Six Signs You’ve Been Spending Too Much Time With Your Kids


As parents, we consistently struggle to spend quality time with our offspring, but is there such a thing as too much quality time with your kids? With all due respect to the attachment parenting aficionados out there, hell yes. If you’re a stay at home mom or dad, you’re often spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week with your kid. I like my kids, but I also like riding bikes and having sex, and I wouldn’t want to do either of those things every single day all the damned time. My God, think of the chafing.

And that’s really what we’re talking about here, “parental chafing”. When you spend hour after hour with your kids, your patience gets thinner, your temper gets shorter, and your outbursts grow more frequent. You’re emotionally and psychologically “chafed,” so every little thing (fixing dinner, giving tubbies, mediating a property dispute between the kids) becomes as annoying as a marathoner’s sore nipples.

The trick, is to catch yourself before you go over the deep end become that mom from Mommy Dearest, or any Dad from the ‘50s. So, here are five signs you’ve been spending too much time with your kids. If you recognize any two of these signs, fly to Vegas without your children immediately.

1)   You have a temporary tattoo on your arm that says “I Heart Ballet,” even though you do not heart ballet. It will last for the next seven days.

2)   Your diet consists solely of tube yogurt and string cheese. Actually, anything shaped like a penis. Mini carrots. Hot dogs. Is anyone else suddenly concerned by the phallic nature of kid-friendly foods?

3)   When you’re in bed with your significant other, and things get heated, you accidentally recite the theme song to Doc McStuffins: “It’s OK if you giggle, this will only tickle a little.”

4)   Taking the trash to the curb while drinking a beer feels like a night out.

5)   You’re covered in glitter, but you have absolutely no recollection of how it got there. Like you’ve been roofied by fairies.

6) You’ve started prescribing “Time Outs” left and right, mostly for incidental infractions like “using too many conjunctions in a single sentence,” because the only peace and quiet you get is when your child is being punished in his/her room.

Frank and Beans


Something I never thought I’d have say to another person: “Dude, put your pants on. You’re gonna burn your penis.”

Because most nights, my son wants to help me cook dinner. But some nights, he doesn’t want to wear clothes. As if trying to keep all of his fingers off of the hot stove wasn’t enough, now I’ve got another appendage to worry about. I’m not sure why the kid likes to be naked, but from what I can tell from informal surveys, it’s a universal issue with preschool boys. I mean, I get it. Penises are fun, why wouldn’t you want to just hang out with it? But I’m getting a little tired of looking out the window, and seeing my kid with his pants down in the front yard…peeing on the fence…waving at the neighbors.

Sure, he’s young enough now for the little old ladies walking their dogs by our house to laugh it off. But the kid’s getting older. It’ll go from awkwardly cute to awkwardly illegal pretty damn quick.

I blame my wife, who insists that his predilection for nudity is perfectly normal for a boy his age. Maybe. But I’m skeptical; she wasn’t raised with the sexual hang-ups and body guilt that have made the fully-functioning adult that I am today. I had the benefit of being raised in both a traditional Southern household and a Catholic household. In my mind, anything you do naked is a mortal sin. Even taking a shower requires three Hail Mary’s. We thought the Jesus statue at our church was a little risqué. I mean, why can’t he wear a t-shirt?

So I’m doing my best to negate my wife’s well-adjusted approach to innocent nudity and instill the same hang-ups in my children that I enjoyed. I may permanently fuck them up emotionally and psychologically, but at least I’ll avoid having to explain a second-degree burn to my son’s Frank and Beans to the suspicious ER doctor…and subsequent Social Services advocate.

Reason Why Hanging with Preschoolers is Cool #5


Communication Will Never Be the Same

Occasionally, you get to send this text: “The panties are in your mailbox.”

And you’ll get to send this text to another stay at home dad, a guy you play poker with, a guy you often drink beers with, and a guy you occasionally have play dates with. Because when you have play dates that involve four-year-old girls, accidents happen. And when accidents happen, you have to borrow a pair of undies for your daughter, and then you find yourself returning those undies at a later date while walking the dog around the neighborhood. So you stuff the panties in the mailbox and send the text.

On a completely separate occasion, you’ll get a text from your wife that simply says “Balloons!!!” which will send you into a tourettes-like frenzy of profanity and derail your entire afternoon. One word, three exclamation marks, and it becomes the most important thing in your world that day.

