Unconscious Gender Biases at Home

Patient Zero; Patience Zero

Uh oh. That moment every parent dreads. Your child has just woken from their slumber and their head’s/body’s are a bit warmer than normal. So you do that thing where you take your child’s temperature eight or nine times and each time the thermometer confirms what you don’t want confirmed.

Yes, your child is sick.

The kind of sick where it’s irresponsible of you to send said child off to daycare because the likelihood they pass the zombie virus to another child is high.

And then the next realization hits… Someone has to stay home. F-bomb.

Unconscious Gender Bias at Home

When Fever and The Germs confront our household with this less-than-appealing predicament, there’s a 51% chance that the person missing work and staying home is me: I’m also including days where I need to leave work early to pick TRex up for various appointments, etc. in this percentage as well.

On any normal day, or at least what anyone would construe as a normal day, I wouldn’t have minded. Move some meetings around; plan on staying up late; it’s fine. However, work has been particularly busy/stressful lately, and these schedule changes are happening, or at least seem to be happening, more frequently. Little shifts add up: a few hours here, a few hours there, it all equals to me feeling as if I’m taking an inordinate amount of time away from my work. Especially when compared to my friends who also happen to be fathers…

Selfishly [stupidly?] I vocalized my displeasure to Mothersaurus. Not smart.

In putting into practice my First Amendment, I made her feel as if she wasn’t doing enough as a mother [not the case]. Logistically, I just happen to have the more flexible job, so me arranging for time away makes more sense: not to mention she has to save her days for her upcoming maternity leave [her place of employment is what any modern person would consider backwards]. After apologizing for being an asshole, I came to the conclusion that perhaps this frustration I’m feeling is the small price we pay for social progress – at least in our own household.

So naturally this whole scenario got me thinking: as a partnership/household that doesn’t divide chores/duties along gender lines [although I do always end up having to lift things], why did I naturally assume none of my other dad-friends never have to call out from work sick. I didn’t think parent-friends, I thought dad-friends. Hmm… Like title of the post says – unconscious gender inequality.

I Just Want Everyone to be Equally Miserable

I’ve been reflecting on this whole ordeal over the past week and I’ve come to the following conclusion: On one hand, I genuinely enjoy seeing TRex when the sun is still out so I can show him how to play tee-ball, or go for a quick walk down the hill [he doesn’t walk back up the hill – argh]. On the other hand, I want to get ahead in my career, and I don’t find it particularly fair that another ‘dad’ in the workforce [workforce as defined by the current Department of Labor] never has to take time off because his partner does everything child related. Is there a dad glass-ceiling? Is this ceiling a perception? Or is it reality? Who knows… I think I just want everyone to be equally miserable.

Single Mother on Welfare, Tell Me How You Did it

Two big takeaways from this past month of ill repute:

  1. I have a newfound respect for any parent [traditionally moms] who get ahead in their career AND do everything at home.Fathersaurus Note: Just to be super clear here – I’m not saying I do everything on my own and in no way mean/want to insinuate that idea.
  2. My daughter arrives in a few months and it’s important to me (us) that she and TRex are raised in a gender neutral household; the world is tough enough without them having to feel forced into behaving a certain way. If TRex wants to like pink and purple [he does] then he can proudly like pink and purple; if unnamed baby-girl wants to I don’t know… do something that’s traditionally masculine then she can do whatever that thing is. However, in order to make these lessons more impactful, I’ll need to accept the fact that no matter what we do in our abode, the outside world still has its biases and I can’t let that affect my thinking. Easier said than done, but not impossible.

– tam

Balancing Work and Fatherhood Part 2

Work and Fatherhood: A Two Year Reflection – Part 2 of 2

Fathersaurus Note: This is the second post of my ‘Balancing Work and Fatherhood’ mini-series. To see the first post of this series, click here.

In my last post I mentioned, what I refer to as, a patience cup. An imaginary cup of patience that the people in your life regularly sip from. A cup in which you regularly replenish by drinking, working out, or hiding in the restroom for long periods of time [unless you have a nanny, then you live the good life and I can’t imagine the types of problems you have – and yes, I’m jealous]. Understanding how full/large your patience cup is helps you manage your day-to-day interactions with people [mine has been particularly low lately], but what about when you have to choose between work and your child? Well…that’s another struggle altogether, and, while it may be career limiting, I always choose my child [reluctantly].

