Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brown Eyed Rules & Other Homophobias

“Oh, hey, did you know the owner of the Montessori school we send Glenn to, hates gay people?”

My wife was confused and wondered why I was bringing it up right before bed.

Granted, it was kind of a strange time to bring it up, but it had been bothering me for a couple of days.   I was ‘friends’ with the teacher/owner on her Facebook page, and as each new story arose out of Arizona and Florida, I became more and more uncomfortable with her beliefs. 

Once I was able to verbalize my uncomfortable emotional state, I fell right asleep.  My wife only contributed her attention.  Just saying it out loud made me more certain how I felt about it.

Then, as if to demonstrate my psychic powers, the following Friday the boy was sent home from school with a letter.  It laid out a situation of a same sex couple being turned away.  Well, first they were accepted, and then they were turned away for their “lifestyle.”  I imagine the owner sitting in her office stewing over their smug gay faces, and deciding that it was her turn to take a stand for…well I don’t know who or what she thought she was taking a stand for. 

I had only briefly had some time to digest the letter, and barely time to bring the wife into the loop, before the lead teacher called.  She asked if I had any questions and I assured her that I did, but I wanted to talk to my wife before I vocalized my questions.  She seemed confused, even going so far as to say she had gay friends.  In my head I wondered if I should ask her for their numbers.

In the end I cut her off, “I understand they are your personal beliefs, I’m just not sure I want to financially support them.”

It wasn't any easy decision.  The boy really loved going there, and we had seen so much growth.  However, as conflicted as I was, I knew, even at that early stage, where this would end.  As my wife said, and then repeated to herself many times in an effort to make herself feel better about taking Glenn out of an environment he had blossomed and excelled in- ‘It is not enough to TALK about tolerance to your kids, we needed to TEACH this.’

You see, I have always struggled with my thoughts on same sex marriage, even though I think of myself as a tolerant person. (Who doesn't though?  No one thinks they are a bigot)  When possible I would avoid the topic, and try to keep my beliefs in the closet.  I’m the type of person that loves to talk politics.  So, as you can imagine, keeping my thoughts to myself, was like hiding a part of who I was.

See what I did there?

Honestly, it has just never been my fight.  I've met a lot of good and bad people in my life.  The only time I have endeavored to discover what their sexual preferences were, was when I was trying to get a girl to take her pants off.   My zeal to discover her interest would only be matched by my zeal to convince her to take MY pants off.

But this was real life discrimination, taking place not only in front of me, but also in front of my son.
I crowd sourced the situation to my Facebook Dads group, and they helped me work through it. I wasn’t willing to ignore it.  If I couldn't ignore it, then I either had to explain to my son why her actions were ok, or explain to him why he was moving schools.  We always tell our kids to use their words, but without action behind them, those words become hallow.  Now thanks to this jackass, I had to teach my son about discrimination. 

As soon as I was done being angry, I was embarrassed. 

Here I was working through my anger with a group of dads.  Many of which were in happy same sex marriages with children, and one of which is getting married this week as I write. 

I was mad because I had to explain to my five year old about discrimination.  It was ridiculous self-made white man feelings about discrimination.  I should have been happy he made it THAT long.

I would venture to guess that in most minority families discrimination is a conversation that happens early and often.  How about the family that was turned away? You think that two year old little boy doesn't notice the looks his moms get when they go shopping?  By the time that boy is my son’s age, he will have seen more discrimination first hand, than either my sons or I will experience in our lifetimes. 

It is well past time for a shift in the conversation.  In order for a shift to take place we need to understand that we don’t know what we are talking about.  We know what discrimination is, but having never truly experienced it, we cannot comprehend the implications of it. Discrimination for white middle and upper class people is like a Wisconsin winter to my Texas family.  We should be upfront about this, and open to learning.  We should defer to people who live with discrimination as part of their daily lives.  We should also be given a break, when we don’t understand how the words we use are offensive.

