Millennial Parents Respond to Mayim Bialik’s “Competitive Moms” Story

My wife and I recently published a video for our YouTube channel for this blog, giving our reaction to Mayim Bialik’s story on People.com, called Mayim Bialik Reveals She “Left in Tears” After First Group Meeting with “Competitive Moms”.

Her story addresses the fact that Millennials live in a version of the world in which so many parents feel the need to compete with one another. This creates an environment in which those who are not “competing” often feel judged by those who are.

In our own video responding to the story, I explained that the real issue with parents who feel the need to compete with others in their parenting style and skills is this:

They are insecure in their identity not only as individuals, but as parents.

It goes back to junior high when I learned this from my mom; that the kids who were most likely to tease others were simply revealing that they were actually more insecure than the kids they were making fun of.

And now as adults, this same concept continues:

The most insecure parents have the biggest need to project an image of themselves as the “better” parents. And sure, social media helps encourage the competition.

“Mirror, mirror, on my Facebook wall, who’s the fairest parent of them all?”

People tend to seek confirmation when they communicate in social media. They are often seeking approval from their peers to confirm that they are cool, they are funny, they are beautiful, they are relevant, and/or they are good parents.

But what if you simply don’t that need confirmation and therefore, you have no reason to compete?

Insecure parents compete with other another, while slightly clueless yet confident parents ignore the competition all together.

In our video, my wife and I explain that none of us parents truly know what we’re doing. We can’t.

I explain that if you are competing with other parents, you are automatically losing that competition. The only way to “win” is not to play at all.

Instead, all we can do is the best we know how and hope it works out in the end. But as we “practice” parenting, the last thing we should worry about is some silly ongoing competition on the best way to parent.

I explain that while all of us are clueless to some degree, we can still show we are secure in our own identity as individuals and as parents by simply accepting that our own parenting methods are no better than others’, and therefore, we have no reason to seek confirmation or approval in a competition, or to judge other parents for making different decisions than us.

For example, my wife and I do not spank our children. We discipline them, but we have never physically struck them. That’s the culture in our household.

However, that doesn’t mean we have any interest in judging parents who do spank their children. After all, my wife and I are in the minority in this.

Similarly, we have no desire to judge other parents for what they let their children eat. Yes, I am a vegan and my wife and children are vegetarians. But that doesn’t mean we believe everyone should do as we do. We simply don’t care.

Let other people live their own lives. As for us, we’ll live our own. It’s that simple.

When you are focused on doing what is right for your own family, how can you have time to worry about whether other parents are doing it better or worse than you?

My wife and I definitely do not have it all figured out. We never will. We automatically disqualify ourselves from the competition.

You’re more than welcome to join us.

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Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

My son Jack was excited to see we received a new book in the mail: Almost a Minyan, by Lori S. Kline. Granted, when I first read him the title, his eyes lit up as he looked for a picture on the cover of a “minion” from the Despicable Me movie series…

But as I read the book to him for bedtime, he was still very intrigued despite realizing that “minyan” is also a Hebrew word. As I read him the story, he learned about a tween girl from a close Jewish family.

After regularly seeing her father and grandfather regularly attend their town’s minyan (a public worship group of ten adults), she and her father experience a character arc after her grandfather passes away.

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

On the verge of her 14th birthday, she realizes she can be the one to qualify as the 10th adult necessary to keep the minyan going.

For Jewish families, this book will surely reinforce and further illustrate the traditions of the Hebrew faith.

For families outside the Jewish fold, this book will surely still engage the reader, as it introduces a new (yet ancient) culture.

Thanks for reading my book review today. I will close with basic marketing information of Almost a Minyan:

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

Release date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Sociosights Press

Price: $17.99

Kindle Price: $7.99

Pages: 40

Distribution: Itasca Books, Amazon/Ingram

eBook Distribution: Kindle, Nook

Website: http://www.sociosights.com

Parental Review: Stranger Things (Netflix Original Series- Season 1)

Parental Review: Stranger Things (Netflix Original Series- Season 1)

It appears that 2006 is the year for 1983.

First was this summer’s X-Men Apocalypse, and more recently, Disney’s reboot of Pete’s Dragon, both same in that marvelous year in history. And of course, Netflix’s Stranger Things.

I personally have had an obsession with 1983 since I was in Junior High, about a decade later. The culture, the style, the music, the movies, and the TV shows were so enjoyable.

Even John Mayer backs up my theory in his song, “83”, where he admits, “Had it make in ’83.”

