Jason Good is definitely living the dream: He quit a corporate gig at The New York Times to make a grab for the brass ring: being a stay-at-home writer by day and a stand-up comedian by night, mining parenting for laughs on Comedy Central, NickMom Night Out and Howard Stern. "I'll tell you how chaotic my house is ..." he says in one of his routines, "I was searching for my 1-year-old for five minutes ... while I was holding him."
To ensure that he actually spent his days writing, rather than watching Sesame Street with his boys, Silas, 6, and Arlo, 4, Good began a family life/parenting blog, called simply Jason Good—Writer and Comedian. Not long after, a couple of posts—like "46 Reasons My 3-Year-Old Might Be Freaking Out"—went crazy viral. And then big-league publishers came a-knockin'. His first book, This Is Ridiculous; This Is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists, came out last month from Chronicle Books. He's just finished a memoir about life with his own father and a children's book called Must. Push. Buttons., based on his viral blog post "Approximately Three Minutes Inside The Head of My Two-Year-Old," is due out next spring.
And it all started with the promise he made to himself to blog every day for a year.
"I started my blog a month after I quit my job," Good says from his momentarily quiet home in Minneapolis, where he moved his family a year ago. "I said I was going to write every day. I was gonna publish it so people knew. And I was going to commit to it so people expected it. I've never been good at self-control, so I had to set a very strict rule for myself. A lot of times, it was really hard to do. But I did it every day."
Good produced hilarious list posts, detailing the mad chaos and potential hazards of life with young boys. Some of which have ended up in his book, alongside gems like:
- "Oh, The Things You'll No Longer Do" (floss, enter REM sleep, listen to a complete story)
- "Oh, But The New And Wonderful Things You'll Get To Do" (butter toast while peeing, brush someone's teeth against his will, blow on food while it's in someone else's mouth, help someone else blow on food while it's in someone else's mouth)
- "Games You Can Play While Lying Down" (Put Daddy In Sofa Jail, Take Off Daddy's Socks, Pretend We're Sleeping Cats)
- And our personal favorite: "How To Defend Yourself Against A Toddler Attack" (must procure burlap chaps, Type O blood, pelican repellant, hockey mask, Zithromax, two kidneys on ice).
Through all the humor beats the steady recognition that being a full-time Father, Daddy, Dad is tougher than working for The New York Times, tougher than slinging one-liners at tipsy patrons in a comedy club, tougher than hitting the sweet spot of a blog post to make it go viral.
"Having the energy at the end of the day to really pay attention and be present mentally and really engage with the kids, that's hard," Good says. "My wife is way better than I am at it."
In honor of Father's Day, Good singled out a few more dudes he likes to check in with as they blog their way through the dad zone:
"I like when bloggers tell specific stories about things that have happened to them because humor always comes from being as specific as possible. And this self-described 'small town dad' from Beaver, Pa., is such a good writer. He knows how to make the specific feel universal. Whether he's woefully describing how once-relaxing, pre-kid dinners with his wife have devolved into nightly 'battles' to get his son and daughter to eat something while he and his wife wolf down their food as fast as possible; wrestling his 'little demon' into her flower girl dress for a wedding; or doing 'fun' crafts (aka 'crafts from hell'), his posts are extremely funny and real. Valentine Brkich is a joy to read."
"David Vienna, a playwright, screenwriter, father of twin boys through IVF and the blogger behind The Daddy Complex, seems to be a good, honest guy—who dials in truths with the precision of a safecracker. He's widely known for his 'two-step process for finding parental bliss,' known as the Calm The F*ck Down Method: 1. Calm the f*ck down; 2. There is no second step. I found Vienna through this viral post (which incidentally, led to a book of the same title, due out in 2015), but there's a lot on The Daddy Complex to entertain, like his 'handy list of things you should never, ever say' to someone dealing with fertility issues and his funny '50s-style infographic that explains how to hang out with your friends once they've had a baby."
"The writer/photographer behind this blog, James D. Griffoen (aka Jim), a self-described 'gentleman of elegant leisure,' is one of those dads who're able to do all of the things that dads wish that they could do. He's very artistic, very unique, very smart and he takes great literary care in his writing. There's this one post in particular, where he writes about making King Tut and Anubis costumes for his kids for Halloween. (How people find time to do that sort of stuff is beyond me.) He's also a fantastic photographer and artist. I love this photo essay about returning to an abandoned zoo. You feel like you get to look into this guy's fantastical world."
"Many dad bloggers want to make sure that everybody knows that they're men. I see us all as parenting bloggers. Some of us are fathers, and some of us are mothers, and gender doesn't really play into it much. Blogger John Kinnear is a great example of this. His take on parenting is very gender neutral and very sweet and real without being saccharine-y. One of my favorite posts is the letter he wrote to his 'hypothetically gay' son before he was born: 'If you're going to have boys over, you're going to need to have the bedroom door open. Sorry kiddo, those are the breaks. I didn't get to have girls in my room with the door shut; you don't get to have boys.' I also really like his 10 Toddler Words I'll Miss The Most — 'sawbubby' for strawberry; 'kayeeoo' for carry you — because I kept a list like that as well. My son Silas's favorite word used to be 'whobody.' Instead of saying 'who,' he'd say 'Whobody wants peanuts?' or 'Whobody wants to go to the zoo?' It was so cute. As I write in my upcoming book, 'As much as we want our kids at any moment to be different, we also want them to remain exactly the same' I like trying to remember those moments."