never any leftovers. As a busy dad, “set it and forget it” slow cooker recipes like this are an absolute Godsend.