Gender equality issues were never on my radar before becoming a father. I was selfish. Being a white guy, I was always considered in a privileged class, but I was more concerned about the unprivileged group within.

Sure, I’m white, but my father had died and we were living off of the various social security checks that come along with that. Plenty of my family and white friends in high school weren’t privileged despite our race—I recall an argument with a friend who was considering dropping out of high school and I made an insensitive comment without realizing her mom was a high school dropout herself.

Sure, I’m a guy. In high school, I was more concerned about finding a way to pay for college knowing that my family didn’t have the means to offer support and came across more scholarships than I care to admit that weren’t open to me since I’m guy.

One of our girls mentioned the other day that girls don’t drink coffee. V asked them why would they think that? Well, Mom and Grandma don’t drink coffee. Dad and Grandpa do. Boys do. Girls don’t.

In O’s school, a full 60% of the Kindergarten students were princesses of some sort for Halloween.

O is beginning this phase of doing anything possible to not be different than the rest of her peers. She’s not eating her lunch because it is different than the other kids. Not changing into her black leotard for dance/gymnastics because the other girls have pink leotards and so on.

I’ve heard of late hate being directed toward the phrase “As a father of daughters…” in regards to men expressing support for women issues suggesting that these men didn’t feel women were equal or thought of them as objects before “all of a sudden caring about a woman as a person”.

Becoming a father of daughters has broaden my view quite a bit. Not that I ever thought that women were not equal to men or should be restricted to or from certain fields, but seeing the world through their eyes has evolved my point of view. I’ve matured; not into a state of seeing women equal, but rather of becoming less self-centered.

This is one of the trickier parts of parenting a daughter. You want them to fit into their peer group. It sucks to be the odd duck, so you want them to avoid that. But, seeing them impressed into different roles and behaviors because of them trying to fit into their peer group? That sucks too.

I don’t have any conclusions or answers to this, yet, and believe I’ll be wrestling this for some time to come.

Teach Them Young

At the dinner table each night, we take turns sharing our “thumbs up” and “thumbs down”—what was our singular best and worst thing from the day. Today, my thumbs up was helping a WordPress.com VIP client with a problem by showing them one of my favorite WordPress filters, ent2ncr.1

I wasn’t sure how to explain this at the table. I’ve ended up saying “Helping someone with their website” so often that I’m tired of hearing myself say it, so it became “I taught someone a filter that helped them with their website.”

Our five-year-old, O, asked me what’s a filter.

Filters are one of those areas of WordPress that until you get it, they can seem like a crystal ball. Plenty of new-to-WordPress developers stumble over them. How do you teach it to a kiddo? Break it down to the simplest idea.

“They had some words that look like this” while holding up my hand up in a fist. “But, their website needed it to look like this” showing my hand shaped like a “C”. “A filter is something you stick in the middle to change this”—the fist—”to this”—the C.

“Oh, that makes sense.”

With the decreasing number of women in computer science degree programs, I want to encourage them to be geeks if they want to be, or at the very least, not discourage them.

  1. One of my favorites because it is very simple and will save a ton of heartache if you’re outputting a custom XML feed. 

Punishment Backfire

We’ve been trying to break MC of a bad habit with various forms of punishment. Nothing has seemed to work, so this time, we had her throw away a small toy when we caught her.

This came to a head this morning when O was upset before sunrise because MC had thrown away some of her toys instead.

#smh #facepalm

Featured Image Photocredit: flickr/puuikibeach

Each Year Is Different

Today marks the 17th anniversary of my father’s death. Each year is different, as I’ve noted over the years. As I noted in 2011, being a father without having my own father has been hard, perhaps harder than losing him initially. As a teenager without a dad, for me, I didn’t know what I was missing and, quite frankly, I probably would have ignored most of the advice and guidance he would have offered.

In the search for my definition of fatherhood, I think of him often. Nothing in particular; simply the acknowledge of that emptiness and void.

With having three girls with twins on the way, there is tension between wanting the girls, in some small way, to know their grandfather while having to emotionally check yourself and, on the other side, not saying more about him. I want them to know about him, but it hurts when MC walks up randomly to say “Grandpa James already died”. It brings it home that they’ll never know him.

I wonder when or if this feeling goes away. It had, or so I thought, in my early adulthood, before the girls were born. I obviously missed him too back then, but the void was hidden, lying in wait.

I imagine in the years to come, with each new milestone in my journey of fatherhood, a new wave may crash against the sides of the boat.

I Hate Fatherhood

While there are plenty of times to talk about the joys of fatherhood, seeing your kids learn new things, watching them do by themselves what you only moments ago demonstrated, the sense of pride when they do well, there are downsides.

They reflect you back to yourself. I’m rubber, you’re glue, it bounces off of me and sticks onto you. I hate this.

I hate that my anger, my temper, my stupidly quick zero-to-60 frustration, my anger when someone calls me out for something I know I did wrong is absolutely seen in my girls.

