parenting tip #605
Just The Notes

Parenting Notes #601-605

This week, I discuss the random thoughts that make me laugh, keeping it simple and stupid and the kids go to civil war over an armrest.

This week, I discuss the random thoughts that make me laugh, keeping it simple and stupid, and the kids go to civil war over an armrest.

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Without further distraction…

Parenting Tip #601


Hundreds of times a day, I’ll just think up random shit. Stuff that only I’ll find funny.

This note is a good example.

The show Family Ties went off the air on April 9, 1989. Yet, here I am, making Alex P. Keaton jokes over 30 years later.

And I’m totally fine with this odd habit because it’s important to make yourself laugh throughout the day.

Experts estimate that the human brain thinks between 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts A DAY. This internal talk shapes who we are as a person and leads us to most of our daily decisions. Self-talk is involved in planning, problem-solving, critical thinking, self-reflection, self-image, and emotions.

Unfortunately, Mr. or Ms. Internal Voice is usually a MASSIVE ASSHOLE. Not on purpose.

The brain is just trying to keep us safe. Safe from EVERYTHING. Part of the brain is literally programmed to protect us with a “fight or flight” response.

John Assaraf, best-selling author and thinking expert, calls this the “error detection mechanism.” This mechanism usually kicks in when we’re excited about something in life.

“Shortly after, your brain (which is only doing its job) brings up life experiences, fears, and other things that may persuade you to be “realistic” and not to do what you just got excited about. This is your brain’s way of protecting you by convincing you to stay in your comfort zone and do the same thing that has kept you alive this many years, as anything else could mean danger.”

Yup. Your brain is a colossal buzzkill.

But if a majority of our 50,000 random daily thoughts are made just out of amusement, it will go a long to making us happier humans.

Think of it as the funny angel on our shoulders amusing the good and bad angels long enough to leave us the hell alone for a while.

It’s exhausting to think about kids, work, responsibilities, what to eat for lunch, regrets, relationships, what to eat for dinner, mistakes, and victories all day long.

Occasionally, the brain needs a Family Ties joke to lighten the mood or just to stop the negative voices from talking you out of a good idea.

So have a couple laughs today. Maybe even adopt a cat.

Feel free to use either name.

Parenting Tip #602


Kids tend not to overcomplicate. Its an admirable trait.

Take this note as an example. His friend needed a password.

Ok. Well, how about password??


Pretty simple. If theres a problem, a kid finds a solution. It might not always be the most effective resolution, but, like the coffee mug states, sometimes done is better than perfect.

On the path to adulthood, life gets complicated. The simple isnt as effective. Outside influences cloud a persons judgment and the world knocks a man or woman on their ass a couple of times.

That’s why every year a list goes out of the most common, and easily stolen, passwords. Password is typically in the top 5.

Then life becomes…

Please choose a password.

Ok, how about X9>fa:.’]Hnw&\g? ?

Too easy.

Fine. Add an exclamation point at the end.

But sometimes, simple works.

Try not to complicate matters today. Make the easy, easy.

Spending too much time laboring over the issues that dont mean much exhausts people and makes it much harder to negotiate the issues that mean more in the long run.

The best way to sum it up is to pilfer the motto my ninth grade Algebra teacher stole from the US Navy. He often reminded the class that in math, and in life, its smart always to apply the KISS principle.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Parenting Tip #603


Minivans get a bad rap.

Agreed, they’re not the fattest whip to jaunt around town in but when you’re a parent who gives a fuck about cool?

Would you rather be cool or stuck in your driveway for hours trying to jam all the kid’s crap into a coupe?

I’ve never owned a minivan, but I understand the purchase. I especially appreciate the purchase after spending half a Saturday trying to jam my mountain bike into the backseat of my car. I had to put all the windows down, both front seats as far up as possible, and turn the steering wheel with my mouth.

While at the bike shop I priced out some racks because I lost a couple teeth making a right turn.

And if you’re refusing to buy a minivan but need one because you’re trying with all your might to hang onto the person you were before you had kids, get over yourself.

Let’s all be honest, none of us were ever really cool. And if you thought you were, you probably weren’t.

Whatever you drive, it’s just a car. It’s not a reflection of you as a person, as a parent, or a level of success.

Warren Buffett drove a 2006 Cadillac DTS until 2014. His daughter made the billionaire buy the new ride because his old car was “embarrassing.”

My answer would have been “sorry, dear, I was on the phone changing some parts of my will. Now, what were you saying about my car again?”

The second car is the “going out” car. It’s cleaner. The kids haven’t destroyed every stitch of fabric or managed to get footprints on every flat surface of the vehicle.

“How the hell did you kids get sneaker prints on the interior roof?! Did you climb into the car through the sunroof?!?!”

How can any of us be cool if our kids are continuously causing us to lose it?

Parenting Tip #604


This note is an exaggeration.

It would be impossible to fit into any of the closets in my apartment. Theres far too much stuff jammed inside each to have enough room unless I remove everything first.

Wheres dad? one kid asks the other.

Both kids look at the pile of clothing on the floor that hung neatly just an hour earlier.

A voice explains from the other side of the door.

Hes definitely not in the closet! You should check the bathroom or maybe the Starbucks across the street or your moms house.

I hide in plain sight by doing things my kids dont want to do or activities they know Im going to ask for help with.

No kid will come near me while Im folding laundry or alphabetizing the spice rack.

For the most part, the kids dont ever make me want to hide. They will, on occasion, get into an argument and look to me for a decision. Sometimes, Ive got no damn idea of the right answer.

The other day, the youngest wanted the armrest that separates their seats in the down position. The oldest wanted it up. Im fuzzy on the reason behind either preference, but Im pretty sure the youngest just wanted to rest her arm, and the oldest just wanted to be difficult because siblings.


It felt like carpooling with CrossFit trainers.

Finally, they turned to me to settle the matter.

Dad, make her put it up!

Daddy, I want it down!

Wheres dad? one kid asks the other.

I dont know, but hes definitely not in the trunk! You should walk to school!

Parenting Tip #605

Dad, you dont know some stuff.

He broke this news on a bike ride. I didnt disagree but thought he was about to share something that happened at school or over a friends house.

He explained all the things I dont know about the Marvel Universe.

I knew most of the information but acted as though I didnt know a damn thing.

Sometimes the student has to be the master, and if I want him to listen when I talk, I have to listen when he talks.

I did teach him a few things that day like even if youre in the middle of a lesson, youve got to pay attention to your surroundings, and that parked cars can be just as dangerous as cars in motion.

Especially if you ride right into the back of one during an intense discussion about Thor.


You’re probably behind on your sticky note reading. It’s fine, we all have lives to live, and you can’t always spend your time reading about mine.

But you should! And you can. Check out some of the posts you might have missed.

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