You will also have entire conversations with other adults that include phrases like, “I think the new My Little Pony cartoons are a little too dark.”

You’ll say this because it’s true. Not the old ones that we watched when we were kids, but the new ones. They’re really disturbing. Ditto Care Bears. That shit’s kind of fucked up. And so you’ll have long conversations with other parents about how disturbing Grumpy Bear is, or how you don’t trust any bear that can shoot a rainbow out of its belly button, and you’ll do this with a straight face, because you watch way more cartoon TV than regular TV.

Reason Why Hanging with Preschoolers is Cool #4


There’s No Such Thing as Stranger Danger Anymore

 At the playground, kids you don’t know will come up to you and tell you the most interesting facts. Like, “My mommy didn’t have a husband when I was born.”

Who says kids don’t share?

Within a two minute conversation with this little girl (we’ll call her Ansel, because that was her name), I learned that she’s moving to Alabama, her dad could be one of three different gentlemen, and she likes apples. She could eat a whole bucket of them.

Of course, it makes me wonder what “facts” my kids are telling random people around town. “Sometimes daddy likes to give mommy special hugs.” or “My daddy says he writes articles but he just watches cartoons all day.” or “we had chocolate cake for breakfast.”

I suppose it’s only a matter of time before my kids out me for the half-ass parent that I really am.

Have your kids ever outed you in a big or small way?



Reason why hanging with preschoolers is cool: # 2

They try to put jewelry on the cat.

And get this: Cats don’t like to wear jewelry. Cartoonish antics ensue. I wish I could think of an appropriate metaphor that would describe the struggle between Murray the cat and my two kids as they try to dress him up with a necklace and bracelet, but the only thing I can come up with is it’s like watching a preschooler try to put jewelry on a cat.



Dear Santa, Let’s Get Real


Let’s be honest:  I’m not sure which side of the your master list I fall on this year–naughty or nice? I’ve certainly had my share of indiscretions in 2012. The “great beer pong misadventure” probably tops the list (my apologies to the city of Atlanta for the trail of vomit and clothing I left on your sidewalks). But overall, I think I’m al alright guy. Case in point, I’m about to come clean to you. I’ve been lying to you for over 30 years now, sending you half-truth Christmas lists every December because I was too ashamed to be honest. Here’s an example: Remember when I was 12? I didn’t really want season tickets to the Braves. What I really wanted for Christmas was to see Tiffany Altman naked. But how do you write that in a Christmas letter? That your mom sends?

But I’m mailing my own letters now, and the letters of my children, so I figure it’s time to come clean and get straight to the point. Forget the Smart Wool socks I’ve previously asked for. Ditto World Peace—we’d just fuck it up anyway. Here’s my real Christmas List.

12 Things I Really Want For Christmas

1)   I want my kids to eat all of their dinner, just once. Every chicken finger, every macaroni noodle, every sliced grape and green bean. And then, maybe after they clean their plate, they could look at me and say, “Hey Dad, thanks for cooking a delicious yet nutritious meal. We appreciate you.”

2)   The next time I go away on a work trip, I want my wife to stop me as I get into the taxi and give me a naughty video that I “shouldn’t watch on the plane.” You know, like in that Samsung phone commercial. What a great wife that lady is! For any female readers out there, your husband wants you to make one of these videos too. Trust me.

3)    Six hours of complete silence

4)    A butler.

5)    A golf cart.

6)    I want couples with one kid to stop complaining about how difficult parenthood is, or how tired they are. Really? It’s tough to get one kid to sleep? To bathe one kid? To take one kid to the grocery store? People with mono-babies can suck it. You’re not allowed to talk to me until number two comes around. I don’t go around telling people with quadruplets how difficult raising twins is, now do I?

7)    A babysitter that also mows the lawn.

8)    A recording contract for Toots and the McGoots.

9)    Let’s talk more about this video I want my wife to make me.

10)  Two kids that wake up at 6am, look around and say, “let’s go back to bed until 8.” Or maybe one of them says, “I’m not that tired. I think I’ll just get up and vacuum and organize the playroom.”

11)  Bombproof immune systems for the kids…or an antibiotic drip. Whichever is more practical for the elves.

12)  A built-in vacuum system for the mini-van that sucks up goldfish the second the kids drop them.

