The (other) Default Parent

Today my Spider Man Underoos are in a bunch over this post on the ever-reliable Huffington Post called “The Default Parent“. Forwarded to me by Mrs. Nostrikethat, I had my suspicions on what the post might contain– and I was right.

Perhaps you’re wondering what a “default parent” is?

Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you’re not. You’d know. Trust me. The default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children. Spoiler alert: It’s typically the one with the uterus.

Hurray! I am not responsible for the emotional, physical, or logistical needs of my children!

chris_rock

I would make a plea for these kinds of articles to stop, but without stories about interrupted bathroom time the Mommy Blog economy would collapse.

HOWEVER, I have a hilarious idea for a blog post, it’s called “Letting Women Out of the Kitchen Makes Them Uppity”.

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The Rules of the Games

I wasn’t particularly athletic as a kid, but even I managed to lace up some cleats and gamely play a few seasons of soccer. Team sports and games are foundational experiences in a boy’s life. The lessons we learn as boys on the field help shape our worldview as men.

1) Support your teammates. We don’t trash talk the guys on our side, even if they’re not very good.

2) Win or lose together. The team wins or the team loses, and we all contribute to that effort.

3) Be a good sport. Graceful in defeat, humble in victory. No one likes a whiner.

4) Play your position. You have to stay in the zone you were assigned. If you’re on the left side, stay on the left side. If you’re a running back, don’t block for the QB. No one person can do it all, not even LeBron James.

5) Every position is equally important. The corollary to rule number 2. We all have a role to play on the team. The goalie is no more important than the striker, the quarterback no more than the kicker.

These are not exclusive to men, but you would be hard pressed to find a functioning adult male who hasn’t internalized them to some degree. Sure, we have our sociopaths too, but if you want to understand at a fundamental level how a man looks at the world and relationships, it’s through the lense of these rules.

This notion of the Default Parent concept breaks them.

Every single one.

It’s offensive to me as because the core premise is that the parenting roles are separate, unequal, and favor the Uterus-Americans when everything I believe is that while the roles have different challenges, they are both equal in importance and vital to the success of the Family Team.

So my plea to you all is don’t be the kid on the team that puts down everyone else, complains they are carrying the team, and is never in position.

Or you’re going to lose.

By default.


Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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Soccer snack shaming

This Saturday, millions of Americans will sit on a grassy field in camp chairs and watch their young children enthusiastically ignore a soccer ball. American Youth Soccer is where families of all backgrounds get to watch their children get their collective arses handed to them by That Other Team that has a child from a Country That Takes Soccer Seriously.

One of the great traditions in American Youth Soccer is the apres-game snack. Like all things in our society today, the snack we bring makes a statement to all of the other parents about what kinds of parents we are pretending to be.

Choosing an appropriate snack is a highly complex calculation involving nut allergies, ratio of SUVs to Minivans on the team, multiple calls to Miss Cleo, and a soul-searching evaluation of how much you hate that mom who wears the triathlon gear LIKE IT’S HER FRICKIN JOB.

 

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To help you navigate this potential minefield of social stigma Nostrikethat Industries has compiled a handy reference guide. Want to make a statement next Saturday?

Read on.

The Traditionalists

Sliced Oranges, the way God intended. It’s a food and a drink all in one, which is evidence of His Perfect Vision. If He had wanted us to have something different, He would not have given us the miracle of the High School Music Booster Fruit Sale.

The Warehouse Clubbers

Pre-sliced apples in the individually wrapped plastic packages and a 2 boxes of Capri-suns. The apple slices are a nod to healthy snacks, and the capri-suns come 4 boxes to a SKU so you can give two away and still have enough for lunches for a while. Alternately, substitute individually-wrapped mini blueberry muffin packages if you’re feeling saucy.

The Stopped On the Way to the Gamers

Big bag or box full of little potato chip bags and a case of Snapple. Look, they were in adjacent aisles and we left the van running in the bag pick up lane because after the morning we’ve had we’re cashing in some karma, okay?

The Trader Joes

Whatever the heck they’re calling granola bars and juice boxes this week (Trader José’s Montezuma Granola?), served from the Trader Joe’s reusable shopping bag because Trader Joe’s is the most amazing grocery store ever and way better than Whole Paycheck although we have to shop there sometimes because I like to buy quinoa in bulk. Trader Joes.

The Enlightened Followers of Food That Is Twice Half

Organic vegan nut-free flax muffins with fair trade coconut water, served on hemp napkins that were lovingly hand-selected on the family’s last eco-tour vacation to Guatemala. Namaste, y’all.

The Sugar Polizei

Hand-sliced carrots and raisins in a snack bag and mini water bottles. I care deeply about my family’s health, and as a result your children will learn a lesson today about politely saying thank you for the carrots. I hope we win today because no one has ever drowned their sorrows in raisins, either.

I heard it through the grapevine that your momma is laaaaame
I heard it through the grapevine that your momma is laaaaame

The Still Three Days to Paydayers

Pink lemonade in a pitcher and sketchy looking grapes. Look, this game is Saturday and we get paid again next Tuesday and I know what I should get but I had to choose between a haircut and new underwear this month so you get what I have in my pantry and the kids are just going to take marshmallows to school on Monday because we won’t have any grapes left but we have to keep up appearances because God help us if someone discovers we’re one of the 80% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

The Pixie Stick Partiers

Varies, but tends towards gatorade bottles and mini tins of pringles, occasionally with leftover Halloween candy thrown in if it’s late in the season. The kid who’s parents bring these is automatically the default game MVP, even as his parents themselves get the Stink Eye from every other parent in the tri-county area. Time may heal all wounds, but 210 grams of sugar at 11 AM turns that frown upside down in time for the 11:30 piano lesson.

