Monday, April 7, 2014

Working Dads, Stay at Home Dads, and Bus Stop Pajamas: Weekly Fatherhood Newsletter

This week's roundup includes stories about working dads, stay-at-home dads, a warning about the biggest threat facing America: bus-stop pajamas, and more.

Please subscribe here to get these weekly newsletter posts in your email. Let me know if I've missed anything good, and I'll be sure to include it next week. Thanks for reading!

Bus Stop Pajamas

Bus Stop Pajamas
Evil is rising, and this time, it's coming in the form of bus stop pajamas. My friend Aaron from the blog Daddy Files has been wearing pajamas to the bus stop with his kid. Some people think it's OK. Others, like me, know this is the beginning of the end for our planet.

Here's Aaron's original post: Would You Wear Pajamas at the Bus Stop?

And here's a worthy response from the blog Daddy's in Charge?: Bus Stop Pajamas


I always thought there were hiking people and non-hiking people, like me, so finding out I actually liked hiking was quite an identity crisis. (Being a Hiking Person)

Kids and Money

Kids and Money
An article on Men's Health gives some great tips about raising kids who know money doesn't grow on trees. Starting with 3-year-old kids handing money to cashiers, and continuing until the late teens, with young adults setting up a budget, this short article has many good tips. (Make Your Toddler a Financial Tycoon)

Kids and Music

Kids and Music
Kids listen to terrible music, but is it really that tragic? Didn't we listen to bad music when we were kids? (They Don't Make Music like They Used to (and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves Because We're Afraid of Becoming Irrelevant))

Paternity Leave

Paternity Leave
Sports radio personalities(?) Boomer & Carton, as well as Mike Francesa have had a lot to say about paternity leave last week. They were specifically upset about a Mets second baseman not playing two games because his wife was giving birth and he wanted to be with his newborn for the first few days of his life. The radio clowns insisted Daniel Murphy's wife should have had an early c-section to make sure her husband could play, and that, "You're a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse!"

It's sad that these people have a platform, and it's sad that some people still think like that, but the reaction has been great, and it seems like the majority of people stand behind Murphy and are in favor of dads who want to be with their newborn kids. Here are some of the reactions:

CNN's Josh Levs: Open letter to Boomer & Carton and Mike Francesa, who slammed paternity leave and Daniel Murphy for taking it

Scott Behson on Wall Street Journal: The Good News From the Daniel Murphy Paternity Leave Uproar

And on ESPN, a reaction from Murphy himself: Daniel Murphy: Right to take leave

Stay-At-Home Dads

Stay-At-Home Dads
I wrote this post about parenting on auto-pilot a year ago, and it's still pretty much the same. It's not always easy to stay home with kids, but it's definitely rewarding. (The Auto-Pilot: Pros and Cons of Staying Home With the Kids)

Working Dads

Working Dads
It's not always easy, but I also know I'm very fortunate to be able to stay home with the kids, and be there when they need me. Carter from the blog Dad Scribe had to go to work and miss his kid's field trip, which made him ask a lot of tough question. (The Field Trip)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Being a Hiking Person

It’s funny how we all grow up with certain ideas about ourselves and about the world. These ideas often have no basis in reality, but we assume they’re real, because they’re convenient and simple. For example, I’m not a hiking person. Ask anyone--ask me, if you want, and I’ll tell you some people are hiking people, and some people, like me, are not.

If you’re not a hiking person, and you tell someone you’re about to go with the family on a 3 mile hike up a hill, their answer will always be the same: “You?!”

Because you’ve created this identity, and your identity makes sense. And this identity you’ve created helps you and others make sense of the world.

But what if it’s not true? What if you suddenly discover that climbing up a hill while holding your kids’ hands makes total sense to you? What if you love nothing more than letting your girl choose the paths you will all use on the hike, and your boy navigate the trail with a map?

hiking with kids

Maybe an identity crisis can be a positive thing.