Continue reading “Balancing Work and Fatherhood Part 2”

Balancing Work and Fatherhood Part 1

Work and Fatherhood: A Two Year Reflection – Part 1 of 2

Fathersaurus Timestamp: It is 11:02 PM on 1/17. 

TRex is fast asleep; birthdays are exhausting, as is the poor decision to wake up at 5:30 AM. As I sit here on the sofa, I’m debating whether or not to open my work computer up. Balancing work and fatherhood isn’t easy. There’s lots to do [always], but I don’t really want to work right now. The day’s been long; again, birthdays are exhausting, as is the poor decision to wake up at 5:30 AM. Thankfully my decision is made for me. Battery’s dead. Problem solved.

You Rang?

Two years ago a dead battery probably wouldn’t have stopped me from working. Instead, I would have:

  1. Grumpily searched for my one of many power adapters [why I have more power bricks/adapters than I do computers, I have no clue]
  2. Waited annoyingly for my OS to load
  3. Clicked refresh a bunch of times on my email client
  4. Impatiently began reading email on my phone
  5. Wondered why my coworker sent me a bunch of vague/non-specific emails that contained the following Shakespearean prose: “Why are we doing this?” or “Is this done?”.

Thankfully today I no longer have to deal with such eloquent compositions. Nor do I currently have any urgent deadlines, and thus can time-afford the option of ‘not working’ tonight.

Two-years-in-the-past-me would have also felt guilty for not having the energy/desire to do work. “Suck it up and power through”, I’d tell myself. However, after about 6-8 weeks of “toughing it out”, this “toughness” really began to take a toll on both my parenting and my marriage. Losing patience with two-month old TRex, fighting with Mothersaurus, it was bad times. All this for what? To keep some incompetent colleagues happy?

Nah.

Continue reading “Balancing Work and Fatherhood Part 1”

TRex Learns to Talk

Toddler Learns to Talk

TRex’s birthday is next week and naturally, as he creeps ever closer to toddlerescence, and becoming a sentient being, his life-comprehension begins to expand. Not a slow dad-bod expansion either, but more like a final semester, you have nothing better to do but party and eat late night McDonald’s expansion; the rate at which they begin to comprehend the world is pretty rapid.

Part of this development means he’s learning to jump off the higher stairs [he’s been jumping off the first stair for the past few months]. The other part means he’s updating his vocabulary playlist almost daily. His Matt Murdock impression is fun, in that it freaks Mothersaurus out, and obviously his newfound communication is great because it makes life less of a guessing game. However, toddlers repeat/comprehend what they hear, and well…

Thankfully some of it is funny.

Continue reading “TRex Learns to Talk”

Anatomy of a Parent Forum

Parent Forums are Unintentional Entertainment

When I encounter a parenting situation that I don’t know how to handle I do one of three things:

  1. Channel my creativity and mix it with a three-fingered pour of common sense AKA make stuff up
  2. Ask other parents
  3. Google it

The second option generally yields the best results [I’ll discuss the intricacies of talking to random parents in another post], but the third option definitely yields the best form of entertainment. You can’t make some of these people up. Continue reading “Anatomy of a Parent Forum”

Terrible Two Toddler vs New Year, New Dad

The Terrible Two Toddler

As mentioned in my first post my son is two years old. Well, almost two; soon enough. Like most terrible two toddlers he’s learning to throw tantrums, assert his independence, and flexing his mutant ability to suck every ounce of patience out of me.

Typically I respond by yelling the following phrase:

“TREX! BABA IS GOING TO COUNT TO FIVE AND THEN YOU ARE GETTING A TIME OUT”

Obviously, once I get to five he ignores me, takes his timeout, and continues on doing what he’s doing: running around naked; running around with a diaper full of poo; and I’m pretty sure he sometimes runs around mocking me.

