Dad Brog (#097): A brog-worthy bad morning

My current routine is to wake up at 7:10 am, every single day of the week, regardless of if I have to work or not, with the objective of having the kids’ breakfast ready to serve by the time I get them at anywhere from 7:30–7:45.  Preferably with me waking them, because if they wake up on their own, it usually means something is wrong, and by something is wrong I mean that one of them has probably shit themselves.

Believe me, there have been mornings where it has been both, and those are wonderful times.

However the thing is, every single morning is kind of a race against a clock that I can’t see and know how much time is left until zero, where, usually #2, wakes up on their own.  Which is never peaceful, or cute babbling on the baby monitor, resulting me in wistfully looking at my youngest with love and admiration.  No, it’s always with crying, and mornings like today, instantly going all the way to 100 on the rage scale within seconds of waking up.

I try not to compare my kids, but it’s unmistakable that on #2’s character sheet, emotional sensitivity is at a 100 out of 99 and that she is without any question, a massive crybaby.  Everything is worth going nuclear over, everything results in screaming, snot and tears, and the only things that can quell them is if one of her parents drops everything they’re doing and probably need to be doing, and picking her up for some snuggle therapy.

Usually at this time, #1 either gets jealous and starts blowing up herself, or she’s capitalizing on my inability to do anything else and runs off and gets into some mischief that I’m put into a Sophie’s choice of stopping my eldest from some form of damage versus allowing the crying machine to explode again, with ten times out of ten usually resulting in putting #2 down to where she blows back up again to stop #1 from hurting herself or hurting something important.

By the time I get the two of them in their high chairs with food placed in front of them, I’m already burned out because my daily allotment of patience has been reduced to a stump over 30~ straight months of waking up to deal with the first shift of parenting, and I’m typically on the verge of a breakdown and chanting to myself that I don’t have enough help and I don’t know what can be done about it and that for just one fucking day, want to not have to do, this.

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Dad Brog (#096): Raising children without help is impossible

Now I’m sure any long-time parent who reads such a statement is probably like, duh no shit, and I’m not going to refute it reads as one of the more obvious statements that can probably be said, and most definitely nothing I haven’t already said in my life a hundred-fold by now.

But in my latest moment of despair, where I was trying to wrangle my two kids, where #1 is sick and screaming for attention, while #2 was getting into shit she shouldn’t be getting, all while I was logged into a virtual meeting at work because I’m still on the clock, but completely incapable of paying any attention to it, and the sitter had already gone home for the day because all paid help watches the clock, I just stood there for a few seconds, and the words formulated in my head, at just how shitty things can be sometimes and that I’m living at a very unsustainable pace, way longer than I probably should have, seeing as how my resolve crumbles so frequently sometimes.

All I could really think about was just how impossible it truly is to raise children without help, not just from a metaphorical standpoint, but how it truly is from all other ways, especially in this current state of the world where inflation is murder, greed and white people are endlessly fucking the country and America is still ‘Murica.

Like you hear about couples where one person quits their job to be a full-time parent; yeah, that shit is impossible now, and probably wasn’t really that ideal in any previous points in time, because unless one half of a couple makes a ridiculous, white man amount of money, let’s just say $175-200K plus annually, most American parents probably can’t afford to raise a child on top of surviving in a middle-class or better setting.

Everything is far too expensive for the average parents to reduce to a single income without some tremendous pain, and expect to live life remotely comfortably.  Therefore, they must both work.  At least that’s the case between my wife and I, our combined income isn’t that bad, but it’s completely dependent on both of us working full-time in order to make ends meet, however that results in us requiring child care, which quite literally half of my paycheck goes towards every single month, because child care is fucking expensive and not at all that great, but still a very necessary evil to have to endure.

And let’s not even really bother to analyze single parents, they most certainly need all the help they can get, be it childcare or free care from family.

The point is, as obvious as it is, more so put out in writing, is that it is truly impossible for any family unit to raise a child without any help.  It’s often popularly said that it takes a village to raise a kid, to which truer words can’t really be said, but it just isn’t possible for those to do so without said village.  Logistically, mathematically, financially, there just isn’t a way to do it without some third party hands getting involved somewhere along the way.

The Clock King is most definitely the worst villain ever

A long time ago, I posed the question if The Clock King really was a villain, in the grand spectrum of things.  That he really was just a punctual and time-considerate individual in a world full of shitheads that don’t have such qualities, and he’s the one that gets painted to look like the bad guy, and eventually a member of Batman’s rogues gallery.  Back then, it didn’t really seem fair to me that he was considered a villain and I wanted to open that discussion to my then-six readers.