Hell, you could say that Glenn’s brief brush with discrimination was a net positive.  Most of his friends moved over to his new school.  I would say about 70% of the parents pulled their kids.  I know…Texas, who knew?  Most of the teachers and support staff got hired on at the new school, as well.  They also provide food for breakfast and lunch.  Even better, they only charge me an extra $60 for this godlike feat. 

Isn't homophobia grand!

I think he got it, but I really have no idea.  I tried to use eye color to explain it.  We both have brown eyes, while his mom and brother have blue.  As we were playing I started enforcing ‘brown eyed rules.’  He thought it was fun.  His brother did not.  Eventually he got the point that the brown eye rules weren't fair and didn't even make sense.  Then I was able to have a larger conversation.  I tried to teach him, through example, that although we are different, we are the same too. 

Later when a same sex couple came over to visit with my wife and have the kids play.  He was shocked when he found out the little boy with them had, get this, a spider man T shirt.  He loves Spiderman TOO! Glenn couldn't care less that his friend has two mommies. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to Win Every Argument with your Spouse

The first rule of home ownership is that things are going to break.  When you can’t call the landlord, the next person in line is you.  I suck at home repair.  I often tell my wife, ‘You didn't marry that person.’  I can do basic repairs and maintenance, but if Google can’t show me, then I can’t do it. 

To overcompensate for this fact, I bring my ability to argue to our relationship.

Case in point, we had a light fixture in the kitchen that was giving us fits.  We bought a new one, but the instillation of said light fixture was not going well. (Our house is a bit old) After about two weeks of me cooking in the dark, my clearly frustrated wife, went behind my back and called an electrician.  This particular electrician’s slogan was, essentially, we are always on time.  When they weren't I was able to get the service call waived.  A $150 bill was reduced to $50, and we received a year of no trip charges.  In my mind that is the same as doing it yourself.

You see, prior to my current gig as super-dad, I worked in the hotel industry for over 10 years.  The front office of a hotel is essentially conflict resolution.  So when my wife and I argue, she is at a distinct disadvantage.  (Please note my wife and I never fight, because she is perfect)

From a platonic customer service standpoint angry customers are very easy; Listen, apologize, empathize, fix, and compensate.  The acronym is wrong, but that is basically the Marriott playbook 101.

With our spouses, though, things can get more heated, and playing lip service to your spouse only hurts you in the long run.  Don’t worry, I am here for you.  There are five very easy rules to follow when having an argument with your spouse.  When you follow them, your relationship will win every time.

1.       Don’t argue if they are not there.  This is both the most important and the most difficult.  Even as someone who lives by these rules, I struggle with this, and find myself constantly reminding my wife.  Maybe it’s the bowl on the counter, the dirty sock on the floor, or maybe it is something that is really serious.  You begin to imagine in your head how the conversation is going to go.  Only you’re half of the conversation, so you have to imagine what the other person is going to say.  You think to yourself, I’m going to say this, then they will say this, and I’ll come back with this…Boom that will teach them.  In your head you think your being smart and game planning how the conversation is going to go.  All you are doing is making yourself angry and making it more difficult to reach a positive solution.  Stop having arguments in your head with a person who isn't there.

2.       Never raise your voice or curse.  This is so simple, and yet in the heat of the moment it is easy to forget.  At the hotel, if you curse at me the conversation is over, until you can speak like an adult.  I don’t care if you found a small family of rats making a home in your bed.  If you drop the F bomb, we are done.  This is your spouse you’re talking to.  The mother or father of your children.  Either you respect each other or you don’t.  Remember words have meaning, and can hurt.  Did you seriously just call your significant other a fucking bitch?  Apologize asshole.

3.       Fight like your kids are watching.  This goes hand in hand with #2.  You are the people who will teach your children how conflict should be resolved.  If you don’t think they are watching, you are wrong.  Children see and absorb everything, so give them the tools they need to be healthy adults.  When I was a kid, my parents would send us to our room, where we would listen at the door to them screaming at each other.  As an advanced move, have disagreements with your children in the room.  My wife and I try to always have budget meetings, in front of the kids.  They should see that life is a struggle, but two like minded people can compromise, which brings us to number four.

