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The United States of America: Behind on Paid Leave


The phone rang.  I was in a glass edit bay looking out a newsroom buzzing with activity.  I had been out in a live truck all morning covering an overnight shooting in the Kansas City metro area.

It was Mrs. Rookie Dad.  This is the 3rd time she has called me that day.  I had been anticipating a phone call from her to tell me that it was time to go to the hospital for a few days now.  The newsroom had been put on baby watch, knowing that at any moment I would have to leave.

But that morning, the calls from Mrs. Rookie Dad had been what I like to call the “nothing” phone call.  A call that can wait until I come home to discuss.  We were at the point in the pregnancy that I couldn’t just let the phone go to voice mail.

I picked up the phone and in my head I remember thinking, “Now what!” but on the other end of the phone before I could get out a hello, I heard:

“My water broke!”

Instantly, a feeling of guilt rushed over me as I stopped momentarily to think and regret what my thoughts were that morning. I realized that would be a memory I would never forget, the thought that went through my head when the Kid was born.  That immediate regret turned into a smile and happiness though when the Kid was born at 2 A.M the next morning.

Paid Leave - The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad holding his newborn son.

The moment that the Kid was born, my paid paternity leave started.  It was only two weeks of paternity leave, more than what most new fathers get.  Most get none.  I was one of the lucky ones.

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The Hell I Put My Mom Through


I was never one to show affection towards my mother.  In fact, I am still not.  When my mom tries to give me a hug, one of my arms goes limp and only the other one will wrap around her.  For some reason the words, “I Love You” get stuck somewhere in my mouth.  She knows that I love her, but for some reason the words just cannot come out of my mouth.

They say if you are a woman (clearly I am not so I am only hearing this third hand) that if you want to see how a man will treat you, watch how he treats his mother.  Well I am glad that I have such an incredible wife could see beyond that and realize that I do love my mother, I just don’t always show it.  Otherwise, I would not be where I am in my wonderful life, which is incredible because of my wife.  Anyway, enough trying to earn points.

 

I really don’t know what my deal is.  Maybe it is because I haven’t really reached the adult age of 30.  Maybe this is really my way of showing my mother that I love her but giving her these one-armed hugs.  Could that be our thing?  So mom if you are reading this, the one-armed thing is our special thing and that is why I do it and it is my way of showing you that I love you.

The way that I treat my mother though, has a trickle-down effect to my son as well.

The Hell I Put My Mom Through - The Rookie Dad

The Kid denies a kiss.

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3 Ways Netflix Is Ruining My Child and How We Undo That


3 Ways Netflix is Ruining My Child

Netflix has been a major part of the life of my family since we cut the cord on cable a few years back.  Their instant streaming service has been great.  It allows us to binge watch TV shows that we would normally not watch but are interested in now because we don’t have much else to watch.

While Netflix is great, I have discovered that the DVD rental/streaming service is slowly starting to ruin my child.  Instead of dealing with the hand that is dealt he now thinks that he can get what he wants when he wants it all because of the convenience of Netflix.

Watches What He Wants When He Wants

I realize what it sounds like when I say this.  It sounds like we let the Kid watch TV when he wants.  That is far from the case.  We only let him have a limited amount of TV (or what we call screen) time.  We want him to understand that there is more to life than the latest episode of SuperWhy! or finding out how Wordgirl saves the world.

While the shows that we let the Kid watch on Netflix are usually educational shows, mostly from PBS (I am big on PBS if you haven’t already figured that one out) Netflix is teaching him he can get what he wants when he wants it.  Instead, we give him the selected TV shows that he is able to watch, which aren’t very many, and he decides.  Ultimately, this leaves control back on us.

Select Only Certain Episodes

This piggy backs off of him having the choice of show that he wants.  Lately, the Kid has discovered the episodes that he enjoys of those shows that he watches.  He really likes the Wammer on Wordgirl and he really likes the adoption episode on Dinosaur Train (not sure why that particular episode, maybe he is trying to tell us something). Since Netflix allows us to choose episodes, the Kid has quickly learned this, he knows how to control the remote and knows just by the thumbnail which episode is which.

There really is no remedy for this.  This is where the flaw in our solution for only allowing him to watch certain episodes is really brought to light.  Since he has learned how to use the remote we now don’t give him the opportunity most of the time to control which episode he gets to watch.  We just select whichever one is next in line and don’t give him the option.

Auto-advance

This is the big one.  Now, on our ROKU box, Netflix is auto-advancing to the next episode. Nine times out of ten Mrs. Rookie Dad and I are off doing something else while the Kid is watching TV.  We are only half paying attention, which is great parenting and I can hear half of you complaining that we do this.  I’m sure there are times that you all have done it too.  We will eventually lose track of time, come back about 30 minutes later to find the latest adventure of Wordgirl just starting.  The moment we reach for the remote to turn it off, a full meltdown ensues.  Those meltdowns brought to you by Netflix.

My solution to this (which really isn’t a solution but more of a request), ask Netflix to make the Auto-Advance feature an option to turn on or off.  I don’t think that is too difficult to ask right?  This would give me the opportunity to go around the house and do the chores that I need to do while the Kid is occupied and not have to worry about him sitting in front of the TV or an hour.  I know this makes me sound like I need the Kid to be doing something while I am working on chores but with modern parenting, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get things done, even if you don’t like it.

So as you can tell Netflix is slowly ruining my child!

