Tag Archives: family

Keeping It Simple in 2014

simplethingsMost bloggers list their New Year’s resolutions — you know — at the start of the new year. But since most people are done with theirs by the end of January, I figured I’d start now and increase my odds of success.

Simply put, I want to simplify my life in 2014. I know, holy vagueness Batman, right? But something has been eating at me for awhile now. Something that just felt…off. I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time, but as usual my clarity came to me in the form of my children (isn’t that always the case?). Specifically Sam.

Sam had a touch of colic for the first few months. Colic is not fun — for anyone. One of the most frustrating parts about it is your baby, by all accounts, should be fine. Sam was fed, swaddled, and sporting a clean diaper but he just wouldn’t stop crying. It’s maddening because you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, yet you feel like nothing is working and your efforts to fix the situation represent a string of failures.

You feel inadequate, guilty, sad, and confused. And all the while the crying is ever present, loudly reminding you that you’re doing it wrong. While everyone else is reveling in parental bliss (of course this isn’t the case but it’s what was in my head), you’re the jackass who can’t do anything right.

But while the cause of colic can’t be pinned down, my woes certainly can. I worry too much and I focus on all the things I don’t have.

I left journalism and switched careers in the middle of a recession and skyrocketing unemployment, and managed to gain new skills and a much-needed higher salary.  But all I can see are the raises I was too chickenshit to ask for and the zeros that aren’t in my paycheck. We were able to muddle through near financial ruin and got back on our feet and into a really nice duplex in a great part of town. But all I can see is the word “bankruptcy” and I’m haunted by the fact that I don’t have a house of my own for our two boys to grow up in. I got to drive a Ferrari in Las Vegas, go to Fenway Park for a Red Sox playoff game with my family, and interview Drew Brees all thanks to brands who are interested in working with me this year. But all I can focus on are the other dad bloggers who are better and more successful than I am.

I could go on but you get the picture. And that picture consists of me being a whiny little crybaby.

So my 2014 vow to myself is to quit bitching so much, remove a healthy portion of the negativity from my life, and focus on keeping it simple. The important stuff. To live in the moment — because when I open my eyes and really take stock, the moment is pretty freaking great.

Sam will be crawling, walking, and talking soon. In addition to watching him progress, I get to witness the evolution of brotherhood between him and Will. And Will is reading now, picking out words, reading some short books, and even using context clues to figure out the tough words. As a dad and a writer, that warms my heart in a way I can’t even describe. And then there’s my rock star wife, who has transitioned to the role of stay-at-home mom with deft skill and a passion I only wish I could muster.

And lastly, my family is healthy. Others haven’t been so lucky, and in the end I should just be grateful there are no hospitals, heartbreaking diagnoses, and searing loss with which to deal.

More time with the family, less time sweating the small stuff. The simple fixes really are best.

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lr_gripeJust like there’s a cure to my seemingly perpetual pessimism and negativity, parents dealing with a colicky baby also have a cure.

Little Remedies Gripe Water is an absolute life-saver for treating colic. A few drops of the herbal supplement made with ginger and fennel is a safe, gentle, gluten and alcohol-free formula that relieve the abdominal pain caused by colic, and even help kids sleep better. While Little Remedies did compensate me for this post, this is a product I’ve used personally and would recommend to any parent in similar circumstances.

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It’s Not Easy Being a Big Brother

willsam_straightarm“Dad, you spend too much time with Sam and not enough with me.”

He’s right. It’s true. There’s no sugarcoating it or dodging those damning words that escaped the pouty lips of my 5-year-old. We do spend more time with Sam — mainly because newborns are soul-sucking bags of flesh who spend the first few months of their lives torturing the hell out of parents and using up all of our sleep, intelligence, and basic ability to function as human beings. Which is to say there’s not much time or energy left over after we’re done dealing with Sam, and Will has been getting shafted.

I looked into Will’s sad, soulful blue eyes and felt pity. Mainly because, well — it’s not going to get much easier for him as a big brother.

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I Don’t Love My Kids More Than My Wife

morelessI love my wife. I love my kids. But which one do I love more?

Strangely enough, that’s a question people are actually tackling because of a recent study that found 75% of mothers openly admit they love their kids more than their spouses. But if you ask me, I think the entire conversation is a load of crap.

I do not love my kids more than my wife. I don’t love my wife more than my kids either. I love them each in very different ways, but I love them all completely and equally. And I think even attempting to quantify or rank that love is pointless, hurtful, and potentially harmful.

My family is my world. My wife is the most beautiful, caring, sexy, sensational person on the planet and I’m madly in love with her. My kids are a source of unimaginable joy and my life is enriched in countless ways with them in it. But they are a package deal, and asking me to choose which one I love more borders on the ridiculous.

Which begs the question, what are these moms in the survey thinking?

Click here to read the rest on iVillage!

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Family Traditions: The Knocking Ghost of Wilmarth Street

wilmarthstGrowing up, my father used to routinely beat me and my brother with spoons.

It started while we were on vacation in Gettysburg, PA. After driving from Massachusetts and spending three days crowded into the minivan visiting battlefields and taking in the oh-so-electrifying excitement of Amish country, we had all reached our breaking points. My brother and I were at that point in our relationship in which we couldn’t breathe the same air without fighting, which was making my parents crazy. Now picture all that built up angst, tension, and bad blood squeezed into the tiniest Amish buggy  you can imagine.

After that we went to a restaurant to have some lunch. Still sniping at one another even as the waitress was trying to take our order, my brother and I were building up to an inevitable slugfest (which was really just a glorified slapfight because of our mutually agreed upon decision not to hit each other in the face), until my father took action.

He grabbed a spoon, held it under the table, and smacked me with it. And then he hit my brother. We were stunned.

“Did you just…did you just hit us with a spoon?” I asked.

“Yes,” said my father in a matter-of-fact tone. “Every time you guys argue, I’m going to flick you with a spoon.”

We were so stunned at the absurdity of it all, we stopped fighting and immediately started cracking up laughing. And from that point on, whenever anyone in our family was being a dick, they got whacked with a spoon under the table — an unlikely family tradition if ever there was one.

Recently, I’ve started a new family tradition all my own with my oldest son.

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Q&A with Drew Brees: Fatherhood, Family & Football

breesI get a lot of PR pitches. I turn down a lot of PR pitches. But when one of them says “Would you be interested in an interview with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees,” you sit up and pay attention.

After I made sure I wasn’t being Punk’d by one of my idiot friends, I quickly and eagerly agreed. I mean, this is Drew Brees. Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. The guy who holds the single season passing record with 5,476 yards. And even though he’s not a member of my beloved New England Patriots, I like Drew on a personal level because he’s a notoriously devoted husband, father of three little boys, and genuinely nice guy by all accounts.

Heck, aside from his elite athletic prowess and the fact that he’s a millionaire star athlete, we’re practically the same person!

But seriously, I was so excited and honored to get this opportunity. Even though I worked as a journalist for a long time and interviewed some pretty big names, I still get a kick out of talking to celebrities. Especially when it’s someone like Drew, who combines my love of football and fatherhood. And with so much going on in the NFL right now (concussion issues, player safety, locker room bullying, etc) it was a perfect opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain.

This opportunity comes courtesy of Tide’s “Color Captains” program, in which 32 NFL players (one from each team) capture pictures of their team colors in celebration of fans and football throughout the season.

So without further ado, here’s my Q&A with star NFL quarterback Drew Brees (and there’s a distinct possibility I may have jabbed him about losing to the Patriots earlier this season).

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