With the news that the Boy Scouts of America will be allowing girl members in the near future and will drop the word boy from their flagship title, the predictable backlash has started. Don’t let the talking heads on certain cable news outlets and twitter circles fool you into thinking that this move is anything more than a savy business decision. This is about membership, this is about enrollment, this is about money. Period. The added benefit is that the once inclusive BSA is becoming more diverse and progressive. Time does that to institutions, or those institutions are left behind or at worst are forgotten but for the history books.
If you didn’t take the time to read the press statements on this exciting news here is what you need to know. The new look BSA and Cub Scouts will be largely divided into male and female units with the common goal of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. It is not shocking that the Girl Scouts organization is fervently opposed to this news and who could blame them. Again, one must remember that this move is all about the bottom line, on both sides. So while you absorb the blowback on this news just be thankful that we even have the Scouts for our children to take part in. My years in scouting were some of the most fulfilling days of my life. I made lifelong friends, learned how far I could push my self at a young age and felt proud of who I was and what I had accomplished. Why would I not want that for my two daughters too?
-Shawn from Relevant Dad
Eagle Scout Troop 94 Maine
We don’t mourn in America anymore, we just don’t. When people say this is a time for mourning I don’t even know what they are talking about honestly. Maybe, if we had the time to, things might end up different the next time. Yeah, probably not. One burst of mass death leads into the next with such fervor here in America that we swell with outrage for a moment and then change the channel on the tv, in our minds, in our hearts because surely “that won’t happen here.” Won’t it though? Maybe not at scale but gun violence in America is far more than mass shootings. They are just sexy that’s all. That is why they take up so much real estate in our psyche. The deeper and far more insidious scourge is the hourly homicides and suicides that take place all over our communities. They hardly get a mention on the 5 o’clock news let alone make it to the ears of the rest of America. For every 100,000 Americans, statistics show that3.85 of them will be killed, or kill themselves with a firearm in a given year. That number is absolutely sickening. Outside of the areas of the world ravaged by drug wars and conflict America leads the pack in this stat. Something to be proud of? Nobody would say so, but when you shrug that number off and refresh Instagram instead you are in some way complicit. And look, I sit here sussing this out guilty as charged. It’s something that seems like an annoyance to think about because what can I possibly do from this desk to change a damn thing? The truth is probably not much. Not much by myself but, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead said that. So then Marge, where do we begin?
Everytown is a group of Americans who work together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Sure the bad guys have the NRA as a lobbyist but Everytown has mothers and fathers of children who have been murdered or taken their own lives and I want to be on their side. I want to have their backs when the legislation is written to help end this scourge.
When an organization’s goal is simply to half gun deaths in America in half by 2025 you have to support that. We can do so much more to save our children’s lives. It’s our duty as parents. In turn, it’s our duty as children to save our parents lives.
This organization is perhaps the one that we can all relate to the most. Mass shootings and homicides are a drop in the bucket compared to the 21,000 suicides by firearm in America each year. Statistically, you know someone or someone who knows someone who has or will commit suicide by firearm and that number we have the power to change the most. Please visit the participate section of the website and learn some way you can help. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/participate/
We don’t mourn in America much anymore. The energy that it takes to do it over and over again is too much for us to take, so we move on and ignore that reality punching us in the face over and over. It’s time to take back that emotion. It’s time to feel the pain we wrought, it’s time to bath in it and then it’s time use that devastation to create a positive change. You CAN do something about gun deaths in America. By yourself, in a group, in your community, in your America. Start mourning the people we have lost right now. read more…
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to begin our descent into Sydney. Please fasten your seatbelts and place your trays in the upright position. Local time is 8:42pm and a humid 27 degrees. Our flight crew wishes you a Happy New Year, and we hope you fly with us again in 2025.”
Screeech. You’ve landed. Time to relax those butt cheeks.
It was only this morning you booked this flight, and now you’re on the other side of the planet. Amazing. You’re nervous but excited to visit Australia for the first time. One week to explore the city and five weeks on a new design project. When that project match showed up in your feed you claimed it in two seconds. You’ve already earned 24,000 $design in the peerism economy.
Ping. “Need a room?”.
You hadn’t booked any accommodation yet. “Yes please”, you respond.
“Just out the front, number 420”.
