Monday, February 25, 2013


This has been a crazy month.  Six weeks ago I floated the idea of a non-profit by my sister.  I didn't know what it would do, but I wanted it to revolve around MS and children.  My wife has MS and I first presented the idea to ya’ll last month in Ten People.

Since then I have gotten a lot of great ideas, and support from everyone that makes up my circle of influence.  As you may imagine there are a ton of steps to take in order to convince the IRS not to take your money. 

S4MS will provide assistance to families affected by MS.  Helping to enrich the time spent with their children through community involvement, financial assistance, and information.

I think I got ahead of myself.  What is Multiple Sclerosis?

MS is a neurological disease where your body’s immune system attacks your nervous system.  Think of your nervous system as an electrical wire, with the wire protected by the plastic covering.  MS attacks the plastic covering.  When you tell your hand to move, only your hand receives the message.  When the plastic covering is removed, the foot may also receive the message for my hand to move.  This is a very simplistic way of looking at it, and if you would like to learn more, than this is a great place to start, What is MS???
The symptoms of MS vary greatly from person to person.  Some people have vision problems, others digestive; many have trouble with balance and often will need some form of assistance walking.  Because of this MS is a diagnosis of elimination.  You don’t have a funny feeling in your leg, go to the Dr.’s, and the next day you have MS.  When Tammi was diagnosed, prior to meeting me, she lost the vision in her right eye for three days.  It was not until three months later that she received the diagnosis of MS.  Although she did not yet have children, this is an especially stressful time for the children. 

S4MS is going to select four families and provide them with support, services, sanity, and strength for an entire year.  We will provide them with a personal comprehensive support plan.  It may be small things I go grocery shopping once a month, or clean their house, it will certainly include a weekend at a hotel, and I’ll mow their lawn, build them a wheelchair ramp, fix a fence, or even provide a counselor for personal and financial advice.  The idea is to take stress off their plate and to replace those with positive moments with their children. 

Please help me in having as many people see THIS....Yes THIS survey, and collect as much information as possible from individuals with MS. 

The Board of Directors has been set, the corporation will be officially formed this week, and then we will be able to let the IRS know we exist.  You can now go here Here...Yes Here!! to make a contribution.  Please do not think that a small donation now, is not helpful.  As soon as the dill holes at the IRS file my paperwork, all donations will be considered a charitable donation.  *If any employees of the IRS happen to be reading this, please know that this was a joke.  One made in poor taste and for that I am sorry.

Additionally if you have any questions or additional feedback, you can reach me directly through, S4MS' Facebook Page.  Don’t forget to like the page, and suggest it to others.  You can also follow the organization via twitter at

Everyone who is working with me on the Board of Directors was chosen for a particular reason.  I am very much looking forward to working with them.  Without them today's post would have been summed up with…I’m working on it.

Steve - GM Embassy Suites

Ms. Webster- Owner and Operator of local Montessori School

Carolyn- DFW Realities

Ellena Fortner-Newsom- Sister and public relations savant

Me- Executive Director

Thank you again for sharing this information with others, and as always I will continue to keep everyone informed.  My hope is to post about S4MS on at least a monthly basis. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ashe to Ashes We all Fall Down

I thought I could do anything. 

I am Super Dad — fussy children crumble beneath my powers of persuasion.  Diapers, low blood sugar, even nap times are powerless against me.  I thought.

Also I love Ash Wednesday Mass.  The Lenten season is one of my favorites, and I look forward to its start every year.  The message of Ash Wednesday has always resonated with me.

Lesson One: You’re going to die.  Not only are you going to die, but this world was spinning before you got here, and it will continue to spin after you leave. 

Lesson two:  You have made mistakes…bad ones even.  You will make more mistakes in the future.  You will even make them knowing they are bad mistakes.  Try to do better.

Lesson Three: When you’re not making mistakes, keep your mouth shut.  Stop talking about the awesomeness of you.  No one cares that you give 10% of your income to your church.  No one even cares what church you attend.  Every time you talk about a good act, it devalues the act itself. 

Regardless of what, if any, religious affiliation you have, these are good lessons.  Lessons that even at my boys’ young ages of four and two, I want them to start hearing.

This Ash Wednesday, I had to work in the morning, so attending in the afternoon when it was convenient to the kids didn't work. Our best option was 6:15 p.m., otherwise known as 45 minutes before bedtime.  This was not going to be easy. 

