Are you on the road?

I recently took a 2 month stint commuting across states, which I’ll further write about, but I wanted to find out about “Road Dads”.  You know who you are…the dad that is constantly on an airplane, hotel room, or driving just to bring home the bacon.

People train runs out of St-Stubbville.

Are you a road dad?  Then tell me:

I know how I kept in contact with my girls, but how about you?

I’ll be using your responses on my upcoming blog post.  If you’ve got an awesome tip or idea, shoot it to me or add it in the comments.  Thanks for contributing, and thanks for being a dad….even on the road….

-Scott-

A New Years event

I’ve written before about dads and daughters sharing birthday, which I think is pretty cool.  I think we share so many things with our daughters that every single one of them is special, really.  But it’s pretty cool when you share a birthday, come on.  It’s even cooler if it falls on a specific day, like New Years?

Where she got the hat, I don’t know…

So this papa and his little princess are never going to have a normal New Years party, that’s for sure.  If it wasn’t already awkward having to have a cake next to the champagne or having to sing Happy Birthday after Alde Lang Syne, now you have to do it twice.  And just think about getting invited to their New Year’s party.  Bring a noise maker and a present, I guess.  All those people kissing just on account of these two?  Where does it end?

THAT! THAT IS WHERE IT STOPS!

Regardless, I think it’s special.  Not only does this dad and daughter have a story that tops everyone else at the New Year’s party, outside an astronaut, but they’ll treasure that for years.  Every ball drop is like a countdown to their special bond; that one thing that no one can take away from them.  Sure, they may live miles apart at some time, be on other sides of the ocean, or be too old to eat that slice of cake together, but they’ll always share that moment.

Do you have a moment like that with your daughter?  Maybe it’s that first walk outside when the weather is above 60 degrees?  Maybe it’s that traditional eggnog while decorating a tree?  Maybe it’s a daddy-daughter date (shameless plug).  What is it for YOU and YOUR daughter?

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

My favorite daddy-daughter story from this Christmas

Well, I can honestly say that Christmas came and went like a whirlwind this year, but that’s due to a whole bunch of craziness in my household with my three girls.  Given a bunch of extraneous circumstances, I did NOT get them everything on their list or everything under the sun.  I don’t think I was necessarily planning on getting them everything, but I was hoping to at least have that feeling that I know one of the presents they open is going to bring that smiling, squealing, “I love you so much, DADDY!” response.  So I had to go looking for an example of a dad that really brought it home for his girls.

My buddy Steve is a good guy.  He’s one of those guys that you realize after five minutes of talking to him why he’s at that VP level.  Steve has an ever present set of ideas, critical business acumen, and tenacity for professional partnerships.  In his personal life, he commands a household with two girls.  Even at the ages of 3 and 6, Steve knows that he’s got his work cut out for him.  The latest example comes from his Christmas.

What’s the single most iconic gift you can think of that a little girl asks for Christmas?  A pony.  Okay, you’re right there, I guess.  What’s the SECOND most iconic request?  A puppy.  Yes, a puppy.  The thing that seems so damn cute at the time, but eventually becomes a dog and a huge responsibility.  Man’s best friend.   The ultimate Christmas gift.

Well, almost as ultimate as a puppy in a Snuggie

And Steve bought one.  Now, he’s been a dog owner before, many moons ago, with a Doberman.  This time, no Doberman.  This time, Steve did the extremely responsible and altruistic, going to PAWS to adopt a dog.  (Look up PAWS if you’re curious on it, basically a no-kill shelter)  So he’s already winning on the “nice guy” award.  Then remember that he’s delivering this puppy from a no-kill shelter to two young daughters.  In terms of knocking it out of the park, every day he’s hustling.

So, super-dad delivers the puppy on Christmas morning.  The effect is magical.  His daughter’s will never forget it as long as they live.  Then comes down to the name.  What to name such a special animal?  The girls begin to argue; Steve makes a call.  His name is solid, basic, and a good name for a dog.  The kids?  Well, influenced by none other Disney (like most young girls), they select Max.  Short for Maximus.  The horse from Tangled.  Less solid, less basic, but still a good name for a dog.  So, what did it come out as?

bob

You gotta hand it to Steve.  And I have to hand it to every dad that went out his way to deliver that magical moment this Christmas.  We don’t get too many opportunities in the little time we have with them.  We do, however, then get a good 17 years of taking care of that damn dog.  Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

What I learned from Brave – Part 1

So I saw the extremely popular Brave this last weekend, giving in to the Disney franchise, AGAIN. This time, it got me (and my girls) bad with the messages that I should be taking back as a dad. Aside from the dad being a physically large man, he and I have a lot in common. Mostly? Being a dad to a red-headed daughter. But I also learned what NOT to do with in that relationship with my daughter. That’s what we’ll cover in Part 1 today **Mini Spoiler alert**
What the dad from Brave taught me NOT to do
#1 – Be an idiot
Quite honestly, the dad echoes the popular media’s view of dads/men. He’s somewhat of a bumbling, fighting, goon. He doesn’t really interact with his daughter, as that’s more of his wife’s job. It’s obvious that dad is sort of in his own world and defers to his bride on issues with their daughter (of which there are many).
As the movie plays out, the wife is the wise one. She’s calm, thinks about her actions, and carefully chooses her words. The husband is seen as the goofy brute, not really with a mind, but just muscles. With that, all the characters view him in that same light.
A dad like that wouldn’t be approached by his daughter for advice. He wouldn’t be consulted or given a chance to be an ear for her during a time of need. But you reap what you sow, if you don’t show control and act like a moron, people will treat you like a moron. Then your daughter will seek out a moron for a mate. That’s not who you want to go fishing with.