Here’s Something the Other Tour Guides Won’t Tell You


When you have kids, people tell you a lot of things. Everyone tells you that you’re not going to sleep for at least a year. They tell you that kids are expensive, start saving for braces. They tell you that kids are finicky eaters. They tell you that tuition will cost $100,000 a year by the time your kid will be going to State. They tell you that you can kiss your hobbies goodbye. No more model trains or triathlons or furry porn…whatever you’re into, you won’t have time for it anymore. When you have kids, people tell you all kinds of things about how to get a baby to sleep, or how to transition from training wheels to a big boy bike.

But when you have kids, nobody bothers to tell you that one day, for no reason whatsoever, your kids will decide that they don’t want to look at doors anymore and will cover their eyes when approaching a door of any kind. The front door, the car door, the bathroom door at the mall… It will happen when you’re late for ballet. Or trying to get to church, or the bank before it closes. Maybe it’ll be a Tuesday or a Saturday, I don’t know, but it will happen and it will completely shut you down for 24 hours.

It’s tough enough to get my kids out the door on a good day, throw in “door-a-phobia” and suddenly, I’m operating way above my pay grade. My kids have a 70 percent success rate of walking through a door without suffering head trauma when they’re using all five senses. Take away sight and the success rate drops drastically. I can’t wait to try to explain this to DSS.

And forget trying to reason with your child. They’re three. There’s no reasoning with a three year old. You can bribe, but you can’t reason. And forget trying to ask your child why they suddenly can’t stand to look at a door anymore, because they’ll give an answer that goes something like this: “well, if I don’t want to look at doors anymore, then I don’t want to look at doors anymore.”

When you have kids, nobody tells you that those kids will do strange things, like try to lick you, or only eat orange food, or refuse to flush the toilet because they can’t bare to say goodbye to their poop, or suddenly decide that they don’t want to look at doors anymore.

When you have kids, nobody tells you that those kids will be weird.

Democracy in Action

Last Friday, we decided to take the kids to vote in this little thing called the Presidential Election. Typically, I like to vote on Election Day—hamming it up with the volunteers and seeing all the old people dressed to the nines to practice their constitutional right makes me fall in love with Democracy all over again. But standing in an hour-long line with two bored preschoolers is enough to make anyone hate democracy, so we decided to vote early. The line was short and the kids were really excited to witness democracy in action. I was actually surprised at how enthusiastic they were when I told them we were going to vote. They jumped up and down and clapped. It took me a good 15 minutes to realize they thought I was saying we were going to go “boat,” not “vote.” Their enthusiasm waned when we got to the polling center and there was no water or boats.

But we pressed on, determined to teach our kids why America is the greatest country in the world (because after a year of attack ads, scandals, predictions, and crazy punditry from Fox News, we get to release all of our pent up energy by filling out a tiny bubble on a scantron, casting our vote for the person we think should spend the next four years steering our great nation into what will likely be an End Of Days scenario, if the aforementioned crazy Fox pundits are correct. Oh, and by the way kids, your vote doesn’t really matter unless you live in Ohio). But I digress. Back to democracy.

I spent some time trying to explain to the kids how everyone in the country gets to cast their vote for elected officials. “Sort of like when I ask you what TV show you want to watch,” I explained. The metaphor fell flat because typically, I discount their votes for Barbie and just put on Phineas and Ferb because Phineas and Ferb is awesome and Barbie is not awesome.

The kids may not have a firm grasp of the democratic process, or understand what the President of the United States does, but they know how to doodle on pieces of paper. And that’s exactly what they did. They each took a ballot and drew shapes, scribbled their name, created elaborate treasure maps with volcanoes and crocodiles and mountains. My daughter spent a lot of time circling the face of Mitt Romney, which, I have to admit, made me a little nervous. It would be a hilarious cosmic joke if my wife and I turned out two little Alex P. Keatons.

In the end, wisdom prevailed. When I asked my son who he’s voting for, he said, “Cooper,” and wrote his big “C” on the ballot before turning it in. (Who among us hasn’t resisted the urge to write in your own name on that presidential ballot?). For a moment, I was in a daze, imagining a world where my 3.5-year old son Cooper was President. Imagine if you will, an America that follows the whims of an easily distracted preschooler (Insert George W. Bush joke here).

