Category Archives: Ideas

Marginalize Dads? WHY?

For those of you who know me personally, I’m a pretty laid back guy. I am a father of three great kids who can test my patience on an daily basis. I get the urge to write only when something moves me to write or one of my fellow daddy bloggers comes across something that moves them to write pieces on a particular outrage.

Papa Does Preach author writes his outrage about a mommy blogger who basically lumped dads who are telling their views while present for the births of their children as “But men,they don’t really get to talk about their birth experiences. They’re just a supporting role in the woman’s tale.” ScaryMommy. There is a lot there in that one small snippet. First, men don’t really get to talk about their birth experiences is outrageous. Of course we get to talk about our birth experiences. Its a major event in out lives too. We are witnessing the birth of a child we helped create and are excited to start a relationship with the little person we have been falling in love with through thin belly tissue for the past 9 months.  One of the best stories I tell are when my kids were born. Yes, I understand I can not relate about pushing a child through my vagina or what it felt like to have my belly split from hip to hip in order to bring this miracle of life into the world. Dads aren’t trying to take that away from you mommies. Personally, its one of my favorite things about being a dad that I did not have to endure that, but for that,  I tip my hat to all mothers. Ya’ll are powerful and strong and literally birth a miracle. On behalf of all dads, I want to express how much we hold ya’ll in high esteem.

That being said, we have birthing experiences. When my wife went into labor, time stood still. It was if every moment was clear and slowly being memorized.  I can assure you that I have yet to meet another dad who has said anything close to what you imagined to be how we talk to each other or how we would express our excitement about the birth of our child.

ScaryMommy imagines a conversation like this:

“Hey dudes ! Here’s the story about Junior’s birth. It was crazy, you guys. There was so much blood after the whole thing I was thinking vampires were going to fly through the windows for a feast of epic proportions. It was nuts. It was like war. It was awesome.”

For the record, we don’t address our friends as Hey dudes! I’m also pretty sure we don’t compare birthing a child to vampires or war.  The vampire comment was kinda funny but still would not escape the lips of any of the dads I know. The part about comparing childbirth to war is where I felt that the message was so far off that I was prejudiced for the rest of the post. I’m not alone in this reaction, many other dads and moms alike felt that comparing birthing of a child as a companion to soldiers of war was off based and insensitive.

I am not a veteran but I have been fortunate enough to marry into a military family. The respect of our soldiers and their families who sacrifice their lives and safety to keep us safe as a nation should never been marginalized. Oh and these same soldiers are dads too. The two events, war and birth are so far from each other they are literally opposites. One ends life, the other brings life.

I’m a realist. I understand that all dads and moms are not created equal. I also understand that you can’t please everyone specifically in a blogging world but at least attribute someone to your general stereotypes that are so far off based so as not to offend every dad who may come across your story. I’m sure I would be completely out of line saying that women don’t really get to talk about their war experiences. They are just supporting role in the mans’ tale. (I DON”T BELIEVE THIS BY THE WAY!) Here is something I teach my kids. Words can do damage and you need to be careful about what you put out into cyber space. If you truly believe what you are saying and can defend your words then great move forward as long as you can handle the outcome. If you can’t then don’t put it out there.

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Demand More from the NFL!

In the wake of the consecutive blunders from the NFL over the past few weeks, many parents both moms and dads alike are questioning how good of a role model is the NFL. This organization prides itself on having the biggest, fastest, strongest players who will then almost literally destroy their own bodies in hopes of the win and ultimately an opportunity to win the Superbowl.

Before I continue, I am a die hard New Orleans Saints fan and will always be one. I enjoy football as a sport and I am constantly memorized by the ability of the players to do what they do. 

How many of us have seen this image or something similar?

Our nation is split up into 32 divisions all based upon the NFL’s teams.  From a business side, I can understand and respect the overall image of each team. They really do a lot of positive things in all of the communities from getting kids outside to exercise and play to mentoring programs or having charities that are connected directly to a particular team. The teams also require that the players are dressed in suit and tie when representing the team for post game interviews and such. You get the idea. The “image” of the team is that of respect and responsibility.