You giggle, then follow the augmented directions leading to a sleek driverless hotel room. It’s about the size of a mini bus but without the seats, steering wheel and engine. A giant transparent panel stretching the length and height of the vehicle greets you on approach. The panel opens and you step inside.
Inside is everything you’d expected. On the left, a couch seat that folds into a queen-sized bed with the push of a button. To the right, a small kitchenette with electric stove, running water, sink, microwave and bar fridge. Behind that is the detachable bathroom module with toilet, shower and wash basin.
“Hi there, welcome home. Hungry?”
“I could go some pad thai and a beer thanks”, you respond.
“That’ll be here in 6 minutes. Want a quick tour of the city?”
“Nah early one tonight. Let’s checkout Bondi beach tomorrow”, you say.
Your room begins driving itself towards Bondi and a live map displays on one of the side panels. You sit back and relax with some Netflix on the other side panel. Exactly 6 minutes later, a drone lands on the roof and lowers your order through a compartment in the ceiling. If you need to order any package you simply ask the room and a drone arrives; it even does laundry!
Okay, this seems reallly cool but honestly just let me know when they invent the daycare pod and the babysitter pod. That is the future we deserve! Right parents? Babysitter at the touch of a button, Netflix on the way to a date night and then late night drone pizzas! Hip, hip horray to 2025!
We don’t often step into the fray of politics here at Relevant Dad, it’s not really our place. We do however from time to time feel the need to reflect on current events and speak up on behalf of our children and our future. There is a whole lot to unpackage about the shooting at Alexandria VA directed at House Republicans, their staffers, and colleagues. Motives, responses, plans going forward etc, but we cannot help but look back at the last decade or more of shootings here in America and just grow sicker and sicker. Day after day, week after week these events keep happening. The collective damage these shootings have on us and our kids are unknown in full but we know it cannot be healthy. The incremental tapping on our psyches will one day punch through into something horrifying that we will not come back from without the help of each other. Below is a video that was taken at the scene of the shooting, watching it is truly terrifying. A little over 25 shots are heard coming from the deranged man’s SKS assault rifle. Now, if you can pretend that you are cowering in your first or second or
Day after day, week after week these events keep happening. The collective damage these shootings have on us and our kids are unknown in full but we know it cannot be healthy. The incremental tapping on our psyches will one day punch through into something horrifying that we will not come back from without the help of each other. Below is a video that was taken at the scene of the shooting, watching it is truly terrifying. A little over 25 shots are heard coming from the deranged man’s SKS assault rifle. Now, if you can… pretend that you are cowering in your first or second or
Now, if you can… pretend that you are cowering in your first or second or third-grade classroom and you endure hearing that sound 154 times in the span of 4-5 minutes but indoors, surrounded by your friend’s screams and cries. Then the terrifying silence that follows. Imagine that for a second and then tell us that nothing should be done to get stronger background checks in a place. Tell us after imagining that horror those six-year-olds ensured that you don’t think stricter laws are needed in this country where gun violence is now met with a shrug of the shoulders by the very leaders we elect to protect us.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 14, 2017
Huddled in the back corner of the classroom bathroom a first-grade girl heard a classmate who was surrounded by his dead friends proclaim “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” to which the man with mental issues and a M4 Bushmaster responded, “Well, you’re here.” Then the gunshots started up again.
We don’t have to be here anymore. Please visit https://everytown.org/.
“To be the perfect parent is impossible…to know that by taking the risk of trying hard you are going to make mistakes. And then the most important thing is hopefully realizing that and doing something about it and making adjustments you know? Being a good dad is not a static thing.” Viggo Mortensen on Here’s The Thing WNYC
When we heard that writer Chris Kornelis was putting out a book called Rocking Fatherhood: The Dad-To-Be’s Guide to Staying Cool we knew we were going to love it. Then add the forward from one of our childhood heroes Duff McKagen and we were more than sold. The book is a must have for any new or expecting dad (or mom), so much so that we caught up with Chris last week and picked his dad brain on a few different things.
One of the big takeaways from Rocking Fatherhood for us is your mantra about doing what is best for your family. That is a pretty unique stance in the modern parenting world where media sites (ourselves included) urge new parents to take this advice or buy this miracle product. Was that mindset easy for you and your family to come to or did it take time?
From the beginning, I think we were pretty level-headed about it. But, as time went on and we started looking under the hood at the recommendations, it became clear that the best thing for the baby is what’s best for the family, and that we should feel good about living the life that we think is best for all of us.
