Posts Tagged ‘family’

When it came to the journey of parenthood, I took a guilt trip

Guilty Parent - NapI have a confession to make. While technically speaking, I was raised in a Presbyterian household, I am sure that my parents secretly must have been practicing Catholics. Because for my entire adult life, no matter how hard I tried, I never felt my efforts were good enough. I’ve always felt guilty. Especially when it comes to parenting.

When our two girls were toddlers, I mainly swung between three emotional states: totally overwhelmed, utterly exhausted and constantly feeling guilty. That guilt was usually caused by my feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted.  When I became so sleep-deprived that I simply had to take a nap, I felt guilty for napping. I mean, a good dad would surely tough it out and watch a Sponge Bob video with the kids – for the 475th time. What kind of dad was I! For shame.

I felt guilty about my job in a dot-com start-up where for years I routinely worked 75-hour weeks. For some periods, I was essentially an absentee parent until the weekend arrived. And on those rare occasions when I was able to leave work before 6pm, I felt guilty because all the other managers (who were all 15 years younger, single and child-free) would still be there well past 8pm.

I felt guilty that my wife unfairly bore the burden of most of the household chores, not to mention the 4am feedings and diaper-changes. And by the time I finally got around to pulling my share of changing our girls’ diapers, I felt guilty that it took me so long to pitch in. I suspect that on some level our girls probably resented the delay in my efforts, too, especially because they were seven and six years old by that time.

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  • Published On Jul. 29, 2014 by TEJ
  • Is your own teenage daughter evil? Take this quiz to find out (Part two of a two-part post)

    evil teenager - girl with red hair In my previous post, I posited the breakthrough theory that at one time or another all teenage girls become evil.

    Based on rigorous field research (comprised mostly of renting the movie Mean Girls) I have concluded there are several cities that apparently have city ordinances requiring girls to turn evil (or at least seriously bitchy) by the time they reach puberty. This ordinance clearly is in effect in Beverly Hills, Orange County, Palm Beach, Florida, the Hamptons, and oddly enough, Omaha, Nebraska*. (I know, that last one surprised me too.)

    Now, you may still say, “Evil”? Really? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?” Well, I don’t mean evil in the “sociopath stalker kills five, kicks puppy” sense of the word. No, I mean evil more in the “You just don’t like him because he has a purple Mohawk, a tattoo of a king cobra on his neck and a chain that runs from his ear to his nose. You’re so judgmental. I hate my life!!” sort of way. You know, the she-doesn’t-have-time-to-take-the-3-extra-seconds-it-would-require-to-pick-up-her-bowl-of-half-eaten-ice-cream-that-she-left-on-our-expensive-leather-couch-for-the-fifth-time-this-week-so-the-cat-finally-knocked-it-over-leaving-a-six-inch-stain-of-Rocky-Road-that-will-never-come-out sense. That sort of evil.

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    • View From the Bleachers has done it again, Tim! In the interval between Parts One and Two, Rachel Canning, the …
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Mar. 19, 2014 by TEJ
  • Are all teenage daughters evil? (Part one of a two-part post)

    evil teenager - before and afterAre all teenage daughters evil?

    It’s a question I have seriously wondered about many times ever since my daughters became teenagers. A research study recently reported that people with teenagers in the house are, statistically speaking, the least happy demographic group of all* (I am not making this up). Interestingly, disgruntled postal workers and prisoners in solitary confinement rank higher in their daily happiness quotient than the average parents of teenagers. Sadly, Melvin Zemmecki, a disgruntled postal worker in Newark, New Jersey, currently serving time in prison in solitary confinement and father of four teenage girls, has the dubious distinction of being rated the most unhappy human being in the USA.**

    Not to toot my own horn, but I consider myself an expert in understanding the impact of parenting mistakes and communication failures. As a parent of two teenage daughters, I have the pleasure of witnessing two simultaneous cases of hormonally-induced multiple personality disorder on a daily basis. There are all sorts of theories as to why teenage girls tend to be so moody, angry, irritable, thoughtless, self-absorbed, lazy, disrespectful, emotionally distant, narcissistic, a giant pain in the ass, never EVER cleaning their damn rooms, would it kill you to put your dirty plate in the dishwasher just once, I tell you??!!!??…. um, I appear to have forgotten my point.

    Oh yes. As I was saying, there are many theories to explain why teenage girls are often challenging and mercurial. Some experts attribute this to the flood of hormones surging through their bodies. Others speculate it’s about peer pressure. Some lay the blame at media for promoting an impossible-to-achieve perfect body image á la Taylor Swift. Some evidence points to the plethora of reality TV shows in which the most selfish, outlandish, nasty, back-stabbing behavior is often glorified and handsomely rewarded.