The players on the other hand are human and are not shaped so rigidly. Brett Favre, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick are just a few of the NFL player that have graced the headlines for “less than favorable” reasons. These players are not the unknown faces of the teams but rather are the more popular players who can  impact our kids the most.

Of course, these players are accomplished athletes but how many of the NFL”s players are also great role models?  The teams select their most popular players and have them become the outreach connection to the community but as recent events have shown us the vetting process does not seem to be to extensive until someone beats a child, or their wife or “allegedly” rape a woman or women.  When this happens the management puts up the veil of blame. Teams who have made these players their ambassadors have either dropped them as soon as the issue arises or stuck by them even when they should have let them go.

The players who have been caught, they have to deal with the consequences of their actions but more focus should be put on the players who uphold the morals of society and are actual role models that our kids can look up too.  NFL players as well as other professional players should be more than just highly paid athletes who can do amazing things in their sports. They need to be aware of how influential they are outside of their professions. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is a father, husband and community supporter and a good role model and any person who appreciates football knows this regardless of your team loyalties. That is what we need more of. Men who are not only “men” but are man enough to be morally grounded too!

 


Minnesota Vikings…abuse story?

For those who have not had the chance to react or understand what has happened to Adrian Peterson, Phenom Running back for the Minnesota Vikings has been charged with felony child abuse and the NFL and his team has restricted him from playing until his legal matters are worked out.

“The 4-year-old is by a different mother than the alleged victim in the Montgomery County case, in which Peterson is charged with felony injury to a child. In that case, Peterson admits to repeatedly striking the boy with a tree branch or “switch,” but has maintained he did not intend to harm the child, and was using his judgment as a parent to discipline his son.” (USA TODAY)

The fact that I will no longer be able to have him in my fantasy league hurts but I don’t want to take away from the primary issue here, parental discipline. I’m conflicted on this issue overall because I have experienced discipline in a wide variety of ways. Earlier this year I wrote about Bringing Down the Law and again I feel that this particular instance is not worthy of a felony charge in my opinion. I have experienced a Willow switch as a punishment. I am willing to wager that any of my readers who have grown up south of the Canadian border has also experienced this particular punishment. (I’m sure my Canadian readers may have also experienced it but you get the point.) This is a form of discipline much like a belt or hand.

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TMZ Sports released these photos but I collected them from IJREVIEW.

Look at this objectively. First, why was he being punished? I have looked but I don’t believe there has been a statement that explains what his son did to spark any punishment. If someone has it please send me an email or comment because I don’t like to be misinformed. If he called Adrian a “poopy head” then the punishment does not fit the crime but if his son punched his baby sister or something (I don’t know the full family tree of Adrian Peterson or his kids.) then I could see something like this happening.  As a personal survivor of various forms of child abuse in my life, the wounds that are depicted above are relatively minor compared to child abuse images that we normally connect child abuse with.

My issue overall comes down to this, at what point do parents  have the right to discipline their own kids without having to be concerned with child abuse charges. If your kid comes to school looking like he got in a fight with a Honey Badger or something then obviously there should be concern for the child. Basically, child abuse needs to be looked at with a serious eye and by a professional who can “grade” the level of alleged abuse. Furthermore, felony charges need to be reserved for appropriate offenses.

This brings me back around to the issue of the day, Adrian Peterson. Is he a father who was disciplining his son and maybe went over the line of discipline or was he within his rights of raising his son and disciplining him according to his values? Voice your opinions!!


Politics: Good or Bad for Family discussions?

political picture

This will be pretty short today.

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I like to consider myself a pretty informed political citizen. That being said, I tend to come down on the more liberal side of a lot of agendas purely because I can’t seem to get over the idea of voting against your own best interest. When is it okay to introduce politics to your kids?

In order to bring up responsible children shouldn’t we let our kids know why we vote?  Why we choose to live our lifestyles? Of the millions of questions we have to field from our kids, this in my opinion is one of the biggies that should be answered. We are here to bring up our kids to be productive, respectful and informed members of society, right?