Recommendations often leave very little room for nuance. But when you talk to experts in these fields, they’re usually much more measured and reasonable. The vast majority of them told me, generally, the most important thing is that the family’s happy and that the baby’s loved and taken care of.
What is harder, getting a rock star to sit down long enough for a substantive interview or getting a toddler to sit down for dinner?
That’s a good question, but, in my experience, neither is very hard. Rock stars are usually more than happy to talk about themselves. And my kids, like their dad, rarely skip a meal. You see what I did there? I’m trying to not say “good eater.” I’ve been a good eater my whole life, but at some point, people stopped congratulating my mom.
Father’s Day is coming up, what does your perfect Father’s Day look like?
As long as I’m with my family, I’m good. But, perfect? All of us – my two brothers and their families – meet up at my parents’ house at 10 a.m. for brunch, which involves bacon, cheese, eggs and leftovers. Then at noon my younger brother, Simon, brings out some Tomahawk Rib Eyes. Then we all hang out, play outside and talk about wool for a couple hours and snack on Chinese Barbecue from Kau Kau – a joint in Seattle that’s my son’s favorite (OK, our favorite). Around 4, we break into the brisket and a little red wine. Once the kids are in bed, we start watching the Godfather and I fall asleep before Marlon Brando has a heart attack. That’s best case scenario. The reality is I’m out before the end of the wedding. read more…
Millennial parents have to hustle to keep up with everything firing off in their busy lives. Don’t worry about adding us into your time management equation, all our content can come right to you. We’re sorta on demand in that way. Whatever social media platform is your jam we occupy it too. So click, follow and don’t forget to tell your mom and dad friends about Relevant Dad, we love hearing from new parents. Don’t forget to click on the image above for our favorite page.
We are also on Snapchat now because @garyvee told us we needed to be:
Lastly, you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org we love hearing from you.
We’re all familiar with what sociologists call “the traditional family”: a straight, married couple, with a male breadwinner who works long hours to support his family, while the woman stays home, takes care of the domestic work, and rears the children. Feminists have long campaigned against the factors which ensure that this the only option – for both men and women. Now, it appears that male breadwinners aren’t too happy with it either.
New research has shown that male breadwinners in high-status jobs, such as managerial roles, are more likely to want to cut back their working hours than other men: even if it involves a drop in their salary.
All work and no play
Here, we use the term “male breadwinners” to describe men who earn the majority of a straight couple’s income. We were unable to include same sex couples in our analysis, because limitations in the data restricted our ability to do so.
Using data on about 4,000 men from 12 western European countries, we found that male breadwinners work longer hours than single men, men who are equal earners and men whose female partner is the breadwinner. Of course, this is partly because male breadwinners have a partner who can take care of most of the domestic work, which enables them to stay at work later or start earlier. read more…
Yeah, I mean that new album is really cool so is the bottle of scotch you got me but do you know what I really want for Father’s Day this year? I want you my darling for 24 uninterrupted hours to myself. Let’s start after work on Friday okay? Send the kids to your parents and let’s pretend we are 24 again.
Meet me for happy hour at that charming dive bar that we frequented just after college. You know the one with the free wings and sticky floors with the amazing smell of youth and wasted afternoons? Then let’s go downtown to the club and see who is playing. I just want to feel your body against mine as you scream woo-hoo and wave your one hand in the air as you spill some of your drink on my jeans with the other. When the crowd thins out let’s find a late night taco truck and scarf down some carnitas and al pastor. I will be sure to tell them to hold the cilantro. See, I remember.
Then let’s stumble around downtown and people watch through all of the windows at all of the young lovers who will be where we are in 10 years. There is a park bench on the way back to the car where we once sat eating ice cream and talking about the names of our future kids, let’s sit there for awhile as you rest your head on my shoulder trying not to fall asleep. When we get back home let’s stow all of the rubber ducks and squeeze into the bath together with big glasses of wine and just soak in the night alone. Let’s get drunk like we used to when it was just me and you on a random Friday. We can put on the Bright Eyes album we fell in love to and pretend we’re back in our first apartment. You remember the one right, with the dripping sink and the upstairs neighbors who stomped around all night? Then, then bed.