But after a weekend like this past one, and 2+ years of parenting, all I can really think of now is that not only is The Clock King most definitely a villain, he’s without a shadow of a doubt the greatest evil in all of comics.  Worse than Darkseid, worse than Doomsday, worse than the Joker.  Worse than Thanos, worse than Kang, worse than Onslaught.  Shit, it transcends comic books, and The Clock King is the greatest evil in the history of, history.  Worse than Hitler, worse than bin Laden, worse than Trump.

Obviously this goes into the obvious notion that there is no greater force in existence than the passage of time, and how it’s unfeeling, unbiased, impervious by nobody, and never ending.  Which means those who wields it to greatest effect, like The Clock King, are basically the worst people ever.

At this current juncture of my life, there’s seldom any time in which I am not up against a clock on a fairly regular basis, and there are times in which it becomes absolutely maddening and fills me with despair and levels of stress that I have a hard time coping with.  By individual nature, I am a punctual person who believes in punctuality and adequate lead time; I hate to rush, I like getting to my destinations early, and as a worker I believe that 15 minutes early is on time and on time is late.

But since I’ve gotten older and had kids, my agenda is always packed full of things for other people, I’m routinely stretched past capacity, and I’m way more prone to being late to things, and I concern myself that I’m developing a reputation of being flaky and unreliable.  Or just a typical parent maybe.  Regardless, it goes against everything that I’ve always put a lot of conscionable effort into maintaining, and I have a hard time dealing with the seemingly endless stress that comes with being up against the clock.

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Dad Brog (#092): Fuck parents who send sick kids to school

#1 has gone to but just three days of camp, and she’s already picked up some sort of sickness.  Croup or RSV, most likely, although it would probably be in my best interests to run a COVID test to make sure, but the point remains is that all it took was three (half) days being exposed to other kids before my kid has picked up some sickness.

And because we’re active parents who aren’t content to let our children suffer in isolation, we do what we can to care for them when they’re waking up because they can’t breathe, and I woke up this morning with a slight fever after going to bed with massive chills, and it’s evident that such a bug has afflicted me as well.  I’m mostly fine, but my digestive system is telling me that I’m most definitely not 100%.

The point is, I’m livid and frustrated because the impression I get is that some parent(s) somewhere of kids that go to my kid’s school, knowingly let their sick kid go to school, where they have exposed everyone else to their plague, and in the case of my daughter, she’s brought it into my home where now I’m also affected by it too.

Basically, the overarching feeling I feel is what the subject of this post says: fuck parents who send sick kids to school.  I wish grave misfortune onto those of you who knowingly do it, like some gnarly and violent diarrhea that ruins your day, and maybe some clothes along the way.

I get it, it’s frustrating as hell raising kids sometimes, and when they’re sick and whiny and inconsolable, I’d want to jettison them out of the house for a few hours too.  But that’s a dick move and irresponsible and reckless, and I wish terrible things onto parents who knowingly do it.  Today, we kept #1 home from school, because it’s the right thing to do, and this is how responsible people conduct themselves, and look out for others.

Ironically, my own mother sent me to school with very obvious evidence that I had chicken pox.  But this was when I was in kindergarten, and I didn’t know the severity of the situation, until my teacher took one look at me and shipped my ass off to the office where I had to wait for my mom to come get me.  I still give my mom shit about that story to this day, even more so now that I’m a parent as well.

And I understand that sometimes it’s hard to tell if a kid is sick or not.  In those instances, there’s a little more leniency from my judgment, but if your kid is showing obvious signs of hoarse coughing, snotty noses or any sort of physical addling, then fucking keep your kids home for god’s sake.

I have no idea if the parents of whatever plague rats that have spread their disease onto my kid’s school knew or not that they were harboring a patient zero.  But in my cynical view of society, I assume they did, and so fuck them.  I hope they get a case of the shits while stuck in traffic, because knowingly sending sick kids to school is exactly why coronavirus will never, ever end, and I’ll go homicidal if some shithead passes it onto my kids.  Sure, I know this whole rant sets me up for some future hypocrisy if I’m ever in a position where it’s borderline, and I send my kids to school, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when it ever happens.  But for now, crazy shits for those who do.

