Monday, March 28, 2016

The Reliable Speed of Verizon FiOS

We pretty much lucked out when we moved into our current house. The previous owners were pretty savvy when it came to keeping the house in good shape. They had pretty good taste in things enough for us to no radically change anything inside. I wasn't sure about their choice in TV and internet providers as the first time I walked into the garage I was met with a Verizon FiOS box. I can't lie and say I was disappointed. I have previously lived in homes where there was a clear view of the southern sky and I relied on satellite to give me everything I wanted. I wasn't sure how I felt about this change.

After bundling things together we felt like we were in a good place. But, we never used our home phone and found that we spent so much time recording TV that there was no reason for us to really have it. We decided about a year ago to make the switch from TV, internet, and phone to only internet. Since then, I've come to the realization that that one single feature has kept my family entertained and happy when it comes to connectivity. It's not easy to sate a family of five that craves their online content especially when it seems like they all want to use it at the same time.

I've been watching a lot of TV lately and I've seen everything from celebrities to balls telling me who is the best network. I can tell you firsthand that a network is only as good as the support around it.

When I discovered that my 50/50 mbps speeds weren't being met I dreaded the call to customer service. My first thought was that if I would call customer service, I would end up on hold for an hour and that it would probably end in a service call where they charged me extra for something I didn't really need. In past scenarios, with other service providers I'd spend too much time on hold only to  discover that they were trying to up-sell me on a more expensive plan or tell me if I had a different piece of equipment, I'd be better off.

Not Verizon. I found out that I could contact them through a social media channel of my choosing. So, I went to Twitter and contacted them via @VerizonSupport. They'd respond right away and send me a link so that we could open a chat dialogue.  Each representative was courteous, kind, and most of all patient.

They walked me through the steps online and when things weren't working, they helped me to handle it over the phone. Each time we picked up where we left off. If I needed a different representative, they would read through the previous person's notes so I didn't have to start from square one. We determined that it was a faulty router and when we figured that out, they shipped me a brand new replacement the following day so that there was no lapse in service.

You can find examples on Twitter right now with people who have had similar experiences with their customer service. It's rare to find a service that is so accommodating when it comes to their dedication to their subscribers, Verizon's door is always open. Don't want to spend time on the phone? Contact them on Twitter through social media. Whether it be through online forums, email, or phone, or social media, their customer service help matches their speeds online. Knowing they are always available to keep your service working properly is a good feeling you can count on.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly

Friday, March 18, 2016

Health and Happiness with Michael Strahan

There is just something about how you expect a big man to act. The expectations are there that someone that is physically imposing must be someone that has a personality to match. There is a stigma that follows us around that because of our imposing size we must be tough guys. We are men after all and men can't be bothered with our feelings.

I used to run into this a lot as a male teacher. People would automatically look at my 6'6" size, bald head and assume that I was a gym teacher or coach of some kind. They envisioned me barking orders from a sideline and making people do push ups.

Most were blown away to find out I was an art teacher. A caring and compassionate teacher who was tough but fair. My students would constantly ask me why I wasn't playing in the NBA because size to them meant money. They didn't understand how important being happy was the real measure of success.

Part of being happy in life is feeling good about yourself. We can all benefit from conversations about our healthier selves. Many times it can just take a positive word or encouragement from others to get us there. There were many of these conversations at the Dad 2.0 Summit which I attended in Washington D.C. where men of all walks of life had #Heart2Heart converstions with each other about the evolution of fatherhood and embracing our varied roles.

The hardest part is just starting the conversation. This can be difficult especially if you are talking to someone about something that concerns you. I almost didn't have that with my own dad. You don't want that chance to have that conversation pass you by.

Talking to our dads can be especially hard. They raised us and they know everything right? But sometimes men just don't like talking about their health. They may see it as a weakness thing or maybe no one has ever really asked them. Recently, Michael Strahan made a video with his dad discussing what it means to have a #Heart2Heart with someone you love about their health. We want our loved ones to be around for a long as they can so having a conversation about their health is key to helping them live healthier lives.

I had the rare opportunity to sit down with Michael Strahan to discuss the conversations we need to have with our loved ones about their health. And thanks to Meta Wellness I was able to sit down with Michael and discuss what kind of impact these conversations can have on our total well being and how they can help us not only physically but mentally as well.

CB : How do you feel about coming to Dad 2.0 Summit?