I don’t care when you wake up just stay in bed with me until at least 9. Stop thinking about the laundry, the full dishwasher and resist the urge to be productive. Just lay here. Just snooze for awhile. Then we can hop in the shower together for as long as we can stand it when we then fall back into bed where we can spend as long as we want being thankful that we are so familiar with each other’s bodies. Some things do get better with time.
At this point of the morning, we can stumble out into the Saturday and grab brunch without skipping on the Bellinis. Eggs Benedict, frites, frittata, and plenty of coffee. Is there anything better than 5-course breakfasts? On our way home let’s pick up Starbucks to go and crash on the couch spending the next few hours clearing off the DVR. We still have episodes from last Fall to watch and frankly that is embarrassing for everyone. I’d say let’s grab steak and cheese subs from our favorite deli but the thought of getting up and driving is horrid. So let’s order cheap Chinese and not be stingy about it. I expect the bill to be over $35 like it was when we used egg rolls to soak up the cheap beer. read more…
Hint: It’s not flowers.
It’s no surprise that “winter holidays” account for the largest U.S. spending of the year. But did you know that Mother’s Day comes in second, with families spending, on average, nearly $200 on their beloved moms?
I have two things to say on the subject: First, I’m pretty sure the handmade picture frame I get from my son every year costs nowhere close to that. Second, what if the gift that moms really want this year costs nothing at all?
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, how sweet, they just want time with their families!” Nope, wrong again: we actually want to be alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope my three- and five-year-olds climb into bed with me at dawn (as long as they don’t wake me up). Later, we can cuddle and watch cartoons while I sip coffee and my husband makes pancakes. After breakfast, we’ll head off on a hike with my in-laws; the kids will hold my hands and hunt for endangered blue butterflies. Marlowe will give me the card she’s been furtively coloring and I can finally open the mystery gift that Teddy’s been working so hard on at school. (I hope it’s a picture frame).
Finally, it’s time for my husband to give me his gift. Hold the flowers and chocolate and heart shaped necklace, babe — I just want time.
As a working mom, time to myself is not something I have much of. My friends who are full-time moms have even less. Any spare time I do have is plagued with guilt and to-dos. “I should pick up the kids early today.” “I have got to get that email out.” “We have no food in the house.” “I still haven’t signed Teddy up for gymnastics, RSVP’d for that party, or bought my sister a birthday present.” “That load of laundry has been in the dryer since Wednesday.” “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?” “The house looks like a bomb went off.” “Have I really not exercised at all this week?” “I wonder what’s new on Instagram?” read more…
If you take a look through the photostream from The White House on Flickr you quickly see a pattern emerge. President Obama is America’s dad and he has had a blast while in office goofing off with some pretty adorable kids. What lessons can we learn from him?
1. Hold your kids up high and help them stay there.
2. Teach them history no matter how painful it may be.
Sometimes things just don’t work out when you bring your kid home from the hospital. Listen, kid. Your mother and I tried to conceive for four years- and we couldn’t have been more excited when you were born- but this just isn’t working out. We get it, and so did a couple of entrepreneurial guys from Brooklyn when they found a vaguely written loophole in the Affordable Care Act stating that:”
“Sec. 0401. Establishment of parenthood may be reversed and placed back upon the hospital or medical center of the juveniles origin at any point in the first 6570 days of a minors life. Participants can file form 0401-17 with their local HHS office for return instructions.”
Because of that loophole in the law, Return-A-Kid was born. As of right now the beta pilot program which is accessible in only available in select cities (New York, San Francisco, LA, New Orleans, Atlanta & Chicago) but the company plans to roll out nationwide by the first day of Q3 2017.
So how does it work? You download the Return-A-Kid app from the iTunes or Android store and submit your address. This will tell you if you are a candidate to return your child to the hospital. If you are, you will be prompted for your confirmation number that you received when you submitted your 0401-16 form. Return-A-Kid will mail you a packaging kit that includes a comfortable crate (be sure to choose the correct size for your kid), padding and snack pack for your child. You then simply choose from an available pickup time and “viola!” you’re back to peace and quiet again. If you’re too busy to be bothered by the return process, a premium VIP service is also available where a certified Return-A-Kid Technician will come to your house and handle the return process for you. There are also several add-on amenities for the transit crate if the shipment back to the hospital is longer than 24 hours. This just proves that yes, there really is an app for everything. Available here or on the buy link below.