All of this is hilarious, or hilariously sad, in hindsight, but as it’s happening in real time I pretty much lose my temper. For the past week or so I have found myself exasperatedly storming out of the room.

“BABA NEEDS A TIMEOUT”

#nutella goatee

A post shared by Fathersaurus (@fathersaurus) on

Face of a Terrible Two-er 

Just so you get the full picture of what kind of mischief I’m dealing with here – the other day I asked him to take his face off the window [he had his face pressed up against the glass of a bookstore at the airport]. He takes his face off [good right?], looks at me, and then proceeds to lick the glass.

Gross. Argh.

Resolute Resolutions

For those that don’t know me, unfortunately I have a temper. A temper that has taken me 30+ years to learn to control. A controlled temper that my TRex has figured out how to selectively unravel in his first ~730 days of life.

When said temper Hulks out, there’s basically a bunch of yelling [from me],  and threats/promises of timeouts.

For clarity sake – when I say yelling I mean parental like levels of yelling. Not Jersey Shore levels of yelling. I’m not trying to go all Situation on my toddler.

Obviously none of what I’m doing is working. I yell. He mocks or tantrums. I yell some more. It’s a vicious cycle. Part of being a father, or at least part of learning to be a father, is understanding where you’re going wrong, and I’m clearly misguided here.

So I’m trying something new. Since January 2nd, whenever I find myself about to yell, or wanting to yell, I do the opposite. I whisper loudly.

Sounds stupid right?

Oddly, this audible seems to be working for the two of us. Forcing myself to whisper prevents me from getting too riled up, and on the flip side, TRex hearing me whisper prevents him from getting too riled up. In the case when TRex does become more aggro, I continue to just whisper-talk to him and hope that Hurricane Rex passes soon.

So far, so good; so far gone

Like I said, I’ve only been practicing the whisper-talk/yell for a few days so who knows if this behavior trend continues. At the very minimum it’s helping me learn new ways to communicate with my son and for that I’m thankful.

For anyone else that’s going through this, or will go through this, the bolded sentence above is the important part here: for additional emphasis – learn new ways to communicate [with your tantrum spawn]. Perhaps I’m a bit more dense than most parents, but this idea wasn’t readily apparent to me. Blame work, blame life, I don’t know, but my typically brash/blunt way of communicating with people didn’t fly so well with TRex [duh right].

Conversely, as I sit here overthinking about how to talk to a terrible-two-toddler, it’s probably best to have several ways to communicate with TRex. As we call it in the software world – contextual awareness. Some situations probably require my typical blunt/brash style, such as when he’s making a mad dash out of the garage into the street, whereas for day-to-day purposes, like not putting on your pants, it probably shouldn’t be the first tone I reach for in my bag of roars.

Whisper-roaring into the night,

– tam

Hello World

Dad Mood ChartTracking my emotions throughout the day

Everyone loves an origin story

The other morning I got up at 5 AM to stumble into the Californian darkness to smoke a brisket. After a brief battle with the smoker [which I won], I found myself surrounded by the rare sound of silence and an opportunity to reflect on my parenting, or lack thereof, from the previous day. Thus, the above mood chart was born.

Not everyone can be Danny Tanner

Like most fathers, I assume most at least, I love my child. However, said child drives me absolutely nuts, as seen above, and I’m pretty sure he’s doing it on purpose.

What’s worse is he’s only two and the thought of having to ‘parent’ until he’s at least a semi-functional adult [until he’s like what…30?] absolutely terrifies me. I’m not what you would consider a ‘natural parent/father’. Being a parent isn’t something I’ve ever really dreamt of doing. That said, now that I am a parent, I do want to be a good one. Or at worst an average parent.

As a benchmark: on a spectrum of Uncle Phil to Nelson’s Dad from the Simpsons I’m probably somewhere in the middle.

This journey to become a decent father, and maybe even a decent human being in the process, is the driving force behind this blog. I’ll be jotting down my successes, failures, and because I’m super against dadbod, the occasional workout accomplishments in between.

If you’re still with me, here’s hoping we can all learn together!

– Fathersaurus aka Tam
– Current mood: non-roaring