MS: Actually it is awesome. I wish there was something like this when I was a young father. It would have been great to have a fellowship with other parents and other fathers to see if they are going through the same things, how they handle certain situations, or just have a conversation. I'm glad it is happening now and thankful that some of the guys are open to doing it. I think sometimes as a man you think "I don't need to talk about my health, I'm good, I don't need to share my feelings" This is really cool to see guys who are past that.

CB : Keynote speaker Brad Meltzer talked about what we are leaving behind for our children and this concept of legacy.  If you had to write your own obituary, how would you finish this sentence "He was a...."

MS: Great father. At the end of the day it's about your kids appreciating you, loving you, respecting you and understanding that you did everything you could for them and that you put them in front of yourself. And I think that prioritizing your life is tough when you are a father. There's work and kids but there are still ways to let your kids know how important they are to you.

CB: You mentioned that when you're a good guy more people want to root for you. When we talk about athletes today and their personas, do you think that more players today should focus on playing a part or being themselves?

MS: I think that too many guys are trying to be cool. Not to say that they are bad guys. I know a lot of guys who give off some persona but away from that you are like "This is one of the coolest people I've ever met." I think that mystery and being cool is the play of the day instead of just being yourself. It's a lot easier being yourself all the time instead of constantly switching up, back and forth, and forgetting who the heck you really are. Being who you are is the best thing you've got.

CB: I suffer from depression and I know that you wrote a book called Wake Up Happy. What advice can you give to people like me who suffer from this disease who feel like we don't deserve happiness?

MS: It's funny because I truly look at it and go I don't know what I did to deserve it. Do I deserve it? Any time your life changes it's a big adjustment. Even though I was going from football to TV I was still scared to death.There was still an adjustment, some depression there because I was giving up something I had known and was so comfortable with. And even though I was comfortable with it, I felt like there was something missing there.

For me, I just feel like I need to do my best in whatever situation I am in and enjoy every situation I was in. I had to choose to enjoy where I am at and the good things I deserve. The bad things as well, that's what comes with my life. I choose to not look at the bad things as bad things. I don't look at problems as problems. I look at them as something I smile at and look at and say "OK, now I am going to have fun and come up with a solution" I had to change my mindset. It's not that my problems are any different from anyone else's I just changed my mindset on what a problem is to me.

CB : On Instagram you do your Wake Up Happy Rules that are motivational outlooks on the day. People who suffer from depression often see the dark side of the day so your posts are about being positive. 

MS: That's how I go about my day, I try to look at everything in as bright a light as I possibly can and just run with it. Don't question why you may have certain things that happen to you. Don't say "I shouldn't be happy today" say "Why shouldn't you be happy today? You have the dark but you also see that tunnel, you have to see where you are headed. You'll come out of it and when you expect good things, things will happen.

CB: You have a great relationship with your dad that seems to be based on humor. How do you act around your own children?

MS: I make crazy faces, that's my thing. I just try to be fun with my kids and silly with my kids. I'm always kind of silly with my kids almost to the point where I try to embarrass my kids. At the father daughter dance, we were doing the Whip and Nae Nae and the Cupid Shuffle but then to do extra silliness with it to the point where they are like "C'mon dad!" I like that. I do whatever I got to do to make them smile, laugh, and enjoy it.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Building More Than Just LEGOS

I remember a time when we would have to keep all the LEGOS away from her. My son had a bin that we could only pour out when my youngest was taking a nap. The temptation for her to ingest them was too great so the times when we would get to build together were a pretty special. 
We bought for her instead, he own Duplo blocks, large enough for her to grasp without getting into her older brother and sister's sets. Usually if she did, it was like a baby Godzilla unleashed on Lego City and the rebuilding would take hours, maybe days to get it back the way it once was.

At one time she would let me build her set for her. She would take to putting the minifigures together while I quickly grabbed the instructions and we would "build it together" until it was completed. Those days are done now with me dictating the step by step instructions the same way my wife explains IKEA furniture to me. 

She's grown up with LEGO and our time together building is more about building memories than sets. I just sit back and marvel at her finding the right color and size thinking back to a time when putting it in her mouth was the goal. My kids love Lego Friends sets so much that they have taken other sets and created their own versions of favorite TV shows like Just Add Magic

Kids have a tendency to take what they watch and apply it to their own lives. After watching Season One of LEGO Friends : The Power of Friendship, my daughters were outside playing basketball in no time. My son, after watching LEGO Bionicle : The Journey to One, he went outside to wield a stick like the Toa of the series.   Building with LEGO is an activity that we all love and we are building more than just sets, we are building memories and Netflix has the LEGO shows to help you get there.

