Parenting Within Reason Podcast #45

March 26, 2011

Download Episode 45: The Feminine Mystique here.

Colin and Heidi are back!  Rob talks about the Louisville Area Skeptics. The links mentioned in the podcast are: skeptimommy.com and scientificparentingonline.wordpress.com.

The Sex Talk with Heidi Anderson:
Can we discourage sexual assult by learning negotiation techniques from the BDSM community? Heidi previews the talk she’ll be giving at the Momentum conference.

The Brain Game:
How can you throw a ball as hard as you can, and make it stop and return to you, without it hitting anything, and with nothing attached to it?

INTERVIEW
Stephanie Coontz, author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. See more about the book here.

More Parenting Within Reason podcasts can be downloaded here.


My Marriage: In The Eye of the Storm

March 8, 2011

The holidays were not particularly fun for me. My marriage went through some heavy turbulence and was headed for the rocks. Amazingly, I pulled out of the nose dive and things have stabilized to the point that I feel comfortable writing about it.

I encourage anyone who is experiencing marriage conflict to look deep inside themselves and make the necessary steps to internalize permanent change. When I looked at the research, I saw that my marriage had multiple statistical risk factors for divorce. Basically, I was living in the eye of the storm.

On an upcoming episode of Parenting Within Reason, I will interview marriage expert Stephanie Coontz. Her book A Strange Stirring contained a science-based chapter that really reflected the problems I was experiencing. I thought I’d share these warning signs (borrowed straight from Stephanie’s book) as a cautionary tale.

  • Marital quality suffers when wives who do not want to work are forced into employment.
  • Marital quality suffers when either spouse is not satisfied with their job.
  • Couples in which the wife works solely because of financial constraints but would rather stay at home have experienced declining marital satisfaction since the 1980s.
  • When wives hold high standards for equality of housework and their husbands do not meet their expectations, they report worse than average marital satisfaction.
  • Marriages in which one partner earns all the income and the other stays home are now more likely to split up than marriages where each partner works.

It was really depressing to read those risk factors for low marriage satisfaction and to realize that circumstances had put me on the path to danger, but I also saw some hope in the science. It dawned on me that I could recover from my situation if I were willing to commit to lasting change. So, I weathered the storm, put in the effort to find a job (after five years of being an at-home parent), made it my duty to be a better house husband, and uncharacteristically crossed my fingers that my marriage would stay intact.

It speaks a lot to our progress that I’m willing to even write this article. I understand that it’s difficult to make fundamental permanent changes in behavior, and I acknowledge that, despite our apparent progress, my wife and I will need to work on recovery. But for now, I feel like the storm has passed and that sunnier skies are in our future.


Grammy’s Boot Camp

July 6, 2010

I’m an at-home parent. There’s rarely a moment when my kids are out of my sight. I’ve grown accustomed to being the gatekeeper to which TV shows they watch, what food they eat, and what activities they are allowed to do or not. Behold, my power!

But, I’ve had to learn to let go of that stuff over the last few weeks during their seven hour stays with a babysitter while I teach summer camp at a local children’s theatre.

I’ll also be letting go of my power as my children spend next week at “Grammy’s Boot Camp”. You might be wondering what sort of unfortunate luck my children must have to be subjected to military-style treatment with their grandmother. Will they encounter push-ups and kitchen patrol? No, the only push-ups they’ll receive will be the flavor of soft serve orange ice cream, and their only kitchen patrol will be helping to make chocolate chip cookies. “Boot Camp” should be translated as “Grammy gets to spend a week having fun with the grandkids (and occasionally indulging them)”.

Grammy has been doing boot camp for the past few years, and it’s always warmly remembered by my daughter. She comes back telling us about her adventures with her cousin, going kayaking, visiting the zoo, playing games, and eating some meals at McDonald’s. For some reason, it’s the “eating McDonald’s” that my wife and I have a tendency to selectively remember. It’s not that we obsess too much (only enough to write a blog post about), but it is a concern.

Certainly, I’m not a perfect parent. I take the kids to McDonald’s every so often to visit the play land and eat a happy meal. I’ve even been known to defend McDonald’s against other sanctimonious parents. So why do I have any expectations that  my mom should treat my children any differently? Hasn’t she earned the right to feed them whatever meal she pleases? Yes, I believe she does have that right, which is why I’ve been telling my inner-helicopter-parent to chill out and let go. It’s also why I’m writing out my thoughts here – perhaps to better understand my flaws.

