I Wish Moms Were Better Parents

I must have received about a dozen emails/Facebook messages telling me to watch Louis CK tell Conan we need to elect Hillary because we need a tough bitch mom as president.

Won’t be long now before it turns into the general stupidity known as the parenting competition in which moms and dads debate who works harder.

It is one of the dumber arguments/conversations you can have because there are no winners.

Some of the guys get bent out of shape about this because this sort of thing lends itself to a slew of jokes in which dads are portrayed as inept buffoons.

Those generally run alongside or with the posts/memes in which moms try to demonstrate how much more work they do than dads.

I tend to look at a lot of those as women competing with other women for who can gain the title of Queen or Super Mom.

The point is I don’t spend a ton of time thinking about any of this and am writing about it because the competition isn’t helpful and I am a blogger who is looking for some additional traffic.

I Wish Moms Were Better Parents

There was a time when I felt differently and found the “dads are buffoon/inept” posts and jokes to be annoying but not anymore.

If you are married with kids the only other person whose opinion about how much work you do that counts is your spouse.

If you and him/her are cool with the division of labor there is no reason to cry or scream about what is going on.

Granted it is nice to be appreciated and the world is a better place when we are kind to each all around but really, I have too much going on to go completely nuts about this.

Sixteen years of parenting and the challenges of parenting teens has me laser focused on trying to be a good dad.

Frankly the conversation about who does more often feels like the Hillary versus Trump discussion.

There is a whole lot of shouting and finger pointing but not much agreement and I don’t see the benefit.

But I do know that using linkbait for headlines and subheads is an effective way to generate traffic.

What I Really Wish For Is Cooperation

If you dig into the archives you’ll see lots of posts about politics and religion here but you won’t see much of that now.

It was great for traffic but I got tired of the arguing and the stupid emails/comments that seemed to get tired into it all.

You can call that my segue into saying I wish our government was better at working together and I wish that asking for more cooperation wasn’t a task.

More cooperation is really what I want to see. It would make for a much more pleasant environment in so many areas.

I suppose that leads me to ask do people really want to be described or known as a tough bitch/asshole.

Seems to me that is not really a compliment or necessary.

And for those of you who haven’t see the bit I referred to at the top here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Almost True Tales Of Fatherhood & Other Stuff

You have 12 links below that consist of almost true tales of fatherhood and other stuff.

Some these stories are pure fact, some are pure fictiona and some fall somewhere in between. Ask for a purpose or a point and I’ll give you an answer.

Because.

Because why?

Well, let me think about it.

I dream by day

I have many dreams and have been privileged to live a few out already and am actively working towards living out more.

This post is part of that. It is me reaching out and tapping people on the shoulder and asking them to take a look at some posts they might not have read.

That is why I grabbed these 12 and suggest you try reading some here too.

  1. The Broad Shoulders of Fatherhood
  2. A Letter To My Children-2011
  3. Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms
  4. One Slightly Used Pump For Sale
  5. Dad’s Life
  6. Teenagers Are Harder Than Toddlers
  7. A Father Describes Parenting
  8. The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To Me
  9. Of Dads and Daughters
  10. The Greatest Dad Blogger You Never Heard Of
  11. A Whiter Shade Of Pale
  12. It Wasn’t Worth Getting Arrested

What you see above isn’t the only selection or sample to choose from.

There are many more, but we all need to start somewhere. If you like what you see I encourage you to keep reading and or commenting.

Feel free to reach out and let me know if you want tips, suggestions or advice for where to go for more.

Thanks,

J

Who Will Fill The Empty Seats At Your Table?

Bookends
Some people write about the best recipes for cooking a cat not because it makes for good linkbait but because they are lost in memories of the place where they found and lost their innocence and confidences.

When they think about the ghost you cannot see they wonder what happens when the house you grew up in, the one that has been the rock and the anchor of your family for five decades is prepared to be sold someone outside of the family.

****

Ma and Pa Steiner met with a realtor and are actively pursuing this move to sell my their house and I feel a bit like I got punched in the gut.

It is uncomfortable for a host of reasons not the least of which is I feel a bit foolish for being upset by this. It is four walls and a roof, nothing more than drywall and paint.

Ask my children and they’ll tell you I have told them many times that the people you are with make a house into a home.

People are what power moments and help us turn the ordinary into the extraordinary but no matter how many times I say these words in silence I am still unsettled by it.

It is four years since my last grandparent moved on to whatever comes next. There is An Empty Place At The Table that will never be filled in the same way because they are gone and all I have are the moments that we shared.

The baton has been passed and all of the generations have moved to the next step. It is part of the proverbial cycle of life and perfectly natural but it still feels a bit strange to me to realize that I am not the kid anymore.

I remember my grandparents telling me stories about their grandparents but I don’t think I really understood or appreciated what it was they were sharing.

I do now, but I didn’t then.

You can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.

Who Will Fill The Empty Seats At Your Table?

When I was born all of my grandparents had sold their homes and moved into apartments so I haven’t any memories from grandpa or grandma’s ‘house.’

It is different for my children. Don’t know that it is better or worse, just different.

They are no happier than I am about the coming sale and keep trying to come up with ways for me to or my siblings to buy the house.

But even though I am torn about the move I am grateful for all of the good memories that are tied up in it. Grateful for the gift of gratitude and eager to continue trying to help my children understand this is not something to be insouciant about.

We have more than many and that is invaluable.

My children don’t ask who will fill the empty seats at the table because their primary memories of family meals are punctuated by two sets of grandparents and a smattering of great-grandparents.

Sometimes it makes me sad they didn’t get to know them better, but then again they got to know some of them and that is more than many.