LEGO Friends : The Power of Friendship 

LEGO Bionicle : The Journey for One 

LEGO Batman : Be-Leaguered 

LEGO Elves 


DadNCharge is a part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and every month will discuss different shows available on Netflix. What are you watching? Share with me on my Facebook page

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Five Ways To Save Money on a Road Trip with the Kids

I created this post as part of a sponsored series with Socialstars and Shell; all opinions are my own. #ShellCrowd #ad

I used to pile in the back of our station wagon with my brother. Sitting rear facing with no seat belts while we played electronic football and motioned to any trucker who caught our eye to scare my dad by laying on his horn. Unfortunately, memories of the road trip for me have always been what didn't work out like sleeping in a tiny single bed with my younger brother who always stole the covers or the time my mom confiscated my Guns N Roses tape because she wanted to play what I was listening to on the car radio.

Spring Break is fast approaching and the summer is right around the corner. That means that families are in the throes of planning their vacations. If you're driving to save money on airfare, you're piling up into the family car with your young 'uns for a good old fashioned family car trip. If you're taking your own family across the country on a road trip, here are some easy ways to survive and save money at the same time.

1. Pack Your Own Lunch

It seems simple enough though you would be surprised how many families hit the open road thinking that they will just follow the road where it might take them.  Sometimes this pays off and you find something amazing but in my experience dealing with a hangry child is not fun. That's when they start to melt down, kick your chair and go into constant whine mode.

My kids are 70% goldfish so it's good to have a plan around your eating habits when you travel. Pack a lunch, snacks, and plenty of water for the car. Smaller water bottles are good for car rides so that bathroom breaks don't slow down your progress. If your child is still doing sippy cups, bring one that fits in the car's cupholders or it may end up rattling your nerves as it bounces around the car interior. If you see a cool place to stop along the way, have an impromptu picnic. That experience will stay with them longer than any restaurant you can find.

2. Use the Shell #FuelRewards Card

The main expense on a road trip is going to be gasoline.  Why not get rewarded for the things you are buying while on your trip so that you can get a discount at the pump?  Become a member of the Shell Rewards Fuel Card and link it to and existing credit card. New members who sign up can get a $.25 per gallon discount. Know a friend who is travelling cross country? Refer them and both of you will earn that $.25 per gallon discount if they sign up too.  You can earn $.10 per gallon when you spend $50 on dining out and $.05 per gallon for every $50 you spend online. Saving with #FuelRewards can be easy and everyday expenses will add up to savings.

3. Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

There's something about the road less traveled that may be calling you but planning ahead about where you want to stop along the way is going to help you answer questions like "Are we there yet?" and "How much longer?' Planned stops can give the kids something to look forward to while on the road and reduce the number of sighs from the back seat when they tell you they are bored. It can also help you keep the bathroom breaks to a minimum and prevent you from speeding. If you stay on schedule, that's less gas to burn trying to catch up to your timeline.

4. Pack Lightly 

I'm the world's worst over packer. I always bring more than I need and bring things I will probably never wear because I'm paranoid about variables when traveling. It may have come from growing up in Chicago where it could be hot and sunny one day and turn freezing in a few hours. The thing about packing too much means your car is heavier and with a heavier car your vehicle is less efficient fuel-wise. Do research on the weather beforehand. Pack accordingly by making a list where you write down how many days and nights you will be staying in a certain location. Then, make a list of any special adventures you might have and see if any wardrobe choices overlap.  However much stuff you bring, remember that you will probably have more when you come back and it will all have to be packed and put away at some point.

5. Find Free Experiences

Depending on where you are going, some museums and National Parks are free or discounted for families. In many cases, you can buy year long passes or buy memberships to your home museums which may have reciprocity with other museums in the cities you are visiting. For example, we bought a year long membership to our home city's science museum and got into Chicago's museum for a discounted rate.  Going to a zoo? They often have reciprocity with other zoos and you may get in for free or at a discounted rate.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Triple Threat Turkey Taco Bites

An efficient offense will get you to the Big Dance but it is defense that wins you championships. I say it's due more to a balanced attack on all sides. I grew up in Chicago at a time when basketball was everything. The Chicago Bulls coined the phrase Three-peat before Kobe made a name for himself. I grew up watching Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan dominate every opponent to their first title in 1990.