Dad Brog (#091): childcare in America sucks

Over the span of the last five months, I’ve had two nannies quit on my famiry.  I’ll be the first to admit the high level of difficulty in simultaneously overseeing two kids the ages of mine, but the thing is that before anyone gets the idea that my kids were the ones driving them off, it’s just that we’ve just been very unlucky with the people we’ve hired.

The first nanny quit because she basically had a mental breakdown after two days of solo duty, despite having over three months to prepare for it.  And the worst part was that she did it spontaneously by calling out one day and then ghosting us for nearly two weeks before resigning over the phone, after we had already moved on to hire someone else by the time she reached back out.

Unfortunately, that someone else has just given her notice after just barely four months, because her personal life has imploded and she’s decided that it’s just not possible for her to continue nannying for us any further.  I won’t go into specifics, but at least she’s given us the courtesy of some lead time, and mythical wife and I are scrambling to find someone else before we reach her hard stop last day, and that’s if she doesn’t decide to phone it in and peace out before then.

Needless to say, if not for the fact that I was already souring on nanny #2, I’d be apoplectic about the fact that for whatever reason, my famiry just can’t seem to lock down competent, reliable childcare.  I have a lot of mixed feelings about the current scenario, because I was already on the path of looking for a replacement and this saves wifey and I an uncomfortable conversation of having to let someone go, but it doesn’t change the disappointment of having yet another nanny who crumpled to the job, mostly on account of their lives just being another hot mess.

I know my kids won’t really remember much of this in the grand spectrum of things, but I would love for them to have some stability and consistency in their lives.  After nanny #1 peaced out on us, my eldest mentioned them by name a few times when they heard the garage door, thinking that they were coming to see them.  And she’s also cognizant of both nanny #2 and her own son that she brought in daily, but now both of them will be leaving our lives too.

My kids deserve better than what we’ve been giving them.  Unfortunately, it’s been very challenging on our part as parents to find a good nanny, because they all talk a good game to get the job, but we’re 0-fer-2 now at fielding someone that has actually remained up to the task at being able to handle it on a regular basis.

Frankly, and this is where I’m getting up on my old man soap box, I just think American childcare sucks.  All these nannies are mentally soft, have no work ethic, are susceptible to complacency and laziness.  They have little respect for my wife and I’s jobs and the jeopardy they put us in when they phone it in and call out with bullshit excuses like migraines and car troubles and forget that if we lose our jobs, they lose theirs.

The thing is, I think we pay fairly well; substantially better than some of the wages I’ve seen others in my community offer up.  And yet, it’s like in order to attract higher quality talent that might not be so flaky, I’d have to go up even more, and I’m already struggling to keep up with nanny wages as it is.

So it really does just boil down to the fact that childcare in America sucks.  Either people are lazy and untalented, or they’re priced too high for the middle class to be able to regularly afford.

I think this takes the cake

The ad on the left is the July 4th ad that my former team and I produced for the 2021 year.  The ad on the right is the July 4th ad that was produced by my former employer for the 2022 year.

Now I understand that there’s little sexy and glamorous about newsprint, especially considering the world has such a collective boner about digital-this, omnichannel-that, social, influencers and other forms of marketing approaches that constant insists that the print medium is dying or already dead, but I will fight you if you tell me this to my face.

What good is your digital medium if the internet goes down?  Or you can’t connect to the wi-fi and your 5G can’t make it through the concrete and medal coliseums of the stores you’re in, needing to access the internet?  Or you catch me on a bad day and I slap your phone out of your hand and break your phone for telling me that my occupation is obsolete?  Alright then

I’ll be the first to admit that the 2021 ad isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, or remotely close to the best work that my team has ever produced.  We were still amidst pandemic-this and supply chain-that, not to mention that my team was forced to work in a program that was the equivalent of a Chevy Cavalier trying to compete with NASCARs on the track.  But compared to the ad on the right?  Suddenly the 2021 Cavalier looks like a spaceship compared to the stone and chisel produced ad in 2022.

In short, my old team was completely gutted, laid off and the company’s newsprint was outsourced to an agency in Austin, Texas; literally a week after I had my final day with the company.  I was pretty upset about it despite having dodged a massive bullet, because I still had and have a tremendous amount of care and shits to give about all the people on my old team, because there’s a ton of talent and good people there who were put into a horrible situation.

Fortunately, almost all of them have landed on their feet since, but the point remains that the old newsprint team was effectively killed, with our primary task being outsourced; in my opinion, one of the biggest professional insults to anyone who’s ever taken pride in what they do for a living.