AND REMEMBER–

We are so, so judging you. Choose wisely.

 


 

This post is dedicated to my mom friend Roger, who is a total Sugar Police.  Roger I know you’re reading this, love ya babe 😉

 

9 Kinds of Dads at the Pool

I really enjoyed the Scary Mommy post “Types of Moms you Meet at the Pool” and I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t very much diversity in the Dad ecosystem at my favorite aquatic habitat. So I donned my trusty fedora and set off to do a little field research, and now I can safely say I’m wrong. I present the results of my findings, complete with fake Latin names because I watched a lot of Wile E. Coyote cartoons as a kid.

Road-Runner-Latin

1) Just-came-from-work Dad

Paternis inasuiticus

This Dad is typically a nocturnal species, emerging as the sun starts to set. He appears, usually at swim practice, in full office garb, instead of going home to change first like a sensible person. This appears to be a remnant of behavior from pre-Dad days, as it advertises his fitness to reproduce by showing that he has a Real Job. If the mate is already present, it is definitely a show-off move designed to allow his mate to demonstrate her success at garnering a suitable breeding partner.

2) Yelling Dad

Paternis bellowsalota

This species’s primary habitat is on the shores of chlorinated bodies of water. This species is notable for a wide range of calls it performs at maximum volume. No one is sure why the Yelling Dad does this, but some researchers theorize he is attempting to use the air from his lungs to propel his offspring across the water. Yelling Dads are usually wearing athletic clothing from some other sport, frequently football, which leads other researchers to believe that perhaps this is not a distinct species at all and just some dudes who are lost on the way to a sports bar.

3) Statistician Dad

Paternis pencilpocketus

The “Stat Dad” is frequently found perched somewhere above chlorinated bodies of water, quietly but intently observing every activity in the pool. This dad is most known for his detailed, multi-tabbed, color-coded spreadsheet showing his offspring’s relative rankings at the club, state, district, and national levels. Statistician dads favor baseball caps and actually care about baseball. Do not make the mistake of assuming that their lack of volume does not equal ferocity: many a rival has woken in the hospital recovering from mechanical pencil stab wounds and a clipboard-induced concussion.

4) Fun Dad

Paternis throwthekidicus

Paternis throwthekidicus is the only observed aquatic species of Pool Dads. Fun Dads seem to prefer repeatedly ejecting their offspring from the water in what appears to be an attempt to get their offspring to swim away and start their own family. This never seems to work, however, as the offspring continue to return, only to be thrown again and again. Paternis throwthekdicus is easily identified by the outrageously bad pair of swimming trunks that were obviously purchased by his mate in an attempt to disguise his suitability for breeding and ward off competition. Sometimes Fun Dads can be found in the more shallow bodies of chlorinated water, in which case they can be identified by nearby pink or blue-colored offspring and/or an abundance of pool toys and flotation devices.

5) Granddad Dad

Paternis granpaternis

Grandad Dad is a close relative of Fun Dad and engages in similar behaviors, just a little more slowly and with more attendant grunts of effort. Paternis granpaternis frequently displays black markings on the feet up to knee height, and may also have a large floppy hat. Late in the day, although sometimes as early as lunch time, some are observed to turn bright red in coloring, because back in his day he didn’t wear sunscreen and he turned out just fine, no matter what your grandmother might say.

6) Office Dad

Paternis gottaworkus

Office Dad appears to be a relative of Paternis inasuitacus, and some researchers believe they might be the same. Office Dads are normally only found at indoor pools on the weekends, usually with the laptop, inkjet printer, folding desk, wheelie chair, and Nespresso machine. They can also be identified by their detachment from their surroundings, conversations with imaginary friends, and shortened life expectancy. Researchers theorize this may be an evolutionary  “dead end”.

7) Slacker Dad

Paternis notthatmucha

Paternis notthatmucha’s habitat is any shady spot near the pool which enhances the visibility of his smartphone. Noted for their drab plumage such as flip flops, shorts, and a faded Dead Milkmen t-shirt. Slacker Dads are notable for the lack of accessories associated with their (probably) nearby offspring, including pool toys, sunscreen, towels, and frequently bathing suits.

8) Hercules Dad

Paternis toofiticus

Paternis toofiticus is notable for being the most muscular of the Paternis family. Attire is usually a pair of Oakley sunglasses that are welded to his cranium. Females are advised to maintain at least a 10 foot separation as spontaneous, airborne pregnancies have been documented arising from close contact with Hercules Dad. Also avoid eye contact as that may cause leg weakening and uncontrollable lip-wetting. Researchers are unable to determine how this species can maintain a state of physical near perfection and be good with his kids because he’s obviously a giant d-bag I mean just look at him.

9) Mom Dad

Paternis nurtura

Paternis nurtura is a recent discovery but researchers are startled to find these members of the Paternis family in ever-greater numbers. Unlike every other member of the genus, the Paternis nurtura bears the primary responsibility for raising the offspring. This mystifying behavior has led some to believe that this species is actually not actually of genus Paternis at all, because everyone knows boys can’t be be loving, nurturing, or responsible. Mom Dads are identified by their multitude of pouches which contain an assortment of wipes, snacks, drinks, toys, and burbons.

Further research is recommended until Labor Day, ideally with a cooler containing beverages of an uncertain nature. If you spot any new species, let me know!