If you are one of the nearly 7000 people (dupes!) who follow my Facebook page, you probably got annoyed last week when I asked you for topic suggestions. Sue me; I had some writer’s block.
And I have bigger things to worry about than your happiness. As one of my readers reminded me with her suggested topic: Mums suffer from constant ridiculous anxieties re our kids. Like is he eating enough, has dad put his woolly hat on properly, will he get to college if he doesn’t get into the right nursery… and is he eating enough? How about you share your worst and most ludicrous dad anxieties?
Let me start by saying that a propensity for parenting anxiety can’t be so neatly divided by gender. I am often more paranoid and unnecessarily protective of my son than Mom and Buried is, and I think that just comes down to personality. But you’re right, Anonymous Reader: WOMEN BE CRAZY.
One of the lessons I am trying to impart to my young son is that it’s okay to ask for help.
It might seem obvious, but there’s a long-standing perception within some corners of male culture that asking for help betrays weakness. Why do you think we never ask for directions?
I’ve personally never been one for being macho. The concept is outdated, and even the word is silly. I’m teaching my son that there’s no shame in knowing your limitations and asking for help. Especially when you really need it.
Someone who really needs it right now is the founder of the Dad Bloggers group I’m a part of on Facebook, Oren Miller. If you haven’t heard his heartbreaking story, get your tissues ready. And then open your wallets. Because his family is in for a tough road, and is friends and fellow Dad Bloggers – a great, diverse, generous group I’m proud to be a part of – are not going to bother waiting for them to ask for help.
We’re going ahead and doing it anyway. I hope you will too.
If you’ve read my blog before, you might not expect me to write a post about my favorite moments as a father. (Even though I already have.)
After all, most of my posts are about the stuff that sucks about being a dad. But that’s all strategy. Like the Cassius Clay of the dad bloggersphere, I lull readers to sleep with angry complaints about my son and parenting and toddlers, only to suddenly sting like a sentimental bee!
Admit it: the optimistic, sappy stuff carries a lot more weight when it comes from a pessimistic, cynical jerk like me. So I parcel it out at key moments, to ambush you and your tear ducts. Usually I reserve the sap for my son’s birthday, like this embarrassment from a few years back. But as Father’s Day approaches, my friends at Oral-B and Life of Dad asked me to write something about the #PowerofDad, so I thought I’d grit my teeth (get it? Teeth? ORAL-B!) and get ‘er done.
So here comes a bunch of crap I like about being a dad. None of which includes brushing my son’s teeth because holy Jesus that’s a nightmare.
Look. It’s not that I don’t want to give you people advice, it’s that you won’t allow me to. Even after my previous EIGHT installments of my parental advisories, in which I’ve dominated the field and proven my bona fides as someone who can write middling jokes while being kind of insulting and mostly side-stepping your very real domestic problems. I own the space!
You want in on this expertise? Then you’d better get to asking more questions!
Until then, I’ll service the meager few who’ve got the balls to admit – and/or are so drunk they actually think – that I’m a better parent than they are.
Like these brave souls below.
Over the weekend, I read a couple of parenting articles in The New York Times.
It was some intense reading full of hardcore facts and figures and suggestions and techniques, and I came away from it thinking that I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Which is totally cool, because I already knew that. It helped to discover that, judging by the articles, no one else knows what they’re doing either.
But thank God I don’t believe in parenting experts because even if I did, I have no idea how I’d be expected to even remember all the so-called “best” techniques, let alone have the wherewithal and discipline to implement them.
Years ago, before I had a blog, I wrote for an online magazine called Intrepid Media. It had a small but dedicated following, and my style was much the same as it is now: bitter, sarcastic, something of a put-on, just less-developed and almost completely non-child related. I didn’t have a kid yet, so the topics were more varied, if you think writing about being irrationally angry about many different things qualifies as variety.
I thought I’d occasionally re-post an article from the now defunct magazine. Why? I’m not sure. They are old – I wrote a column a month for about 10 years, before stopping in early 2011 (give-or-take one or two more) – and dated and re-reading them makes me cringe, but whatever, sometimes you need to re-post old stuff just fill out a week.
This one seems appropriate for several reasons, which may or may not become apparent when you finish reading it. Enjoy! Or don’t enjoy, because either way, without Intrepid Media and the posts that will be featured in this new “series,” I would never have met Mom and Buried. And Detective Munch would not exist. The writing is just gravy.
And so, the first Pre-Natal post.
It’s terrible when your kid gets sick. Especially when he barely knows it.
My son is three and a half, and this winter he’s had a few tough colds. The coughing, the sore throat, the eternally running nose (although he’s had one of those since he was born, so that’s more of a curse than a health issue), all have reared their heads at one time or another, much to our dismay. Of course, being a resilient, happy-go-lucky kind of guy, Detective Munch barely seems to notice his own symptoms.
Unfortunately, his preschool does notice them. His teachers are like dogs; they can smell sickness. So he’s forced to stay home. And that is a huge hassle.
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember a lot about it.
I remember the panic. I remember the dark smudges on my son’s face. I remember sitting in the emergency room watching “30 Rock” on mute, desperately hoping we’d be able to go home soon.
I had accidentally spilled some prescription pills on the floor while my son played nearby. After cleaning them up and being unable to verify how many were in the bottle beforehand, we were terrified that he might have ingested one. It was just an accident. The bottle fell. It wasn’t sitting there open, it wasn’t within my son’s reach. It simply fell. But accident or not, it was still my fault.
Yeah, I definitely remember the panic.
In the comments of a recent post, a dad blogger friend (Neal Call, at the awesome Raised By My Daughter. There’s cartoons!) wrote the following, “Such an irritating truth: that I desperately await those unlikely moment of quiet in the day, and then once they arrive, all I can think about is small dead things. ”
…all I can think about is small dead things. Morbid much?
And yet I know exactly what he means. Since I’ve become a dad, all day I dream about death.