My mom is not guilty here. She’s a hero. A big reason she does “Grammy’s Boot Camp” is probably to give my wife and I a much needed week alone. No, the problem is not with Grammy. The problem lies with my wife and I because we have issues letting go. We’re as guilty as any over-protective parent of micro-managing the lives of our children.

Obsessing over scientific studies doesn’t help, either. I sent my mom this article by Amy Graff, who was concerned with the junk that her parents might be feeding her child. The article referenced a study from earlier this year that showed a correlation between the weight of a child and how much time that child spends with grandparents. Amy Graff seems to come to the same conclusion as me. Grammies do what Grammies do, and sometimes what they do includes treating the kids to the occasional delicious morsel.  And, you know what, a little McDonald’s won’t kill them.

My mom rightfully replied to the Amy Graff article by pointing out that my brother and I were never treated to a week of fun-filled activities by our grandparents. Perhaps the times have changed, or perhaps my grandparents were not suited for such “boot camps”. Either way, my brother and I should be thankful to have parents who are willing to be actively involved in the development of their grandchildren. Certainly, I’m not complaining. In fact, let me publicly thank my mother and stepdad for planning this every year. Thank you!

There’s one caveat to everything I’ve written so far. I think that even the most active grandparent needs to understand that there are some principles a family shouldn’t have to sacrifice for anyone, even for grandma and grandpa. For instance, it’s unacceptable for meat-eating grandparents to feed barbecue to their vegetarian grandchildren against the parents’ wishes. Similarly, grandparents of faith should keep their threats of hellfire to themselves when their atheist grandchildren visit. Luckily, my principles don’t clash with those of my parents, or at least not in any significant way.

Well-intentioned grandparents should also remember that there’s a good reason children are denied sweets and treats. There have been occasions when one of my parents have questioned the behavior of my children, only to spoil them with a gift or treat moments later. It’s hard being a child’s gatekeeper. Every time I let my kids eat some ice-cream, I’m thinking about every petty fight between her and her sister that happened that day. The incessant vuvuzela of teasing, begging, and whining begins to add up so high that allowing them anything that can be seen as a reward seems questionable.

I think it’s a valid point that giving up control is hard for parents, but it’s also hard for grandparents too. It should be said that the more  grandparents visit, the closer their proximity, the more they need to respect the rules and expectations of the parents. And the more the grandparent wants to buck the principles of the parents, the more that they should keep parenting advice to themselves. Again, these comments are not applicable to my own parents, who have been very respectful to our wishes.

I’m thankful to have grandparents who care and spend time with my children. And my children are thankful to be spoiled on occasion. As long as boundaries are respected, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m interested to hear from my readers whether you have trouble losing control to babysitters and grandparents, and how you’ve dealt with it.


10 Tips to Being a Better House-Husband…

October 13, 2009

Four years ago, as a fledgling parent, I went to the At-home-Dad Convention in Chicago and tried my best to absorb the wisdom of all the old-timers in attendance. These guys all had one common denominator; many of them were “Type-A” personalities (a few former military).  One of the dudes in my biased sample of experienced  fathers told me something that I’ll never forget, “You better be a good house husband or your wife may just fire you.”

I haven’t been the best house-husband. I’m tired a lot. I have a short attention span. I’m impossible to wake up. I don’t often cook. I’m horrible with schedules and often make decisions by the seat of my pants.  In essence, I do not fit the profile of a “Type A” personality. Not that that’s an acceptable excuse.

The internet often stokes the flames of the flaws I’ve listed above. Between reading blogs, checking e-mails, writing posts, and doing part-time data entry, I’ve lost any motivation to be a better “first dude”. And my vice has only become worse now that my kids have matured enough to play independently.

Two things have happened recently that have put me on a path toward house-husband rehab. The primary thing is that my wife called me out on my behavior. I didn’t have a decent answer for her and had to admit that I’m slightly ADHD, slightly depressed, and slightly lazy.

The second motivator has been my friend Stacy (mentioned in my last post), a recently retired nanny, who took the time to write me out a strategy for better house-husbandry.  It sounds so pathetic, but I needed an intervention to help me be a better person, husband, and father.

So, I’m writing this here so that she has a record of my public promise to her that I will change.  The difference in my attitude between this week and last week has made my family much happier. I think it’s worth sharing what I’ve done to improve myself.

Here are some tips on being a better house-husband, but keep in mind that these tips are directed at myself, rather than at most house-husbands.

