Posts Tagged ‘ fatherhood ’

Dear Judgmental Lady in Church…

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

Dear God, please send patience to the ugly woman behind me.

The room we’re in is clearly labeled “The Cry Room.” There is a rather thorough description of the room’s purpose posted on the wall. The very first bullet within that description reads as follows:

  • This room is for the *exclusive use of families with small children

* In case you weren’t sure, exclusive loosely translates to “not available to everyone.”

You are not, nor are you the parent of, a small child. The main reason I know this is because there’s n0 chance someone has had sex with you in the past five years. But also, the male sitting next to you with the beard, uncombed hair, and sweat pants (who I assume is your college-aged son) is definitely old enough to sit in the main section of the church. He hasn’t needed the refuge of this room in quite a number of years. But I do. My family does. Which is why I’m put off by the frequent dirty looks I get from you when my small children whisper a little too loudly or hop out of their seat for the 18th time. I know how annoying it can be when someone else’s children misbehave and their parents do nothing to stop it. But I am doing something. For starters, I’m bringing them to the one room in church where they’re supposed to be. I’m constantly telling them to lower their voices and to stay in their seats. I’m bringing noiseless toys to keep them entertained. And yes, even though the sign says it isn’t allowed, I’m bringing small snacks to keep them as satiated and quiet as possible. Because the person who wrote those rules has clearly never met a child, nor do they understand the absurdity of expecting one to remain quiet for 60 straight minutes without being bribed steadily with food.

What you’ve probably lost sight of over the years is how difficult it can be to take children out in public. There are plenty of Sundays when I practically beg my wife to leave me home with my younger son while she takes our older son to church. It’s a constant struggle and one that is only made more difficult when you know the people around you are angry and unsympathetic. I now dread coming to church, because I have to deal with your eyes boring a hole in the back of my head, your relentless sighs that I hear exponentially louder than any prayer for the sick.

I know I shouldn’t let you get to me. But I do. Ever since I became a father, I’ve been fearful of being perceived as a disruption to those around me. What I need to accept is that, no matter how hard I try, my children are going to ultimately disrupt something…or someone. I simply have to do my best to teach them how to control themselves, and put them in situations where they can practice those skills. Naturally, since they’re, ya know, children, there will be plenty of bumps in the road. And I have to expect that. Unfortunately, I also need to expect that others around me (you, for instance) won’t be tolerant of this process, but instead turn their noses up and scoff at us.

All I ask of you is one thing. Remember. Remember the frustrations you endured as a new parent, the sleepless nights and how your patience was stretched to its limits on a daily basis by the now pretty manageable teenager sitting beside you.

I’m trying my best here. Just like you did, I imagine. So I suggest you either walk the 10 extra feet it takes to get to the main section of the church, or get used to being surrounded by me and my occasionally disruptive kids. Because much like that hairy mole on your neck, we aren’t going anywhere. And your teenage son wearing what is essentially pajamas to church is much more scoff-worthy than anything a child could ever do.

Do you ever find yourself in public with eyes on you because of something your child did? Did it lead to a confrontation? I want to hear about it! Add a comment below.

 Check out the Best Tantrum Tricks you’ve never heard before. Then, take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.

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Comparing My 4-Year-Old Son to 1980s Movie Villains

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is free birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He currently lives in New Jersey with his family and can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero. He has written a comedy fiction book titled “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” available via Amazon and is currently working on an uncensored parenting humor book, due out in late 2013.

This unmistakable ’80s item represents my current patience level with my kids. “Rewind” is not an option.

I was raised on an unhealthy dose of 1980′s cinema that, if nothing else, outlined the criteria for the type of people I should avoid when I got older. The antagonists in such films as The Karate Kid and Back to the Future were bold, brash, and cared only of their own visceral needs, leaving a trail of well-intentioned, disenchanted (and  brightly colored) victims in their wake. And I’m afraid I’ll end up raising one of these cretins.

I know what you’re thinking. There’s no possible way that my innocent 4-year-old son could be comparable to ’80s movie villains. Well, I happen to believe that the evidence is indisputable. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

He covets my woman

I love my wife. My son, Antonio also loves my wife. Clearly, this presents a conflict of epic proportions. We’ll be at dinner, enjoying a meal, and he’ll reach across the table and grab my wife’s breast. Then he’ll look at me and snicker, as if to say, “These babies are mine.” I then shoot him a look to say, “I was there first. That’s how you got here.” I’m not even sure why I allow him to live with us, really. It’s like having one of her ex-boyfriends sublet our basement.

He threatens to embarrass me with gratuitous, juvenile acts

A few days ago, while I was changing him into his pajamas before bed, he looked deep into my eyes and casually stated, “I’m going to stick my penis in your nose.” I stared at him for several awkward seconds, desperately thinking of a possible retort and subsequent punishment. What did I do in return? I fixed him a bowl of cereal. I mean, he did look hungry. I can easily see Darth Vader threatening the very same act on Luke Skywalker.

He takes my money

I can finally relate to that Kanye West song “Gold Digger.” Because my son will regularly reach right into my pocket, fishing for cash, without asking. He might as well give me a wedgie and toss me in a locker while he’s at it.  And he never, ever pays me back. A triflin’ friend indeed.

He laughs at my misfortunes

Imagine I’ve just stubbed my pinky toe on a coffee table. I’m writhing in pain and liberally shouting expletives. This, apparently, is the pinnacle of comedy for my son. Nothing humors him more than watching me experience acute, excruciating agony. This has Biff written all over it.

He damages my property

This past weekend, I was outside with both my sons, playing in the front yard. Due to the heat wave in the tri-state area, I took my shirt off, laying it on the hood of my car (to the delight of absolutely no one). Minutes later, while I was helping my younger son, Nate get up off the ground, I looked over to discover my shirt sprawled on the driveway. Antonio proceeded to blatantly run over it with his bike, and then back over it for good measure, all while laughing maniacally. In that moment, I could only dream of a truck dumping manure over his well-deserving head.

Occasionally, my son mistakes his bike for an iron.

Ultimately, I hope that I’m raising protagonists and not antagonists. I also hope that, unlike Beetlejuice, my son will soon answer me without having to call him three times. But maybe more than anything else, I hope to have better fashion sense than to dress my kids like my parents dressed me in the ’80s. It would save us both an awkward conversation when they’re old enough to understand humiliation. With that said, I’m going to “make like a tree” and get out of here. I’ll leave you with this.

What do your kids do that reminds you of something dreadful you’ve seen in movies? Feel free to leave your stories, and all other feedback in the comments below!

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