Looks like the first time he’s seen a book.

#2 – Mince words
Along with that stupidity comes the inability to convey a simple message. There are multiple times where the dad is charged with speaking, but with a few pregnant pauses, in jumps the wife. Not just with the daughter, mind you, but with other dudes. That’s just not owning up to responsibility.
I mean, seriously, if you can’t talk to your daughter, you’re going to want to figure out how. I don’t know if they plan on making a Brave 2 or not, but I’m pretty sure that focus of that movie, if it did exist, wouldn’t be how that Merida owes it all to dad. Just being able to speak with her is step #1. But that can be a big hurdle for some dads.
Anybody reading this ever been cut off by their significant other? Yeah, it sucks, but it’s half you and half them. If it’s a common occurance, and you want it to change, you have to start speaking up. About boys, drugs, sex, life. Don’t just let everyone else speak for you. If they do that, she has no reason to listen to you as a source of wisdom. Or advice. Or authority. So speak up, man!

He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer

#3 – Be selfish- go after your own goals alone
So most of the movie, the dad is after something. I’ll just throw this one spoiler: Bruce Willis is dead at the end of Sixth Sense. I didn’t say which spoiler, fyi.
So the dad is after something. Because of that, he’s oblivious to what’s going on around him (which a large part of the plot depends on, but stay with me). Since he’s oblivious, the daughter avoids him rather than consults him. He doesn’t understand her and doesn’t care much about her problems. He’s after something and that’s all that matters in his life.
Look, we’re men and we’re told to conquer, to go after our dreams, to look out for number one. So we do it. Then we turn in to work-a-holics, or barely make 3 of our kids 20 games, or care more about poker night than eating dinner as a family. Yes, you have goals. You have dreams. But you can find that balance. You can put your family as a priority and still work on your dreams. Yes, it means you have to be unselfish and sacrifice a bit. But isn’t she worth it?
You might already be sacrificing for them right now. Working a difficult job? Bucking cultural influence and being a stay at home dad? Stopped drinking because your teenagers don’t need that influence? Those are all real examples of dads I know. That’s the way to do it. They’re not just thinking of themselves or doing it out of obligation, they’re doing it out of love and responsibility. The responsibility to provide…and not just money. Providing time. Love. Wisdom. Care. You have to actually BE PRESENT to provide those.

Let’s play another round!

That’s how to be an unselfish dad.
Those are all things I want to avoid. And not just avoid, but check myself to see if I’m doing these things, then do my best to improve. Stop back for Part 2 where I talk through the things I need to make sure I AM doing.
Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad…
-Scott-

Fifty Shades of I Don’t Want to Know…

What’s your daughter reading?  Seriously, think about that.  What is she currently reading?

She might be at such a young age that it’s really irrelevant.  There are bears, princesses, and you have to find 4 hiding goldfish.  That’s about it.  Sure, the plot line is a little thin, but she asks you to read it over and over and over.  It’s good bonding time and you’re raising a little reader.  Good for you, Dad.

Well, this looks like a good-OHNONONOOOO

But what happens when she’s older and she’s making decisions on what to read on her own?  Some experts have voiced their opinions on how young women could perceive relationships based upon fantasized stories.  I’ve already addressed my distaste for all things Twilight, but that was what I first believed to be bottom of the barrel as it came to content.

I was wrong.  Do you know if your daughter is reading Fifty Shades of Gray?  You should.  Look, I haven’t read it, can almost guarantee I won’t read it, and definitely won’t be listening to it on my commute (it could make a traffic jam awkward).  But your daughter might want to read it.  That’s dangerous stuff, right there.  It’s being lauded in the media and lifted up as edgy.  But a teenage girl reading that is going to warp her sense of relationships.  Face it, you don’t want your daughter involved in that in real life.

Doesn’t look so bad NOW, does it?

Look, depressed vampires and belligerent werewolves are one thing.  You don’t need to worry about her ACTUALLY bringing home one of those.  Yeah, maybe a few introductions will be with someone that’s tatted up and looks like they tripped on a tackle box, but they’re not going to make you part of the living undead.  Rest easy there because you shouldn’t have to break that one to your daughter.

But the representation of what’s normal in relationships and physical relationships; you have to talk to her about that.  So many dads look at a situation like that and ostrich up.  “Too much drama”, they say.  “I can’t talk to her” or “That’s her mom’s job” are two other common answers.  Seriously, you need to get over that and get ready for that conversation.  I’ve said it before, if you want your daughter to be able to talk to you about anything, you should be willing to talk to her about anything.

Way to go, Dad.