  1. Write out a schedule for the week. Make a plan. When will you clean? When will you spend quality time? What activities will you play? Etc.
  2. Be a man and wake up with the kids, make the family breakfast, and start the morning at the table. If that means not staying up until 2am, then so be it.
  3. Wash dishes after every meal rather than waiting until the end of the day.
  4. Try to get the kids to play outside every day.
  5. Plan specific activities to do with the children. I’m trying out a new web site called Productive Parenting; they email an age-appropriate activity every day for FREE.
  6. Read chapter books while they eat at lunch time.
  7. Find creative ways to let the kids help with lunch and chores.
  8. Keep a cleaning schedule and force yourself to stay on it.
  9. Keep yourself off the internet and your kids off the TV.
  10. Get out the recipe book and start cooking dinner for the family.

You might be wondering how I’m able to write such a long post if I’ve turned over a new leaf. It’s because I’ve scheduled time to do that during naps. I shouldn’t have to give up my blog because I’m ending my internet addiction. Or, at least, I’m not willing to do that. You just might see less of me, but that’s OK because there are many of us writing for the blog now.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has had to overcome the same problems. I’d also love to hear any advice for activities to do with my kids.

Time to go clean a toilet and fold clothes. Wish me luck on staying motivated! I’ll need it.


House Husbands of Hollywood – Review

July 14, 2009

I was not expecting to enjoy the preview episodes of Fox’s new reality show House Husbands of Hollywood. I can’t remember a time when at-home dads were ever treated fairly on television and film, so why should a Fox reality show be any different?

I consider myself an original fan of reality television. I gorged myself on episodes of the first three seasons of MTV’s The Real World, and then repeated the process for Road Rules. My infatuation with reality television culminated in a research paper that impressed my TV/Broadcasting professor so much that he felt compelled to accuse me of plagiarism. I’m still simultaneously honored and annoyed at him about that.

Ever since Fear Factor, the quality of reality television has exponentially worsened, reaching it’s peak of lameness in the days of Joe Millionaire. I feel like there’s an uptick in the quality of reality TV (Amazing Race), but there’s still much to despise (Wife Swap).

Setting aside the 80s atrocity Mr. Mom, there have been some decent fictional portrayals of at-home dads. Little Children was a book and movie that showed the inner conflict primary caregivers have between their potential alternative lives and their actual lives, but it didn’t do us any favors by depicting us as adulterers. Louis C.K. had a short-lived sitcom on HBO called “Lucky Louie” that did a good job of shining a light on the aspects of fathering that are annoying, but again, he didn’t do us any favors by portraying himself as a lazy slacker.

I went into the first three preview episodes of House Husbands of Hollywood with preselected questions on which to evaluate the program. I wanted to make sure that I knew what I wanted from the series before I judged it.

So, here are my questions, and the answers that followed after watching the preview.

Does it portray SAHDs in a good light?

This was one of the questions that most concerned me, and I can reply with an unequivocal… YES. Not only does it portray SAHDs in a good light, but some of them are so perfect that it makes us lazy dads look bad. One of the House Husbands in particular is a former marine sniper (who looks remarkably like Christian Bale), and there’s not one chore he can’t handle. He’ll even multitask and cook while holding his daughter, while his unappreciative wife relaxes.

If anything, the only cast member portrayed negatively was Danny who was one of the two House Husbands without kids. Danny, who is focused on his non-existent acting career, failed to impress because he seemed to be constantly whining about not wanting kids.

Danny’s wife is hot, and he would do well to do whatever she wants because I doubt that he’s going to be the next Tom Hanks.

What reality show does it remind me of the most?

I have to be honest that I haven’t seen any episodes of Real Housewives of Orange County (or New Jersey), but I’m under the impression that it might be patterned off of that. I always imagined those shows to be about elitist soccer moms with too much money. Perhaps it’s my unintended sexism that makes me have a distaste for comparing House Husbands to Housewives, but my wife also agrees with me. Most of the men on this show seem really down to Earth and likable, and I’m not sure if would say the same thing about the Orange County housewives.

If I had to compare, I’d say that the show reminds me of Run’s House on MTV, but instead of focusing on one family, it focuses on five, and it’s an hour long instead of 30 minutes. Maybe that’s not a fair comparison, but I mean it to be a compliment.

Would it appeal to the general public?

I have a sneaky suspicion that this show will market better with women than men. I think most moms get a kick out of seeing a man do housework and child rearing. A telling moment from the first episode is when some SAHMs are talking about applying make-up to impress Grant (the Christian Bale look-alike) during playgroup. I think the same sort of giddiness that they feel will translate to other moms across America.

