father

Canadian Living Likes The Urban Daddy too…


Father’s Day is a great time to check out some of the great Daddy bloggers on the Internet, especially the – ahem – Canadian ones.

I was thrilled when I received word from David Eddie who writes for Canadian Living saying he wanted to add my blog, The Urban Daddy, to his article titled; Daddy Blogs You Should Be Reading.

David, in case you were not already aware, has blogged under “Mack Daddy” and has written and published (is this not one in the same) a few parenting books;

  • Damage Control: How to Tip-Toe Away From the Smoking Wreckage of Your Latest Screw-Up With a Minimum of Harm to Your Reputation (2010)
  • Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, (2003)
  • Chump Change (1999)

You can see more of David’s work, here.

Here is what David wrote; “Moms have ruled the blogosphere, but daddy bloggers are throwing their ball caps in the ring. Here are the daddy blogs you should be reading.

While women are naturals at communicating and forming communities, it’s tougher for us guys. I was a stay-at-home dad for many years—I even had a blog called Mack Daddy, which quixotically tried to make being an SAHD seem cool—and I know that, as a dad, you can feel isolated, like you’re the only guy in the world going through what you’re going through. Reading some other dude’s blog is one of the best cures. Dad bloggers offer a unique window into what men think about their lives in the wake of having children.

Maybe in some utopian future when we’re all riding around in hovercars, we will speak only of “parent bloggers,” making no distinction between male and female. Until then, dad blogs add a spicy flavour to the blogosphere. A flavour kind of like…barbecue.

Here are some of my go-to sites that let me know I’m not alone:

The Urban Daddy is the blog for products and practical tips, especially for things to do when your kids are driving you up the wall. Warren Orlans, the Toronto father behind the blog, says he’s “not your typical daddy,” and I’m not quite sure what he means by that. (What’s typical these days?) But, like me, he has a three-kid, two-career household. Also like me, he and his wife have the odds stacked against them: three to two. He’s very good on the topic of “juggling”—which is especially useful for readers who live in urban jungles. Don’t kid yourself: It is a jungle out there, and Urban Daddy is a great guide to avoiding the bear traps, vipers’ nests and poison darts.”

Please go read the entire article, here.

I Am A Stupid Idiot!


Daddy is a stupid idiotI m a stupid Idiot.  My 4-year-old daughter Boo, just told me this after smacking me on my backside.  I just have 2 questions… 1) How did she find out, and 2) What took her so long?!?

This is a recap of how it all came to be:

My daughter loves hiding! Loves it so much that when we announce that she should come out of hiding or there will be consequences (meaningful ones) she ignores it and stays in hiding and does so very quietly.

Her brother even helps her remain hidden, trying to throw us off the trail by announcing that he “swears” he has “no idea where she is.”

This morning instead of eating her breakfast, or helping me make their lunches and emptying the dishwasher, she hid.  This time it only took me 5-minutes to track her down through her giggles, but instead of finding her and playing her game, I announced that she had until the count of 5 to come out of her hiding spot otherwise, there would be meaningful consequences, that her and her enabling brother would have to make the rest of her lunch or she would go to school without one.

Meaningful consequence, right?

But she stayed hidden behind the door in our bathroom.

I thought for about 10 seconds about leaning on the door and squishing her until she gave up her hiding spot, but I was annoyed and frustrated, so I reached around the door and yanked her out.  Not being one of the boys she obviously did not appreciate this sudden end to her game and after protesting, she smacked me on the bum and said: “You’re a stupid idiot!”

I ignored her and was on my way back to the kitchen when she repeated it, a little less sure of herself, and with her mother looking her right in the eyes; “You’re a stupid idiot.”

Clearly my boys are teaching her all the good words, eh?

 

I walked into the kitchen and both boys looked at me open-eyed and silently.

I said to them as calm as I could; We don’t call people names because it is mean and we could hurt their feelings.”

They did not answer.  They knew that for the first time in her little life, she crossed the line.

 

What took her so long?  Is this what I can look forward to with girls?