I got home around 3:30 in the afternoon, giving me enough time to spend five precious minutes with my wife, before she left for work.  I collected the boys and headed off to the grocery store for Valentine ’s Day.  It was already a full day, but even that trip had its moments.   We got home about twenty minutes to five and I shoved left over mac n cheese down their throats. 

Jackson was already showing signs of this not ending well, and I had to use every trick in the book to get enough food, i.e. energy, into him to make this work. 

I knew Mass would be crowded, so we left early.  As I get the boys out of the car, I realized Jackson had a dirty diaper. I Thanked the deity we were about to go see, because I had run back inside for diapers and wipes just before leaving the house. We get inside Church just as they were asking everyone to scoot in closer.  I was lucky enough to find a seat, and we had about ten minutes until Mass started.  Jackson was good, but I could see that Jackson the Destroyer was not far off.

We all stood up for the opening hymn, and, although Jackson demanded I hold him, everything was off to a great start.  I heard tunes of SUPER DAD in my head. 

Then, came the first reading and followed quickly by the screaming.  Jackson the Destroyer was only happy if I was holding him, err I mean put him down, no that wasn't right pick him up again, ya know what maybe I should just let him wander the church pew.  Well, that wasn't going to work. 

After an eternity, the first reading wrapped up and there was a short song.  A few short moments of peace, where my blood pressure was not peaking to heights never before seen.  I let Glenn know that we were going to move to the quiet room if Jackson did that again. 

As soon as the song ended Jackson the Destroyer let me know of his presence again.  I gave Glenn the head nod to know that we were moving.  As I stood up, there was silence in the church, just enough silence for Action Jackson to make a cute appearance.

“Bye-Bye!” He shouted with a smile as he waived.

When we turn around I saw how crowded the mass had really become, and there was a throng of people standing in the back.  We shuffle our way to the cry room only to discover it is not only out of seats but all available standing room as well.  That’s when I see that Mass had passed the stage of over crowded about 50 people ago. A throng of people stretches into the hallway and through the next room. 

This is ridiculous, “Boys we are going home.”

When we get in the car, I let Jackson know how upset I am with him.  I am ranting, raving, and generally making an ass of myself in front of the boys.  How do I know? Well, I hear Glenn talking to me softly in the backseat.

“Dad, its O.K.  I am right here.  Take a deep breath.  Breathe in (provides an example) and then breathe out. (Providing another example)  You see Dad, that’s how you do it.  You need to relax, Jackson is little and he doesn't mean to.  It’s O.K. I’m right here.”

I didn't want to calm down. I tried to stay mad, but, damn it, if that’s not the cutest thing I had heard all day.  So after ten minutes of ‘soothing’ me, I let Glenn know that I’m better, and thanked him. 

This is after all the Lenten season, self-improvement through suffering…Super Dad I am not.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feelings Part II

Sometimes, life makes the jokes for you.

Sometimes, it’s your boss.

Let’s start with my boss. 

As I worked on my V-Day post while at my part-time job, I shared stories of past failures with my boss.   Being familiar with my capabilities, she suggested I get Tammi a bereavement card.  You know, “I am sorry you’re married to Craig.”  Genius! I couldn't have agreed more.

So after work, I took the boys to the grocery store.

There were the typical guys standing in front of the V-Day cards with blank looks on their faces.  We walked right past those losers and straight to the sympathy cards.  I found a perfect one, “Thinking of you during this time of stress.”  I signed the card with all of the seriousness I could muster.

“I am sorry for you loss.  You could have done better, but I’m glad you didn't.”

As we walked back past the actual Valentine’s Day cards, I told Glenn to pick out any red card.  Like his father, he stared for about 30 seconds before grabbing a card.  It had a cartoon character on the front, and I was certain it would be perfect. 

Once I had gotten about five feet away, I decided that, based on past failures, I should actually read the card.  It had adult humor, and I don’t remember exactly what it said.  It went something, something, something, you have a nice ass.

“Glenn, we can’t get this card for your mother.”

“Dad, I waaant to get that card.”

“Well, when you learn to read, then you can get this card if you want. Until then, we need to pick out another card.  Take it from your father — ALWAYS read the card first.”

Upon seeing us return, the other guys all had a questioning look on our faces.  Seriously, how long are they going to stare at the same cards?  They all say the same thing…Feelings.  Starting from left to right, humor feelings, heartfelt feelings, unique feelings, feelings from kids, feelings from parents, more humorous feelings, and some deep thoughts feelings.

I explained the joke, and everyone had a good laugh.

