DIY Bunk Beds Project – Conserve Space in the Kids’ Bedroom and Give Them More Room for Clutter

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed

As a dad, sometimes we just have the urge as DIY masters (or not) to build something on our own. Woodworking is in our DNA, after all. (Not necessarily professional level woodworking, but at least the basics.) Woodworking is better than time spent playing on your computer, after all.

For your next project, maybe you’re looking to create something truly useful. You tried the traditional spice rack, but since everyone in your house is always to too tired to cook after work, the spices just sit and collect dust. (The only time the spice rack gets used is when you season the steaks and show off your mad grilling skills.)

Then there was the treehouse that the kids were so excited about using … until they got bored with it. (At least the squirrels found a good home.)

But now you’re looking for a truly practical project; something that will receive daily use. Consider DIY bunk beds. Not only will kids love bunk beds when sharing a room, but it gives them far more free space on the floor of the bedroom to spread clothes and toys. There’s nothing a kid loves more than making a mess. And there’s nothing you love more than navigating the minefield of crap on the bedroom floor in the middle of the night when the kid is crying for a glass of water. (F***ing LEGOs on bare feet are the work of the devil.)

Building homemade bunk beds will give you some serious dad cred, allowing you to slack off a bit and not have to try so hard in a few other areas. For example, successfully complete DIY bunk beds, and you can dial down the intensity of the bedtime stories. (Trust us, no one wants to see your full musical production of Hop on Pop at bedtime or hear you rap The Gruffalo, unless you can at least match the skills of MC Grammar.)

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

How to Build a DIY Bunk Bed

1-Do the Planning

Our instructions for DIY bunk beds will be pretty simple in nature. However, you can create all kinds of accents and far more detailed designs if desired. You can find many different instruction sets regarding bunk bed plans for sale online to spark your creativity.

Measure the height of the ceiling in the kids’ bedroom. You have to give the kid in the top bunk plenty of room to sit up when the alarm goes off without causing a concussion every morning. Don’t forget to add in the thickness of the mattress to your calculations. (And if the kids are still afraid of heights, maybe go down another foot.)

If you’d rather watch someone build homemade bunk beds versus simply reading about it, Jay’s Custom Creations has a very helpful DIY bunk beds video, as well as matching detailed plans for DIY bunk beds that you can buy.

2-Collect the Materials

For homemade bunk beds, you can save some money by using standard pinewood 2-by-2s, 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s. You will want a drill with a screwdriver bit, wood glue, sander, and a circular hand saw or a table saw.

And for the love of God, measure the doorway. If you want to build the DIY bunk beds outdoors, make sure they’ll fit through the front door and the bedroom doorway. Otherwise, if they’re going to be too large, build them inside the room. (Cut the pieces outside, though, unless you want sawdust to embed itself in the carpeting and still be there well after the kids grow up and go to college and you convert the space into the exercise room that you’ve always wanted but never plan to actually use.)

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

3-Build the Box

For the box that will hold the mattress, you will want to use 2-by-6s or 2-by-4s, depending on the thickness of the mattress. (The mattress thickness should extend at least a few inches over the top of the box.)

Figure out what sizes of mattresses you want to use on the bunk beds and cut the boards to fit.

  • Twin: 39×75 inches
  • Twin XL: 39×80 inches
  • Full: 54×75 inches
  • Full XL: 54×80 inches

Build the interior of the box so that you have 1 to 2 inches of free space all around the mattress. This allows for space for blankets to hang over the edge of the mattress when the kids will make the bunk beds. (Stop snickering.)

Remember that each piece of lumber has 1.5 inches of width (not 2 inches). For a twin mattress, make the long sides 77 to 79 inches in length and the short sides 38 to 40 inches in width, so the short side attaches to the inside of the long sides.

Sand the pieces to remove rough spots, printing, marks, and sharp edges. Screw and glue or nail and glue them together. (Always use glue with the screws or brad nails. Kids are notoriously rough on bunk beds.)

4-Build the Base and Legs

For the base of the box, you can attach plywood to the bottom of each box, or you can use 2-by-2s, 2-by-4s, or 1-by-3s to create slats.

To make simple legs, you can attach 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s together in an L shape. These legs should extend roughly 12 to 18 inches over the top of where the upper box will sit.

Stand the legs in the room where you want them. Use 2-by-4s to connect them to each other (on the short side of the bed), creating ladder rungs on both sides.

Here’s where you need to do some math. If the bottom of the lower box will be 6 inches off the floor and the bottom of the upper box will be 54 inches off the floor, you’ll want the bottom of the rungs for the ladder at 22 and 38 inches. Add one more rung at the top of the legs for stability.

Then attach the boxes to the legs at the desired height. Use spare pieces of wood as braces on the inside of the legs cut to the proper length to help support the weight of the upper box as you’re attaching it. (If the upper box is 54 inches off the floor, use 54-inch braces inside the legs.) Follow the same procedure for the lower box. Having a second person for this part is helpful.

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

5-Finishing Touches

Some people like to build guard rails on the upper bunk. This can be accomplished at the same height as the upper ladder rung for a consistent look. If the beds will be against the wall, just one side needs a rail.

