By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com August 08 2014 7:51 AM ET
Happy Friday, everybody! This is my Q&A session from Twitter. Anyone can ask me a question in regard to parenting, and I will select a few and answer them here. To submit a question, tweet me @GayAtHomeDad and use the hashtag #AskFrank. Think of me as your bitchy gay Dear Daddy.
Question #1 (from @mmmatt):
So my boyfriend and I have been together a year. We want children by the time we are 25. Any advice?
Holy shit, yes: WAIT. WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT. I completely understand how exciting it is to be a young couple — I was 21 when I met my (now) husband, but you need to slow your roll and live your 20s and have fun. I think 30 is an ideal age to really get things moving and start a family. Keep in mind, this is my opinion, but your life will completely change once you have a child. Spend the next few years really getting to know each other, go on lots of dates, travel as much as possible, and just enjoy life. Trust daddy on this one.
Question #2 (from @brnwld):
What’s your greatest daily challenge as a parent? How do you overcome it?
Parenting is dynamic, meaning it changes rapidly. Currently my son is 5 years old, so my latest challenges involve answering a million questions each day. I have to completely keep my cool and patiently answer him, even though no matter what I say, it will lead to an endless chain of “why?” We are also struggling with the fact that since he is an only child, we baby him a lot, so we do a lot of things for him that he should be doing himself. Essentially, it’s time for me to “cut the cord” and let him wipe his own ass and just pray to God I can handle the skid marks later.
Question #3 (from @rynescii):
How should a gay dad respond to a daughter who is playing favorites with her fathers?
Well, from what I have gathered from my mom friends, this is not a uniquely gay situation. All kids do this. My spouse is actually the favorite, and I kinda just make fun of my son when he does it. When it’s blatantly obvious he’s playing favorites, I will call him out on it and say something like “Oh, I guess you just don’t need me anymore since you have O’Daddy. I guess I don’t need to take you to the movies or to lunch or to get ice cream anymore.” It gets the point across. I also have asked my spouse to help reinforce this if he becomes disrespectful, and he does. This is a very, very, very normal thing, so don’t let it get to you. Kids are smart, manipulative, and know exactly how to play you. Never forget that!
Question #4 (from @snfu73):
At what age would you let a kid go to a park across the street by him/herself or with friends?
This question gives me heart palpitations just reading it, so clearly my 5-year-old son is not ready. I don’t think it’s about age, but more so about maturity. We live in a very safe neighborhood, but he sometimes forgets things like looking both ways and taking a grown-up’s hand to cross the street. I think whenever he/she gets his first mobile phone (and no, I don’t mean an iPhone, I mean the ones meant for kids), that would be the right time.
Question #5 (from @pookiener):
Any tips on getting kids to go poop in the potty? My son has the peeing down but won’t poop.
Absolutely. You need to set aside a weekend, load him up with plenty of fruits and veggies beforehand, and make it a poop party in the bathroom. Have rewards ready for him, and just keep him there until he goes. Hang in there with him — it won’t be fun, but bring stuff to do. Eventually he will tire out and crap, and it will be a glorious moment. I learned this tip from a mom friend and it certainly worked for us. Good luck, and happy shitting!
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.