Now, I don’t know if we’ll end up hiking once a week this spring/summer, like we said we would when winter started. Sometimes it's too easy to stay home and say, “It’s OK. We’re not hiking people anyway.” But we’ll try again soon. It's good for the soul, this whole nature thing.

hiking kids

hiking girl

Friday, March 28, 2014

They Don't Make Music like They Used to (and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves Because We're Afraid of Becoming Irrelevant)

I have a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, and they listen to whatever music I listen to, and they like it, most of the time. But I live in fear. We're not the only influences in the kids' lives, and the older they get, the larger the chance of them coming home from school one day, humming a new Katy Perry song. Or Bieber. Or whatever manufactured teen sensation of the day they're innocent enough to consume and think of as their own.

When parents find out their kids have shitty taste in music, they either roll their eyes, or start a Good Music 101 class, and I had always considered myself in the second group. I've had it all planned out:

When the first crappy music makes it into our house, I will sit my kids down, play the entire Pink Floyd discography, then The Beatles, then Simon & Garfunkel. And Bjork. And Death Cab for Cutie. And Arcade Fire. Then The Velvet Underground. Then Talking Heads. Radiohead. Flaming Lips. Yo La Tengo. Then Robyn Hitchcock. Then we'll take a short break, and start our Bruce Springsteen lesson with Nebraska. When we're done, the only thing left to say will be, "Any questions?" And they'll know they've made a mistake, and that they're destined for better things.

Or maybe I will roll my eyes and know it's only a phase?

Recently I got to drive a rental car, which came with satellite radio. And like many people from my generation, my first choice when I turned on XM Radio was their '80s station.

This song was the first one to play, and I couldn't be happier:

Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away

If you're a child of the 70s or the 80s, you just repeated "gave it away" in Andrew Ridgeley's voice. That's what we do, because we listened to Wham! religiously as kids, and now as adults, we sing along and remember the good old days.

And that's the point. There were great songs in the '80s, but most of us listened to crap, and we ended up fine-ish. Maybe people who talk about the good old days are just afraid of becoming irrelevant? So they look back and imagine a time when everything made sense, and then they compare it to what young people face today: Snapchats, and twerking, and sexting, and terrible terrible music.

We weren't better than them, though, and us old men and women need to remember that. They listen to Bieber? You listened to George Michael. Their songs are all about sex? Didn't you sing along to "My Toot Toot"? Aren't you singing it on your head right now?

I have to remind myself to lay off the next generation. They will make their own mistakes, whether it comes from twerking of by listening to One Direction, but along the way, they will create their own culture and change the world in their own ways. And one day, 30 years from now, our kids will drive their hybrid cars jetpacks, and a Bieber song will start playing, and they will sing along, remembering those crazy 2010s.

We're not the first generation to pretend we're musical snobs, and we won't be the last. Our kids--the same ones who put up Miley Cyrus posters on their bedroom ceilings--will react to their own kids' favorite music with disgust, and try to convert them away from the dark side of manufactured crap, but in the end, crap will forever continue to be manufactured, kids will forever like it, and they will forever grow up listening to it with a nostalgic smile, singing along to bland lyrics with the same terrible rhymes repeating themselves one generation after another, and they will then lecture their kids about the golden age of music.

So when the inevitable happens, and my kids come home singing songs that offend all that is good and beautiful and edgy in the world, maybe I will choose to roll my eyes and move on after all. After all, I had this poster in my room:


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fatherhood Newsletter: My Little Pony, Existentialism, and Drugs

This week's roundup includes My Little Pony bullying, a toddler's existential crisis, a hunt for drugs in Vegas, a story about The Talk, and more.

Please subscribe here to get these weekly newsletter posts in your email. Let me know if I've missed anything good, and I'll be sure to include it next week. Thanks for reading!


After a kid was bullied by his classmates for wearing a My Little Pony backpack, and after the kid's parents were bullied by Internet troll Matt Walsh, who blamed them for the bullying, it was great to read this post on Slate, putting blame where it belonged. (My Son Loves My Little Pony. At 7, he already knows that’s not OK.)


