What do some parenting blog titles reveal about certain insecurities that we may have as parents?
Back in March when I was trying to figure out what I was going to rename this dad blog for Parents.com, obviously the first thing I did was to Google-skim (I made that word up but I assume you’re hip enough to get it) the Internet for inspiration and to check out my competition… I mean, my… fellow dad bloggers. During my 43 minutes of research, I picked up on blog name patterns for both dad bloggers and mommy bloggers.
The dad bloggers who were more vulnerable and self-depreciating with their blog names often focused on the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing, with titles like “Rookie Dad,” “Thingmababy,” “Daddy Knows Less,” and “Daddy’s In Charge?”.
Meanwhile, their mom blogging counterparts often focused on their attempts to organize the chaos of motherhood with “Three Kid Circus,” “And Then She Snapped,” “I Want a Nap,” “The Tightrope Walk,” “The Life of a Juggling Mom,” and “Cinderella is Falling Down.”
If I were to extract the assumed meaning of this particular pattern I discovered, it would be this: Dads want to be helpful and productive, but don’t necessarily know what to do by instinct. And moms more instinctively know what to do, but they just don’t always have enough energy, “sanity”, and/or time in the day to get it done.
So I assume if these characteristics are at least somewhat true for those of us who blog about our daily parenting experiences, they are typically just as true for the parents who don’t blog about it. There’s a reason why these blog titles I’ve mentioned do indeed ring true with readers.
Evidently, dads have the energy, sanity and time to get the job done, but not the know-how. Conversely, moms have the know-how, but again, not the energy, sanity, and/or time in the day to do it. As dad-and-mom teams, we have everything we need to pull this thing off. It’s a matter of working together to win this three legged race. Actually, we don’t even need to win the race; all we have to do is run it.
Or hop it. Or walk it… whatever it takes for the family to move forward, together.
How can you enhance your own parenting skills today? Communication: Ask your spouse for help and be vulnerable enough to tell him or her the ways you feel sub-par as a co-parent. By nature, it’s easy to want to help someone who is being humble enough to ask for your help than someone who is complaining for lack of it.
I guarantee that your spouse abounds in the things you lack as a parent. And have this conversation with them: Acknowledge that one of you often feels like a third wheel who tries to contribute in caring for your child, but often gets discouraged by not having the instincts to know what to do when it comes to parenting. And that the other person often feels overwhelmed by the never-ending list of stuff that needs to get done. Then work out a plan accordingly. Then act on it.
We can allow ourselves to remain frustrated by our deficiencies or we can celebrate and make good use of each other’s goods and services. As for me, I’ll always choose working smart over working hard. And working smart, in this instance, means confessing my weaknesses so that my strengths can be best utilized in both marriage and parenting.
All pictures were taken courtesy of Dave Stanley at Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama.
I believe everyone has multiple personalities and different versions of themselves that they reveal based on their environment. But these multiplicities of ourselves ultimately are still built on top of one default personality. My default personality is amazingly similar to the character of Peter Klaven (portrayed by Paul Rudd) in my favorite movie ever, I Love You Man.
The movie focuses on Peter’s lack of ability to make and keep strong male friendships and the difficulty that means for him in trying to find groomsmen and most importantly, a best man, for his upcoming wedding.
Most of my guy friends are scattered across the country; instantly available via text message, but not for hanging out with on a regular basis. And I’m completely okay and comfortable with that. And interestingly enough, whether it was my female-orientated major in college (English), or every work environment I’ve been in since then, I’ve constantly been surrounded by women instead of men. And again, I’m completely okay and comfortable with that fact.
Even here on Parents.com, I’m the only male parent blogger. It is simply my life’s destiny to be a guy who relates to women almost as well as I relate to men. Need I remind you, it’s mainly women reading The Dadabase.
(Granted, my wife edits out anything too masculine or overly male-driven. Recently, she had me delete several paragraphs which went on way too long about the details of a Nintendo game.)
But now I have a son. A baby boy who will eventually grow into a big boy who will eventually grow into a teenage boy and eventually a man. This means that I will ultimately have a buddy.
I will always have a reason to get to do what I want to do with my free time, as long as Jack is with me. Because I will be spending quality time with him while I do what I enjoy anyway (or at least enjoyed in my youth).
Already, I’m mentally working on a list of things I will enjoy doing that also will serve as good male-bonding, quality time with my son over the next 2 to 20 years:
1) Watch the entire series of the following movies and TV series: Rocky, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Band of Brothers, and Lost.
