Dad carrying baby

On Wearing Babies

You may have seen the story about TV personality Piers Morgan questioning the manhood of actor Daniel Craig (007, himself!) for wearing his infant daughter using a baby carrier. Morgan referred to Craig as “emasculated” in a Tweet.

After seeing the story, I have two main reactions to unpack a bit:

Reaction #1 – There is nothing more human than taking care of your children.

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Me in 2011 making three fashion statements at the mall – those sideburns, those shades, my daughter

Parents leave the house…and take their kids with them. [If you leave the kids home alone, they come and take the kids away from you. It’s in the handbook.]

Thinking that being responsible for children is a mothers-only job is beyond antiquated to the point of being offensive to literally everyone. The gender stereotypes of the past are, in many corners of the world, dissipating. Thankfully.

One of my favorite times in life was carrying my firstborn around in a MOBY Wrap everywhere we went. That sense of closeness and love is irreplaceable. Kids become more and more independent everyday, so the time they rest their head on your chest because they literally can’t do anything else is fleeting.

If a dad doesn’t want to take care of his kids, that’s between him and momma bear – and maybe a judge. So I really don’t care if Piers Morgan carried his kids or not. None of my concern.

But him criticizing a parent for spending time with his child? That’s insulting.

Reaction #2 – Why in the world is anyone questioning anyone else’s masculinity?

This is toxic.

Questioning the manhood of another man is more than just poisonous, it’s pointless.

I know men who are straight and men who are gay. Men who hunt and men who are vegans. Men who drive electric cars and men who drive monster trucks. Men who cook and men who are best served making reservations. Men who have tattoos and men who wear jewelry. Men who find serenity in Time Square and men who find peace in the wilderness. Men who love sports and men who don’t. Artists. Blacksmiths. Journalists. Business Owners. Executives. Interns. Contractors. Yoga masters. Broadcasters. Bankers. Lawyers. Chefs. Athletes. Teachers. Home brewers. Consultants. Conservatives. Liberals.

Some are more like Jeremiah Johnson and some are more like RuPaul. All of them are men.

This is not a man-power point. It’s that men come in all shapes, sizes, and any other criteria you could consider. And that’s awesome.

Let’s leave comparing someone to a one-dimensional definition of masculinity in the past. We are better than that.


Wear your baby. Or don’t.

That is between you and your family.

I’m glad Piers Morgan called attention to the picture of Daniel Craig with his daughter. Now all dads – and moms – can see an on-screen hero playing his coolest and most important role ever: Dad.

 

 

 

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Video: “If Dad Jokes Were Funny”

As both a dad and a fan of stand-up comedy, this video speaks to me both positively and negatively.

Here’s the thing: “Dad Jokes,” which I use every day, are funny to five-year-olds.

The issue is when you try to keep telling those jokes to teenagers. That’s a problem. A big one.

Shout-out to the “So True, Ya’ll” and “It’s A Southern Thing” team that is crushing it with hilarious Facebook Watch videos lately!


 

Raising Kids in a #MeToo Era

Before we begin, click here to learn more about Tarana Burke’s “me too.” movement. and everything they are doing to support survivors and end sexual violence.

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We, as a society, have had a heightened awareness of sexual harassment and abuse since 2017.

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

A series of investigative journalism pieces brought to the surface a range of allegations against prominent celebrities and personalities that ranged from inappropriate to criminal.

For example, Ronan Farrow‘s award-winning piece in The New Yorker shined a light on the illicit behavior of media producer Harvey Weinstein. Several months later, Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape and other crimes.

The dominoes kept falling, with Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and other prominent men falling from favor due to allegations of sexual abuse, ranging from walking around naked to sexual assault.

The series of allegations and reports saw the rise of the #MeToo hashtag on social media, where other victims shared their stories or lent their support. People who once felt silenced became confident in shedding light on mistreatment and crimes.

You can look at some of these situations and say, “that’s how men acted around the office in their day.” OK. But it was never right. “Permitted because their subordinates and employees had no agency to speak up and ask them to stop” is vastly different from “the right thing to do.”

As a parent, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to raise kids in this #MeToo environment. How does this change how we talk to our kids?

My conclusion: This landscape actually makes parenting easier.

Let me unpack this.

  1. People that do bad things, no matter who they are, get punished. The actions of some of the most famous people in the world catch up to them. Their money and connections and resources can’t help them escape justice.
  2. There are no more double-standards for men and women in their conduct. Everyone is held to the same scale of accountability and appropriateness.
  3. Your voice matters. People will believe you.

Each of these are important lessons for kids to hear. Victims are to be heard. Allegations are to be investigated fully. You are accountable for your actions.

As parents, we have to arm our kids with a zero-tolerance policy for someone violating their space. We need to equip them with the insight to protect themselves from potentially harmful situations.

