Aug 06 2014

Male CEO Opts Out

Via the New York Times, a story (really a personal blog post) from Max Schireson, the current CEO of MongoDB, who decided to step down from the position in order to spend more time with his family. In other words, he opted out.

DaddyTips—Thoughts on Dadding

The blog post is fairly straightforward and worth reading, but this is the line I decided to share:

Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood. Somehow, the same people don’t ask me.

I’ll take it a step further. People don’t ask women who are married to successful men “what do you do?” Men, at least this man (I’m referring to me), are always asked what they do. “Father” isn’t enough. SAHD WAHD is the real answer, but it requires explaining. I usually answer “writer”, “primary caregiver”, or both, depending on the situation.

At the risk of tooting my own horn (note: I don’t even own a horn), this is a topic I’ve been talking about for years. I wrote about it on ForbesWoman, AOL ParentDish, and anyplace else I had the opportunity. It’s a very important thing to point out. Every parent makes choices. The expectations, however, are drastically different for men and women. I’ll quote myself again: there is a magazine called ‘Working Mother’, but there will never be a magazine called ‘Working Father.’

In an ideal world, Schireson’s tale wouldn’t be a major story. He’s making a choice that working women (a really annoying term that we really should be past but we’re not) are expected to make every single day. Women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Men, on the other hand, tend to receive praise for opting out.

Obviously not everyone feels the same way. There were some seriously negative comments posted on the AOL article I wrote in 2009. A lot of people believe that men should go to work and women should stay home and focus on raising the kids. That is still the way things work in the majority of households in the United States, at least as far as I know.

To clarify, my points on this matter are the following:

Men do not have to be the primary bread-winner. They can be primary caregivers. I don’t know if that’s what Max Schireson’s role will be in his family; his children aren’t babies. Still, he made a choice, and it’s a valid one.

This should not be such a big deal. Think about the story for a moment. As you can see below, every media outlet from The Today Show on down covered what is essentially a personal decision made by a parent who happens to have a job. Why does this matter? Why, in the 21st century, are we still so stuck on traditional gender roles?

– None of what I say here should be construed as being disparaging to Mr. Schireson in any way. This should go without saying, but since the Interwebs is where nuance goes to die, I want to make it clear that I respect what this particular parent decided to do. I would also respect him if he stayed on as CEO because he saw it as a way to make a lot of money and secure his family’s future. In fact, I would feel the same way if a woman were to make either decision. These are personal matters. Not everything works for everybody else.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to make this choice. This is important. Single parents generally need to work full-time (unless they have a lot of money socked away; if so, good for them). Again — nuance. Not all situations are the same.

Personally, I think it’s great that Mr. Schireson decided to pull back from what sounds like a hectic work schedule in order to be around for his kids. I think it’s great that he is in a financial position to do so. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.

And I really, truly wish that we didn’t have to talk about this topic any more. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

via Why I am leaving the best job I ever had | Max Schireson’s blog, h/t the New York Times


Dec 30 2013

Baby Named “Krimson Tyde Steele”

From Deadspin, news of a baby named Krimson Tyde Steele.

Why? Because ROLL TIDE! (Cough.)

From Deadspin:

A couple in Alabama named their newborn boy “Krimson Tyde.” In case you couldn’t figure it out from their kid’s name, they’re big Bama fans.

Deadspin writer Samar Kalaf then goes on to offer suggestions for a different name for the child that would still honor their fandom. “Yellow” and “Ess E. See” are my personal favorites. To be fair, the list does start with “Nick.”

Ah, sports.

A List Of Baby Names Better Than “Krimson Tyde” – Deadspin


Sep 22 2013

Should I Stop Holding Back?

Believe it or not, I hold back a lot. Should I stop? Is it time to to really tell the world (whoever is listening/reading) what I actually think?

DaddyTips—Thoughts on Dadding

Some have told me that no good will come of me expressing my views. Not that I’ve never expressed an opinion. I was particularly harsh to Lance Armstrong, but I felt that he deserved it. (Plus I was ahead of the curve on that story.)

Ultimately this is a parenting blog. It is called DaddyTips. The original idea was to offer, you know, tips. That isn’t always easy because a lot of parenting advice comes from my actual experiences as a father. Why is this an issue? Because I don’t like writing about my kids too much. I don’t use their names, I don’t post their photos, and I think they have a right to privacy.

Note: I know this isn’t what everyone does, and I respect people who make different decisions on this matter. Except for Jon Gosselin and Kate Gosselin. Them I find irritating and always did. Here’s the proof. Notice what I wrote at the end, that perhaps Jon could get a regular job. I wrote that in 2009. This has now happened.

And yes, quoting yourself is tacky but it makes fact-checking easier. I will keep writing that until somebody tells me to stop.

Anyway, back to the original topic of whether or not I should hold back. Someone suggested to me recently that they thought I was out of control. There’s a lot more to that story that I’m not going to share because it’s too personal and involves details I prefer not to discuss in public. I have always felt strongly that one way to avoid being “out of control” is to vent. Get it out. Rant, if that helps.