Think 3-year-old kids don't understand death? That's nothing. Life before they were born is the real conundrum. (The Existential Crisis of a 3-Year-Old Boy)

Looking for Drugs in All the Wrong Places

This blog post tells the story of a dad who went up and down Vegas streets, looking for drugs. Apparently, Las Vegas is not as ready for kids as it claims to be... (Vegas, Baby!)

Non-Transferable Goods

In a parallel universe, a dad who looks a lot like me is teaching his kids to ski. Then they all swim together. And ride horses. That dad has very little to do with me... (5 Things I Will NOT Transfer to My Kids)


My girl watched the Olympics and decided she wanted to ice skate, so of course, I signed her up. And of course, 5 minutes into the class, she was out crying. What was I supposed to do now? (My Daughter's Olympics Dream)

The Talk

Parents always feel awkward about the talk. They have been feeling awkward 2,000 years ago, when their sons started spending a little too long in the far side of the cave, and they will feel awkward 2,000 years from now, when their sons lock themselves in their spaceship for hours every day. Here's one of the funniest versions of The Talk I've read, courtesy of a blogger's mumbling dad. (Dad’s sex mumble)


Sunday, March 23, 2014

5 Things I Will NOT Transfer to My Kids

I love soccer. As a kid, as soon as I got home from school and had something to eat, I ran downstairs, where all the neighborhood kids would gather, and we all played soccer until it got too dark to see the ball. I hope I transfer some of my love of soccer to my kids.

I love music. I remember the 8-track I had as a companion when I was home sick with mumps. Yes, I'm that old. And I remember my cherished vinyls, and the first CDs I had--a very random collection, including Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and Beethoven. And I hope my kids find the songs that mean the world to them, even if these songs end up being the soundtrack of Frozen.

But some things I just don't get, and as a consequence, my kids will likely not get them either. I know that as a parent it's my job to open the world up for my kids and present them with life's possibilities. I know. But when it comes to the things I don't get, well, my kids are on their own.

1. Skiing

I've never tried skiing, and I never will. Or snowboarding. Maybe it's a fear I carry with me since I saw the one kid in elementary school who came to class on crutches after a ski vacation, or maybe it's a completely rational fear of flying downhill on small sticks, but I've never tried skiing, and I'll never take my kids skiing. My snowboard-loving wife can take them, their grandparents can take them, and you can take them. But I'll stay home, if you don't mind.

2. Horse Riding

Horses are majestic animals, as long as I have two feet on the ground. The closest I've ever come to riding a horse was riding a camel once, and although it was scary, at least the poor camel was only slowly walking in a circle. But horses? They even got Superman, so what chance to I have?

3. Swimming

That's not about me being scared. I'd love for my kids to be able to swim, I'm just not the one to teach them. I can do breaststroke, and I can swim underwater from one side of a pool to another, pretty much, but my poor head can't figure out freestyle swimming. In fact, it makes me angry to know the fastest way of swimming involves doing one thing with the arms, and something completely different with the feet. Now that I'm older, I know freestyle is probably just a bug in the matrix, and not something I should try to figure out. And my poor kids, well, they're on their own there too.

4. Hockey

Some people talk about hockey on social media. They follow NHL hockey news. They wear team jerseys and make fun of people who like other teams. For me, though, hockey is lacrosse on ice. I don't get lacrosse, so how am I supposed to get the icy version? When I moved to the US, I didn't really get baseball and football, because no one plays or cares about these things in Israel, where I grew up. But after a while, I started to get it. I got baseball the first time I went to see a game in Camden Yards. And I finally got football when the Ravens reached the playoffs last year. But hey, at least when you watch a baseball or a football game, you can see the ball!

5. Opera

I don't get it. Nope. I like rock, pop, folk, reggae, jazz, techno, and instrumental classical music. I even like some kids' songs, and when no one's watching, I can sing the Chorus Line soundtrack. But opera? Now THAT'S a bug in the matrix. And I want you to know that even though my kids might end up as opera singers, I'll still love them, even if I don't approve of their lifestyles of wearing costumes and singing in German.

I have received compensation for this post, but the opinions are mine. Mine. MINE!!!


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