Go Ahead, Blame Me.

I started this blog because there seemed to be plenty of places for bitter divorced dads, Christian dads, dads with autistic children, gay dads, one-armed dads, dads with irritable bowel, dads who screwed up their first family and then got a divorce and married a young fertile hottie to start a second family, and a heap load of generic parenting advice disguised as fatherhood tips. However, it felt like there was a gap in slice-of-life, straight up, no B.S. talk about what it’s really like to raise a kid from father’s point of view. And let’s face, dads just do and see things differently.

The Straight Dope Dad and Daughter in their favorite ancient tomb

The Straight Dope Dad and Daughter featured in the least helpful and coherent of all ancient parenting tombs "The Book of Trial and Error"

Me, I’m a self employed father raising a 9 year daughter with my wonderful partner of 23 years. Yep, we waited 15 years to have a kid. Some days it still feels like we didn’t wait long enough.

My office sits right in the middle of the action in our small home. I’ve been changing diapers since day one. Same with feedings, bathing and doctors appointments. Every summer I’m doing the birthday circuit and every Saturday I take my daughter on an adventure, usually with one of her friends. I like to start my day really early and, whenever possible, cut out late afternoon and hang out with her the rest of the day. I have a couple of buddies with kids the same age so we try to hit the swimming pool, park, or beach together and then take the kids out to dinner before heading home.

Not only is this good for us it’s also good for our spouses. Nothing makes your partner happier than taking the kids out in the evening so she can decompress, read, watch a bit of TV, or just stare into space without interruption.

Needless to say you’ll never hear me say “oh, enjoy every minute of it because they grow up so fast”. You know who says that nonsense? Dad’s that come home from work, spend fifteen minutes with their kids then watch television till bedtime while mom feeds the kids, washes the dishes and puts the children to bed. Trust me, if you’re fully involved in all aspects of raising your child, it doesn’t go by fast. Some days it’s excruciatingly long and repetitious. Tedium incarnate. The upside is that when it’s good it’s amazing. But you gotta be there when it happens. You can’t just show up at your convenience and expect all the good parts to happen when you’re present. You gotta eat your veggies if you want dessert.

Now get off your duff and get going. Your kid’s waiting for you!


Straight Dope Dad

You can contact me directly at  The Straight Dope Dad

Straight Dope Dad | A Fathers View on Parenting
Copyright © 2007 Straight Dope Dad

File Under: Parenting Tips – What to Expect When Your Partner’s Expecting – Fatherhood Advice – Child Raising Tricks – A Dad’s Advice About Children – Stay at Home Dad – Self Employed Father – Raising Children With a Home Office – Raising Children in an Atheist Home – Non-Religious Parenting Advice – Non-Christian Parenting Advice – Vegetarian Children – Religion Free Parenting – Progressive Parenting – Atheist Parenting – Work at Home Dad – Engaged Fatherhood – Not Married But Raising Children – Unmarried Parenting – Parenting Without Marriage – Secular Parenthood – Parenting Blog – Fatherhood Blog

Dec 17 2012

The Wake Up Call – Learning to Control My Temper So My Daughter Doesn’t Throw Me to The Wolves

Summary: Simple things like loosing your temper have far more impact of your kid than you think.

About four weeks ago I’m at Silver Spur having our pre Saturday adventure breakfast with my daughter and her friend. I’m checking some schedules on my phone to figure out what we should do, and in what order, while the two of them do their normal chit chat and goofing around.

After a few minute my daughter’s friend gets my attention.

“I asked (your daughter) that if she had to choose which parent to save which one would she choose. She said she would choose her mom because you cuss and yell at her.”

Ouch. Now, I didn’t think my daughter would ever choose me over her mom. She has a special bond that can only happens with the person who gave birth to you and breast feed you for the first year and half of your life. However, to know that my daughter would let me die because of my temper and foul mouth is pretty sad. That one really hit home.

Now fast forward to last might. I’m sitting on the coach getting ready to read Stewart Little to my daughter. We just finished Charlotte’s Web yesterday and the sophistication of E. B. Whites prose was a welcome reprieve from the mind numbing repetition of her Breyer Stablemates pony books that she loves so much.

I’m exhausted as I’ve had the flu for five days and the phlegm has settled into my lungs leaving me weak and coughing most of the day. I grab a tissue, blow my nose for the umpteenth time and lay the tissue next to the couch on a bookshelf.

“Throw that away.”


“Throw your tissue away.”


“You should throw it away.”