The team was led by Tex Winter, teacher of the Triangle Offense. But they didn't get there without each other balancing out the attack. Phil Jackson was all about the defense and when they made defensive stops, they learned to capitalize on them and make opponents pay. Teamwork is key. With Grant rebounding, Pippen blocking shots, and Jordan scoring, their balanced attack was unstoppable even for the best defensive team in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons. 

A similar team this year in the running for a NCAA title is a local Philadelphia favorite, Villanova. It's hard not to root for a team that not only resides a short distance from where we live but is a dominate defensive team balanced by smart offensive attack. You have to come to the tournament with confidence, a variety of weapons, and each player needs to perform at their role into one cohesive unit.

I've coached enough basketball to know that you need a balanced team to succeed. You can't win with only one star. That's why you see teams combining the talents of superstars who excel at their positions becoming super groups. You start with the post players down low with the center and power forward, they should be the meat of the lineup. The guards keep everything moving while the point guard demands your attention. Each player should be a triple threat on offense excelling in passing, shooting, and dribbling. While on defense you should be guarding your man, rebounding, and defending the basket. Building a successful team means the sum of all its parts should be one team working together. 

The same could be said about cooking. It starts with the players or in this case, the ingredients. You want to put your faith in your best lineup that can get the job done so you only start with the best quality. Your recipe, to be successful should be a powerful taste while maintaining a delicious balance of healthy and nutritious profile of flavors.

In cooking, it begins with your protein, which is your star player. In this case, you should start with Shady Brook Farms Turkey.  Their premium turkey are raised without growth-promoting antibiotics and are available without the premium price to fit your grocery shopping budget. With a variety or products from ground turkey, turkey sausage, turkey breasts and more, you can work turkey into your everyday recipes. Combine their quality products with knowing you are supporting family farms. Shady Brook Farms turkey is raised by 700 independent family farmers who work hard to get quality food from their house to yours.

That's why Shady Brook Farms have teamed up with Life of Dad to bring you the #TurkeyMadness challenge. When it comes to culinary throwdowns I look forward to a challenge. Not that Out With the Kids or One Good Dad have a chance the week they are up against me but we can let them try. They should get used to the Dikembe finger wag when they face my Triple Threat Turkey Taco Bites recipe below. 

Triple Threat Turkey Taco Bites


Shady Brook Farms ground turkey
1 bag Multigrain tortilla chip scoops
1 Bunch green onions chopped into small slices 
Small can jalapeno peppers
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese

Taco Seasoning:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt, pepper


1. Brown ground turkey in a 12" skillet, drain fat

2. Mix all seasoning together and add to pan with 2/3 cup water. Bring to boil and simmer
3. Preheat oven to 325 
4. Arrange tortilla chip scoops on a baking sheet and fill each one with seasoned turkey. Like things spicier? Put a jalapeno slice in the bottom before filling the scoop.
5. Top with cheddar cheese and green onions and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
6. Top with one dollop of sour cream and garnish with another jalapeno slice 

Think you can take me one on one?  Enter at Life of Dad and submit your own recipe. One competition every week will have a $250 winner! Each week will host a new theme, a challenge you will have to rise to in order to produce something not only delicious, but something creative that will look great.

#Turkappetizer:  March 7-13
Create a delicious gameday appetizer including turkey and a whole lot of spirit from your favorite college basketball team.  Ex: Jayhawks Seventeen Layer Turkey Dip.  Share photos with your recipe that show how awesome turkey and Kansas University are together.  

#TurkBQ: March 14-20
The Turkey BBQ. We’re not just talking turkey burgers here. How are you going to take all of the splendor that the BBQ can offer to transform turkey from an oven-baked classic, to a slow cooked, smokey masterpiece? BBQ that turkey breast to the standards of perfection that would blow away pitmasters from KC to Austin.  

#SouperiorDinner: March 21-27
Create a soup that’s not only delicious, but is considered a meal, in and of itself. Using Turkey as the main protein, we want you to elevate soup from being a side thought to the main course of a meal. Create a soup that’s delicious enough to satisfy the most finicky of 3-year olds, but also filling enough for any parent to walk away feeling healthy and full.