Daddy, I Don’t Want To Hold Your Hand…


Well, it took only 4-years for this moment to arrive and I was not prepared for it, but walking my daughter to school she saw a teacher and a couple of her friends and she let go of my hand.

“Take my hand.” I said.

“I don’t want to hold your hand, daddy” was her reply.

“Oh.  Is it because your friends might see?”

“I just don’t”, she said.

I’m not going to force her to do anything she does not want to do.  She’s getting to be a big girl, so I walked beside her to the school doors, squatted down beside her, gave her a big hug and said, “I love you.”

 

Hmmmm…

 

Not ready for that moment, I have to say.

I remember when my oldest boy did that to me the first time.  I protested, and said, “Fine, just give me a hug.”

In front of his friends he refused to, so in a loud voice and a smile on my face – looking at his friends – I said, “Bye sweetheart.  I love you!” and I have him the biggest kiss possible.

We all laughed.

 

Walking home from school, my 2 youngest ran ahead, and I told this story to my oldest.

He said to me; “I’ll hold your hand, daddy”.

… and that was how we walked home.

 

 

Parenting Frustration 101: Paralysis by Analysis


Being a father of three children is a lot of work.

Work that I love to do more than anything else in the world, but with this work comes the real hard work or the hidden work that gets little recognition, is not discussed at birthday parties between dads, nor does this work get or deserve high-fives among the dads at swim class.

The work I’m referring to is being consistent.

As parents we want our kids to be safe, and felt loved and supported and all that stuff, but if we don’t teach our children the right way to treat others and if we don’t set them up to be able to take care of their own affairs, then what are we doing for our kids besides providing food, shelter and love?

As the “helicopter generation” hovering over our children to keep them free from harm and protect them from a wanton stare from little Suzie or a mean word from little Billy, we do our kids no favours at all stuck to their sides.  We tell them to say please and thank you, and we correct them on everything they do that does not meet our approval but do they remember what we tell them?  If they did, why would we have to do it over and over again, so it seems, or why does someone in their class calling them silly crush them, but us telling them they behave poorly does not?

It’s because they hear our voices and they tune out.  No one wants to be corrected constantly, nor do they want to feel unloved, or disliked, so if our kids are in an environment where they feel any of these things, then we have to step up and act.  Not talk the talk, but walk the walk.

In The Urban Daddy household, we teach our children to stand up for themselves – without violence and without having to tell the teacher – to make sure that they are able to handle a situation now, in later grades, in business and in life. They don’t have to be mean, or demanding – they should try to be nice and use please and thank you, but they certainly do not have to take someone else’s bullshit or be picked on for no reason at all.  I believe we call this bullying.

Our kids have to be organized, and be part of a routine at school and at home.  Organization helps out our family unit and helps their teachers do what they need to do without my kids being a distraction or causing interruptions. Sometimes this is not possible as we are learning with 2 boys, but it is what is expected by us and taught to the kids.  If they are able to do this, they are expected to.  If they are unable to, then they will be taught it.  If they are still unable, they will be helped and hugged.  Never blamed.  Never made to feel bad.

But back to consistency…

Without consistency at home (and I struggle the most with this – always have) the kids get mixed messages and it throws them off.  When our morning routine involves a good morning, the opening of the shutters to let in the light, getting a glass of water to drink, a piece of fruit to eat, and then helping make breakfast and lunches, it messes up the children when the routine is fixed some days but not every day?

Even before the kids come down for breakfast they must get dressed, make their beds and on Monday’s and Friday’s made sure their bedroom floors are empty from toys they do not want to have stored in the vacuum cleaner.  So if they come down one day not dressed, they must be sent back upstairs to be dressed, so they understand the importance of following our routine.  Our consistency.

To be consistent is not something that can be accomplished in one day.  It’s a long-term challenge.

It’s also a long-term challenge when you work hard at home to develop a routine, have the kids buy-in, then be consistent with that routine, but when the kids go to school, or to extra-curricular programs the same does not hold true?  With different teachers, or teachers who do not understand the importance of organization and consistency, and that by putting in that effort in each and every kid, the benefit pays off ten-fold in the near future and for the rest of their lives.