4.       Know the end point is the same for both parties.  It’s tough, I get it.  Both my wife and I are very strong willed people, not inclined to backing down.  If it is involving MY kids, and I think it is important, I’m going to fight for them.  Keep in mind so is your spouse.  They are not disagreeing with you, because they like to fuck with you.  They also want what is best for THEIR kid.  The odds that two people from different walks of life, and different experiences will come together with the same parenting styles is about the same as you being struck by lightning.  Even if we agree on 95% of what is important, I’m still going to fight like the dickens for the remaining 5% to go my way.  (Did I just say dickens???)  Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, you both want happy healthy children.  We came up with core values that we want to instill in our children, family, and personal lives.  When you are fighting, ask yourself, ‘How does this support our core values.’

5.       Pause, reset, and do-overs.  I can’t tell you how many times this has come to the rescue.  It’s Saturday, your day to sleep in, but the kids get up early and your entire day starts off on the wrong foot.  Before you know it, you find yourself bickering with your spouse.  Have a do over, because you’re not really mad at each other, you’re mad that on the one day the kids can sleep in, those bastards got up at six am.  My wife and I will literally go lay back down, and pretend to start the day over, taking extra care to tell each other how much we love them.  You will also find yourself in situations where you just don’t have the time or focus to give a topic the attention it deserves.  You must be able to compartmentalize enough to pause the fight, while Jimmy gets taken to soccer practice.  This goes hand in hand with phone calls and text.  You’re having a nice conversation, but something sets one of you off.  Stop fighting on the phone, no good will come of it.  Tell the person you love them, remember #4, and wait until you are together.

Whoever told you that marriage was all sunshine and roses was an idiot.  Don’t listen to that person anymore.  Listen to me.  Think of your marriage like your home…shit is going to break.  You are going to fight, you are going to be angry, and you are going to have cases of SAS. (Shaken Adult Syndrome)  Take some deep breaths and follows these rules, you will be fine, and your relationship will be better for it. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Get What I Asked For

We had just gotten up, and the boys were shouting their breakfast orders into the kitchen.  Very specific orders, without a side of appreciation, and I was getting frustrated.  Especially since, they have the SAME thing for breakfast almost every day.  I mostly brushed them off, but took the time to remind them that I was not a short order cook.  I usually would invite them into the kitchen to make their own breakfast, which they can’t.

Then they started requesting the specific cup they would like their milk to be in.  One wanted a Dora cup, the other Spiderman.  So I got the milk in the two plainest cups they had. 

Jackson collapsed onto the floor.  His world had been crushed.  When the boys are upset I will talk to them in a somewhat shocked voice.  “What?  You seem angry.  Can you tell me what’s wrong?  Do you still want your milk?”

What followed was a 5 minute conversation with Jack.  Well I conversed, he mostly just sobbed.  (I need to find a better conversationalist) I would ask if he wanted his milk.  He would say no.  I would start to walk away, and he would scream anew, because I was leaving with the milk.  Each time I pretended I was more shocked and confused then the time before.

“Jackson I don’t understand.  You said you didn't want it, so I was going to throw it out.  Now you’re yelling at me more.  Do you want this milk?”

“No!”  I especially loved how indignant he became after each question.

Post-toddlerdom is a tough spot to be.  Everyone tells you how terrible the two’s are.  When your kid is two, everybody takes it easy on you.  You can tell people how hard it is to care for your toddler, as he rolls on the floor at Walmart. 

Nobody has any sympathy for you if your kid is three.  Now they are judging you.  I mean your kid is three when are you going to get control of him anyway???

At a year old, your child is still too dumb uniformed to know that they have free will, and can make their own choices.  By the time they reach 2 (Well 1.7 really) they have realized that they no longer have to listen to everything you, as the supreme overlord, have told them.  Problem is they don’t really have a good way to tell you.  I remember very succinctly the day both boys left the terrible twos.  One day a light just flipped, and they figured out that they had to tell you want they wanted in order to exercise their new found free will.
From that point on they have entered stage 3.  Now they know they can make choices, they know they need to inform you of those choices, but god forbid you disagree with those choices, no matter how irrational they sound to your stupid adult brain. 