I don’t know. It’s difficult to decide.

Is there a tip here? There is. The tip is to consider whether or not sharing certain things on the Interwebs is good for you or for your kids. It might be. Or not. But like Dora says, let’s stop and think for a minute.


Aug 31 2013

Discount Tips From Lifehacker (DaddyDeals)

We love us some deals, be it free stuff or discounts. Lifehacker has a list of ten intriguing tips to help reduce the total amount of your daily expenditures. That’s a fancy way of saying “save money on stuff.”

My personal favorite? Using 867-5309, aka Jenny’s number, when a store requests your personal digits. Lifehacker’s writers suggest that perhaps someone has already opened an account with that famous phone number and you will get whatever discount they get. Whether you feel this is unethical, that’s up to you. Personally I think it’s clever and kinda funny.

Hit the link below for many more money-saving tips.

Top 10 Tricks to Get Discounts on Almost Anything (Lifehacker)


Jun 21 2013

Links: Parenting Quotes From Tony Soprano

In memory of James Gandolfini (RIP), the superb Sunny Chanel of Babble.com collected some parenting quotes from Tony Soprano.

My personal favorite is “if she figures out we’re powerless, we’re f**ked,” which Tony says while discussing how difficult it is to discipline his daughter.

Click below for a lot more.

Remembering James Gandolfini: Lessons in Parenting From Tony Soprano | Babble.


Jul 26 2010

New Tron Movie Has Daddy Issues [So Do I]

The new Tron movie has daddy issues.

So do I.

‘Tron: Legacy’ is the sequel to the 1982 film ‘Tron‘. I’d say ‘classic’ but if I’m being honest (and I always am, ahem) I don’t remember the original film well enough to call it a classic. I’m not sure if anyone else would agree. More on that later.

A new trailer was revealed at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). Here it is:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The movie looks like a lot of fun. What caught me by surprise were the daddy issues on display.

Jeff Bridges’ character Kevin Flynn appears to have had a son named Sam (played by Garrett Hedlund) at some point between 1982 and now. (It’s possible he had one in the original film; like I said, I don’t remember.) From the trailer, it looks as if poppa Flynn disappeared when Sam was a little guy, and no one knows what happened. Cue the title card — “20 years later”. Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, also returning from the original film, although he isn’t playing the Tron character this time) gets a page from dad’s office number, which has been disconnected for 20 years. (When was the last time he used that pager? Was it in storage all this time?) Sam Flynn enters Flynn’s Arcade, which is all wrapped up in saran. He is absorbed into the Tron world, or whatever it was called. Nerds everywhere pop geeky boners. He rides a lightcycle and throws those cool-looking disc things. Boners get bigger. Hot girl in tight cyber suit (Olivia Wilde). Boners get more valid.

During all of this, the bad guy, Clu 2.0 reveals his face. It’s the same face as Sam’s dad, Kevin. No beard, though.

Daddy Kevin is trapped somewhere, and Sam must find him. He also needs a shave. (If I were trapped in cyber world, I wouldn’t shave either.)

Not earth-shattering stuff I suppose. But big-time daddy issues.

“Hi Daddy!”

Oh, the daddy issues. Have we mentioned the daddy issues? Think about it. Kevin Flynn, Sam’s dad, disappeared when he was young. (8 years old? 9? Something like that.) Sam never found out why. (I’m guessing about this part.) After 20 years, his father’s former business partner tells him that Kevin paged him from a number that has been disconnected since dad fell off the face of the Earth. Sam goes to the arcade dad used to run, gets digitized, and discovers that the evil overlord of cyber world is someone who LOOKS JUST HIS FATHER. BUT! It’s not his father. His father is trapped somewhere and he must go and get him out.

My dad died when I was 10; this plotline could have been pulled directly from my brain. I’ve had several dreams over the years where I find out that my father has been alive all this time, living somewhere else. Usually I ask why he didn’t contact me. He has an answer but I can’t remember what it is. Even in the dream, I don’t think I really hear him. I vaguely recall a couple of dreams where he said something about not wanting to upset me, which of course makes sense since it is MUCH better to believe your father is dead than it is to find out he’s been alive but didn’t want to tell you. (OK, breathe… OK. OK.)

In ‘Tron: Legacy’, Sam finds out his dad is alive, trapped, and he can save him — from a bad guy that looks exactly like his dad. (Without facial hair, as noted.)

For me, this raises more issues than Life Magazine.

An older trailer (dated March 29, 2010) has a longer version of the “your dad paged me” scene. Sam says, “You think I’m going to find him… sorry kid, lost track of time?” “Wouldn’t that be something.”

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Yeah. It would, wouldn’t it. Too bad it’s only a movie.

(BTW, the movie looks awesome, but I may have to check my emotions at the door when I see it with the kids. It would be way too hard to explain why dad is getting upset during a film in which the major attraction is CGI light cycles.)

Trailer via YouTube; originally seen on Topless Robot – It’s Jeff Bridges Vs. Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy.