1. I’m no athlete. Nothing reinforces the fact that getting cut from your eighth grade baseball team was the right decision more than staring down at your son. This pint sized version of you may be funny and cute, but when it comes to sports he isn’t able to catch a nerf ball thrown to him from a distance of a foot and a half. For every kid at the park who looks like the next coming of LeBron, there are 100 short, chubby ones who are only going to go professional in the sport of Twinkie eating.
2. There is nowhere you can hide your cell phone that a kid can’t find it. They say kids adapt quickly and that is proven by the fact that my son had figured out to swipe open my iPhone when he was ten months old. The blessing of the phone is that you can give it to your kid in an emergency and they’ll stop screaming. The curse of the phone is that using it to stream Daniel Tiger means from that moment forward they will start shoving their hands down your pants pockets looking for it.
3. The Moms at the park will give you the stink eye. I start this by stating that not all moms at the park are like this, but it sure seems like a lot fall into this category. I am the primary afternoon caretaker of my son, and because he likes to destroy a lot of nice things we have inside our house, I tend to find myself at the park. The park near my house has a large group of moms who are probably there for the same reason. These moms always give me “creeper stare” whenever I arrive. By their reaction, you would think I just rolled up in a panel van with “free candy” written on the side. Do they really think a child groping weirdo is going to be arriving with a 16 month old son? Plus, you’d think after the 20th day of seeing me take my kid down the slide they could stop herding their kid to other side of the playground.
4. The bar is set low for dads. I understand this next comment goes against everything I rally for when it comes to fathers, but it is EASY to slack off when you’re the male parent. When a mom takes her kid out in public and the others moms notice a stain on the kid’s shirt they give the “you’re an unfit mother” face but when a dad takes his kid out of the house he gets a “look at that dad spending time with his kids” face even if their clothes are on backwards. We dads know this and use it to our advantage.
5. I’ve lived my life as a liar. Before I had a child I would say things like “I don’t think people should travel with small kids. Just stay home.” Or “Kids who melt down in the store come from bad parenting.” I no longer think those things and would like to issue a blanket apology to all parents I ran across in the years 2000 to 2013.
6. Ten minutes is a looooong time. Ten minutes is just ten minutes unless your kid is screaming in the car and you’re nowhere close to home. In that case ten minutes is TEN FREAKING MINUTES. It’s ten minutes of begging, bribing with food, and listening to a weird man sing “Wheels on the Bus” off CD. It’s crazy to look at life before a child when ten minutes was the number of minutes I took showering.
7. Sneaking food is accepted and required. We all understand that it is important to lead by example when it comes to eating healthy and that if your kid sees you powering down a celery stick, he will be more likely to do the same. I also know that if you bring out a bag of chips it’s impossible to eat any without begging and whining from Mr. Small Fingers. But because sometimes you just want an entire row of Oreos, rules must be broken and three cookies must be partaken of behind the cover of a newspaper.
8. Small shoes should be reclassified as a weapon. If the government could figure out how to weaponize the pain of having a small toddler kick you in the ankle with a pair of StrideRites no other country would oppose us. Sure those size 2t Star Wars shoes look innocent enough, but that is just them lulling you into a false sense of security.
9. Figuring Out Which Chores You Plan to Stop Doing. It might take some fathers longer than others, but they all have the same moment, the moment in which they’re mowing the lawn and announce “someday this will become the kid’s job!”. That is the first of many mental notes you’ll making announcing which chores you plan to dump on your child as soon as they get tall enough.
• Mowing the lawn, I’m sure he can start doing it at ten. Do they sell a kid sized real life lawn mower?
• Why am I cleaning out the cat box, the child’s closer to the ground, it’s less bending over for him.
• I think it’s time for my son to wheel the trash cans to the hill. It’s probably good for his 17 month old legs anyway.
10. There is such a thing as too many quilts. My wife and I didn’t own a single quilt before we had our son, but now we own eight. I love my friends and family and don’t want to begrudge anyone who was nice enough to get us a baby gift, but I will tell you that if you’re thinking about getting someone a quilt as a baby gift… please don’t. On the plus side, if nuclear Winter ever arrives, I’m fully covered.