Category Archives: Parenting

Date my daughter…at your own risk!

Every morning, after the kids are off to school and I can finally start my cup of coffee, I check my Facebook, news, sports etc. Just a few minutes to allow my caffeine requirement to hit my system. This morning I came across a picture my friend Sean Seidell had reposted and several comments voicing their point of views stirred me to write this.

Date my daughter     feminist-fathers

I’m admittedly torn on this subject.  When my daughter starts to date (…gulp) every fiber of my being will want to protect her from the inevitable pain and heartache that will occur. I am fully aware that as she grows into a young woman, she will decide who she thinks is an appropriate guy/gal to date and she will establish her own rules.

This is where the views split for me. I agree that memes such as the first photo with the dad sniper “threatening” the boy with death is overdone to the extreme.  If you dig deeper and grasp the undertone of the photo, I think you find many layers that can be revealed.

First, our children look to us[parents] when building their rules of life. Does Mommy argue with Daddy all the time? Does Daddy treat Mommy with respect? Are my parents affectionate to each other? These questions of course are just a few of the hundreds of questions that fill out the multitude of facets that help mold our children.

As my daughter grows into a young woman I remember that she will look to me when she starts to look for qualities in her future partner.  My example everyday as a husband to my wife will provide a classroom for her to see how a woman should be treated and respected long before her going on Date #1.  The love and respect I show my wife echoes to my children and when my daughter begins looking into the dating pool, she will more than likely look for someone who mirrors those similar attributes since my wife and I have been the consistent examples her whole life. Before we go any further these ring true for my sons too. So my rules for my daughter also apply to my boys.

Do I need a gun or other weapon to make this point to any person they decides to date? No. Do I want my kids to be hurt by boys/girls who break their hearts? Of course not. My role is to support and nurture my kids and teach them what I think are important qualities in a person.  If the people my kids eventually deem qualified to meet Mommy and Daddy, then it would be MY litmus scale to pass. Whomever my kids decide to bring home will be directly related to the virtues my wife and I helped to instill.

A parent who is overprotective and smothering because of whom their children end up dating can sometimes be directly connected to the level of role model you (parents) were for your kids. Even when you have to repeat yourself a million times and the same deer in the headlights look stares back at you every single time, your kids are picking up on everything. If you want your kid to bring home someone you find wholesome…then guess what, be a wholesome person. BE that example, because you will find out faster than you like that it will be yourself to blame if your son or daughter brings home someone you find less than appropriate for you kid.

The tshirt from Feminist fathers’ is right as far as the physical and intimate nature of dating. Those rules are correct for both MEN and WOMEN, GAY or STRAIGHT.  No one has a right to decide what is right for your body….BUT those rules that our kids use to decide what is right is effected by us, the parents. Be smart and backup your words because if you end up hiding in the bushes with a gun to “threaten” your kids dates then you have to evaluate what YOU did wrong, NOT your kid’s choice in guy or girl.

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To: My Children For The Future

Abigail, Daniel and Jacob,

Every morning I wake up to realize that all of you are growing up faster than I can keep up. One day you are bundled up as my little peanut and dependent on me for every facet of your life and then the next you are off to the first day of school or liking (gulp…or loving) a boy/girl and no longer dependent on me for much except for a ride to and from an activity or a friend’s house.

Since you all will end up as adults hopefully at some time in the distant future, I wanted to give you some advice before you get there.

  1. The Golden Rule: Always treat others the way you want to be treated. This is simple and straight forward. If you want to be liked and respected then treat others in the same manner.
  2. Music: Find a love for some type of music and then expand from there. Music is a perfect outlet for you to lose yourself when your emotions overwhelm you and you are not quite sure how to express yourself. Seeing live music builds memories that you will be able to look back on relive them later.
  3. Love: Don’t love aimlessly but do love passionately. Find someone who loves you for who you are even on your worst day. Oh, and don’t settle.
  4. Bills: Pay your bills on time or early. If you can’t can’t afford cable…get Netflix. Don’t overextend yourself.
  5. Education: Always keep learning something new. After high school, get more schooling…either college or a trade school and then keep testing yourself. Don’t take the easy way out. Smart is ALWAYS cooler than ignorance.
  6. Politics:  Pay attention to it because you can make a difference. ALWAYS VOTE in local and presidential elections but be respectful of other peoples’ positions regardless if you agree.
  7. Read: Read books! Actual books, with pages and ink. Lots and lots of books.
  8. Money: Save it as often as possible. If you can start saving 70% of your money before you have to pay for bill then you will be much happier later…(this is easier said than done.)
  9. Family: Family comes first. No matter what happens in life, your family will be there for you, so you need to be there for them.
  10. Tradition and heritage: Keep and maintain traditions with your family and pass them to your future kids. Also, learn about your family’s history. Its good to know where you come from.