Most importantly, we have to impress upon them how to treat all people with respect.

And that starts now. When they are little. Because the things we teach them as kids inform how they will act as adults.

The line of acceptable behavior is no longer blurry; we can make sure our kids always stay on the right side of it.

It’s simple for my kids: Everyone is given dignity, kindness, empathy, esteem. And if someone crosses that line with them, they need to know how to stay safe, find help, and call for justice.

 

3 Steps to Winning Soccer Practice Snacks

It’s a rite of passage.

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…and sometimes you let them wear pirate hats to soccer because it’s just easier that way.

You signed your kiddo up to play soccer. (Yay!)

And then you signed up to bring snack next Sunday. (Ugh!)

Here’s the reality of the soccer-snack relationship, the order of importance KIDS place on the weekly gathering:

  1. Seeing Friends
  2. Snack
  3. Running & Screaming
  4. Wearing Gear
  5. Getting There On Time
  6. Playing Soccer

So, snack is pretty effing important, mom and dad.

Thankfully, we can make it super easy for you with this step-by-step guide.

  • Bring two options. Seedless oranges/clementines plus a modular bag/squeezie. This should be easy for kids and parents to grab and open/peel. If possible, let your player help pick it out.
    • Pro-Tip: Leave the chocolate at home. It may melt during the practice and no parent wants chocolate-covered hands in their car.
  • Make sure you have enough. At least 25% of the kids will bring a sibling. Look at the list above – if you are dragged there by a parent and aren’t playing soccer or even wearing some gear, snack is pretty much all you can look forward to.
    • Pro-Tip: You can ask a bored sibling (or one of your own bored kids you brought along!) to help you distribute snack.
  • Bring a trash bag. A grocery bag will do, and this is something other parents notice – and your kid can help with! Ask them to go bring the trash bag around to collect trash and even a 3-year-old can feel like they contributed.
    • Pro-Tip: Throw a roll of paper towels in your bag. You won’t regret it.

Follow these steps and you can spend the hour rooting on your kid, sipping your hot beverage, socializing with other parents – confident you will win snack time.

 

Water Balloon Fight!

When a four-year-old lefty and an eight-year-old dog corner you during a backyard water balloon fight, you back off.

Two big reasons:

  1. The dog will eat the balloon. #Bad
  2. Your daughter will cry when you hit her with the balloon. #Bad

The only option? RUN or get wet. I did both.

We used Bunch O Balloons – REALLY easy to fill a lot of balloons at once with a garden hose. They tie themselves! And playing with four kids, 100 balloons lasted an acceptable amount of time, before everyone was ready for snacks.

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Advice Needed: Time for All Three

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Quality Time Can Be Anywhere

Adding a third child to our family is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to our family ever.

We’ll have a new human person to play with!  Plus, both Beanie and Bug will be big siblings, completely changing their dynamic with us and each other, and the baby.

But besides excitement, I’m honestly feeling another emotion right now: anxiety. But not for the reasons you may think.

Sure, having another mouth to feed and behind to wipe and such is a daunting task. The responsibility is immense. But we’ve done that before. Twice. I’m not worried about that.

No, my anxiety is as much logistical as it is practical.

Our two kids both have their full calendars – daycare, soccer practice, swim lessons, birthday parties, playdates. After the baby is born, I’ll be “owning” those calendars for a while, preparing, packing,  picking-up, everything.

Add a baby to the mix and I’m sincerely concerned about spending enough quality time with all three.

For dads of three (or more) – how do you balance time with all of your kids?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Umbilical Dilemma: Cutting the Cord

ScissorsBelly buttons are magical.

We all have them, but we don’t generally think, on a regular basis, about WHY we have them. And if you do, umm, ick.

Our belly buttons were our conduits to nutrients in utero. Not to be confused with In Utero. [Click the link to look it up, kids.] Basically, the umbilical cord connected us to placentas, which are so nutritious, some parents actually eat it. I’ll take a pass, but suit yourself. Chop off the cord, you get a belly button.

 

Here’s the crazy part:

Doctors and scientists still don’t know when you should separate baby from the placenta by clamping or cutting the cord. We’ve been at this birthing babies thing for a little bit of time, but this is still somehow up in the air.

A recent study showed something interesting: if babies are attached to the placenta via umbilical cord longer, it may provide cognitive benefits years down the road.

Over-simplifying: waiting a few minutes to cut can make your kid healthier and smarter.

On the other hand, babies can be deprived of oxygen during delivery and clamping the cord can apparently help doctors diagnose if that’s the case.

With our third kid arriving soon, we are discussing the talking points we’re going to share with the doctors and nurses in the delivery room. This study definitely gives us food for thought. Still not going to eat a placenta, though.

[Image via CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12418]