Create and photograph your own turkey recipe using the guidelines below. 
Share the photo of your image on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter using #TurkeyMadness and email your recipes and photos to

SHADY BROOK FARMS and HONEYSUCKLE WHITE will choose the winners based on:
How creative you get with your dish
How hungry your photo makes them
How well you use turkey in your recipe
How your recipe fits in with the week’s theme
Bonus Points: Using Shady Brook Farms or Honeysuckle White turkey in your recipe. (It's raised without growth-promoting antibiotics, so it's an easy decision! Learn more.)
Be sure to not only spice up your food, but also your presentation! Photo superiority could just be the leg-up needed for a win. Each week the champ will enjoy bragging rights, plus a nice $250 Visa gift card to sweeten the deal!

It's time to run a fast break to the store, get your Shady Brook Farms or Honeysuckle White turkey and execute your game plan. Think your recipe can upset me? Put your turkey where your mouth is.

See Official Contest Rules

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad  and Shady Brook Farms / Honeysuckle White for this promotion.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Conversation With My Dad I Almost Never Had

It was late and the kids were in bed. My wife had already retired after a long day at work so she went to get ready for bed. I stayed up a little later, working on some stuff at the computer when the phone rang. I checked the caller ID and noticed that it was my brother. While it isn't unusual that my brother was calling later at night, I thought the timing was off. The kids were already in bed and he had missed his chance to talk with them.

"Hello?" I said. Hey, it's me. Do you have a minute? I could tell by the tone of his voice that this wasn't a good call. "Sure. What's up?" and I stood there holding my breath. Something was wrong.

"Dad is in the hospital, he just had a stroke." The words hung right there in front of me like an obnoxiously glaring neon sign. I didn't know what to say or do. I asked how it happened where he was, what his status was. My brother told me that my dad couldn't move his arms or legs. He couldn't even answer a simple questions. When they asked him what his last name was, he told them his address.

From 759 miles away I felt helpless. My hero was in a hospital bed and there was nothing I could do. My brothers and family kept me updated with his status. Thanks to the quick thinking by my mom who called an ambulance and the first responders who administered a drug that eliminates blood clots, my dad is alive today. Within three days my dad was able to go back home. I can't thank the doctors and nurses and everyone involved enough.

"Your mom saved my life, again." he told me on the phone. He called me as soon as he could talk letting me know he was okay. He asked me "How are you doing?" to which I responded "Don't worry about me, how are YOU doing?" "I'm fine" he said, "now tell me all about meeting Michael Strahan." That's my dad.

The night I got the call was February 22nd at 8:51pm. I was one day removed from attending the Dad 2.0 Summit in Washington D.C. and I was riding high. I had been sharing earlier that day how awesome it was to have met and talked to Michael Strahan courtesy of Meta Wellness. Meta Wellness is encouraging men across the country to have important health conversations with their loved ones. Here I was getting to have this conversation with my dad about his health when just three days prior he couldn't read simple sentences off of a piece of paper.

I can't say talking to my dad about his health was easy but when this happened to him I wanted to know if it was something I could prevent from happening to me. We had a #Heart2Heart about our health and he shared what he knew. If you care about someone enough, that conversation needs to happen. That's why Michael Strahan sat down with his father and had a Heart2Heart with him about his health. Don't let a scare be the catalyst for change, do something about it now.

The stroke was caused by a blood clot that they believe formed in the carotid artery and traveled directly to his brain. What worried me the most was that a few years ago a suffered from a blood clot in my leg that caused such great pain in my legs that I couldn't walk on it. I still have residual pain from time to time when I am not active. With everything that happened to me and now him, it has scared me into thinking that it will happen to me too some day.

For this reason I researched blood clots to see if they could be can be prevented. Meta stresses right on their box "Make a change" and I'm poised to do that. It's all about changing one's lifestyle for the better. That may mean losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, and exercising regularly.

Having a #Heart2Heart conversation is about changing something in your life to make you healthier. That may mean exercising more, eating less, or introducing more fiber to your diet with the help of Meta. Metamucil and Meta Health Bars help lower cholesterol to promote heart health † Use these coupons today to help you on your way. Combining a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk of having a health scare yourself. Since this has happened, I've promised myself to be more active. I don't want to be in a situation with my own children where they have to have this talk with me.

Don't delay, there might not be a tomorrow. Don't miss out on your opportunity to have that conversation with your loved one. If you have someone in your life you care about who needs help with their health, have a #Heart2Heart with them about it. It may be hard but using the tips below will show them that you care. In the end, you caring about their health will always win them over.