Editorial Note: A version of this post also appers on Elite Daily.
Our dog turned 9 years old today, a far cry from the puppy he used to be. These days, he lays around putting up with the constant squeals of adoration from a 16-month-old toddler who just loves him to death. And he loves her. In his advancing years, he’s found a friend who will feed him from the table, snuggle with him, share (sometimes unwillingly) toys, and above all, keep him active. It struck me as I was changing the second dirty diaper of the morning that having a baby is exactly like having a puppy. Actually, thanks to insurance the whole bringing home a baby deal was cheaper than the adopting a dog deal. Thanks Obama! So, for you younger Millennials who are not sure about that whole ‘having a baby’ thing…get a puppy first. It’s exactly the same.
- From the moment you bring that new bundle of joy into your home, it needs non-stop attention.
- It pees everywhere.
- It poops a lot and you have to clean it up.
- 1,2,3 maybe even 4 times a night you will be awoken because it needs to eat, or play, or cry or poop. Did I mention poop?
- No, really. You actually have to wipe sh*t from the floor… if you haven’t stepped in it first.
- Random people will stop by your house to see the cute new addition to your family.
- Everything you Google will start with “Is it okay if my ____ ate…”
- Your budget will take a serious hit, for like the rest of your life.
- They want to be held. All. The. Time.
- If you put them down they will just knock over your glass of water. Okay, your glass of wine, they will knock over your glass of wine.
- You and your wife will become great at making deals. “I cleaned up their mess last night, so now it’s your turn.” “Yes, but, I need to make them breakfast so you have to clean them up.” “Right.”
- You spend a lot of energy trying to get them to crap in the appropriate place.
- When you take their stuffie away it’s literally the end of the world.
- At some point, you give in and they will sleep in bed with you. Then, you will never get them out.
- You can entertain them for hours by showing them videos of animals on YouTube.
- They will cry when their toy rolls under the couch, and then once you retrieve it they will do it again because now it’s a fun game. Don’t create fun games. That is a parenting rule.
- If Mom says “no” they sneak off to Dad. He always says “yes”. Until mom tells him to say “no”…then, then he says “no”.
- They will become overconfident in their couch climbing abilities and end up in a heap under the coffee table crying.
- Thunderstorms are the devil.
- After a minute or an hour, maybe a day, you won’t be able to imagine life without them. Love for them is unconditional. Even if they break all your stuff, poop on the floor, eat everything you own, scare you to death, keep you awake for hours at night, won’t listen, demand unlimited attention and effort and drive you f*cking crazy. You love them so damn much.
If you can handle raising a puppy into a dog then sure go ahead and have that baby. Soon they will become a toddler and that kid and your dog will become best friends. What’s better than a house full of love?
As you were changing diapers and getting breakfast on the table this morning, young and carefree artists around the country were packing their suitcases and catching a flight or loading gear into a van en route to Austin, TX. We went a couple years ago and while it truly was an experience of a lifetime, the extremely late nights, copious amounts of Lone Star, and painful high-pitched ringing in our ears that prevented us from actually falling asleep as the sun was coming up left us boarding the plane home with one thought on our mind: When did I get so OLD? On the surface, it’s easy to get swept up in a melancholy lust for a responsibility-free life but, damnit, you’re a dad now and you’ve got shit to do. For those of us who cannot attend but still want in on the party, there’s an app for that. Specifically, if you’re a cord cutter, you can now download this free app on Roku which allows you to watch livestreams of concerts March 16-19. Sure, it’s not exactly Rainey Street at 2am but for now, the comfort of our sofa with a good beer in hand is a pretty good deal until we get the opportunity to go back again (and we will).
In most of the Disney movies we millennials grew up with, Disney Dads were shoved into inconsequential parts of the “B storyline” while only a few rose to the occasion of being a productive parent. If we made you some flash cards, how many dads could you name. Be honest. 4-5 at most. “Oh, oh, yeah…um that’s…he’s the guy from that movie…umm, The Princess & The Frog, right?” would not count as a solid answer. Here they are, by name, non-comprehensive from worst to first in order of relevant dadness.
14. The Sultan – Aladdin Hands down the worst dad represented in the Disney universe, right? From the awe-shucks bumbling idiot routine to trying to marry off his teenage daughter into an arranged marriage this guy really isn’t doing dads any favors. He is the establishment and Jasmine can do better, you know what we mean?