I blame my old boss for all of this.  I’ve made no secret of the disdain, contempt and general hate I have for her, and how they were easily the #1 factor for why I decided to leave the company.  I could list of numerous things I hated about being under their thumb, but I’d be better off saving those 50,000 words for November and completing NaNoWriMo with them instead.  However, of all of the horrible shit she said, did and behaved to me that made her a horrible Bronn of a boss, I genuinely think this is the worst thing she ever did; as the title of this post says, I think this takes the cake.

This piece of outsourced shit,  the July 4th ad for 2022, is a goddamn joke.  The photo does no justice to how poor the entire ad is, because all throughout the circular are errors, alignment and consistency issues, bad crops, obviously distorted images, and zero quality control.  A hundred things I caught in a hundred seconds of scanning through it, that would never have made it past mine or any of my team’s eyes on our numerous proofing rounds.  Ancient Egyptians pounding hieroglyphics on reeds had better brand standards than this sad circular.

She killed our medium.  No matter how hard my team pushed back against evolving trends and proved our positive ROI year after year, she came in and killed us, because no team in the world can survive in the league when their own coach is deliberately and determined to kill them.

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Dad Brog #086: The perils of private in-home childcare

Due to the never-ending pandemic that we live in, I’ve had a private nanny since #1 was eight months old.  Frankly, sending my immunocompromised first child to regular daycare among children whose individual household dynamics were mysteries to us was out of the question, so the only option that my household was left with in order to have childcare while mythical wife and I worked our respective jobs, was to hire a nanny.

For the duration of a single-child household, it worked out great; one nanny with one child is pretty easy-peasy as far as the circumstances are considered.  I could focus on my job, which was really helpful as it was deteriorating pretty rapidly throughout the start of the pandemic.

But then #2 came into the picture and things became a little more chaotic, as to no surprise, when the ratio of children balances away from 1:1, anyone’s attention becomes harder to divert between multiple children, and it’s just harder in general.  I often times was away from my keys in order to help out the nanny, and it was always a balancing act to make sure that double duty was as minimal as possible, which is a little ironic considering just how often I am on double duty on a regular basis but I am their biological father so why wouldn’t I be?

Eventually, things ceased to work out with my original nanny, and they did leave us high and dry at a very inconvenient and critical point.  Fortunately, we were able to bounce back fairly quickly and find another nanny to come in and take over, which brings us to current times that are somewhat more stable and if anything at all, I’m just glad that my kids have someone reliable to take care of them while I’m working.

However, to the point of this particular dad brog post, as nice as it is to have in-home care, and the peace of mind at knowing that my kids aren’t picking up every variant of coronavirus while at daycare and bringing it home, it’s not entirely perfect either.  Namely, the part where if a private nanny calls in sick or is ever out for any particular reason, I’m the one who is getting boned and has to eat the time off work in order to cover.  Mythical wife being a teacher and all, and teachers having extremely rigid and inflexible workdays, she can’t exactly turn on a dime and come home to take care of the kids at a moment’s notice, so that responsibility falls onto me.

I’m not going to sugar coat it either, it sucks.  Royally.  Every time that either of my nannies have called in sick, I’ve been the one who has had to take it on the chin and tell my jobs that I have to in turn bone my work, to where I’m either burning PTO, or I’m being a complete flake with my work, and then working in the evening to make up for the not working during the day.

The worst part is that as I’ve alluded to in the past, my kids are getting sick every month this year regardless of the fact that I have in-home care.  I go to the office a few days a week, mythical wife works at a school surrounded by children whom we have no idea if their parents are vaccinated or not, and 2022 seems to be the year where all the colds, flus and other sicknesses that were avoided in 2020-2021 are coming back with a vengeance.

At this point, I’m kind of over the lack of accountability and being the only one punished when my childcare goes down, that I’m leaning towards sending my kids off to daycare.  They’re getting sick all the same now, that I may as well start trying to get my children socialized and used to other human beings so they’re not complete social invalids growing up.  If I’m already paying daycare prices for private care, I might as well be able to not have to destroy myself whenever something comes up.

I love having personalized childcare, but I’m disliking just a little bit more, the repercussions of when said childcare calls out sick.  My work struggles, and as important as my kids are, I still need to have my job in order to support my family, and seeing as how I’m still within my first year, I don’t want to develop a reputation of being the guy that’s unreliable and constantly using his kids as the excuse.