“Fucking get off my case. It’s none of your god damn business what I do with my tissue! You ever think that maybe I put it there because I plan to use it again instead of just wasting one box of tissue after another using each sheet just once? Fuck!”

My daughter gets really quiet and I can see she’s on the verge of tearing up.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you. I handled that wrong.”

“That’s all right.”

But I know even though she’s says that it’s all right, it really isn’t.

So we read a few chapters of Stewart Little and after a half an hour it’s time for bed…for both of us.

After putting my daughter to bed and giving her a goodnight kiss and head to be myself. I’m totally beat.

Twenty minutes later my partner comes in. She and our daughter often share a short tuck-in conversation before the lights go out.

“We talked for a while about your behavior. She said that she feels that she can’t trust you completely. I told her that she can trust you 100%. That you love her more than anything. I told her that she is part of both of us. Half of her is me and half of her is you. Then she asked in all sincerity, “my eyebrows?”

We got a good chuckle out of that because it was quite obvious the day she was born that she got my thick and bushy meet in the middle eyebrows.

Joking aside, it’s become painfully clear that I’m undermining my super dad status and her security and self-worth with my very infrequent but intense outbursts.

The funny thing is I’m fairly patient, easy-going, have a very high tolerance for chaos and I’m more forgiving and tolerant than my partner, but when I snap it happens very suddenly. Almost too fast for me to see it coming. On the other hand my partner is more of a slow boil type so she has far more warning internally that she’s about to lose it.

So my daughter can’t really read me and sense when it’s time to back off. And I don’t sense it either. So in her mind she has no idea which dad she’s going to get at any one moment.

So that’s my new project. Look for the signs that I’m about to snap so I can learn to catch it before it happens. Kind of like those “early signs of stroke” lists but one tailored to my temper.

Let the learnin’ begin!

File Under: Controlling  Your Temper When Around Children – How Cussing and Angry Words Hurt Your Kids

Jul 27 2012

Killing One Surfboard With Two Stones

Summary: Sometimes Redirection Makes a Bad Situation Worse.

Relay race at Capitola Beach. My daughter's in the blue shirt with the red rash guard and the boys red swim trunks of course..

So I’m at Capitola Beach picking up my daughter after Junior Guards because it’s Wednesday, which is laundry day. This means I take over daughter scheduling duties because, as the name implies, my partner is doing laundry instead. Because it’s Wednesday. Which is laundry day.

But it’s such a beautiful day that me and a couple of others dads I know decide to hang out afterwards and let the kinds play some more.

And as is typical of Capitola in the summertime, and especial after Junior Guards lets out, the beach is packed.

I’m heading to the water on the left side of the jetty when I spot a little girl, perhaps two years old at best, and she’s grinding a rock into the bottom of a surfboard that’s attached to a bike.

I watch for about thirty seconds and don’t see any parents around. So I walk over.

“Excuse me. You shouldn’t hit a surfboard with a rock. It hurts it. Here’s another rock, bang these two together.”

She takes the rock in her free hand, looks at me for a few seconds, and then starts clacking the two together. There, mission accomplished! What a smart, proactive, and responsible parent I am!

I tell my buddies the story and when I look back to point out the girl, she’s now grinding both rocks into the bottom of the surfboard. Oops.

I watch for a while and still no parent. However, another good Samaritan tries to run interference. She likewise has no success in stopping her.

Poor surfboard.

 File Under: Unintentionally Making a Bad Situation Worse.

Jul 10 2012

Wild Child – Horseplay and Roughhousing Should be Encouraged as Much as Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Summary: Encouraging Kids, and Especially Girls, to Explore Their Physical Boundaries and the Importance of Horseplay, Roughhousing and Goofing Around to Their Development.

It’s Saturday morning and my daughter and her friend are sitting across from me at our favorite breakfast hangout Silver Spur. We’re sitting at the only table that has a wooden bench. The back is high and smooth. My daughter’s friend is sitting on her lap and is rocking back and forth pushing her weight of her back into my daughter which forces her head into the back of the bench.





This rhythmic rocking and my daughter‘s head thumping goes on for about 30 seconds at which point I interrupt their fun.

“Hey, are you OK with this?  How does your head feel?”

They stop and my daughter looks at me like I just asked the stupidest question in the world.

“Uh, yeah…I’m fine.”

“Ok, just checking.”

They continue where they left off.





Then my daughter’s friend stops, gets off her lap, and sits down.

“Ok, now you do me!”
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