So it makes sense to me that people today, in 2016, continue to enjoy seeing the year 1983 brought back to life.

Stranger Things

I am thoroughly impressed by the seemingly flawless way the Duffer Brothers have captured 1983 in their new sci-fi thriller, Stranger Things.

There is no question that Stranger Things is an exceptional TV show, like Breaking Bad and Lost.

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But the question you might be asking, as a parent, is at what age Stranger Things would be appropriate for your child to watch.

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can give you a brief overview of elements of the show which ultimately give Stranger Things what I deem as the equivalent of an intense PG-13 rated movie.

Profanity:

While there are no major curse words, like “g—d—“ or “f—“, every episode contains multiple uses of “sh—“ and many of the episodes contain the phrase “son of a b—-“ and/or “d-ck”. I should point out that much of the the profanity is by the 12 year-old boys, in addition to the adult characters.

Sex/Nudity:

Most episodes are free of sensuality, but there is an early episode in which 2 teenagers (who are protagonists) engage in sexual activity. While no nudity is shown, the bedroom scene is not a quick one. The event is referenced briefly again in a later episode, in which the girl is referred to as a “sl-t” by the boy she had sex with.

Violence:

There is violence throughout the series, including a girl’s telepathic ability to break bones and even kill people. Additionally, there are many uses of guns and weapons.

Drugs/Alcohol:

There is occasional use of cigarettes and beer by some of the adult characters.

Dark Themes:

The overall theme of Stranger Things has to do with connecting to a darker, sinister parallel universe; as people are being taken there from the 1983 version of Indiana. Again, one of the main characters is able to excess her telepathic abilities.

Stranger Things is by no means a family friendly show, yet it is definitely fascinating, intriguing, and addicting.

As for a child watching it, I say the best comparison for inappropriate content for children would be Lost; regarding profanity, sex, violence, drugs/alcohol, and dark themes.

However, it’s up to the individual parent to decide at what age.

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E5 “Mad Max”

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E5 “Mad Max”

In the canon of the first season of Fuller House, this episode ultimately feels like a filler episode, with the exception of one major revelation:

Stephanie explains to DJ, at the end of the episode, that she is unable to have children.

While I’m sure the writers of Fuller House want the audience to focus the majority of their attention of who DJ will end up with, I don’t.

Instead, I’m sort of obsessed with the fact that the writers have made such a conscious effort to paint Stephanie as the ultimate middle child.

Here she is at age 34, without a real job, without a family of her own, and without any real direction in her life.

Now on top of that, she has recently find out that even when she does settle down and start a family of her own, she can’t have her own biological children.

This plot line is crucial to the character of Stephanie finally beginning to start acting her age. She is now realizing that by infusing herself more fully in to DJ’s family, she can begin to have a sense of being needed by a family again.

To further illustrate this, Stephanie helps “Mad Max” gain confidence by letting him practice his song to Stephanie’s audience, via her cell phone.

This is also the episode where there’s a classic misunderstanding when Ramona flushes a baby diaper down the toilet, causing DJ to believe that a guy who Kimmy set her up with online is actually the plumber. From there, innuendos follow to help ensure we know that Fuller House is not a G-rated show.

Please mark my word. The aspect of Fuller House that is the most intriguing is not DJ, but instead Stephanie.

For this show to really go somewhere, we will have to see Stephanie truly grow into her age; because truly, right now, she’s about a decade behind.

She’s not the typical 34 year-old. Leave it to Stephanie’s family to change that.

Also, here’s my own video version of this recap as well:

Fuller House Recaps: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Fuller House Recaps: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Just a few days after the 1st season of Fuller House was released on Netflix, it was announced that a 2nd season has been ordered.

Therefore, that means there will also be a 2nd season of Fuller House Recaps. I look forward to continuing to be your host and guide not just through the rest of this first season, but the next one as well.

Here’s my video recap of this historic event:

I imagine that Season 2 will answer some of our unanswered questions:

“Why does Uncle Joey wear a wedding ring but never mention his wife or bring her to the house?”

“What about Danny’s wife? We briefly saw her kiss Danny, but I don’t believe we even got a name.”

“Who will DJ choose: Steve or Matt?”

Plus, is there a chance that Mary Kate or Ashley will reprise the role of Michelle? (Either one will do; we don’t have to have both.)

And will Stephanie, age 34, finally start acting like she’s 34?

The fact that Fuller House was so quickly renewed apparently tells us something about the money being made from the show.