These rules to live by are by no way ironclad but if you make an effort to do it you may turn out okay. Regardless, your mother and I will always be here for you when things fall apart. Unfortunately, things will fall apart once in a while and we will be here ready. Its what we live for. We love you all and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings as long as it doesn’t happen too fast.

Love,

Daddy

 


SuperDADS and Disability

Daddy, chase me!!! Daddy, catch me!!! Daddy, teach me!!!

These familiar commands are, for most of us, a daily plea of “starved attention” from our kids. As a stay at home dad my kids have the benefit of always having a parent available. Its both a privilege and burden to be that rock for my children.

I have three very energetic, strong minded and at times overly outspoken children. My daughter is nine and my two boys are 6 and 3 years old. All of my children shower me with endless unconditional love and affection, which I treasure more than life itself. Why is it that every time I pick up my kids from school or scouts or any place where their friends are there, does my self confidence falter momentarily?

I am both blessed and plagued with a physical disability that effects my walking and my sense of touch in my legs.  I use a cane at age 34 and walk with a significant limp and mobility can be exhausting depending on the day. My disability is something that I have dealt with my whole life and I have honed my abilities to shield and assert myself against the brutal real life questions and stares but my children have not been exposed to my many years of practice.

My older children easily and without any reservation field questions about me when their inquisitive friends gain the courage to ask why do I walk the way I do. Their willingness to give explanation on my behalf is not where my “self-confidence” wanes. My kids are all very active children. I have been coach for softball, assistant coach for softball, assistant den leader, coach dad in the backyard etc…these are normal roles that I believe most dads are excited and often eager to fill.

My physical limitations are what tends to make simple enjoyments like running with my kids and helping my children to ride a bike impossible. I can’t always do what their open and eager pleas request and seeing their realization that I can’t, rips a whole through my heart that short of a cure tomorrow will never be completely whole. I know my kids will be just fine and so will I but my internal struggle every day to cope with the realism that being Superdad will have to be adjusted to being a super Dad. I know my kids still view me as Superdad in many ways but eventually real life shows up and I will “stand strong” as long as my body allows…which is just fine for my family!


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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Working Daddy Guilt!

For the past five and a half years, I have had the privilege to be a full time stay at home daddy. I would wake up to help my  wife get ready for work if she needed it and get my kids ready for the day. Breakfast for the kids and shakes for my wife and I, teeth brushing, dressing for the day and off to school or maybe just off to the park or errands was my daily routine. Of course, cleaning up and laundry and daily chores are mixed in there as well.

During the past three years, I decided to get my degree from Saint Joseph’s University and I graduated in May 2014 with a degree in History and a minor in Ancient Studies. (woo-hoo!) I decided. after graduation to take some time off from school and focus just on my family.  I would wait until the new year to start the look for work or to continue being a full time stay at home daddy. I needed to put my priorities in order and work on my family.

Recently, I was offered an apprentice position with a local home repair and furniture restoration company near my home. After discussions with my wife, we both felt that it was a good opportunity to learn something that I can pass on to my kids and still keep me interested in a career that was in the vein of history. This is my issue, I’ve been working for a week and I’m loving every day of work. I leave early every morning and head to work and come home around 5 PM.  There is a learning curve to balance home and work life not just for me but for my wife and kids too. Five days in and that balance has not been found as of yet but I’m getting there.

My wife has been a blessing. For those who don’t know, she’s an attorney and works harder than most people I know. She’s up and out the door normally by 9 AM and home by 6:30 PM. If that was it then I wouldn’t go on to say much more but she starts to play with the boys almost as soon as she walks into the house.  We sit down as a family over dinner that either I prepare or we both prepare depending on the day. We discuss our day and chat with our kids.  After dinner she works with my daughter (her step-daughter) with her homework and helps her with her reading for the night. Basically, 9 PM rolls around and she gets ready for the evening of working from home and normally is up until at least 1 AM or later.  This is one of the reasons I love my wife so much. She is a bad ass but in the same breath I feel so guilty that I haven’t mastered the balance of home and work.

This is where my readers come in. What do you think about the transition from stay at home parent to dual working parents? Let me know what you think!

 


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.

abuse

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!!