13. Chief Powhatan – Pocahontas We have a huge uptick in quality of dad between 14 & 13 here. Powhatan isn’t that bad, right? Aside from being a bit too much like The Sultan and trying to marry off his daughter to a bad match, he has most of his kid’s best interests at heart. Points off for trying to kill off John Smith, though. Take a breath daddy! Can’t you see she loves him?
12. The King of Arendelle – Frozen The #1 reason your kids are screaming the lyrics to “Let It Go” over and over is that The King was a bit of a jerk to Elsa. The trolls make it pretty clear what to do but the King must have been too busy refreshing his Twitter feed to pay any attention. So his plan is to shut her off from the rest of the kingdom and tell her to bury her emotions? No chill, man. No chill. read more…
The #LikeAGirl campaign started up a few weeks after we found out that we were having a daughter. At the time, I remember thinking well into the future when our little girl would be in middle school and high school wondering what she would be like and what challenges she would face in this largely man driven world. I had never given it much thought, the issues, the challenges and the abuse that she might face in her life but when I did realize it, it turned a pit in my stomach. I then thought about everything that you have faced and everything that you are dealing with today. All those little and big things that you just swallow and never talk about. My reality shattered a little bit more. This world has not been easy for women. That is something I have learned more and more about since becoming the father to a girl and a husband to you. Some prime real estate in my brain has been spent thinking about how we are going to combat the injustices she will face in the coming years. How do we even begin? Now that it’s International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month is upon us it’s really easy to find an article, video or podcast about powerful and influential women that we can turn our daughter onto as inspirations. She will need more than just this month because questions still remain for her. Will she grow up in a world with a woman as President? Will she see a clear mix of gender in the corporate world, or on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley? Who will she read about at the library with great wonder about and try to emulate?
My true hope is that it’s you she continues to mimic. Because right now it sure is. Every morning when she wakes up she screams your name, “Mommy” she yells because you are her shining star. She is your shadow, following you from room to room, watching you with earnest intent picking up on everything that you do. For that, we are lucky because you are a strong, powerful woman. You inspire her creativity, you teach her what it is to be a modern woman, you guide her so gracefully, you give her adventure and a lust for life. You show her that a woman can have a successful career, she can manage to work 9-5 and then play with her, cook dinner, clean and then work some more. You teach her that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to laugh it’s okay to want more, to want better and to rise above. Every day that she watches you live your life #LikeAGirl it stacks the odds in her favor to become an amazing woman herself. Seeing you being a strong multifaceted woman is almost the most important thing our daughter can witness in her young life. The only thing that is maybe more important is how I treat you.
For as much as our girl is emulating you, she is just as often watching me. Watching how the men in her life treat the women in her life. She is studying how we talk to you, how we comfort you, she is absorbing all of our mannerisms and actions around you. She is a living witness to all of the emotions we share, the conversations we have, the things we do to and for each other. All of these moments will tell her in the future what is and what isn’t acceptable when it comes to the way the men in her life interact with her. As time unfolds and our daughter grows I hope that I am doing as good a job at being a good influence on her life as you are each and every day.
So thank you, mother of our daughter, for living life #LikeAGirl and raising a pretty great one at that.
Mattel has reintroduced their Barbie brand in a new collection of the iconic dolls with a twist of reality that has been missing for years. The new line of Barbie has dolls of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. So basically, hooray, Barbie is finally real. At long last Barbie can be representative to what little girls see in their moms and sisters, aunts, teachers, cousins and friends every day. A beautiful mix of women of all shapes and sizes. Reading the early reactions online, it seems pretty clear that people are happy that Barbie is no longer cut to unattainable proportions and a scourge to our body image conscious young girls. We at Relevant Dad need to applaud Mattel for updating their classic line of dolls to reflect the women in our life for another reason beyond our daughter’s fragile expectations. Our sons. We have all read the studies, seen the pieces on tv and heard the stories on the radio on how our youth are exposed to more and more oversexualized material than ever before. As a parent it’s hard to not worry about how this harms the growing minds of our kids. At least now our sons can play with Barbie dolls that will be indicative of the real women they will encounter later on in life. They won’t always look for or expect the “perfect” Barbie archetype but thanks to the new Barbie they will already know that real women all look different. They will know that women come many beautiful shapes and colors. They will know that women are coaches, teachers, scientists, doctors, veterinarians and astronauts. Your sons, at some point in time will play with Barbies just like we all did when we were kids. Now they dolls they play with won’t be fake. So, bravo to that.