Adding storage bins, drawers, or a rollaway bed underneath the lower bunk is another option. If you plan to do this, calculate the size of the storage you want before you start putting the beds together, and hang the lower box at the proper height to accommodate the storage, adjusting the height of the upper box and the ladder rungs accordingly.

We’d recommend painting the wood, although some people will choose to stain it if they’re using high-quality wood.

Kids will love picking fun colors for the DIY bunk beds, and they can even help with the painting outside. But if you’re going to let them help you paint the bunk beds when they’re already inside the room … don’t. Just don’t.

Best Products for Homemade Bunk Beds

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Home Depot Lumber

2×4 x 8 Foot Lumber

No woodworking project can be successful without the right lumber. You may want to go with more expensive wood when you’re planning for how to build a bunk bed, especially if you want to stain it. Then again, there’s a 50/50 chance the kids will destroy it at some point, so maybe cheaper is better.

Buy for $4 Per Piece on Home Depot

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Screws From Amazon

Flat Head Phillips Wood Screws

You can never have enough wood screws on hand for your woodworking projects.

But don’t settle for cheap screws for this project, or you’re going to strip the heads, leaving them stuck forever, not quite in as far as they should be, pissing you off to no end and leading to an impressive string of cuss words. (We understand that all dad projects should involve some form of swearing at some point during the process, but the project shouldn’t be 100% profanity, so buy decent screws.)

Buy for $14 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Wood Glue

If you’re assembling your DIY bunk beds inside the kids’ room, always remember what my dad taught me about wood glue when I was a kid: A little goes a long way. (Of course, he told me this after I used half a bottle on one joint, leading to a huge mess on the floor that I had to clean up, but I did remember the advice, even if it was a little late. Dad was a big believer in learning by doing … and he always said learning was much easier after screwing something the f*** up the first time.)

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Cordless Drill

DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Drill Kit

If you don’t have a cordless drill, this homemade bunk beds project is the perfect excuse to buy one. (We would suggest that you ask for a high-quality drill for the best Father’s Day gift, but we all know how that usually goes. Sure, we appreciate receiving another #1 Dad coffee mug — it never hurts to advertise — but this drill would be better.)

With two rechargeable batteries included, you’ll always have a fresh battery available for your projects. The downside? No more excuses that you don’t have the right tools when you’re trying to spend Saturday afternoon napping instead of fixing things. Make sure you have both batteries fully charged at all times, just having them sitting on a shelf does nobody any good.

Buy for $99 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Nail Gun

DeWalt 20V MAX Brad Nailer

For this type of project, a brad nailer probably will be easier to handle than the drill and screws. However, if you expect the kids to use the bunk beds as some sort of launching point for practicing all-star wrestling moves, the screws should hold together better than these brad nails and glue, especially on the ladder rungs.

Hell, get both DeWalt power tools. They share the same battery system, and the kids are going to break many, many things over the next several years, so you can never have enough power tools on hand for repairs.

Buy for $233 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Table Saw

DeWalt Compact Jobsite Table Saw

We love this table saw, as it’s small enough to take with you wherever you need to work, but it’s also big and powerful enough to do almost any woodworking job you have in the plans.

It’s tough enough to stand up to regular use, should you decide to take on some tougher projects after finishing your current bunk bed plans. Take safety measures with this table saw, such as always using the safety guard. Power saws don’t give your fingers a second chance if you make a mistake.

Buy for $279 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Sander

DeWalt Orbit Sander

Sanding is key for how to build a bunk bed that’s safe to use. (Attaching all the pieces securely is key too, but you already knew that.)

Without sanding, you just know your accident-prone kid is going to find a way to end up with a splinter 24 seconds after climbing into the bed, which will lead to an hour of wailing about something so small you can’t even see it. And you’ll receive that look your wife saves for the times when she says things like, “Are you sure this wood is safe to use and it won’t give the kids splinters?” before you started the project. Sigh.

Buy for $59 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Home Depot Bunkbed Kit

South Shore Ulysses Navy Blue Twin Bunk Bed

Maybe you have studied our plans for DIY bunk beds, and you have decided it’s too big of a project for you. No worries.

With this homemade bunk beds kit, you’ll receive everything you need to create bunk beds that look great without having to do all of the math, sawing, and sanding.

You still will have to do the assembly yourself. And sometimes, these assemble-yourself furniture projects can be almost as confusing as building the entire project. So you’ll have almost the same fun/frustration with the kit as when building it from scratch. (Kit or no kit, swearing is never optional.)

Buy for $440 on Home Depot

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Amazon Bunkbed Kit

Dorel Living Airlie Wood Bunk Beds

Here’s another kit for DIY bunk beds that’s a little cheaper if you need to save some cash. This one has a twin bed on top and a full bed on the bottom, which means the kids will be sure to fight over who gets the bigger bed. Fun times.

Buy for $350 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas The Gruffalo Bedtime Book

The Gruffalo

Once the bunk bed plans are finished, you need a good bedtime story. This one is a lot of fun. (No rapping, please … although the pattern of the writing makes it awfully damn tempting.)

