“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” I ask my son at the dinner table. Normally, when such a powerful fatherhood statement like that comes out of my mouth, he’ll freeze. But not today. Today, my boy has decided that it’s time to become a man. He grips the slice of pizza tighter. “Mine,” he says. Such a simple statement but it is as loaded as that slice. He knows this. That’s not something you say to your father and expect to NOT to mow the yard. He doesn’t hand over the beautiful hunk of meat lovers pizza. Instead, he puts it on his plate. It lands with a challenge. “You want to … [Read more...]
“Dad, tell that story again about the time I stabbed you.” My younger teen daughter, Lindsay, makes this request every few months or so with a giggle. And while she’s the villain of the story, it also features one of my not-so-flattering moments as a parent — one of those many bloopers that all families experience when things don’t go as planned. At age 4, Lindsay attended a summer art class that she absolutely loved. When my older daughter, Lauren, and I went to pick her up from class one day, only Lindsay and the teacher remained. She was not quite finished with her art … [Read more...]
“That ball was out of bounds!” I tell my wife sitting next to me on the metal bleachers. My butt hurts, but it’s the price I gladly pay. Did my wife roll her eyes? I think she did. That’s OK, I don’t expect her to get it. Not like me. She isn’t a parent-athlete.
Being a parent-athlete is tough. I go to every practice, sit on those hard metal bleachers and drink copious amounts of Diet Coke from a giant bucket I got from the hardware store. That’s true commitment, and I get it if the rest of the world doesn’t understand. It’s a hard life, but one that has chosen … [Read more...]
The show's over; time for everyone to go home. My last kid has started school. I am no longer an at-home dad. Now I suppose I’m just unemployed. That’s fantastic for the ego. I mean, really great. It’s always nice to see yourself taken down a peg or 50. Over the last month, I’ve gotten the question, “What are you going to do now with all your free time?” What free time, I’ve got lists a mile long! Time is accounted for, and it demands to be paid, credit not accepted. So what do I do now? Well, basically I sit in the house and wonder why Oprah has abandoned me. I mean, not to be a dick … [Read more...]
What is the hardest part of parenting? For many, the answer is smack-down clear: discipline. Why? In part because we live in a stew of philosophies ranging from attachment to free-range parenting, all of which merely season the stock of how we were disciplined (or not disciplined) by our own parents. As the father of two daughters, I have wrestled with discipline issues —especially sibling rivalry — for many years. My struggle peaked a few years ago when I caught myself in a parental fantasy at an unlikely place: a World Wresting Entertainment show. (Some call it “fake wrestling,” but … [Read more...]