Personally, as a SAHD in the trenches, I enjoyed it, and I think other SAHDs will too. Other than that, I think that the only way guys will watch this is if their wives make them.

Do I like the characters?

Do you remember Ron Johnson from A Different World? If you hated that guy, you may change your mind seeing him as an adult (and not dressed in neon green overalls). He’s married to Tempest Bledsoe from The Cosby Show, a match made in heaven, for sure.

My favorite character is Charlie, a former bank robber turned lovable domestic teddy bear. This guy is funny, and I like his personal journey.

I’ve already mentioned Grant, whom I like, and Danny, whom I dislike, but I’ve yet to bring up Billy Ashley, a former player for the LA Dodgers. He’s probably the most realistic of all the Dads. He tries to keep a tight schedule, he allows himself an adequate amount of appropriate anger, and yet he seems to be a good sport about the swap in gender roles. He went so far as to help his wife with her make-up line, but he nearly castrated himself indulging her in teaching her girlfriends how to cook twice-baked potatoes. Yikes.

Does the show seem real or staged?

I might have to deduct some points on this question. There are staged moments when the guys, who don’t seem to have previously known each other, interact at social events. It seemed forced when one of the House Husbands became the other’s personal trainer. Every episode included at least one staged interaction, but I was willing to get past it since I felt that the staged aspects added a good dimension to the show.

Once you realize that aspects of the “reality” are staged, it makes you question whether everything is staged. Are they going on a date because they want to go on a date or because the producers are paying? Are they having “the talk” with their kids because a script writer thought it might be a good idea?

Did it capture my attention?

I’ll say this, I’m a little bummed that I had the privilege to watch the show early because I’ll miss the excitement of watching each week when it airs in August. I spoiled three weeks of programming!

My personal “reality” pet peeves are cheesy music, jump cuts, gags, and forced game show elements, and I can honestly say that there was nothing of the kind. For an example of what I hate, see the new reality show on Sundays with the families that compete in RVs. Not good entertainment!

There’s one quirky element to the show, and it’s pop-up definitions to words such as “man cave”. I kind of liked the pop-ups because they only showed up once or twice per episode, and they were funny.

Did my wife like it?

Yes, she did, and believe me when I tell you that she’s very picky about her entertainment.

Well, that’s it. I just realized that this show will not be premiering on the Fox network, but it will instead be on the Fox Reality Channel. That sucks because I don’t get cable, and this series deserves to be noticed. If you do get cable, you should tune in and check out House Husbands of Hollywood when it airs Saturday August 15th at 9pm.

Update: New episodes will appear on Hulu if you don’t have cable.


Sad SAHD Science

June 30, 2009


OK. I had a little fun with the title. It’s more about all dads than SAHDs like me, but this new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that depressed fathers are more likely to have colicky babies.

If my baby was colicky, I would be depressed too. But, I’m pretty sure that this study is talking about a dad’s happiness during pregnancy. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around how the two are related, but the researchers found a correlation in the data that seems to be significant.

We already knew that there’s a correlation between colicky babies and sad mothers, but this new info now drags dads into the equation. I wonder what the data indicates when you exclude families where both parents are depressed. Would Dads still be a significant factor in the data?

I may have to follow up with the researchers on this study.


Recession Dads Stay Home

March 1, 2009

As the nation falls further into a recession and unemployment rises, more fathers will begin new careers as full time parents to save money on childcare.  For some, the novelty of staying home will quickly fade into feelings of emasculation and depression, but other fathers will embrace the change and learn to love staying home and raising their children.

Whether recession dads are comfortable with their new roles or not, they owe it to their families to swallow their pride, to accept the responsibilities of being “first dude“, and to be the best at-home parents possible.

It’s easy for fathers to feel like a minority being a Mr. Mom in a world where housewives have always ruled, but new at-home-dads should learn to get over themselves and accept the complexities of the sudden role reversal. There aren’t many folks who will have patience for a man’s newly discovered insecurities. Certainly, working wives will feel more attracted to a husband who takes his new role seriously and steps up domestically rather than wallowing in self pity.

It can be shocking to lose the comfort of the social structures of cubicle life, but staying home doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.  There are plenty of at-home-dads who regularly meet up for weekly playgroups and for monthly pints at the pub.  If you can’t find a regional playgroup at athomedad.org, you can go there to start one yourself.  You might also have luck finding a playgroup at yahoo groups or meetup.com.  It’s nice to just hang out and chat with other dads, and the kids benefit by going to fun places and meeting new friends.

