1. Your kids are teenagers. Those cute little things they used to say and do as toddlers were easy to write about, but now that they’ve entered the teen years you are suddenly faced with more complex issues that aren’t so pithily expressed in a humorous anecdote.

That, and the fact that your kids have learned to say, “Don’t you dare blog about that!”

2. You’re busier than you ever thought you’d be. I don’t care how over-scheduled you think your preschool and elementary kids are, it’s not going to compare with what’s coming. As they get older, their activities multiply, and seem to be scheduled earlier in the morning and later at night. Oh, and between school, sports, Scouts, volunteering, and everything else, you can kiss most of your free time goodbye.

When, exactly, are you supposed to find the time to write on your blog?

3. You smartened up and started going to bed at a decent hour. Yes, it’s true, sleep > blogging. That great idea you had for a blog post? It’s going to be gone when you get up in the morning, count on it. You could’ve just stayed up late to write it out, but the call of your pillow has grown louder in recent years.

And that’s a good thing. Don’t fight it. You need your sleep.

4. New dads and moms are doing it better. They’ve taken the art of parent blogging to a whole new level. I mean, they have annual conventions now! And teams of marketers ready to make social media stars out of them. They test cars and interview actors. They know how to reach their audience on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They craft their posts to reach major media, with the ultimate goal of going viral.

Like a seasoned veteran athlete, much of your strength, stamina, and passion has diminished, and you see that it’s time to step aside as the young ones pass you by.

5. You’ve said all you have to say about being a parent. Over thousands of blog posts, you’re pretty sure you’ve covered most of the important stuff. It’s hard to get excited about the issues when it all feels like history repeating itself. That’s not really true, as there’s always something new when it comes to parenting, but after a few years you start to actually think you’ve written about every subject that now comes to mind. Or at least you seem to remember some other blogger writing about it (and better than you). So why waste your time rehashing the same old thing? Eventually, you believe you have nothing more to write.

But then, one night, when sleep doesn’t come, and you have some time to think about your neglected old dad blog, you wonder if it’s time to just say goodbye and shut it down. That’s when you remember that being a parent never ends. So why should your blog end?

You scrabble together a post about why you haven’t been posting, and it kind of feels like the old days when you’d sit at the computer late at night and put your thoughts down for the world to see. And then readers would comment, and you’d have a conversation with other parents, and it was all very fresh and exciting.

So, there you go. Five reasons why I haven’t been posting to my dad blog. This might be happening to you. I suggest you write about it on your blog and see what happens. I’m certainly going to be interested in what happens with mine!

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It’s All Good

by Idaho Dad on March 17, 2014

How was I supposed to know that a simple remark to my kids would trigger a slow descent into madness?

It all began during my daughter’s grammar lessons. I was teaching her the difference between the words well and good.

This is easy to explain to anyone. Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb.

Examples: “This is good ice cream,” and “The girl performed well on her test.”

There’s a slight exception for well when it concerns describing a person’s health, such as “Dad is not feeling well,” but other than that, this is a straightforward grammar lesson.

I should’ve just stopped there, but no, I had to say it to both my kids: “A common mistake that some people make is to use good as an adverb. Next time you’re around a group of people, listen for how they mix up these words.”

That did it. Because now I started listening. At the store, in friendly conversations, watching TV and movies, on the phone… I had my radar on and I didn’t know how to turn it off.

Across the board, regardless of education or age, we are unbelievably bad about using the word good as an adverb. Now, I’m not the grammar police, and there is a part of me that doesn’t much care how you want to talk or write.

But I’m trying to teach my kids that the English language does have some hard and fast rules, and this is one of the easy ones to remember.

I never realized just how many instances of this abuse would reach my ears until I started paying attention. My son says I am now having a noticeable physical reaction, like a twitch, when I hear someone say, “You did good,” or “The team played good,” or some other example.

In the interest of my mental health, I might have to lower my standards and accept this new use of the word.

Someday maybe I can talk good like everyone else.

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Men With Hats

by Idaho Dad on March 4, 2014

So, my daughter has taken up knitting. And I was the recipient of her second creation (the first was for herself).

Soon, a scarf, then a sweater, maybe some socks. I’ll never have to go clothes shopping again.

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I’m A Stay-At-Home Dad

by Idaho Dad on February 25, 2014

I’m revisiting an article I wrote for the San Diego Reader in 2005. Because I’m still a stay-at-home dad, and I still mean every word I wrote.

Hi, I’m a stay-at-home dad.