If you can keep up with the speed at which those choices change, then you are a better parent then me.  Most times you are able to use a calm reasoned approach to what they would like.  Other times you can't or more likely are to tired to negotiate the mind field that is a three year old's brain.  I can’t really blame them though.  As adults we change our minds just as often.  Really the only difference between us and them is we have the emotional control to cry on the inside. 

The day after I finished complaining about my short 20 minute commute, it took an hour and a half.  You can’t make this stuff up.  It took an hour to make it 7 miles up the highway.

At first I was all…ha ha ha isn't this funny.  I could appreciate the irony as it has happened to me in the past.  One Sunday in the distant past, I had prayed for patience.  After mass I went to Wendy’s and stood in line for 45 minutes to get my food.  I could literally hear God laughing at me. 

I don’t remember when I stopped laughing.  I think it happened some time after I had to call the hotel, so they would know I would be there shortly before the end of time.  I wasn't collapsing on the floor, but inside I was screaming just like the three year old I was trying to give the milk he wanted earlier in the day.  

We humans are a fickle bunch.  Unfortunately as adults we don’t get to roll around on the floor at Walmart because the TV we wanted just went up $30. I think that kids are more like the adult version of us then we give them credit for.  Someday little Jack is going to feel too socially awkward to express his emotions so vocally.   That makes me a little sad actually, which in turn makes me a little crazy I think. 

Glenn just laughed and rolled his eyes.  “It sure is hard being three isn't it dad.”

You should try my age, said every person ever.

The crying did stop, and he moved on as if nothing had happened.  When I went to get his clothes for the day, there was no doubt what he would be wearing that day. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Wish My Commute was Longer

‘I wish my commute was longer…’

Yep, that is what I was actually thinking as I sat in traffic, idling down the highway. 

I had been moving at a very leisurely pace, waiting patiently at each progressive lane closure, and signing along with each new classic rock song as I approached my exit.  The windows of my minivan were rolled down, including the sunroof. (Why do minivans have sun roofs?)  Most importantly every single car seat was empty.  Other then the radio and the horns of the stress-filled rush hour commuters there was complete silence.  It was pure, unmitigated bliss.

I’ll guess I have to back up a bit, because I always tell people I am a stay at home dad.  Even though that answer isn't really correct. I usually leave it at that.  As a stay at home parent the question is a bit intimidating.  I’d like to tell you it is especially frustrating for men, compared to women, but it’s probably not true.  The question?

“What do you do?”

What do I do?  We should start with what I don’t do.  When someone asks you that question, they are looking for an easy answer.   Like, ‘ I’m in customer service, I work in retail, or I am an account exec.’  These are all very good box answers that people want when they ask this question. 

When people ask I always say, ‘I stay home and take care of my boys.’  So I understand why you’re confused when I tell you I was driving to work.  I’ll get to that but you've gotten me on a bit of a tangent I need to finish.

After you tell someone that you stay home, they inevitably tell you how it’s the most important or hardest job there is.  Please stop repeating this dribble.  I dislike the response, because it’s belittling.  Number one, it’s NOT a job…I've discussed that in detail here, but let me give you the cliff notes.  You get paid for jobs.  No doubt staying at home with kids is hard, but so is putting up a fence or solving a rubric’s cube.  (Something I have thus far failed at in life, despite numerous attempts)  It is just work, and we all do it, every day, whether we have a job or not.

Secondly, even if it was a job, it is not the most important.  I get it the children are the future…yada, yada, yada.  Do you know what is important?  The cure to cancer, world hunger, the brain surgeon working on your child, those are important jobs.   I get it though, it’s important to me and my family, but outside of that small circle, it is literally insignificant. 

What the question really means is, ‘what is your profession?’   This really gets at the root of why the question is difficult for both the person asked and eventually the ask-e.  I don’t have one.  I have put my professional life on hold for the betterment of my family.  In American society, no matter how common the practice, the idea of voluntarily not earning money is…unsettling.