Many fathers have tried and failed at infiltrating the mom dominated playgroups. Moms justify rejecting dads from playgroup for any number of reasons, but the two most common are breastfeeding privacy and jealous husbands.  It doesn’t hurt for Dads to try joining a mom’s group, but they should be aware that there is a possibility of rejection and/or alienation.  It’s not a big deal.

Recession fathers should think twice about giving up a gym membership.  The local YMCA has free child care, which allows home-based parents to recharge with a sprint on the treadmill, a set on the bench press, some laps in the pool, or a game of racquetball.  If money is too tight for a membership, grab a jump rope or a jogging stroller and find a space in your neighborhood to exercise.  Taking care of yourself physically will also restore you mentally, and exercise will force you to get away from the house where you can become lost to the siren call of video games, morning talk shows, and internet discussion forums, not to mention reruns of The Wiggles.

Many alpha moms will have issues of their own during this time of role reversal.  Feelings of envy may creep into their relationships and manifest in unexpected ways, especially when fathers fail in their domestic responsibilities.  Our grandparents had little trouble deciding how to divide the household chores because tradition dictated their roles, but modern families may find that the division of labor can be a marital minefield.  It’s imperative that couples be very clear how the work will be apportioned, and it’s extremely important that the house-husband take the brunt of the daily chores.

This recession may last a while.  It makes no sense for laid-off fathers to stubbornly keep the kids in daycare when the well of potential jobs are almost bone dry.  They should use this time to focus on the family, to watch their kids grow up, and to raise the bar as a husband.  The cubicle will always be there when the jobs come back.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll decide to never go back.  That’s OK too.


Studying Dad’s Involvement + Interview

January 4, 2009

Scientists at the University of Maryland just did a study to determine whether fathers who are involved during pregnancy are more likely to be close to the kids after birth.  The study unsurprisingly revealed that fathers who are involved in prenatal care were much more likely to be present when the baby is three than those fathers who were not involved before birth.  The study’s outcome did not seem to be affected by whether the father and mother were married.

Natasha Cabrera, who was the lead researcher on this study, was nice enough to take the time to answer a few questions.  Her answers have not been edited in any way.  Thanks to Ms. Cabrera for her responses.

What kind of study was this?

This was a panel study. I and my colleagues analyzed existing data collected on low-income families

How did you define whether a father was “involved” in prenatal care? The term seems ambiguous considering the complexity of different families.

Yes, I agree with you. We acknowledge in our paper that the way prenatal involvement was measured in the study is very crude. We’re currently planning a study which will include an extensive qualitative component of how fathers think and act during the pregnancy. Yet, despite this measurement problem, we still got interesting results.

Prenatal involvement was measured by asking fathers: Were you present at the birth?” “During the baby’s mother’s pregnancy, did you give her money or buy things for the baby?” and “Did you help in others ways, like providing transportation/doing chores?”

How significant were the differences between the groups of Dads?

We found that fathers who were more prenatally involved were two times more likely to transition into a residential relationship than those who were not which, in turn, was significantly related to increased levels of paternal engagement.

Did you control for things like income, race, age, occupation, etc? How did those affect the data?

Yes, we controlled for child gender, child temperament, child health status race and ethnicity, father’s baseline education, fathers’ and mothers’ ages at baseline, establishment of legal paternity, and mother’s employment. At year 1, we controlled for the number of children fathers have from unions other than the target child’s birth mother. At year 3, we controlled for whether fathers were expecting a new biological child with someone other than the mother of the child. These variables were controlled for because they have been linked to our outcome – father involvement. so our results say that prenatal involvement matters for later involvement over and above these other variables.

Do you feel that there were any unavoidable weaknesses in the study?

Yes, our measurement was poor of key variables…relationship status, prenatal involvement. But the data we had are the best available and have very good longitudinal data on low-income families.

Did this research surprise you with anything you weren’t expecting?

Yes and no. Given our theory, we were expecting to find these associations. But I was a bit surprised to find that despite some of our limiations, the results are pretty strong – getting fathers involved early – at the transition to fatherhood – pay dividends for both couples and children. the next questioon is to explore the quality of the father involvement with his child.

Are you planning any studies that follow up on this information?