2) Go hiking and exploring in the woods on the weekend.
3) Build awesome Lego sets.
4) Take our bikes for a long ride in a new neighborhood.
5) Have old school Nintendo game marathons.
6) Blow stuff up with fireworks.
7) If ever can ever afford it, take him on a trip to Thailand.
Of course, this is only the beginning of my list. But I really look forward to the underlying male friendship in my father-son relationship with him.
I am adamant on being Jack’s father, not his friend. However, just like how I mentioned in the beginning that we all have different personalities, I know that a father is not simply the paternal figure of his son’s life. Being a good dad means being someone to relate to and it involves a lot of mentoring. It requires good communication and quality time.
Being a father is like being a friend, but it’s so much more than that. Yet it’s paradoxically both more casual and more demanding of respect than simply being a friend. But even though I won’t refer to my son as my friend, I will gladly call him my buddy.
Man, now I’ve got the jingle to the 80’s toy, My Buddy, stuck in my head:
“Wherever I go, he goes… My buddy, my buddy, my buddy and me!”
All pictures taken courtesy of Dave Stanley at Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Our power went out Wednesday at 5:30 PM, an hour before the Wheel of Fortune episode I had been promoting would have aired. Thursday afternoon after I posted from a Starbucks in Rome, Georgia, we drove home and collected all of the salvageable food from our fridge and freezer. My parents, along with my sister and her husband, did the same thing. My dad used his gas grill to cook Thursday’s dinner and Friday’s breakfast. I never thought of cooking spaghetti, peach pie, and scrambled eggs on a grill, but it all turned out very well.
We didn’t go hungry, but I will admit, Baby Jack didn’t sleep very well through Thursday night- nor did his mom or me. He woke up pretty much once an hour, and each time he did, the only light we had to rely on were our cell phones, which were already going dead. Not really knowing when the power would come back on, my mom had me book a suite in Rome, GA for the 7 of us to stay in Friday and Saturday night. And that brings me to now:
Jack's bath time in the hotel sink, last night.
It’s 6:05 Saturday morning and I’m writing this in the dark- not because there is no power here in this Country Inn & Suites, but because Jack, Jill, and I are sleeping in the main room on the fold-out couch and I don’t want to wake Jack. Here at the hotel, he’s had his first decent night of sleep since the tragic tornadoes causing the power going out.
As I logged on to Facebook a few minutes ago, I saw that my friends on Lookout Mountain where I live (half of Fort Payne is on the mountain; half is not) now have power again. Granted, that doesn’t mean any of my family will be able to return to work, since most businesses are located down in the valley. But at least we can return tomorrow to our empowered houses again. Though now there is no food in our refrigerators and I can imagine how it will be the first several days as the grocery stores began getting in new shipments of food.
But thank God the power is returning quicker than we expected and again, that we are even alive and still have houses to go home to. Last night in the hotel lobby I talked to a man and his wife who are staying here because they lost their home in the tornado. For those who follow my “dad from day one” series, imagine what must be going through my head concerning our move to Alabama back in December. We have now survived four of unemployment with a newborn, then not even a month into my new job, we are spared from the deadliest tornado since 1974, and possibly since 1932. According to Wikipedia, over 350 people were killed by the tornadoes; 250 of those being in Alabama alone.
You can imagine some questioning on my end, as far as our decision to move from Nashville to Alabama.
This picture was taken in complete darkness, other than the candle on the table. (I used the flash on my camera.)
However, following what we perceive as God’s will doesn’t mean we are taking the easy road, leading us to an extravagant life of riches. In our case, our current test of faith has everything to do with the willingness to resettle our lives in Alabama. No decision we can make in our lives can guarantee things will get either better or worse. It’s a lot like Wheel of Fortune.
Which, speaking of, I just want to again invite anyone who missed Diana (who gave me the idea for the name of my upcoming spin-off) on Wheel of Fortune the night of the tornadoes, to watch the episode now.
CHICAGO MOM SPINS AND WINS ON
“WHEEL OF FORTUNE”
Diana Taub of Chicago, IL, will be a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Diana is a huge fan of “Wheel” and grew up watching the show. A former elementary school teacher, she used to play a version of the game in the classroom with her students. Diana currently stays at home with her eight month old son, Jake. In her free time she enjoys baking, photography and crocheting. She hopes to use her winnings to turn her favorite hobby of photography into a business. Diana also wants to take her mother on a trip to Scotland. She tried out to be a contestant at a Wheelmobile event.
Additional Information: Diana won $7,050 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Dublin, Ireland.