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Single Parent Spirit Fest: DC

This Saturday, October 12, DaddysCool will be honored at a charity event highlighting single parents.  Mike Tucker will be crowned King for the night as the single dad honoree at Tarinna Terrell’s S.P.I.R.I.T Fest in Landover, MD.  S.P.I.R.I.T is an acronym for Single Parent Intuitive Resourceful Independent Talented. The event looks to be a fun one with live entertainment including music, poetry and art and food and dancing.  Tickets are only $20 in advance and the proceeds benefit the single parent initiative It Takes Two.  Visit Spirit Fest for more information and tickets. 

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Condom in my Son’s Wallet

google walletBy Eric McKinley King

So I grab The Kid’s wallet this morning to put a few dollars in it and discovered that he had recently become a condom carrying member of the teenaged community. My immediate thought was, this dude is barely responsible enough to keep-up with his wallet, much less to use a condom. But in this case, I suppose over-ambition is better than the alternative. Of course it was also cause for conversation, so I waited ’til we were eating dinner to bring it up. Segueing from a totally unrelated conversation about … I said, “Speaking of … why’d you take a condom without asking and put it in your wallet?”

Honestly, I was almost scared of the answer. Then I remembered I was talking to a 14 year old boy.  So, of course he said, “I don’t know.”  I asked if that was the first and only one he took. He said, yes. I asked him if he felt like needed it. He said, no. We were both a little uncomfortable and there seemed to be a mutual sympathy for having to put each other through this, yet we both understood it was entirely necessary.

I told him, while it was wrong to have taken it without asking me, I thought he should keep it. Yeah, he wasn’t exactly expecting to hear that. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t expecting to say that either.

There were a few conditions, however:

1.) He still had to ask me for it, if only for the sake of reinforcing the principle of the matter and because I wanted him to hear me say, “Yes.”

2.) He also had to store it responsibly, not exposed, half-hanging out of his wallet.

3.) He had to tell me if he used it.

4.) And finally, he had to know how to use it, which meant I had to show him how to properly inspect, open and unroll a prophylactic (sans the banana).

Then I desperately pleaded with him to talk to me about any and everything that happens, before it happens–which I fully realize may not happen.  But the most important part of the conversation came post-demonstration. I spoke to him very candidly about my experiences and the perspective I’m afforded as an adult that I didn’t have as teenager. I told him about the unplanned pregnancies (him being one) and the fact that I’m practically a unicorn for never having contracted an STD. I even showed him the (positively negative) HIV screening I took last month.

None was meant to scare him, but impress upon him a greater sense of responsibility. We’ve always had a unique relationship and never was that more evident than tonight. It had its awkward moments, but it was also peculiar thrill to see him look at me with disbelief and reverence at the same time. He knows he’s getting intel that most of his peers are not. And I found myself thinking about how much I could’ve used this kind of wisdom at his age–how many of my friends could’ve–how many of his friends could now.

PS

It’s a Google wallet I got him last year ’cause I figured it was too red for him to misplace or lose. Embossed on the front is, “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

Alpha Dad: Bosses Just Don’t Understand

There was a recent article Alpha Dads: Men Get Serious About Work-Life Balance in Bloomberg Business Week. It was about struggling working menAlpha dad that balance work and playing an equal role as a parent at home.   How we don’t have an iconic figure leading the way. How we make it happen without giving up is actually a great discussion and an interesting problem. I say this as an unmarried full time parent. 

I recently came up to a Berlin wall at the job and agree it is a professional struggle.  Although, I told my boss I was a single dad, he never understood to what extent.  He, a parent himself, could never fully grasp how active I was in my children’s lives.  The fact that I am more like a “single mom” in terms of what one typically is hard to digest.  It is something that has to be explained and expressed if you are or want to be a very proactive dad and still be employed.  Not to say that you will be understood.  It is more acceptable for a mom to get off early from work, have personal phone calls and get a pass on parental tasks at the job than it is for a dad.  I understand the reasoning but it has to change! 

Check out this video below from MSNBC Morning Joe. It goes in on the women becoming bread winners and the role of parents switching. Once you get past that a few minutes in it gets good and real.  

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