7 Tips from Michael Strahan on How to Have a Heart 2 Heart Conversation with Your Dad.
1.     Go into the conversation with a purpose. Make a few notes beforehand to keep the conversation on track. It’s really easy to venture down a road that both you and your dad may not be completely comfortable discussing.
2.     Think about what you want to accomplish. If there’s an actionable goal that you want your dad to set, help him develop a plan to get it done.
3.     Watch your tone. People can become really sensitive when you sit them down and tell them about themselves. Make sure that you are approaching the conversation as objectively as possible.
4.     Set an example. Leading by example is always compelling, especially with parents. Holding yourself accountable will help you hold your dad accountable.
5.     Acknowledge that you hear him. Making small changes can be a big task and what your dad really needs is your support.
6.     Help him add more fiber to his diet. It’s scientifically proven that diets high in fiber can lower cholesterol and promote heart health†. Pick up some Meta and add it to smoothies or protein shakes for that extra boost to help ensure your fiber intake is met every day.
7.     Watch and share the #Heart2Heart video. I recently had to have a tough heart health conversation with my dad that could inspire your talk.
†Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk, as in Metamucil and Meta Health Bars, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. One adult serving of Metamucil Powder has 2.4 grams of this soluble fiber. One Meta Health Bar and one serving of Metamucil Fiber capsules have at least 1.8 grams of this soluble fiber.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Meta Wellness for this promotion.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Unattainable Mom of the Year

You've just spent the past twenty four hours getting up every three hours to feed your baby. In that span, you've changed six diapers, watched countless episodes of The Bachelor on your phone, and really only maybe got three solid hours of restful sleep. Is that the baby crying again or is it the endless chirping of the dying smoke detector? Truth is, you're not sure.

You look terrible and your friends aren't afraid to say so. Those sweatpants you're wearing are becoming so much a part of you that you're afraid to put jeans on because they just feel wrong. When you go to drop off the kids you hope you don't see anyone you know so you pull your hoodie over your head trying not to get noticed by that parent that always seems to be shower fresh. Every. damn. day. 

Meanwhile, your other kids were up early asking for pancakes with blueberries inside and you're struggling with even pouring the cereal before your morning coffee. The bus is coming and no one can find their shoes. Oh, and did I mention that your son has a big project due today that he conveniently forgot about while he was playing video games all day yesterday? 

Everyday we fail at parenting in some way. It's not mommy brain. It's not because we are the doofus dad. Here's an awful truth that we must all face. We are human and we are going to make a ton of mistakes. Parenting is hard.

I sat in a meeting with other parents who are mostly moms quietly listening to them tear themselves down. They seemed to think that they qualified for "Mom of the Year" based on all the ways they have perceived that they have failed their children.

My parents weren't perfect. They used to chase me around the dining room table trying to get me to swim lessons. They probably watched me flounder in the deep end wondering if the lessons were really paying off while the teenager lifeguards paid little to no attention while they hit on each other. You know what? Someone throw me a lifesaver because sometimes it feels like I'm drowning.

Perfection and parenting are like water and oil. They just do not go together. We have this weird obsession with doing everything right for our kids. Striving for perfection puts unrelenting stress on anyone who wants to be the best. We want to show up to the bake sale with homemade muffins that every kid despite their allergies can eat. We want our kids to have the best diorama like they are presenting at MIT.  Wanting everything to be perfect puts this undue pressure on ourselves while sending a message to our children that anything short of flawless is a failure.

I don't know about you but saying I am the worst parent ever so that someone else can build me up doesn't help with my confidence.  Does hearing how others fail miserably really make us feel better about our faults or is this like a scene out of Jaws where we all compare our scars to see who has the biggest one of all? The truth is, we all need a bigger boat.

There is a certain amount of guilt associated with being a parent. It's the reason our mothers are so good at guilt trips. Somehow they have channeled all those feelings of self-loathing into this parental superpower. We feel guilty when our focus isn't completely on the kids. It's no wonder we feel inadequate.

We used to be so fixated on ourselves before we had kids. We were the priority. When the kids came along we shifted that attention on them and when things don't do completely right, we feel a sense of failure. Athletes fail and work harder to improve. Scientists experiment and go back to the drawing board. Why do we as parents, think parenting would be any different?

We fail so when can get back up. We fail because we are human. We fail because parent of the year is an unattainable goal. So when the kids are napping, do something for yourself for a change. Don't feel guilty about doing something for you. They will show up soon enough asking you for snacks and whining about something. Binge watch Netflix without guilt. Play video games until your eyes are bloodshot. You deserve it because no one is a perfect parent.