As for my daughter, when I asked her who she wants to be President of the United States, she told me straight up: Christmas Lights.

A house divided. But at least they voted.

Excuse Me Sir, Is That A Purse?

I need to start carrying a purse. My kids are old enough now that we’re beyond the “daddy bag” phase in our lives (thankfully, I no longer need to carry six diapers, a packet of wipes, pacifiers, and a menagerie of plush toys with us everywhere) but I still find myself toting around random shit, like half-eaten Cliff bars and Tinkerbell figurines that my kids simply can’t leave the house without. Cargo pockets just don’t cut it.

Do they make manly purses? Something in a Desert Storm camo, perhaps? Maybe with those tacky silver silhouettes of naked ladies you see on mud flaps.

A fanny pack would actually be great, but I’m not European enough to pull off a fanny pack.

I suppose I could go with a messenger bag, but if I’m not on a bike zipping through traffic with legal documents strapped to my back, can I really call it a messenger bag? Wouldn’t it just be an oversized purse with reflective tape?

Kanye West carries a purse, why can’t I? (Please don’t answer that.)

Why do kids have to come with so many accessories in the first place? I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without an emergency juice box, a six-pack of string cheese, and an extra pair of socks. Why is that?

Don’t answer that either. I already know the answer: Because every once in a while, preschool kids pee themselves. Or throw a tantrum because there’s no string cheese in the car. Or suddenly look down at their feet and realize they’re not wearing Princess Tiana socks and they just CAN’T FACE THE WORLD WITHOUT THEIR PRINCESS TIANA SOCKS!

Yesterday, I was determined to take the kids on a couple of errands without stuffing my pockets with an arsenal of snacks and emergency wardrobe options. I got halfway to the door before turning back for two water bottles, a pack of crackers, some beef jerky, a toy train and a small Avengers notebook/crayon set.

We were only leaving the house for an hour, but I felt the need to pack an Apocalypse Survivor Starter Kit.

It sounds ridiculous that I can’t venture out into public without an arsenal of snacks and diversionary tactics, but it’s not ridiculous. It’s better parenting through paranoia. This is what goes through my head when I’m prepping a trip into the Great Unknown (AKA Target) with the kids:

What if we’re sitting in traffic and the kids demand to doodle? Better pack some crayons and paper.

What if we’re standing in line and their blood sugar crashes? Better pack some gummy bears.

What if there’s a potty emergency but only one toilet in the store being occupied by a childless guy who doesn’t understand the urgency of the phrase, “daddy, I think I need to go potty now.” Better pack an extra change of clothes.

What if the pediatrician has missed an iron deficiency in one of my children and they become anemic and begin craving dirt (it’s a real symptom, look it up)? Better pack the beef jerky.

My paranoia knows no limits, so I need a purse. A big purse, with multiple pockets and zippers, just like my mom used to carry. She carried the biggest purse you could imagine, full of half-used tissues and tic-tacs.

Shit. Put a Diet Tab in one hand and a romance novel in the other, and I’d be the spitting image of my mother. Except for my beard. My mom never had a beard.

But I digress.

Let’s talk more about man-appropriate handbags. I think there’s a market out there waiting to be tapped. Here’s what I’m thinking for the perfect Man-Purse (Tagline: The bag so manly, it will make single dudes wish they had kids just so they could carry it.)

Color: Hunter-vest orange.

Size: Big-ass

Key Features: 1) An insulated cooler pocket, big enough to hold a 16-ounce canned beer of your choice (PBR or Budweiser, it’s up to you). 2) A 16-inch flat screen panel with built in satellite and miniature X-Box (why hasn’t someone built a backpack with a TV and game system in it already?) 3) An insulated warmer pocket, for warm BLT’s (because cold sandwiches are for animals). 4) Built in football (because at any moment, your son is going to look up at you and say, “dad, can you show me how to throw a spiral?” and you need to be prepared. Even if you’re in a library). 5) Stain resistant, particularly when it comes to feces, blood, and apple juice (the Holy Trinity of Pre-school stains). 6) Is there anyway you could get a little shopvac in there too? To suck up all the goldfish my kids leave in teh mini-van? Because that would be sweet.

That’s where I’m at right now with the Man Purse. Feel free to add your own key features to the ideal man bag. Perhaps together, we could build a prototype and get this thing into stores before Christmas.