If I didn't say it well enough on Thursday (Hell, we all know that I didn’t) Love ya baby, hope you have fun in Vegas!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


That’s what you women want right?  Well, Tammi is in luck, because I am full of them.  Stay-at-home dads have to be a little more emotionally functioning than the average sitcom would have you believe. How else will I show my kids how to live as fully-functional, emotional adults? 
I have four main emotions – happy, hungry, horny, and sleepy – usually only one at a time. Although sometimes I do go to sleep when I am hungry, but that is more of a laziness thing. 
So, yeah, Valentines’ Day is kind of my thing. 
Last year, I got her a card and some flowers.  I wrote on the card, “Feelings.”  This is deep emotional stuff people. 
The year prior I was running late getting home from work.  I stopped at the grocery, which was very busy.  I looked at the wall for about two seconds and grabbed the first card that looked humor based.  When I gave it to Tammi, she gave me a very large eye roll.
“Craig, how long did it take you to pick out this card?”
“Baby, I took a lot of time, picking out just the right message to convey my feelings for you.”
“Then why does the card say ‘to my loving husband’?”
No really. How am I supposed to show my kids to be fully-functional, emotionally-balanced adults?
Well I do know this.  Last weekend Tammi’s uncle visited us for a few days.  Everyone had a really fantastic time.  Well, except Tammi. She worked the whole weekend.  Both the boys, and Glenn in particular, really enjoyed spending time with him.  Hell, I even enjoyed hanging out with the guy and went so far as to have him over for poker night with my buddies.  When we had taken all his money, he left, and, immediately, all my friends commented on the fact that he seemed like such a nice guy.
When it was time for him to head home, I had prepped Glenn for his pending departure.  I picked him up from school, and let him know that one of his many “Papas” was leaving after he got home, and told him we had to say goodbye.
“I already knew that dad, but I am probably going to cry.”
“There is nothing wrong with that Glenn, and I would go so far as to say it is a good thing.”
When he did in fact start to fuss a bit, Tammi’s uncle told him that he was a big boy, and he shouldn’t cry.  Both of us immediately bristled.  If I could have started crying right then I would have out of sheer frustration.  Glenn is four, please don’t ever tell him not to cry. (Well I’m sure there are times you can tell him not to cry, but don’t distract me) If he can’t feel good about expressing his emotions at four, then when will he?  Rest assured, he already felt shame for being emotional and that makes me sad.
I don’t want either of my boys to grow up to be touchy-feely hippies. But JC, I want them to cry when a family member they love and probably won’t see for many, many months goes home. 
How do we possibly overcome the enormous emotional burden society and our own family members place on our young boys?  Especially when I set such a poor example, a fact I went into more detail about in, Looking Back to Move Forward.
Well if you are here for answers, you’ve come to the wrong place.  I do know this, I need more than four emotions, if this is going to work out, and I should probably brush up on my Valentines’ Day presents.
I love you baby, with more words than this keyboard can generate.  When I think of the type of people I want to raise, I think of you.  Thank you for five wonderful years (it is five, right?) and two wonderfully amazing boys.  Your chocolate is in the fridge.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr. Mom

Did you know there is a blogging community? Well, I guess I knew that as well.  Did you know that there is a dad blogging community? I know!! Me neither. 

Stay at home dads make up less than 5% of the stay at home parenting community, and 75% of the dad blogging community.  OK…I made both of those up, but it seems like I read it somewhere…does that count as a source?

I joined a dad blogging community, and if you base your research off of that…than you would think that moms have stopped staying at home all together.  If I was a better person I would share with you some of their post, but you’re MY readers.  You hear me…we are an item, and if you leave me I might go crazy…Homer Simpson, “Don’t mind if I do,” Kind of crazy.

Well I would share them, but I don’t have much time to read their work.  The one person I will share is one of the first I stumbled across.  If you have a moment, (AND you have read every single blog post of mine 1st…I’m not joking people we are an item now) please go check it out.

He has a very similar writing style to mine…Well since his readers probably number in the thousands, and mine in the puny hundreds, maybe my style matches his.  Irregardless he is funny, and I think you will enjoy his blog.  

Now I have to confront the awkward truth about the name of my blog, New Age Mr. Mom.  Listen in the 80’s the movie was funny, but I’m sure it offended at least one person.  Let me break down the story line for you.  Men are idiots, and although we (at the time) trusted them to exclusively run the free world, we didn't trust them to run a household of children.  In the end though, he manages to get it under control, and shows himself a capable father.  Well I hope that’s how it ends…I was 8 when I last saw the movie.