Your wife is pregnant. You want to do everything right, make sure she and the baby have everything they could possibly need. You remember seeing something in a movie once where a pregnant woman put headphones on her belly. You have no idea what that actually does for the baby, something about making the kid smarter or something, but you’re going to do it too because it seems like something you should do. So you put headphones on your pregnant wife’s belly. You play Mozart because you think you heard someone say something once about Mozart making babies smarter or something. You pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
This act is completely naive and uninformed, but you know what? It’s totally acceptable. You may not have all the facts but your intentions are pure and you can now focus your energy on more important things to worry about like, well, everything else there is to worry about.
This is where this story should end but, no. Someone somewhere thought it necessary to take this logical act of putting headphones on a belly an illogical step further and said, “Hey, you know what? This Mozart isn’t loud enough for my baby. Louder Mozart makes even smarter babies. Don’t mind me, honey. Let me put this earbud in your vagina. The baby can hear the music better that way.” Ok, we’re obviously exaggerating a little here for dramatic effect but, come on. We’ve hit a point where civilization has provided us with a speaker your wife can insert into her vagina and we’re calling bullshit.
The Spanish company Institut Marquez is the group responsible for the Babypod, which is basically a giant earbud you plug into your smartphone and insert into the vagina. But let’s be honest, they seem credible! They have 90 years experience and, according to Metro, they’ve been testing Babypod on hundreds of women! And the results appear to show that babies opened their mouths and stuck out their tongues (insert KISS joke here) which didn’t happen during tests with regular headphones and apparently that’s a kinda big deal! So, yeah, maybe there’s some science to this but that’s not the point. The fact of the matter really is, do we need this?
The answer is no, of course. The true science behind the effects of Babypod won’t be proven for years and our money is riding on the kid who studies harder for the SATs than the one whose mom used a Babypod while they were in the womb. That is, of course, if intelligence is really what Institut Marquez is selling here (we’re not even sure). If not, then what are they selling? Listen, your baby is not bored in the womb. They’re not concerned with getting cultured. They’re not going to pop out requesting Cat Stevens while the doctor is taking vitals. Honestly, we’re not convinced this whole thing isn’t just a ruse anyway. Clickbait from the internet gods. Some elaborate scheme meant to spark a conversation about society’s addiction to progressive technology. Or maybe just an April fools joke four months early. I mean, the line dead-center on their webpage sounds like it was written by The Onion: “Look at the expression on its face when it gets music from its mother’s vagina.”
As a site that focuses on finding products that lead to meaningful experiences for families, and a site that certainly doesn’t shy away from smart-this and connected-that tech products, we just find it kind of insulting. Humanity never asked for this. Women have been giving birth without music piped into their vaginas for thousands of years and, fingers crossed, they will for thousands more.
Instagram is a tool Relevant Dads use more and more to escape into other people’s lives, if but for only an instant. There are tons of funny, weird, disturbing handles out there, but two are just so outrageously funny, we felt like sharing.
@averageparentproblems – It’s like giving your child his/her first slice of lemon sans prefacing the sourness. Hilarious 100% of the time.
@assholeparents – Pardon the dirty word in the handle, but like them, we feel it is healthy to step outside of the box every once and a while.
As the sun rose on a Turkish beach this morning, the body of a young Syrian boy lay lifeless in the surf, waves pushing on his corpse. His tiny arms laid softly at his side and his face pressed down in the sand is reminiscent of any child in a crib, sleeping. It’s the position of his body that is most haunting for me. Every night I sneak into my child’s room to check on them sleeping and they are more often than not in that very same position. I sneak in to check on their welfare. Is the room too hot? Is the room too cold? What can I do to make things a little better for my child?
What I find the most heartbreaking about this photo is that somewhere a father just like me set off from a beach in Syria in the black night on a vessel not fit to be called a boat, holding tightly onto this boy in hopes of finding a better life for him. The boy is thought to be one of 11 refugees who died when two boats full of fleeing Syrians sank. This is a crisis for Europe and there is not going to be an easy answer, but pictures like this should make it obvious to the world that something needs to be done now. But what? By who? I don’t have any answers. Only the privilege to live in relative safety where my main concern for my child consists solely of are they sleeping soundly enough tonight?