    But I have a different theory: All teenage daughters are evil. Read More…


    • Tim, Thanks to you I have successfully wasted 10 minutes of my life (mostly laughing) reading your thoroughly …
      David Driscoll
  • Published On Mar. 12, 2014 by TEJ
  • Meet the world’s smartest person:
    My teenage daughter.

    Worlds smartest person - high school graduatePersonally, I can’t stand it when other people brag about their kids. You’ll never catch me puffing up my chest, bragging about the fact my daughter won the National Chess Tournament for kids seven and under at the age of five. Nor will you ever hear me boast about her eighth grade science experiment, inventing an internal combustion engine that ran on tap water. You’ll never hear me talk your ear off about my daughter scoring four goals to lead her team to victory in the state soccer championships in ninth grade either. That’s because I hate to brag about my kids’ incredible achievements (particularly when it involves making things up).

    But the one thing I have to admit to taking pride in is the fact that I am – much to my surprise – the parent of the world’s smartest person. I’m talking about my teenage daughter Rachel. I base this conclusion on more than a decade of longitudinal field studies observing her interaction with my wife and me. At first, I was not fully aware of just how superior her intellect was – in part because at the age of four, she still believed in unicorns and was convinced we should trade in her younger sister for an Easy Bake oven.

    Over time, however, it became clear just how amazingly bright she was compared to her stupid parents – because she made a point of reminding us of that fact on a daily basis. For years, I lived under the misconception that earth revolved around the sun. But by the time Rachel hit her teens, it had become obvious to me – the entire universe revolved around her.

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    • I often thought that with my two daughters that I got significantly "dumber" when they turned 12, and then miraculously …
      Ralph Volk
  • Published On Oct. 08, 2013 by TEJ
  • An important message from your cat

    [This week, Tim Jones turns the keys to his blog over to Tuxedo, a 23-pound spokescat representing the views of household cats everywhere.]

    Cat - Tuxedo the catHey, owner. This is your cat. There appears to be a little confusion as to just exactly who’s in charge here. I know, I know. You pay the electric bill, pay the insurance (whatever that is), and you buy all the food. That does not make you king of my castle. I’m afraid I’m going to have to go over the ground rules one more time if I’m going to allow you to stay here.

    I think we can both agree that I am pretty low maintenance. Heck, I sleep 20 hours a day, so the least you can do during the other four hours is drop what you’re doing and pay full attention to me – starting with my meals. I have to say a monotonous diet of Meow Mix day after day is not exactly my idea of haute cuisine. And what’s with the dry food pellets? Do I look like a rabbit? Please have your chef start preparing more interesting entrées for me. Might I suggest steak tartare or perhaps Lobster Newburg?

    While we’re on the subject of dining preferences, need I remind you that the toilet is mine? Its primary function, we both know, is as the receptacle for my drinking water. I’m willing to let you share, but for God’s sake please make sure little Princess Sarah remembers to flush after she tinkles. It’s gross. You don’t see me taking a pee in her sippy cup, do you?

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    • That is a great list of "do and donts" Tim. We wouldn't like to cow-tow to a cat with …
      Eleanor Rushworth
  • Published On Jun. 19, 2013 by TEJ
  • Rebel with a weed whacker

    I’m not proud that for most of my adult life, I have tended to play it safe. I’ve always obeyed the rules and did what I was told. I’ve always used my turn signals, always separated the white from the dark laundry. I’ve always followed a predictable routine. If it’s 6:15 am, I’m hopping on the exercycle. If it’s 6:20 am, I’m in the bathroom flossing. A boringly predictable life. 

    But not anymore. I’ve decided life’s too short. I’m not going to be a conformist sheep following the herd anymore. I’m going to zig when they expect me to zag. I’ve decided to shake up my button-down life – starting by unbuttoning my collar. Hell, I just might not even wear a tie for work tomorrow. And there’s not a damn thing my boss can do about it (since I’m working from home tomorrow).

    Lately I’ve turned into a rebel. It feels so liberating. My natural hair color is coffee brown. But last week, feeling in a dangerous mood, I dyed it mocha brown. I feel months younger. And look closely at my hair. I’ve started wearing my left sideburn an eighth of an inch lower than my right one – my silent protest to The Man that I will not conform to society’s rules anymore. 

    At sporting events, I now do the wave two seconds after the rest of my section. Sure it pisses off some fans. I’m living life on the edge. 

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    • Tim, I'm VERY impressed. I'm especially impressed by your second sentence, "I've always obeyed the rules and did what …
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On May. 08, 2013 by TEJ
  • Preparing for life as an Empty Nester (and hoping for an occasional text from my kids)

    This weekend I have the whole house to myself. Our elder daughter Rachel is a college freshman and our younger daughter Emily (who apparently really admires her dad – who knew?) is with my wife this weekend, visiting the college she’ll be enrolling in next fall. For the past few days, it’s been eerily quiet in the house – and eerily tidy. It’s weird to walk into my bathroom and not see my daughter’s curling iron, dirty towels and jars of makeup, eye liner, and moisturizing creams piled up in my sink. I barely recognize the kitchen now because there are no stacks of dirty dishes covering every square inch of the counter. 