No one has ever called me Mr. Mom, but I think if they did I would be offended.  I’m not a mom, I’m a dad.  What would the female equivalent of Mr. mom be. …Misses boss?  My wife calls me a house husband.  At first I didn't like it, but I; one couldn't think of anything better, and two was putting my own bias into the words.  For me in particular I am easily offended regarding my role in the family.  Not because I am uncomfortable with my role, or think it doesn't have value.  More so, because I think YOU are uncomfortable with my role and don’t think it has value.  The percentage of men who stay at home is so small, that I constantly feel the need to defend what I do…even though you have no problem or hiccups at all.  I’m not only having a disagreement with a person who isn't there.  I am having a disagreement with a person I haven’t even met.  That does not sound healthy.

The vast majority of people I talk to have been very supportive.  If they have said something that offended me, it was slight, and I know they didn't mean for me to take it that way. 

So how did I pick the name?  I am going to level with you.  I had been staying at home for a grand total of one month, and Mr. Mom was literally the ONLY reference I had to being a stay at home dad.  The website was also available so it helped.  I added the ‘new age’ for a couple of reasons.  Number one I am not Michael Keaton, in looks, reality, and more importantly I am not a bubbling idiot.  Number two and this might sound mean, but I think a modern stay at home dad, can be in many ways better than a stay at home mom.  So if pressed I usually tell offended stay at home dads, that I mean it ironically.

Yet there is one more important point that needs to be made.  The media doesn't care how progressive and modern the new age of stay at home parents are.  How do I know, because of the Doritos commercial during the super bowl, social expectations, and more importantly the show ‘Dads with Kids.’

This show is straight offensive.  In one episode the dad builds his kids a slip in slide in doors.  As if, any person  would think this is a good idea.   I tried to watch the show but I didn't even make it through one episode.  If this is how high you think the bar should be set on fatherhood, than please turn off your computer, and never come back to see me again.  Its not me, its you.  We are through.  Take your crap and get out of my place, and don't forget your F-ing cat. 

Listen I parent different than moms, mainly because as stated before I’m not a mom.  I also parent different that dads, because they are them and I am me. It is the medias job to group us into little succint groups.  If your on the outside of one of these groups, it is easy to take the media representation as fact.  Don't do this. 

When people tell me Mr. Mom offends them, I think of this show….I get it. 

Don’t worry.  I’m a DUDE, I’ll Get over it.  Besides I’m a middle class white dude at that.  The media has been catering to me my entire life.  I am over due for a grossly inaccurate stereotype. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Ramblings of a Crazy Person

So it’s not news that I do the grocery shopping.  In one of my personal favorites here, A Day with Dad, I discussed some of the strange looks I receive for being “brave” enough to take my kids with me shopping.  I do not take my kids with me to the grocery store because I am a stay-at-home dad.  I take them because I am legally obligated to watch them, and I have always done the grocery shopping. 

I have seen parents whose kids have lost it while shopping, and I sympathize.  So far, I have avoided it.  The important thing to do if/when it happens is to remain calm.  I fully intend on issuing a timeout right then and there in the produce section.  Sure, there will be some screaming and some looks, but we all have to make choices.

 I imagine it will feel like being on a plane with a fussy child.  Everyone is looking and wondering what I will do next, and no one is afraid to show his or her frustration.  Let me be very clear about this situation.  No one — and I mean NO ONE — is going to be more frustrated than me.  The sound of them crying is genetically engineered to bother me in particular.  Like I said, remain calm. This will all be over in a moment.
The closest we came was when Glenn wanted to ride in the cart that has the car in the front.  It is a bulgier cart with less cart space for actual food, because a pretend car in the front is using it up. 

“Why can’t we use that Cart….I waaaant tooo.”

“Glenn, this is not a playground. This is a grocery store, and we are not here to play games.  We are here because you drink more milk than a single cow produces in his lifetime.”

Immediate Crying

“Glenn, we have two choices.  We can go in to the store to buy you milk, or we can go home and starve. What would you like to do?”

The funniest part about shopping with the boys is what I call the grocery store ramble.  I have done this since day one, even though for a long time they couldn't even talk, let alone answer. I guess it’s not fair to call it the grocery store ramble, because, really, it is ongoing all of the time. But it gets looks in the grocery store, hence its name.

If you are having trouble with your kids eating, the best advice I can give you is to take them with you to the store, and defiantly use the ramble.  Let me give you a preview.