Writing this, I keep clicking back to the photo taken by Peter Bouckaert and reading his words. “Just pause 4 moment & imagine this was your child, drowned trying 2 flee #Syria war 4 safety of #EU.” I can’t help but think that. The photo is this lifeless child, while graphic, is necessary for the world to see. This is not the only child to drown on this desperate attempt to leave Syria. Children all over the world are suffering in unimaginable ways that we don’t often think about enough.
We spend our days in this office debating toys, and gift ideas for our wifes. Dads stuck in train stations in Budapest with their children in tow worry about far greater. A better life, safety for their children is all they want. They are relevant dads dealing with problems we generally acknowledged for 2 minutes on the nightly news. So what can I do? For now I can write this. I can acknowledge that this crisis is real. I can keep this little boy and all of the other children who have died fleeing war in my thoughts. I can donate to Save The Children and promise to volunteer my time to them. For now, I can ask for you to do the same. Donate to the Syrian Children’s Relief Fund.
Turkish media has since identified the boy as 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi. His 5-year-old brother also died on the same boat. The photo is here. Warning: It is graphic.
Whether you put him on when you couldn’t get the kids back to sleep or simply have fond memories of staying up past your bedtime when you were a kid just to watch the Top Ten List, chances are the retirement of David Letterman has you feeling a little nostalgic and maybe even a little sentimental. The team here at Relevant Dad wasn’t sure how to properly say goodbye so we enlisted the help Jack O’Brien, a former Page-turned-Coordinator for Letterman, to articulate why we’ll miss him so much.
When I was 22, I moved to New York City to clap for David Letterman.
Every afternoon before the taping, as the CBS Orchestra would warm up the 500 people in the audience, I would stand in my designated spot to the left or right of the band and clap along to the beat, beaming and bouncing, trying to whip the audience into a frenzy of laughter and applause.
I was a page at the Ed Sullivan Theater. I ripped tickets, I stood in the cold for hours, I had a signature “this is the last call for tickets” shout that would echo across Broadway. I worked with two dozen other 22-year-olds, most of whom were as smitten with this gig as I was. I never had a more fun job.
Along with most of the television industry, I lost that job for a few months during the Writers Strike of 2007. During the break, I got a better paying, more respectable job with a real future in the television industry. I had my own desk and assignments and real responsibilities. But the first night Dave came roaring back after the strike, I quietly walked out of that office job and up the street to the Ed Sullivan Theater to clap again. read more…
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in a segment about paid paternity leave with Glamour magazine Editor in Chief Cindi Leive, father of four Piers Morgan stated “Most dads don’t want to do paid paternity leave. They don’t.” As one would imagine, the reaction from Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzeznski was to roll off the set in disbelief at the audacity and recklessness of Moragan’s assumption that all dads were as callous in the thought of childrearing as him. “They pretend they do, but after two weeks of a tiny little baby… I love my children to pieces, but when they’re this size and all they’re doing is eating, guzzling and depositing, it isn’t the most exciting gig in town.” To make matters worse another dad of three, Joe Scarborough, added “That’s is not cynical. That is the truth.” This obviously had our blood boiling by now. Scarborough added an anecdote about a new dad who worked for him who didn’t want to stay on leave because he “needs some sleep.” I mean, c’mon. Really? Here we all are fighting for paternity leave so that we can help raise our children in their precious first few weeks of life and these two have the audacity to speak for all of us as if they were the authority of real men / real dads? We all know by now how critical the first few weeks are to an infant’s emotional and mental development. It’s not just “guzzling and depositing,” Piers. Maybe Piers and Joe have missed all of these studies but we millennial dads haven’t. We have read all the articles and we agree, we want to be a part of our kids’ first days and not sitting in a cube under fluorescent lights as the moms do all of the work. Sure it’s dirty and thankless. Sure those first few weeks are really, really hard. But we have earned the right to be there. So dear Piers and Joe – Do all of us relevant dads a favor and never assume that you know what real dads want, because when you guzzle and deposit your ignorance it hurts the rest of us and it hurts our children.
According to a Boston College study, “approximately 70 countries offer paid leave for fathers in the form of paternity leave or shared parental leave.” NPR chimed into the conversation as well saying “More dads want paternity leave. Getting it is a different matter.”