    This got me to thinking about next fall, when for the first time in 19 years, there will be no kids in our house. We’ll be joining the ranks of a rapidly growing demographic: Happy People (otherwise known as “Empty Nesters”). Many couples look forward to this phase of life. But for me, it’s going to be a difficult adjustment. So I took time this weekend to look at old photo albums and watch old family videos.  It brought back wonderful memories of many happy times with our daughters. 

    Like the 1,284 times I changed our daughters’ diapers when they were young (which, according to my rough estimate, is approximately 1,284 more times than my father changed his own kids’ diapers when we were young). 

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    • Oh how your words resonate with me as my wife and I, and my father in law assist our twenty-year-old …
      Mike Jones
  • Published On Apr. 25, 2013 by TEJ
  • 12 things I admire about my dad – By Emily Jones

    [Note from Tim Jones: This week, I’ve invited my high school daughter Emily to take the reins of this column for the first time. I told her to write about whatever struck her fancy. Then I explained to her that "whatever strikes your fancy" means "whatever, dude." I am confident that whatever she writes about will be in good taste and handled with maturity. See you next week.] 

    Hi, I’m Emily. My dad, Tim Jones, writes some stupid humor blog called View from the … Something or Other. I really have no idea what it’s called. I never read it. Because it’s like totally lame. He thinks he’s really funny, like the time he wrote that the dishwasher almost destroyed his marriage to my mom. Yeah, like my mom is ever going to cheat on my dad with the dishwasher. 

    Not that I would blame her. My dad is so boring. He’s always telling me stuff like “Kevin needs to leave by 9pm. It’s a school night.” That’s so unfair! All my friends’ parents let their boyfriends sleep over on school nights. And he’s constantly getting on my case if I get less than a B on a test. Gimme a break. He always likes to remind me that he was valedictorian at his high school and got straight A’s. And I tell him, “Wow. That’s impressive. And now you write a humor blog that five people read. I see what you mean about the importance of good grades, Dad.” 

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  • Published On Apr. 04, 2013 by TEJ
  • Better parenting through polling

    When it comes to parenting, I don’t always make the best decisions. I’m not always sure what the right thing to do is in a difficult situation.

    Like the time our elder daughter begged and pleaded with me to let her drive the car to the mall. It was a sunny day. Traffic was light. And she had behaved extremely well all week long. So against my better judgment, I said okay. Two minutes later, she smashed the car into a stop sign barely 100 yards from our driveway. A part of me can’t help but wonder whether in retrospect I should have given in to the whining and pleading of an eight-year-old girl.

    Sometimes my wife questions my ability to make the right call. Heck, she rarely ever listens to any of my opinions anymore unless at least four complete strangers tell her the exact same thing I said – which got me to thinking. Maybe the way for me to make better parenting decisions is to poll the opinions of total strangers.

    In the 2012 presidential election, the polls were incredibly accurate forecasters of people’s voting preferences. Nate Silver’s 538 blog accurately predicted the Electoral College winner in all fifty states. Politicians use polls all the time to help them decide how to vote. Should we legalize gay marriage? Poll your constituents. Should we cut defense spending? Do a poll. Should we ban hurricanes during the last week of a presidential campaign? (89% of Republicans resoundingly voted yes.)

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  • Published On Nov. 15, 2012 by TEJ
  • Warning signs you may be experiencing Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (KIDS)

    Over the past 50 years, throughout North America there has been an explosion of reported cases of Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (better known by its acronym, K.I.D.S.). No socio-demographic group has been spared by this invasive and intractable outbreak. In fact, I myself have been waging my own personal battle with KIDS for the past 18 years.

    According to humanitarian relief agencies’ longitudinal studies dating back to the 19th century, the number of known cases of KIDS is at its highest level in human history. Alarmingly, it shows no signs of reversing its upward trend. For millions of couples facing the long-term ordeal of KIDS, there is no relief in sight.

    Scientists have been unable to unlock the mysterious inner workings of KIDS. But they do know that contracting the condition has been conclusively linked to unprotected sexual contact, often during bouts of excessive alcohol consumption. Warning signs that you may have contracted KIDS include an inability to maintain an orderly household, often accompanied by a disregard for clutter and chaos. Another warning sign is a sudden indifference to the presence of vomit, nasal mucous, fecal or urinary discharge on one’s clothes or person.

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    • As someone who has recently been diagnosed with 2nd stage KIDS, I am concerned by rumors that the disorder has …
      Robin
  • Published On May. 10, 2012 by TEJ