Now, you asked what I do.  A lot.  I regularly watch children at my home.  Between that family, my nephew, and my own damn kids, it’s not uncommon   to have 5 or 6 kids running under my feet.  I am often able to count ages from 1 to 5.  I work part time at a hotel.  I only work when my wife is off, and probably average 10-25 hours a week.  That’s not even addressing my own children.  As runner of the house, I am responsible for all schedules, school, speech, and sports for the boys.  I’m usually off Saturdays from 3pm on.  Of course, by off, I mean I take the boys to my sisters and let them have a sleep over.  I’m always on call.  Next school year I will do all of that, PLUS a new born. 

Today was a 5 kid kind of day.  As we approached the 4 O’clock witching hour I had still not gotten ready for work, and could see the pre-emptive signs of melt downs on all of the kids.  Thank goodness my wife was there to cook dinner.  Hell, even my sister was there and the kids almost didn't make it out alive. 
It was like 5-3 hockey.  Somebody should always score.  I got a quick shower, and for the next hour there were always 2 kids crying. It was not pretty.

So yeah, I sat in my minivan, windows down, music up, and as my hotel peaked into view, I wished my commute had been longer. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Son Sucks at Soccer

We are not interested in a trophy.  Thank you.

That was the entirety of my email to my son’s soccer coach.  He had pegged the value of a trophy at ten bucks.  My wife, being on the same page, requested I send the coach a gently worded letter saying we were not interested.

“We are not interested in a trophy.  Thank you.”

I think it was perfect.  Exactly what my wife had in mind.

See here is the thing. My son sucks at soccer. 

Not just in a “He is a five year old, cut him some slack” kind of way but epically bad at soccer.  They are five year olds so it’s not like I go to games expecting to watch the World Cup every Saturday.  As most of the children orbit the soccer ball, like rings of Saturn, my son orbits them.  Orbit seems like too strong of a word for him there.  Meanwhile, eventually the ball heads his direction, and he is all that will stand between it and the goal.  So, he turns around and runs toward the net, oblivious to the fact the he is literally running right next to the ball. The ball which moments later will of course, go into the net when he turns around to locate the ball.

My son SUCKS at soccer.  

We have a few rules that we will follow for sports, because we think sports are important.  Did you know the number one indicator of a future female politician is playing competitive sports?

#1- The first thing out of our mouths is always, “WOW you look like you had fun!”  There is a reason that Saturday afternoons, I’m out on the field, instead of sitting on my coach watching college football.  It’s because I want him to have fun.  So questions always focus on what’s important.

#2- No phone. Ever.  Except halftime. Yeah. Halftime is okay.  Listen, if I have to explain this to you, just stop going to your kid’s sporting events.  Better yet, stop letting them go as well.  Your actions are clearly telling them where your priorities lay. You might as well have the words match.

#3- As a family, we will cheer when both teams do well.  I don’t understand any of the unspoken rules at children’s sporting events, such as where I can or cannot sit.  How about this? You watch and cheer for your kid, I’ll watch and cheer for my kid, and the rest of the afternoon we will politely clap when anyone does well.  You’re already grumpy from missing the Irish beat Michigan St, so let’s just check the judgment and garbage at the car.

#4- I said CHEER…I did not say scream or berate your child.  How have I already seen so many parents yelling and verbally harassing their children at a FIVE-YEAR-OLD KID’S soccer game?  Is this how you talk to them all the time?  I don’t know what you think you are doing, but it is not building up your child. It’s tearing them down, and it’s mean.

#5 - Each kid gets one sport, per season, any sport you like, but you must attend every practice and play in every game.  I will not be dragging my kids around to gazillion different places, although I understand the instinct to do so. I’m a huge sports fan, but I think the value of sports gets watered down a bit too much with so many events.  I mean, are you really running them all over town because they want to do so?

When I was younger, I bounced around to several different sports, not really excelling at any of them.  When I turned 15, I started playing hockey, and it was a very good outlet for me. I sucked too, I’m sure, but I did have fun.  More importantly, it helped eliminate some of that teenage angst we all carry around at that age.