I understand that much like learning a new language, exposure will ingrain the principles, we as parents find most important onto our children.  “Stop hitting your sister” or “Finish your food for the 1000th time” while both good principles to live by  are not quite what I’m referring too. Of course leading by example is the best way to show genuine examples of lifestyle but practicing what we preach can sometimes be difficult for children to understand especially when every question from our kids starts with, “Why?”

So my official question:

How far do you explain the answer? I think providing accurate answers are better than filling the truth with  kid friendly fabrications. Tell me what you think.

 


Sweat it out!

DSCN0365 (If my wife reads this, I’m sorry I couldn’t find another photo with your eyes open.)

How many of us have gained weight over the years? It doesn’t really have to be because of kids or marriage or even old age, we all may find ourselves a bit “softer in the middle” than we would prefer.  I personally have struggled with my weight over the past five years.  When I met my wife I was a lean 155 lbs and at 5’6 I would say I was ideal for my frame. I’ve always been been muscular and have enjoyed working out for as far back as I can remember. (Not, that I was disciplined enough to see really good results.)

After my son was born I was at the peak of my weight gain. I was a sweet 205lbs depending on the day and it was my wife who actually woke me out of my weight gain. How you might ask? She made a small comment, ” You used to have a six-pack when I first started dating you.” She didn’t mean it in a negative way and it wasn’t a false statement. It was then and there I decided to work on my body. I mean its only fair right?

If I want my wife to be attracted to me and to not dread the idea of my blubber rubbing up on her then fix the issue, right? Will she love me no matter what? Of course, but will she want to still get all sexy for me if I don’t care about taking care of myself? She and I have actually discussed this, and the chances of sexy time would realistically diminish if the weight got out of control. So that’s when I decided I would start working out and take care of myself which would also take care of my “other” concerns.

wpid-wp-1406924447038.jpeg I busted my hump and I was getting stronger and the weight was falling off. After a year of hard work and many gallons of sweat I finally was getting the results I was looking for.  I had a great system and then my final semester of college at Saint Joseph’s University started. End of traction. End of the gym and my routines. My weight was quickly coming back. By the end of the semester, I was about 20lbs heavier but it was my graduation so I didn’t really pay much attention.

This summer I realized my situation yet again and I’ve been struggling to get back on the wagon. I was reading a blog by Eric Williams about the issues of trying to workout on your own and how often the results are less than desired. So he has suggested a support group or a group of like minded dads who can keep each other held accountable.

SECRET REVEALED:
Everyone wants to know what is the secret to success. I’ve got the secret. But if I tell you…you won’ t like it. Its not a pill. Its not a shake that makes you crap for the next 3 days. Its not liposuction or anything that can be categorized as a quick fix. The secret is SWEAT. You have to up your exercise in some way. When I was most successful I increased my cardio. Find an elliptical that you like and crank it up to 100% resistance. Go for an hour and make your goal at least 1000 calories burned. Start off slow and just keep going until the time is up. On average you should take in approx. 1800 calories give or take and by this one basic exercise you can curb your net total for weight loss. REMEMBER: Drink A LOT of water and only weigh yourself first thing in the morning and be naked. This will help your psychological edge because this is the time when you weigh the  least in a day. Okay friends go out and sweat!

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How do you bring down the law?

Molding our kids to be proper adults is, in my opinion the most difficult job on the planet. Every time my kids decide to push the limits and either break the rules or bend them so far that the original rules don’t apply I find that I again have to reach down deep and remember that these are my kids. Being a smart, firm, responsible, modern dad is hard. For many of us, the role as primary caregiver is not only new but we are trying to balance the role of disciplinarian as well which can be confusing and down right scary. Which begs the question, how much is too much when it comes to punishments?

I grew up in the South as a foster child from the state of Louisiana. When it came to discipline…progressive or gentle handed were not the standards I was accustomed to. Kneeling on rice, whippings on the back of the legs with a willow switch, holding phone books out with my nose to the wall…most of us would probably picture a torture scene from one of the classic 80’s and 90’s movies. Of course, these were some of the worst versions of punishments I had experienced and I have cataloged them under what NOT to do when punishing my kids. That brings the question, what is the best type of punishment for your kids? Physical discipline, time outs, punishment/reward systems, stickers and star what works best?

