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Introducing: Lords of the Playground

Lords of the Playground

I remember the first time I brought my son to the playground. 

He was about a year old and it was a beautiful spring day. I slathered him in sunscreen, plopped him into the sandbox and gave him his favorite little yellow truck. I took a couple of steps back to sit on a nearby bench—not too far away, of course. Had to be ready to pounce in case he decided to shove a fistful of sand into his mouth. I glanced around at all the happy children, the smiling faces, the ever-watchful caretakers. And one simple thought entered my mind: What am I doing here?

I looked back at my son. His mouth was full of sand.

What was I doing there? I mean, I could change the oil in my car faster than I could change a diaper, and with less leakage! Yet there I was, surrounded by strollers and sippy-cups, baby wipes and baby bjorns. It was a Tuesday at 11AM and the only other adult male in sight was emptying garbage cans into a large rolling bin. You know, working. And I was jealous! I felt so alone. So lost. So … bored.

The world was changing. The role of men in parenting was becoming more evolved and involved than ever. And while I and others like me were trying to wrap our heads around this new reality, there was still a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. Yes, of course we loved our kids, but weren’t we supposed to be somewhere else? Doing something else? Should a Real Man know how many verses there are to Wheels on the Freaking Bus? (Answer: 10.)

There had to be a way, I thought, to take this anxiety and defiance and channel it into something productive. And that’s when I started talking to Matt. In creating this series, Matt and I spent a lot of time sitting and laughing at our own, pathetic tales of modern fatherhood: the forgotten stuffed animals, the French-braid disasters, the over-indulging in fruit roll-ups. 

And we came to realize that the most important survival tool a dad needs on the playground, beyond a sense of humor, is other dads. Or at least one other dad. A dad who also understood that you were sailing in uncharted waters, that this wasn’t our fathers’ Fatherhood. That eating a little sand once in a while couldn’t hurt, could it?

So that’s how these two characters found each other: in this series you'll meet two well-meaning dads on a playground bench, trying to hold on to any last shred of manhood. With a little ingenuity (and a lot of coffee) they can be dads AND men. Masters of their little corner of blacktop. They can be Lords of the Playground.

Interested in more Dadvice? Check out The Ultimate Collection of Advice for Fathers