Obviously, Netflix must have greatly benefited from the number of viewers that turned out to watch. They realized that whether or not the critics liked the show was irrelevant; what matters is that it’s a popular show.

In other words, the free market decided to make Fuller House so popular it would actually be financially irresponsible to not make a  2nd season.

Ultimately, the whole concept is pretty weird: A feel-good family sitcom from 1987 is resurrected, not on a major TV network, but on a streaming service people can watch anytime.

It was a plan just crazy enough to work. And even if we are mainly here just for the curiosity side of it, we still are indeed coming back.

Good job, free market. Good job, 1980s kids. Good job, Netflix.

Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest 14 through 19: The Blizzard Webisodes

Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest 14 through 19: The Blizzard Webisodes

From January 22nd to the 24th, I filmed 6 webisodes of Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Similar to the way I filmed 4 webisodes after the Christmas 2015 flash flood, I took advantage of the weather condition, making it the plotline of these half a dozen webisodes.

And starting with Webisode 18, I introduce a fun new theme song as well as a new animal hat…

I’ve gotten to the point where I pretty much just keep my camera, tripod, and Uncle Nick costume in my car with me; in order that I can always be prepared to shoot an episode on the spot.

Good thing I was ready on Friday, January 22nd, when the blizzard kicked in. I have a coworker, Shane Moore, who is quick and faithful to help me out with some of the shoots.

So he served as my camera man and assistant director for the first 2 webisodes of the blizzard story arc.

Webisode 14 features Mama Bear and Baby Bear, who get separated during the beginning of the blizzard. It’s up to Uncle Nick to reunite them!

In Webisode 15, we are introduced to a poor little homeless Husky who is stranded out in the middle of the snow storm. Uncle Nick must find her a new home to get her warm.

The remaining 4 webisodes of the blizzard story arc were filmed Saturday and Sunday morning; just me and my tripod.

Webisode 16 finds Piper the Penguin frozen to the ice. Uncle Nick must find a place to keep her safe until the other penguins return.

In Webisode 17, Uncle Nick must resuscitate a lizard he finds who is literally freezing in the river.

Then in Webisode 18, Uncle Nick encounters a sleepwalking pig, who is headed towards a frozen lake.

And finally, in Webisode 19, Uncle Nick must discover, and uncover, a frozen frog on a log.

In the next story arc of episodes, the plot will definitely be thickening…

If you haven’t checked out my Uncle Nick series, I encourage you to, with a younger child next to you. I predict it will be an engaging experience.

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

I’m not against Facebook. I think it’s a great thing. However, a month ago I had to go 4 days without any Internet (and therefore, Facebook) as we were moving into our new house.

When I finally did check Facebook, I realized that life went out without me… and I didn’t feel like I missed anything.

Prepare for the Hallmark movie cliché, but it showed me that my family right in front of me is all that really matters.

So from there I decided to stop checking my Facebook homepage for the following month; that time period ended today. However, the 30 day self-assigned pledge has inspired me to continue staying off my Facebook homepage.

I no longer am exposed to snarky, annoying, self-serving comments; including being tempted to post my own. My exposure to negativity has decreased by 100%; though I admit there’s probably not a true way to measure the validity of that percentage decrease.

But I feel it. I feel great. My quality of life has improved since nixing my Facebook homepage.

There is something called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) that is apparently increased by social media. Apparently, I have less subconscious anxiety in my life because I have less exposure to the news I’m apparently missing out on.

Can you gossip about yourself? If so, Facebook is the platform. I’d rather not tune in to people gossiping about themselves, about the the news, about groups of people, or whatever else can fall into that category.

I should point out too that I cancelled the ability for my phone to receive any messages based on Facebook activity too.

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

Another part of my pledge was to only start publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursdays, which helps me focus on living “real life” with my family and not being distracted by daily focusing on publishing new stuff.

That decision has proven successful for me. I am happier now that I am only posting new material one night per week, all at once. Therefore, that’s really the only time I’m needing to log in to Facebook anywhere.

I don’t feel socially disconnected since locking myself out of my Facebook homepage.

Friday begins the National Day of Unplugging (March 6-7, 2015). Of course, I’m taking the pledge. It’s pretty much my life now anyway.

It’s not right for everybody, but it’s definitely right for me. In the past month I have learned that my personal happiness can truly be measured by my lack of exposure to my Facebook homepage and having to feel pressured to daily post new stuff on my blog.