We’re transitioning to a new schedule with O starting Kindergarten (and a requirement to be at school an hour earlier than her suggested pre-school start time), which means different order, at least 90 minutes earlier, on a faster pace to allow for the increased travel time. It isn’t easy.

In trying to get three little mouths brushed this morning, turning into the youngest refusing to follow any instruction, the middle annoying the oldest, and a dad who flipped out because of the total lack of control despite a ticking clock that offers no mercy to the ebbs and flows of life under five years old.

MC and T took it fine. I told them to get out of the bathroom until they decide they can listen. They did so, without hesitation or question. O broke down. A screaming fit in that high-pitched screechy yell that I’m sure drove all of the dogs in the neighborhood to insanity.

It took the rest of the allotted time, plus a bit more, to get O calm.

In the meantime, since it was the first day of pre-school for T, we took pictures outside. Since O needed the time to calm down, she came downstairs just as we were coming inside. “I’m sorry, but picture time is over.” A whole new melt down that V is dealing with in the car on the way to school now.

Not the ideal way to start the morning, not for T’s first day, nor one where I’m not going to see them until tomorrow morning due to Back to School night and the timing/staging to make that work with one car.

In these moments, I hate being a dad. I have my faults and I hate to see them in my kids at such a young age. Perhaps it is always painful to see, but at least at this age, it is difficult to lay blame anywhere besides at your own feet.

5 Reasons Why Fathers are an Endangered Species

This post hits on a handful of reasons being a father is hard and all the more reason to not become complacent with our performance as a father.

All of us have weaknesses in fatherhood, and these five are good starting points for self-reflection.

Ministry Sauce


There you are…quitely lurking away from view. Your prey doesn’t see you and you are getting ready to pounce. One wrong move and you will scare them away. You can’t afford to make a noise or you will lose the hunt. Everything is riding on this moment…then you strike. TICKLE MONSTER!!!!!!!! Your heart and life instantly fills with laughter as your children succomb to the power that comes with identifying pressure points on the body meant for tickling. You are a father. You are awesome and you know it. Then, as soon as it started, it abuptly ends in a crash! You just broke something. Something Mommy really likes. Kids and Daddy are now in trouble. Oh, but it was worth it.

There have been so many times during my work day where I will start laughing simply thinking about my kids. I will look at a picture on my…

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Desperation Is The Father of Invention

It was Sunday afternoon. V needed an afternoon to herself at home. I’m sitting in an empty medical office parking lot with three kids in the car.

I was having a Daddy Date with my three girls, though if it was a real date, I wouldn’t be too impressed with myself. I didn’t have a plan, except that I needed to give V some space for the afternoon, I needed to do it indoors (100ºF outside), and I couldn’t take the children’s museum on a weekend.

“What about the dinosaur museum?”

The Texas Memorial Museum is a good failsafe for the kids. It isn’t the biggest museum, rarely with big crowds, though the one thing that the girls really like to do there is sit in this half-boat and watch a video about fish. Sorry girls, not today.

Instead of randomly driving around, which wouldn’t have gone well since we had only been home a few days after a two-week road trip spanning over 3,000 miles, I parked in an empty parking lot.

What’s cheap? What’s exciting enough to keep me entertained while suitable for the crop of kids in the car?

It is in these moments where strength is found. It’s easy to lose it, raise your voice because the kids are bored and antsy in the backseat. Or easy to pop in a movie and let the TV handle things.

What could I find to do? There has to be something.

The Texas Military Forces Museum. I’ve always wanted to check it out. V isn’t into military history or science, so never past muster in family deliberations. It’s free (donations accepted and a decent gift shop too) and they have planes, helicopters, trucks there. There has to be something the girls would find entertaining.

The visit was great. MC loved climbing into a cockpit simulator and used ejection seat from the Air Force room. O though the Civil War and Texas Revolution sections were really cool. T, in all of her 20 months, thought crossing barriers to get closer-than-allowed to anything was fantastic.

With three kids with two on the way, some of the greatest ideas and experiences come from those moments of desperation when you have to do something different than normal even though deep down inside you don’t want to, you’re scared to. There’s every reason to avoid taking all of the kids to some new places that you don’t know what to expect, if there is anything there that would be of interest or appropriate for them, unsure if taking kids would disrupt the whole spirit of a place, unsure if there will be a changing table in the men’s bathroom (far, far, far too many places lack this), knowing it is a coin flip between success and absolute failure.

My experience in these moments that even when I think I have failed, the kids take away good memories. The Military Museum wasn’t the best experience and, by the end, I was ready to drag them out by their feet (checking out all of the large pieces outside in the aforementioned 100ºF heat after seeing everything inside may have been the fatal decision on my part). At the time, I chalked it up as an experiment worth trying and that was that. Two weeks later, the girls still talk about it almost daily.

They want to go back.

It’s easier to put on a movie or default to coloring by themselves. I wouldn’t have had to deal with the desperation of having the kids in the car, waiting for me to figure out something, but I wouldn’t have heard them excitedly tell me about each thing they thought was cool two weeks later.