Yes, as I said above, we’re planning a study that explores in depth “prenatal involvment” – what do fathers do during this period? how are they thinking about the pregnancy and their unborn child? what are their fears/hopes for their children and themsleves? what are the barriers to involvement? how are they thinking about the role of fathers during this time? what are they expectations, beliefs about being involved early? is this related to their desire to “be there” for their child no matter what? in preparation for their new role of fathers, do they “clean up” their act? etc.


Dino Dads

December 19, 2008

The first Oviraptor (a.k.a. “egg thief”) was discovered in 1924 and was so named because the scientist who made the discovery assumed that the meat-eating male raptor fossil was found on a clutch of eggs because it was hungry. Decades later, scientists have adjusted their opinion to be a little less sexist.

Now scientists are theorizing that the fathers were actually the primary caregivers in several species of maniraptoran dinosaurs. This isn’t unusual even today. There are living  species of modern birds that follow a similar parenting style, including ostriches, emus, and kiwis. The comparison between the raptors and the modern awks was based on an analysis of the ratio between egg size and bird size; the larger the eggs and clutch, the smaller the bird, the more likely the male to be first dude. The theory is that the female uses up a lot of energy by squeezing out such huge eggs, so she runs off to fatten up, while the man stays by the nest to protect the offspring.

Yale Ornithologist Richard Plum summed up the new theory nicely, “What I really love about it is that these are representatives of the most ferocious and terrifying lineage of animals that ever was, right? Including close relatives of T. Rex and company.  So it’s really ironic to me that these macho, bipedal meat-eaters were good dads.”

Exactly.  It’s one thing to have wussy seahorses to represent at-home dads in the animal kingdom, but it’s quite another to know that the toothy killing machines featured in Jurassic Park were actually house husbands.  Kind of cool when you think about it.

This theory, by the way, is based on interpretations from a limited amount of evidence, but since we’ll never actually know for sure, I’m going to chalk up oviraptors as an example of exceptional dino-fatherhood (until someone tells me otherwise).  Check out NPR’s excellent story on these dad dinos here.


Going Rogue on Cloth Diapers

November 12, 2008

Do you want to know the real deal on cloth diapers?  Probably not, but I’m going to answer it anyway, whether you like it or not…

It doesn’t matter that they are so good for the environment because they are so nasty; just the idea of them still sends shivers down my spine.  The thought of putting sewage stained fuzzibunz into my washing machine is so revolting that I can’t even bring myself to do it.  My wife wanted the cloth diapers, so she gets to wash them.  You would think I would be happy about that arrangement and that I would let life continue in domestic harmony, but I can’t let another “First Dude” give in to his crunchy “Alpha Wife” on this issue.

I’m going rogue.

First of all, we had to deal with the leaks.  Forgive me, but babies can fire off some salvos of mustard gas that even Saddam wouldn’t want to encounter.  Cloth diapers don’t really have an elastic leg, so any excess mess squirts out the sides.  It was a nightmare for Dads, like me, who change diapers by suppressing their gag reflex and trying to flood their minds with happy thoughts of glitter and rainbows.

Baby poop doesn’t always come out looking like a butterfinger bar.  Newborn poop looks like melted blacktop, then it looks like mustard, and finally, it starts to take shape… except when it doesn’t take shape and it looks like a Mississippi mud pit on a rainy day.  And then you have to wash it in your own private washing machine.  I can tell you the spin cycle on my machine is not spinning nearly as fast as my brain that can’t get past the contents of the diapers being cleaned.

And poop stinks, but for some reason we keep the dirty cloth diapers in the computer room where I’m trying to write blog posts.  Except I can’t write anything because my mind is starting to melt trying to block out my sense of smell while still writing with a minimum of intelligence.

So, what can you do if your wife insists on cloth diapers and you don’t want to block out the memories via shock treatment.  Well, I wish I had some of these answers when we started because now I have PTSD, or Poop Traumatized Stay-at-home-dad Disorder.

  • Get one of those sprayer things that hook up to your toilet.
  • Or, get a roll of those easy-flush liners that I’m only just now hearing about.
  • Use calgon fabric softener to wash out the ammonia and crystallized stench.
  • Dry your diapers outside
  • Get some kind of airtight container that can prevent odors.
  • Never ever make your babysitters or extended family change a cloth diaper.

Well, I hope I sufficiently scared any hipsters from glamorizing cloth diapers, and in case I didn’t, then at least you have some suggestions on how to stay sane.  Now I just need some suggestions for how to handle my wife once she sees this post.  She hates it when I go rogue.  :)