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The Best Of Fatherly

Swearing, Smoking, And MomBod: The Best Parenting Stories Of The Year

Every father is in the same boat, yet every father is on a different journey, which kind of makes you think: if nobody’s found a more efficient boat, at least they could’ve come up with a better metaphor. The Fatherly Forum is where people of all stripes provide insights, ideas, and flaming hot takes on parenting — sometimes in handy metaphor form — that might be useful, interesting, or entertaining for you. If nothing else, you’ll find examples of what you’re definitely not going to do as Junior gets older. Either way, here’s a collection of the best stuff from 2015. Give it a read because, you know, you’re all in this boat together.

Maternity Leave Me Alone
Your reprieve from the unrelenting cycle of eat, sleep, shit that is having a newborn? Work. Your wife’s? “Staring uncertainly into the abyss of a permanently changed self” — among other equally pleasant pastimes. If you were ever tempted to think that you had the hard part when you went back to work after your kid was born, read this.
To The New Father Who Wonders What His Wife Does At Home All Day

Model Behavior
One man’s (surprisingly convincing) argument that making money off of his toddler daughter through modeling isn’t the worst thing a father could do. This is a guy who teaches his daughter to quit, plops her in front of the TV, and tries to buy her love with puppies, candy, and Louis Vuitton bags. So he definitely knows a thing or 3 about the worst things a father could do.
Why Monetizing My 2-Year-Old Doesn’t Make Me The Worst Father In The World

Don’t Negotiate With Toddler-ists
Threats, bribery, impossibly specific yet totally unclear demands, and sudden, catastrophic changes in demeanor are just a few characteristics of negotiating with an unstable hostage-taker … or a toddler. If your kid ever howled for peanut butter and jelly immediately after you gave them peanut butter and jelly, you’re not alone. Now step away from the ledge.
8 Ways Having A Toddler Is Like A Hostage Negotiation With A Highly Unstable Person

Hit Like A Girl
In a heartfelt letter, Team Rubicon COO and former U.S. Navy Pilot Ken Harbaugh reminded his daughter why he really taught her to punch: to nurture her strength and curiosity, teach her to respect nature and test her limits, and push her to live life to the fullest. That she can knock the crap out of anyone who tells her what a woman can or can’t do is just a happy byproduct.
Why I Taught My Daughter How To Punch

Wanna Get Away?
For any parent who’s spent a long flight convinced that every single person within earshot of your melting-down toddler would like to kill you both, rest a little easier knowing there are at least a few passengers like this guy. He hears your kid wailing, and does the exact opposite of what you think he’s going to do.
A Letter To The Person Complaining About The Screaming Baby On The Plane

Baby Bumps And Bruises
Your wife’s body has changed because of pregnancy. Great, so has yours. Remember all those push-ups 23-year-old you could do? You’re also pretty directly responsible for those changes (to both of you), so remember these words: “I love my wife’s postpartum body because, when I look at it, I see my family, and my family makes life worth living every day. Also because, after everything I put her through, she still sleeps with me.”
Why I Love My Wife’s Postpartum Body

Jade Beall Photography

“Go Ask Your Father”
Psychoanalyst and author Joyce McFadden outlines why you need a stronger response for those squirmy female topics than, “Go ask your mother.” Your daughter needs you to grow up happy and confident, and that means, among other things, brushing up on your female anatomy terms. The upshot — besides an empowered, daughter who demands respect — is you’ll finally have a good explanation for your Google search history.
3 Ways To Ensure Your Daughter Has A Healthy Body Image

Zero F—s Given
Swearing doesn’t make you a scumbag, it makes you an expressive person with a colorful vocabulary who enjoys themselves (and is probably f—ing hilarious). Besides, what the f— else are you supposed to stay when you step on a LEGO? Those things are pointy as f—! One ballys mom argues that words like “hate,” “shut up,” “fat,” “ugly,” and “stupid” are just as bad for kids to say, if not f—ing worse.
Why I Don’t Give A Damn About Swearing In Front Of My Kids

Foul Line
The craziest thing about camping out for 16 days to enroll your kid in a good elementary school isn’t the twice daily roll calls, sleeping in your car, or the limit of 5 hours of break time per day. It’s the fact that this is apparently the best method anyone has come up with to date for admitting kids to freaking kindergarten.
I Camped Outside For 16 Days To Enroll My Kid In A Good School

Bye Bye Bowser
Sound advice for any guy who has to walk his kids through the misery of losing a dog, which sums up the unique sorrow of the experience and how to help your kids deal with it. It also makes you realize that even their most “Bad dog!” moments can wind up being sort of hilarious. So you should also read it if your dog just crapped on the floor.
Dear Anyone Who Has Ever Lost A Pet, Read This

3 In The Bed And The Angry Dad Said …
“Bedtime at our house, a modest two-bedroom in Harlem, New York, is low-grade war.” And so begins a sleep training versus co-sleeping saga of culture clash, compromise, resentment, and origami-ing adults into crib-sized mattresses. If you still haven’t considered where you stand on sleep, this will sure as hell help point you in a direction. If you have, this will remind you that “sleeping together as a family surely beats sleeping alone forever.”
How Co-Sleeping Ruined My Marriage

High Times
Your kids love playing frisbee at the park, and tossing the ‘bee without a toke is clearly against the rules so, yeah, they’re gonna realize you smoke at some point. That doesn’t mean you have to talk about it, but that also doesn’t mean you have to wake your kid up at midnight, stoned and demanding they taste your Cheerios mixed with maple syrup and peanut butter. Although that does sound delicious.
This Is Exactly What I’m Going To Say When My Kid Realizes I Smoke Weed

We’re A Happy Family
Divorce usually isn’t on the list of ingredients most people consider when planning a happy family, but with an experience that personal, who’s to say exactly how it should play out? In this instance, the sorrow and anxiety that accompanied the slow dissolution of their marriage was replaced for one couple by a not-quite-traditional relationship that improved the lives of everyone involved. It’s the ultimate silver lining playbook.
How Our Divorce Brought My Family Closer Together