Now, before your eyes glaze over and you slowly back away, let me just tell you why I am one. Most boys don’t spend their childhood dreaming of one day changing diapers, emptying dishwashers, washing pee-soaked bed sheets, kissing boo-boos, and learning to make chicken broccoli casserole. They want to be firemen, baseball stars, soldiers.

As they get older, most men strive for career, status, and a lower golf handicap. Me, I had early dreams of a Hollywood career, collaborating with the likes of Spielberg, Lucas, and Coppola. Later, after grad school, there were visions of corporate ladders and hostile takeovers.

But once my first child was born, everything changed, and my focus was placed squarely on the infant in my arms. Soon, my wife and I realized that one of us had to be home with him permanently. By financial default (my wife made more money than me), I was the lucky winner.

At first I had no idea how to be a father. Not having one around as a kid, I had no male role models to look to other than the ones I’d seen on TV. So I thought, “What would Charles Ingalls do? Or John Walton? Mike Brady? How about Darren Stevens?!”

Actually, I discovered a really good role model on TV in Fred Rogers. I listen to him most carefully still. He’s not just talking to pre-schoolers when he smiles into the camera and doles out sage advice… He’s talking to us grown-ups too when he says things like “You don’t have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel acceptable.”

I learn a little wisdom from The Neighborhood most every single day. Plus, it’s fun to see how graham crackers and crayons are made.

So I found myself in this new role, and it didn’t take long to discover that it’s one of the most difficult, exhausting, emotionally-draining jobs in the world. It’s also the most rewarding. I get paid with hugs, smiles, and the occasional funny quote from my kids, like when my son learned that some animals are herbivores and some are carnivores, so he figured, “Hey, Daddy, I’m a Candyvore!”

I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than to be my kids’ dad. It’s how I introduce myself to people when they ask what I do for a living. And it sure feels good to say that. I must be pretty good at my job, since just the other day my son said “When I grow up I want to be a daddy too!”

Taking on the role of Daddy meant giving up a few other things that once defined me, including a few friends who didn’t understand why I was no longer sitting at a desk and earning an income.

But I don’t really miss the old life. This new one brings new adventures and challenges every single day. And I go out and solve the problems and figure out the challenges, every now and then seeking advice from the memory of some old TV show, like Little House on the Prairie when my daughter tells a fib, or The Brady Bunch when my son teases his sister.

I’ve long given up attempting to explain to people I meet what I do and why I do it. Most folks just don’t understand. They’re either confused, condescending, or highly critical. Surprisingly, stay-at-home moms are the worst, almost like I’m attempting to gain membership into their exclusive club. The moms don’t accept me, the dads don’t understand me.

Luckily I meet enough welcoming parents, including other stay-at-home dads, who also realize that having one parent at home with the kids is the best way to raise them. Daycares are fine for single moms and dads who have no other support, but when a child has two parents in their lives it should have at least one of them as the daily caregiver.

So, I’m a stay-at-home dad. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to feel sorry. I love what I’m doing (except for folding laundry) and, more importantly, I love my kids. Doing right by them is just about the only thing that’s really important to me. Why would I want to do anything else?

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Bad Things Happen

February 5, 2014

Parents play so many roles, but one of the most important is that of protector. I still remember the feeling that came over me when we brought our first child home. Driving away from the hospital, I was on full alert, ready to defend my newborn son with every ounce of my being. I had [...]

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A Bad Dad

January 28, 2014

It’s been awhile since I saw a bad dad in public. I mean, it’s hard to tell just by looking at them. You have to wait until they actually start parenting to see their lack of skills, and there are way too many dads who don’t even bother. So, I was in an outdoors store, [...]

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Ten Great Biographies for Kids

January 14, 2014

There are valuable lessons to be learned from studying the great men and women of history. You get to read about courage, determination, creativity, leadership, and so many other positive virtues. Plus, nothing livens up history like getting to know the stories of the real people who lived it. Here are ten biographies that are [...]

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The Sinking Feeling

January 13, 2014

As parents, it seems like not a day goes by when we don’t get some sense of dread or disappointment. Thankfully, these feelings are usually minor. We get over them quickly, or at least with very little pain and suffering. Here are my Top Five Sinking Feelings (that don’t involved death, destruction, or body parts): [...]

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The Fog of Winter

December 31, 2013

Winter Fog. Moscow, Idaho

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Forgotten Toys

December 11, 2013

Christmas is coming, that time of year when the old toys are pushed aside by the new toys. My kids are like I was at that age. The polite term is “collector” but, in truth, it might be bordering on “hoarder.” We save everything. Of course, over the decades things do get lost. And forgotten. [...]

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