Perhaps I should have titled this, ‘My son sucks at soccer, and I don’t care.’

I would rather the boys be smart over athletic any day of the week.  I want him to enjoy playing and engaging in competitive something, but, for the vast majority of us, smart wins out every time.  I would go so far as to say sports, when done for the right reasons, help make your child smarter, among many other positive things. 

I don’t think my kid will ever read these ramblings. No one else does. If he does, I hope he understands how unimportant his athletic abilities are to his life.  I hope that rule #1 worked, and he keeps pushing himself to have more fun.

Not to be rude, but you’ll have to excuse me, I’m trying to have a conversation with my son. 

I want you to know how much I enjoyed watching you play sports. (See that is a variation of the first rule…I knew, you would listen in)

Dude you were five, give yourself some slack.  Besides I always enjoyed talking with you more.

Just the other day, you came around the corner on all knees and said, ‘Dad I’m a 45 year old dog.’

“Nooo, I’m afraid dogs don’t live that long.”

“Oh, well, how long do they live?” He asked

“Well about 12-15 years, but it varies quite a bit, and you know what you should probably just ask your mom. “ I was trying to cook dinner at the time.

“Well how old is our dog Lola?”

Crap.  “13 years old.”

‘Ohh.’  The speed, at which he put those last two points together, really did impress me. 

Probably gets those smarts, by running next to a soccer ball every Saturday.

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Open Letter to my Son


You’re not a man yet, but you’re getting very big.  Right now your only 3, but by the time you read this you’ll be 8 and able to read it on your own.  I’ll try not to use words that are too big for you. 

As a three year old, you've become quite opinionated and VERY independent.  I don’t want to get to side tracked, but you, sir, have a temper.  Quick to temper, quick to calm down and already certain that you have this whole life thing down.  Have some patience with your old man…I do my best.

In case you've forgotten, at the time of this writing you still hadn't met your sister.  You've always been very empathetic, and I am excited to see you take care of her.  I’m sure by now, I have told you this many times, but your senior year in HS will be her first year of HS.  Make sure you keep an eye on her. 

Anyway, it’s not your sister I wanted to talk to you about.  It’s a confession.

Do you remember the balloon you got last week? (As in 3 year old you) You got it at a birthday party for one of your friends.  It even had your name on it.  Your big brother got one as well.  Those were fun weren't they?  Your brothers popped the second day, but yours hung on.  I kept expecting it to pop, but as it survived into the 5th day I began to wonder if it was made from some special balloon material. 

You sat on it, it went past the stove a couple of times, you threw it at the dogs, but nothing seemed to pop this balloon.  As each day of its survival past, you wanted to share it with your brother less and less.  I think it became a symbol to you.  Something you finally had that he did not, and you would rather have it sit on the bookshelf, than share it with your brother.

Oh the fighting!  You would scream, your brother would scream, and I cried in the corner.  Many many tears, just wishing the damn balloon would pop, and we could move on to the next argument.  All the while I was preparing for the gushing of tears that would come when it finally met its maker.

This is going to be hard to hear, but I have had this on my chest for so long I NEED you to know.

I popped it.  

Whew, that feels better.  Yep while you slept, I took a pair of scissors and relieved 5 days’ worth of stress.  You know what?  It felt good!

At the time I even questioned my decision. 

You screamed.  A lot. 

I had managed to keep you distracted from it for a while.  You mentioned it as soon as you woke up, but I told you we had to get your brother to school.  You mentioned it again when we got home, and again after you stopped playing with your Legos, and again, and again. At one point I even helped you look for it, and told you, ‘You should put your toys away better, so you don’t lose them.’  Finally, backed into a corner I did what any father would do.  I blamed it on the dogs.

After what seemed to be an eternity of crying, I finally helped you calm down with my sage fatherly advice.
“Son, there will be lots of balloons in your life.  They will come and go many times.  It’s important to remember the good times you had with the balloon.  Do you want a cookie?”  OK, maybe it was the cookie, not my advice.