“HMM…The bananas a little over ripe this week, lets only get a few, so they don’t go bad.  Wow the organic bananas are 20 cents more. That seems like something your hippy mom would buy.  Did you guys want to get berries or grapes this week?  Well, what color grapes would you like?  Yeah, I like the purple ones as well.  Hey, how about that? Your raisins are on sale this week. Can you get that box there, and put it in the cart.  What was it your mom said she wanted?  Are you sure it was Greek Yogurt?  Yeah, I think your right.  Well, no we can’t get that type. Your mom is allergic, but it looks like they have blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry. Which would you like…MMM raspberry good choice…”

By far, the best part of the ramble is it forces you kid to become involved in the grocery store.  I see so many parents (Well, moms, because you know most dads aren't brave enough) dragging their kids through the store.  It’s as if the kid gets no benefit from the grocery store.  My kids understand that there is a direct correlation between what we buy and what we eat.  Later in the week, they will inevitably tell you they don’t want to have a peach for lunch. 

“Well, you picked out the peaches. If you want blueberries, just remember next week to get some.”
You can really bring it home by involving them in the cooking. 

“Glenn, can you go get that bell pepper you picked out this week?  Do you want to snack on some of it before I cook it in the pan?”

The ramble starts from the moment we get into the car until we are finished.  Well, someone telling me how brave I am, someone usually over 70 years in age, occasionally interrupts it. 

This week, this little old man walks up, “Are you going to get them something for being so helpful?”

“Yeah, I was thinking milk…”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Cookie Anyone?

For the most part when we grew up my parents had defined disciplinarian roles.  My dad was the heavy, and my mom set the rules.  She would still punish us, but it wasn't on the same level.  The rule was you got three time outs, and on the third you got a spanking from Dad.  It was very common back then to hear, ‘wait until your father gets home.’

So I grew up in that role. 

Prior to Glenn being born, I was actually looking forward to the role.  It was something I thought I could excel at.  Anyone who knows us would have been able to clearly tell that Tammi was going to be the softy. I have talked about some of our discipline strategies in the past. (Who wants Cookies? ) We try to keep it very simple.  Let them know the rules, allow them to make choices, be consistent, provide warning prior to time outs, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement when they make good choices.

I’m not even sure when it happened.  Now that I see that it has, I wonder if it has been this way since I stopped working.  (Why do I always refer to it as stopping working, and never choosing to stay home???) Regardless of when, it has, and suddenly my wife is the heavy in the house. 

It’s not fair, I wanted to be the heavy handed authoritarian.

It’s obviously sexist to suggest that the male is always going to be the authoritarian in a relationship, but I did.  Even as I typed, I was putting the sentence together in my mind with…Something, something, something, as soft as a women. 

I think it’s because I am home with them so often.  Listen, I just don’t want to fight. I don’t have the time or energy.  I am LITERALLY sick and tired, of telling them what should otherwise be common sense.  I will warn, threaten and cajole them to behave.  Them not behaving is just as time consuming and stressful as the timeout.

“Jackson don’t touch that, Glenn please sit when you’re on the couch, Jackson get that out of your mouth, Glenn use your words, Boys if you can’t share we will put the toys away, OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, IF THE NEXT 5 MINUTES ARE QUIET, THAN EVERYONE GETS A COOKIE!”

I was just interrupted from writing for 20 minutes of ‘teachable moments.’

And now, I read that you’re not supposed to use bribery?  Then how pry tell am I supposed to be a stay at home parent.  Apparently, research conducted by the makingyourlifeharder & everyoneisjudgingyou institutes, suggest that when you bribe your kids, you’re only reinforcing the bribe.  It is well thought out study, and the conclusions do make since. ( )

For what it is worth, Tammi is shining in her role as disciplinarian.  The other morning we were both up, and Glenn was acting difficult, and generally did not want to move let alone get dressed for school.  I was on my way to my third warning when Tammi stepped in. 

“Glenn go to timeout NOW, and listen to your father when he tells you to do something!”

I am also fitting in to my role nicely.  The next morning I talked with Glenn, and told him how embarrassing it was for his mother to have stepped in yesterday.  I explained to him that I shouldn't have to fight with him, to get ready for school, and his mother stepped in because he was being disrespectful.  He apologized, and promised to try harder. 

Since then I have only had one or two more problems in the mornings.  When I do, I just remind him of his promise, and he instantly turns into a different boy.  It’s simple really, like I said….

Let them know the rules, allow them to make choices, be consistent, provide warning prior to time outs, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement when they make good choices.

…and if life was a book, then all our kids would be perfect.