Each and every year I sit down with my kids teachers to let them know what works for my child and what doesn’t. What should be brought to my attention and what should be handled by the child themselves. I do this so that the teachers know that we are on their side, we support them, and that while we check in often, it’s not out of concern for the children, but rather to ensure that they are learning, contributing and being good members of their classroom.

Imagine the surprise of finding out that one of these external providers of education are failing your child, and doing so in a big way.

Imagine the feeling of emptiness knowing that all that support and information your poured into the teachers and all the feedback you received was not worth the air it was breathed into.

I’ve been nice, and I’ve been kind and I will not give them the satisfaction of removing him from this situation and going out of my way to find him a new program to attend.  I’m going to fix this. We’re going to fix this, and at the end of the day, my kids are going to get the consistency, organization and respect they deserve and someone else is getting my hard-earned money.

The problem is that until all the pieces have fallen into place – whether we stay or whether we go – I feel like I’m in a state of paralysis by analysis.

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Ponders His Usefulness


The absolute best trait a person with ADD-like symptoms possesses is the ability to think about 45 different things over the course of one full minute.

Since today is Thursday, I’d like to put together 13 items that have crossed my mind in the past 13 minutes – many of course coming as a result of something one of my children has said to me, about me, recently when he questioned my (in)ability to help his with his homework.

  1. On the weekend my son needed help with a project for his math enrichment class. I wanted him to at least try it before asking for help, but I knew that he was hungry and when he’s hungry he is helluva cranky. Not realizing that his crankiness was meant for his mother whom he wanted to work with, my offer of help generated this reply from him; “I DON’T want your help! You’re useless!!”

This lead to #12.

  1. Being called “useless” by a 7-year-old child with low blood sugar is hilarious. I didn’t want to help him anyways! It’s the weekend and I have other things to do… Even things for (gasp) me!

Then I started thinking… See #11.

  1. Then as I set out looking to help one of my other children with schoolwork, I started to think about what my son called me when I came to the conclusion he’s off base. I’m 43-years-old. I’m married. I’m a great dad. I have 3 children, and have 3-years of accounting qualifications under my belt, plus a MBA which I earned while that child was a baby sleeping only 2-3 hours at a time for almost the first year of his life! I am far from useless.

Or…

  1. They say (and I don’t know who “they” are or if this even counts as a fact) that if you can question whether you are “crazy” then you must not be “crazy”. Granted terminology is terrible, but what if I’ve been telling myself that I am useful all these years but in the eyes of my kids, I’m already a dinosaur incapable of helping out wit Grade 2 math… Maybe I do belong in the museum of life.

  2. Or… If I was subconsciously pulling a fast one on my kids to get out of having to help them with their math. I mean when I was growing up and my family decided that I needed to help make lunches before bed, I sabotaged their lunches and was never asked to help out again.

  3. But after a hug from mummy and a handful of grapes, I could hear the cries for “DADDY!!!” from the child who actually needed my help… I think.

  4. I made him apologize. I didn’t need it, but I wanted him to get used to saying sorry. It’s not easy for everyone to say but it’s powerful and liberating to clear your conscience.

  5. Even at 7-years-old, children do not like to be forced to apologize, yet when they know they need help and you are their only option, you get the short, unemotional, “sorry”.

  6. Then we got down to business, and after 2-hours or being creative and cutting, solving, gluing and decorating this project, the light-bulb went on in both of our heads.

  7. It had become my project and it had to be good. Really good.

  8. Daddy was doing his project and it was looking good… Really good.

  9. I stepped back and said to him, “Hey man! It’s your project, not mine. We’re going to do whatever you want to do. Please don’t let me take over or tell you what to put where I think it goes. It’s all yours (and in the back of my mind, while he’s staring at this piece of art, I know he’s thinking it’s awesome and I’m thinking – still think I’m useless?)

  10. He takes over. He colours, aligns, decorates, fixes, alters, and adjusts the project and now it’s ALL his. It’s amazing,

He turns to me with his eyes wide as saucers and says; “I love you Daddy!”

Totally worth it!