You don’t remember?

In that case never mind.  I must have been thinking about your brother…Yeah your brother that’s it. What a silly letter this is, you should just go ahead and delete it or something.

Why don’t we go outside and we can kick the soccer ball together.

Your loving and always supportive Father who never threw out/broke any of your toys…ever

P.S. Your mother threw out your drum set when you were two. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Daniel Murphy is No Hero

You did see that correctly.  The NY Mets pitcher who took paternity leave is NOT a hero.  If you take nothing else away from this, please stop repeating how brave, righteous, or any other adjective you use to describe this man other than normal.  And if this is normal then that makes me sad.

Before we get into that we will need to establish some ground rules for this conversation.

#1 Boomer Esiason, his radio co-host, and anyone who agrees with him is an asshat.  I would challenge you to find one reasonable person who agrees with what they had to say.  If you haven’t seen what they had to say, you will need to Google it.  I refuse to even provide the link to their ignorant words. 

#2 The fact that this is a sport shouldn't really come into the equation.  Listen Daniel Murphy does play a game, a sport that is just entertainment.  Let’s not break down the conversation comparing football players to baseball players, by equating the number of games they play, to their importance.  Let’s not go in the other direction though, and diminish the value sports play in our society, or the financial importance that they provide to their communities. I can assure you that to the employees of the stadium, these events are much more than a game. 

#3 Every family should do what is right by them.  Although I do not believe that Daniel Murphy is a hero, I also don’t want to be the type of person to judge decisions made by others.  Sometimes parents make decisions that I would not, and I’m sure that I make poor decisions in others eyes as well.  We need to get to a place where doing it differently is not the same as doing it wrong. 
Now…Let’s get started.

The MLB collective bargaining agreement allows for players to take 3 days of paternity leave.  When Murphy was lambasted by Esiason for taking those three days, many came to his defense.  HERE is just one example that I enjoyed reading.

Many people talked about how righteous Murphy was for taking his three days leave, and raised him up as an example of the modern father for his actions.  After all, not terribly long ago, men were still in the waiting room when their children were born. 

THREE DAYS???  Every American (male or female) is entitled to 12 weeks of leave for a newborn.  Even in the case of adoption you deserve 12 weeks.  There are many, many societal and medical examples of how important the first 12 weeks are for your child. 

Let’s not lose sight of #3, but let’s also not lose focus of the bigger picture.

Daniel Murphy literally did the very least he could do.  In fact had he done less, many would have judged him for being a poor role model of fatherhood.  It would appear to me, there are only three categories that modern fathers get lumped into.  On the low end we have the douche-bag dads, who although a shrinking number, still garner the most attention and media representation. 

Then there is a large group of present dads.  If they were doctors their creed would be, ‘Do no harm.’ They are engaged, work very hard for their families, and on the weekends they will play catch.

Lastly, there is a smaller, but growing group, of superheroes.  I’m sure by now you may even know one of them, ahem.  You would have seen them changing a diaper, making dinner, doing chores around the house, taking their kids with them to do errands, or you know being a normal PARENT who takes care of their children.

Trust and believe that I am no fan off the douche-bag dads. But, I also don’t think that the superhero dads have done anything worthy of their current lofty status.  The small gap between these groups is VERY concerning.  I have joked in the past that in order to be a good dad all I had to do was to not hit the wife or children and bring home a paycheck.  The difference between poor and average is literally physical violence.  We need to widen that gap. We should think of ourselves as politicians, you know helping the middle class. 

Similarly, the difference between average and superhero is the difference between 2 and 3 days leave???  When we raise up Daniel Murphy’s actions to superhero status we further erode our expectations of fatherhood.  Do you know what would have been amazing?  Had he taken his 12 weeks of federally protected paternity leave. 

Yes, his job is how he takes care of his family, and it is important for him to earn money, so I don’t begrudge him going back to work…I just like to imagine.  Imagine if every expecting father saw athletes taking 12 weeks to bond with their child.

So, let’s move the conversation forward people.  Don’t repeat the lie that Daniel Murphy is a hero.