Yeah, it’s going to be uncomfortable and it’s not going to be fun.  It’s going to be a conversation both you and her remember for the rest of your lives.  And that’s why it’s so important.  As my friend Dale says, “That conversation just might stop her from having sex with a drug addict.” That’s nothing to bring up during your speech on her wedding day, but it’s true.  If she’s going to read fiction, she needs to know what should be fiction to her.  Just like she’s not still trying to take off on that broom after reading Harry Potter.  And don’t pull the technicalities of Universal Studios on me.

Yes, there will always be those things out there that we wish our daughters weren’t exposed to.  I guess Twilight’s no worse than those Harlequinn novels my mother-in-law reads, but that’s another blog post.  But just because she is into something you don’t understand, doesn’t mean you stop being her dad and that you stop helping her understand the world around her.  It means you double-down, get serious about parenting, and be there for her.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

This makes it all worth it

Look, blogs aren’t the most popular things to read out in the Internet, well, at least mine isn’t.  But there are SO MANY of them, which means there are so many people slaving away in front of a computer screen; and for what?  For a few visitors every once in a while that drop by.  Often to promote their own blog. 

But then, you receive that email/note/tweet that makes it all worth it.  Here’s the one I got from Kristi (notice it’s not a dad):

I was just lead to your blog by my husband. We have two daughters, 6 and 2, and are expecting our third little girl in September.

I grew up in a house with two younger sisters do I’m familiar with the dynamics of an all-girl household, plus my Dad.

Growing up, I was always seeking my dads approval. Whether it be test scores, track races or wearing a pretty dress. He never really acknowledged these things. In fact, he often joked about those subjects, never ever really telling us how proud he was of us. My sisters and I grew up and are still quite insecure women and I attribute this somewhat to my dads inability to show his love and/or praise.

Raising two (soon to be three) daughters ourselves, my husband and I have always felt that a strong daddy-daughter unconditional relationship is so very important. In fact, my six year old and husband go on many daddy-daughter dates from the driving range to quadding to quiet afternoon matinees. These moments melt my heart as I know how beneficial these are to our daughters well being.

Thank you for your blog and insight on daddy-daughter relationships. After perusing your blog today, I laughed and I cried, but most of all, it reinstates the fact that there is no greater relationship than that of a dad and his girls.

Thank you!
I have to say, I am touched.  Normally blogs are one of those things that you don’t always see the impacts, but you put it out there hoping it’s hitting home.

“You like me! You REALLY LIKE ME!”

Kristi told me three big points there: #1 – Her husband was the one that found the site and it was something powerful enough for him to pass on #2 – That she is a living testament to a father’s impact, whether conscious or unconscious #3 – That there is a dad making a difference in the lives of 4 women.

That’s why I love my readers.  Whether you guys (and girls) respond or not, I’m honored that you’d stop by the blog and that you take the time for your daughters.   Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

A rose by any other name….

So unless you haven’t picked up a paper, checked any of your social media outlets, or crawled out from underneath that rock, you heard that Jessica Simpson and her fiance Eric Johnson welcomed their baby girl into the world.  I’m totally pumped that Jessica Simpson finally had her daughter, because of two reasons:

#1 – it gives me one more reader as there is another dad out there with a daughter

and

#2 – the media will stop covering the whole thing

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Jessica is all that everyone makes her out to be, but let’s face it: that convulsive head thing she does when she sings COULD NOT have been good for that baby in utero.  But seriously, maybe motherhood will change things up for her.  Just after the kid gets over her name.  Oh, you didn’t hear?  The daughter’s name is Maxwell Drew Johnson.

Now, the Johnson part I get.  The Drew part is cool (Jessica’s mother’s maiden name) and is sort of like Nancy Drew.  But Maxwell?  For a girl?  Look, I might take some flak here, but if someone is going to stand up to celebrities that name their kids weird things, it should be this blog.

Take for example, the following daughters of celebrities:

Alcamy – Lance Henriksen / Mary Jane Henriksen

Ever Gabo – Milla Jovovich / Paul W. S. Anderson

Tu Simone Ayer – Rob Morrow / Debbon Ayer

Brody Jo – Gabrielle Reece / Laird Hamilton

And it wouldn’t be a list without Zappa’s kids:

Moon Unit and Diva Muffin – Frank Zappa / Gail Zappa

How she turned out like THIS, I’ll never know

All I’m saying is that I think it’s a bit unfair to already throw the kid into a tumultuous upbringing like Hollywood.  Now you add some really odd name that require them to follow an initial introduction up with “Really.”

So this is an open plea to Mr. Johnson:

Dude, you need to change your daughter’s name.  Your fiancee has been attributed, whether factual or not, with some of the most public blunders known to this generation.  You can avoid one more notch on that flag pole.  Find yourself a baby name book, look at the top ten girl names last year, and do the ole’ cover and point.

NOPE-NOPE-NOPE. Find a different book.

A quick sharpie marker, a few record updates, and just tell Jess that it was her idea.  I’m pretty sure she’d swallow that hook.  If not, that’s okay.  Just take her on a few Daddy-Daughter Dates when she’s old enough.  Thanks for reading and thanks for becoming a new dad…

-Scott-