As many people that will read this, I’m sure there will be as many different opinions of what is the best road for discipline. In my home I have a hybrid system ranging on the severity of the broken rule and the age of the child. Normally, a time out is enough to get the point across. All of my kids are able to experience this from my eight year old to my 18 month old. The age dictates the time so for the eight year old, eight minutes, you get the idea.  The next “level” of punishment is removing fun favorites such as snacks, computer time, TV, visiting friends etc. This is the most effective in my home but only for my older two kids since taking candy from a baby is…well frowned upon by humanity.  The final and most severe and least used is spanking.  All of my kids have had a chance to experience a spanking in some way, shape or form.  If my 18 month old reaches for the stove or a socket, he gets a smack on the hand.  A smack on the bare butt is reserved for the most egregious of offenses and I can count on one hand how many times I have used that level of punishment on any of my kids. (My little guy has not experienced a butt spanking yet.)

What do you think is the best form of punishment when your kids break the rules?

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Ban or Not Playdate drama

 

Recently a friend of mine Chris Bernholdt has found himself in the media spotlight for his piece, “Banish the Playdate“.  Give it a read, his perspective is not as original and unrealistic as some have argued because many of us have already had similar feelings towards the rules of the all powerful play date.

Chris claims, “The word playdate also gives off this connotation that I should be opening doors for you as you drop off your kid. They are only playing and there is no need for us to hang out unless you are one of those moms that feel uncomfortable leaving your kid with me. You probably don’t want to be THAT mom though because when I drop my kids off at your house I’m not loitering because I trust you.”

This seems to get to one of the core issues of playdates at least coming from some dads’ perspectives.

I am a husband and a father of three kids and a stay at home dad and founder of MainLineDads. The concept of the playdate is familiar to me as it is with almost every parent that I know but there should be some limits of the parental involvement. If your kid(s) are too young to be going up and down the block alone then playdates are almost a necessity. That is the primary job of parents, to be the gatekeepers, to make sure that the kid(s) have someone to interact with but also a safe environment to nourish social communications with children their own age and not be concerned with outside “issues”.

Once the kids begin school, the playdate rules should and need to be amended. They will be forming new friendships without the oversight of the parents. Instead of constantly deciding who they should and should not play with, a parent should use this opportunity to be introduced to the parents of these new friends. For my daughter, she is almost everyday asking to call her long list of friends to go over and play. Every single one of them has been from her school and I’ve met all of their parents. (For the record: We are fortunate to have 90% of her friends within a 5 block radius so clearly this does not fit all parents scenario.) She calls them and asks if so and so is home and if so, she rides her bike or scooter over then calls when she arrives. Simple.  This in my opinion, allows her opportunities to learn several things: phone manners, personal schedules, social interactions and of course the exercise to get there. For the parents who think the world is too scary and dangerous, knowing your neighborhood is important. I know my crime stats and where any problem residents may be. I’ve also communicated with my daughter the need to be aware of her surroundings. Can I protect her from everything? Of course not, I CAN trust my kids to make good choices based on my rules that they have grown to respect and obey. Sheltering your kids, while lined with good intentions, will normally do more harm than good. Let your kids make friends on their own and make sure as parents we are there to pick them up if those decisions don’t work out just right.

The other issue in Banish the Playdate is how over-scheduling clips the creative “juices” that childhood is most known for. Let your kids get bored, turn off the phone or computer and send them outside.  Within five minutes you will see a bored child turn miraculously into a pirate or astronaut. There is no need to make sure that kids have scheduled events all the time. Let them fend for themselves. So, back to the issue of banning playdates…my verdict is ban the parents from over-scheduling because the awesome part of being a kid is not having a schedule.

FREEDOM. The very thing every single one of us has wished for over and over again since becoming a responsible adult. Everyday we are bound to our schedules. We have to fit as much into our day as possible because, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”  These are adult problems and our kids will find that out one day. Today, BACK OFF and let them enjoy their freedom of responsibilities and let them choose their friends and what they should do. The playdate itself is not the issue, the issue is over protective parents. We all need to take a step back to remember our childhood.

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