Really what this boils down to is that I want to teach my child that the world today will not cater to his every need and want.  Netflix has become something that is doing that for him.  While today’s world is becoming “on-demand” so to speak, I still want the Kid to grow up not expecting anything from anyone and to make his own in this world.

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me I Wouldn’t Be Getting Paid for This?


How do you put a price on parenting?

I am a working parent who goes to work every day to provide for my family and comes home and after a long day at work still comes home to be a parent. Then there is the stay-at-home-parent who provides for their family by staying home, taking care of the kids all day and does not get a break when the day is over and their spouse comes home.

Many studies have come out to prove what each style of parent is worth to their family. What is missed in these studies is that each style is worth something and many times underpaid, in a monetary value and time-off sense. There are so many parents who deserve a raise, if not in their career but also personally.

We don’t become a parent for the money. OK well maybe the tax deduction. We become parents for different reasons. We want to start a family and pass down what we have learned in the real world to our kids. We want to raise our kids to live in a world that is better than the one we grew up in.

Being that kind of parent though doesn’t come without a cost.

Parenting is a 24/7 unpaid job. A parent can work a full 40+ work week but even when they get home from work it is difficult to find the time to sit down and take time to you. At 5PM even the stay-at-home-parent or the working parent who has just arrived home from work still has to make dinner, clean the house, bathe the children and put them to bed.

It’s a never-ending job and many parents don’t think about how they can give themselves a raise. For me personally my way of giving me raise is lying next to my son until he falls asleep, gently getting out of his bed, walking to the living room, and turning on a baseball game.

Why Didn't Someone Tell Me I Wouldn't Be Getting Paid for This? - The Rookie Dad

Seeing my son laying there knowing that he will someday turn out to hopefully be someone better than me is the one thing that gives me my raise each and every day. Seeing him is the one thing that gives me the encouragement to continue going to work each and every day. Being able to sit down and watch a baseball game is just a bonus. It really is the simple things that give me my raise every day. It’s the smile; it’s the wrestling on the floor, or playing baseball in the back yard with the Kid.

It is not the money that I do this parenting thing for. You probably don’t do this parenting gig for the money either. If we did, our lives wouldn’t be what they are. I do this because I love my son and because I love my wife. Being able to come home each and every day from a hard day’s work is a raise in-and-of itself.

What do you do this parenting thing for? How do you give yourself a raise at the end of the day?

This post was brought together by a partnership with Raise.com and The Rookie Dad. No free products were provided in exchange for this post.

I Woke Up the Parenting Gods!


I wrote a few weeks back about how to get your toddler to stay in bed and to sleep.  Well, it was as if the parenting gods decided that once I figured out the answer, they would strike it down.

The Gods are up there going “Mwah ha ha ha dance puppet dance!!”

Not only that, but now after much resistance, I have come to accept that everything is my fault. Just like I have accepted that it is my fault that the Kid has decided to come back into bed with us.

Parenting Gods - The Rookie Dad

Yes, that’s right.  The Kid is back to waking up in the middle of the night and sleeping in our bed. AGAIN! The frustrating part of this is that Mrs. Rookie Dad and I are so sleep deprived from her studying and from me working on what will keep you entertained to come back to my blog that we fail to notice when a 3-foot-man decides to squeeze in between two sleeping giants.

You would have thought that money would have been a motivating factor right?  I mean, I go to work every day and put in 110% so I can get that paycheck every two weeks.  I also have the hope of getting a raise if I do well.  It motivates me; I don’t see why it can’t motivate him.  It’s almost as though the Kid thinks he is three or something. I mean eventually if he were to stay in his own bed he would get more money so he can buy that Xbox One that I have eyed at Target.

Oh wait that’s his money he is getting I must remember that because I’m the one who earns the money.

I’ll admit this is annoying that he comes into our bed, right between Hot Momma and me.  But, there is something different this time though, when he is coming into our bed, he is staying still.

What?

Yeah, I said it! He is staying still when he is sleeping.  That means, I can actually get some sleep.  Well, maybe I’m the one person in this house getting any sleep because it seems like lately the only person he wants to cuddle with is Hot Momma.

Ah crap! I just woke up the parenting gods.  Please accept my apology and I hope that tonight you will let me sleep in peace and keeps the Kid lying still while he sleeps.

I believe that the reason he won’t cuddle with me is because evolution has taught me to keep my back to him so that the family jewels stays safe.  Eventually, as evolution as taught any parent of only one child, to keep one child entertained, you need another child.  Unless, the Kid has a scheme to be the only child that I am unaware of.

I wonder if I should add into our nightly prayer, “Please God help keep the Kid stay in bed so that for just one night, wait God not just one night, I mean more like a week or more please, his mother and myself can get some sleep!”

Now that the Kid is coming into our bedroom our dog has deemed it right to come into bed as well.  I could deal with this if she slept at the foot of the bed but she is worse than the Kid.  She will curl up right next to my leg, which looking at the replay (why we have a camera in our bedroom is another post for another blog that my family doesn’t read or know about), leaves me with about 6 inches of bed to sleep in.

Whose idea was it to get a dog anyway?

The answer to that question is me.  As I write this I realize that everything is my fault.  I woke up the Parenting Gods! It was my decision to get a dog, that now comes into our bed because the Kid won’t sleep in bed, and because his dad decided that he was a parenting expert, wrote a post that woke up the Gods and now, no one in this house is getting any sleep.

I think I have just accepted, I am a man and I am wrong all the time.  Not only that but I will never sleep again!

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