And now for a musical interlude:

All My Life Is a Circle

Midnight approaches on a week night and I am back at the computer pointing-and-clicking my way through cyberspace.

Got a pair of Bose headphones that I purchased because they were supposed to provide great sound and noise reduction but I am not convinced they are as good as advertised.

Thinking about the house and all of the work that is required to get it into shape to move.

The last time Ma & Pa moved was when they were twenty-somethings who hadn’t finished having children.

I tell them they need to give themselves more time to work on this because when you are in your seventies you can’t expect to have the same energy as when you were younger.

They tell me not to worry and mom says “I had four kids by 30 and I didn’t have a nanny. You have no idea how much energy you had. My friends used to look at you and ask if you ever stopped moving.”

I smile at mom and keep silent. There is no reason to belabor the point, they know how old they are and they know this will be harder than they think.

And then a fragment from the past floats to the surface and I hear my parents talking to each other about how much work is involved in moving my grandparents.

That must be around 20 years or so ago and now instead of them worrying about my grandparents I am worrying about my kids grandparents.

Where I Became A Writer/The Problem With Bloggers

It is Spring of ’74 and mom is pregnant with my baby sisters. She tells me there are two babies inside her and says I can help come up with names.

I tell her I don’t want any help from my middle sister because I am a big boy who can come up with good names. She tells me that I need to be a good big brother to my sister and to the babies, even if they aren’t the little brothers I want.

“Go tell your sister a story.”

It is not an uncommon request and it wasn’t unusual for me to do so.

In many ways my house is where I first became a writer and a person who loved to tell stories. But back then I never second guessed myself or worried about whether my tales were good enough to be told.

I shared them with whomever would listen and moved on.

There was no concern about whether it was good enough to get some recognition. No concern about whether it was good enough to promote or conversation about how to get hooked up with more deals.

It was just my stories and I.

Sometimes I need to remind myself about those days. You don’t become a better writer by promoting your work to everyone who will read or listen.

You become a better writer by writing.

I am going to miss my house.

Parental Responsibilities & Obligations

Charles Barkley was right when he said that parents should be role models. I like Chuck and it is not because he dunked on Godzilla, but because some people need to be reminded that parents have responsibilities and obligations to our children. It is our job to teach our kids how to become productive members of society. My kids know that even if I was a billionaire I would still expect them to go to school and get a job. They need the education that comes from both sides of the fence. They need to understand the importance of a good education and what it means to get their hands dirty.

That is literal, the dirty part I mean. I want them to understand the difference between actual labor and sitting behind a desk. But in regard to this post that is neither here nor there. The real point is that I am struggling with something today.

The fine people at Klout have provided me with a perk– unlimited access to the Pac-10 Tournament. It is very cool. I have great seats to go watch the tournament. Later today I am going to grab my son and head out to go watch a game or two. So you may be wondering why I am struggling with this at all. Free tickets, great seats, father/son time- sounds perfect. Well, I have to pull him early from soccer practice and that bothers me a bit.

It bothers me because I stress the importance of being a team player and how that means that you show up for practice every time. It feels a bit hypocritical to talk about being a team player and then pull him early. I suppose that it would be different if there something that happened on a regular basis, but…

Still Coping with Sick Parents

flatteryFifteen years ago my uncle died. He was my father’s younger and only brother. He was 49. At the time I knew that was young, but it didn’t strike me as to how very young it was. It is really now that I am about to crest the hill and turn 40 that I see it as being half a life, but is related to this somewhat tangentially.

His death marked a turning point in my relationship and understanding of my father. I see it a bit as a benchmark for when I began to truly recognize that my father was just a man and subject to the same laws and science as all men are.

It was the first time that I really saw him in a light where he wasn’t our shining knight, protector of the family. I stood back and watched as he and my grandfather hugged each other. I watched as a father and son coped with their loss and tried to make sense of it. That was really when I understood that though he was my father, there was much more to him.

And now I find myself in a different sort of position than I did back then. Now I am more than a son and a brother, but a father as well. Now I understand the responsibility of caring for a family and trying to be the rock, even when it feels like the world around you is collapsing.

A short while ago I received a telephone call from my mother and let her fill me in on my father’s latest medical procedure. It was a good call. His health is ok, pooey, pooey, but it is not what you would call stellar. The man has a lot of medical challenges. There are some serious issues there and I find myself worrying about him.

Is it fair to call him a sick parent. I don’t know that I can say that because his health is certainly better than others I know. But, it is a precarious thing as there are any number of things that could send it in the wrong direction.

Most of the time it is not a conscious worry. To the best of our knowledge there is no reason to think that we are going to suddenly lose him, but then again it is not impossible either. Given the things that have happened, that history makes it hard not to be concerned.

I haven’t got any brothers, plenty of brother-in-laws, but no brothers. So if heaven forbid something happens to him I am the last male connection to certain things.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to buy sorrow early. But it is a bit surreal. I didn’t expect to really worry about my parents until they were somewhere in their eighties or nineties. Maybe that is ridiculous, maybe it is naive, but it was what I expected.

Instead I find myself sandwiched in this place where I worry about them and my family. So here I sit sharing these thoughts with whomever reads them. Here I sit thinking about how many of my friends have already lost a parent, many of them at a very young age. Here I sit with gratitude for everything, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling nervous from time to time.

It is a screwy world, but it is the only we have got so I suppose we’ll just have to make do. In the meantime I’ll share one more thought with you and that is this.

I wonder when my own children will go through this process. I wonder when I’ll cease being superman and become Clark Kent, just another ordinary Joe. I don’t really mind that all, I just hope that it doesn’t happen until they become adults. It would be nice to keep this going for a bit longer.