Buy for $11 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site. There are safety regulations when it comes to bunk beds, please use caution and follow any government recommended height/safety rules.

(All finished bunk bed photos from Home Depot)

How to Build a DIY Fire Pit for Grilling, Socializing, Destroying Evidence, Etc.

When you seem to have a bit of free time on your hands — which, unfortunately, is more the norm these days — we’re guessing your significant other has a list of things for you to do. (You must spend your free time productively, after all.) Some people call it the honey-do list. We call it something else that starts with an F followed by numerous asterisks.

The worst part is, once you think you’ve finished the list, you are told you’re only through Volume 1. You’re never told just how many volumes there are, but, then again, you probably don’t want to know. It’s too depressing.

But with our years of wisdom in these matters, we have come up with an idea. When she starts to pull out the list, act as if you’ve suddenly had a brilliant idea. Tell her you noticed on one of her HGTV shows how great a house looks when it has a backyard DIY fire pit. (Don’t try to give too many specifics about the show, or you’ll be busted for sure.)

Then announce that you’ll be taking on some DIY projects by building a family fire pit in the yard— then head out the back door. The f***ing honey-do list goes back in its secret hiding place, and you’ll be working on a cool project. #win-win

If she starts to object, remind her how many fun times you can have with a fire pit, such as a backyard family camping trip … making s’mores with the kids … romantically cuddling on a cool autumn night while “enjoying” a wine tasting … destroying evidence before that IRS audit starts (did we say that?). So many possibilities.

When building a fire pit, it can be done within several hours, once you have the materials. But if you want to make sure it drags out for several days or weeks, we won’t judge.

How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit

1-Check Your Regulations

Before starting, it’s possible that your local regulations or homeowner’s association have some rules about constructing fire pits. You will want to check these rules before starting, or you may have to tear down the fire pit later.

For a those who prefer to watch someone build the fire pit, instead of just reading about it, Home Depot’s fire pit building video is a good place to start.

2-Find a Spot

The ideal DIY fire pit will measure three to four feet in diameter (from outer edge to outer edge). You don’t want it to be too close to any dead leaves, trees with low hanging branches, or other combustible materials. And, no matter how ugly your neighbor’s new wood fence is, don’t place your fire pit too close to it with the hope that a stray ember happens to land on it. We hope it goes without saying that it can’t be too close to your fence either— or to your house, shed, garage, or other structure.

Pick a relatively flat piece of ground. You don’t need to go so far as to test the spot with a level, but the flatter the area, the better.

Some people choose to build it over an existing brick patio, which greatly simplifies the construction process (and eliminates a couple of the following steps, of course).

3-Decide on Shape and Color

When building a fire pit, the two easiest shapes will be a circle or a square. Rectangular blocks work to make the square shape, while trapezoidal blocks work for a circular pit.

Then purchase the blocks you need for the pit. Don’t worry too much about exact measurements, as you can use spacer blocks to make up the difference if the measurement of the primary blocks come up a bit short. (You may have to cut some of the spacer blocks.)

This is also a good time to discuss color. There are a lot of choices. Find a picture of a fire pit that’s wife-approved and go with that color. There are grays, tans, reds and a whole bunch of other ones.

4-Prepare the Ground

The total diameter should be 45 inches. Use spray paint to mark it so there are no giant mistakes later.

Now you need an actual pit. Dig the pit shape about 6 inches deep. You should dig the hole several inches wider than you are planning for the measurement of the pit.

Pack the hole with gravel. Pick a fine type of gravel that will pack tightly into the hole. Use a hand tamper to pack it. Dampen the gravel a few times as you’re in the process of tamping it down to ensure you will compact it as tightly as possible.

(This is a step you should skip if putting the fire pit on an existing patio. We can’t emphasize this enough: Do not take a jackhammer to your patio.)

5-Lay Out the Blocks

Place the first layer of blocks on the ground. If you’re making a square pit, start at the corners with large blocks. As you move along the edges, you may need to add spacer blocks occasionally. (If you want to be fancy, add the spacers in a regular manner, so it looks symmetrical.)

For a circular DIY fire pit, the math gets a little tricky. (In other words, we don’t want to do it here and show off what we’ve forgotten from sixth grade.) As you lay out the trapezoidal blocks, you’ll need spacers (smaller blocks) to achieve the overall curve.

You will want to use a level here. Make sure the first layer is level. Add leveling sand underneath the blocks in the first layer as needed to straighten things out.

6-Create the Wall

Once the first layer is level, you can start adding the second layer. If you used spacer blocks, stagger their location in the second layer, so the spacers are not sitting on top of each other. Additionally, don’t allow the seams between layers of blocks to line up.

It’s recommended to use a construction adhesive to adhere the layers together. This is the safest idea, reducing the chance of the layers collapsing if your kid crashes his or her bike into the DIY fire pit. Before you stack the second layer, use a good bead of adhesive atop the first layer, and then add the next layer of stones. Just as importantly, make sure the layers are level.

If you’re building the fire pit over an existing patio, you should adhere the first layer to the patio.

Ultimately, you’ll end up with a wall that’s three to five layers high (or 16 to 32 inches).

For easier cleaning, you may want to place a fire pit bowl inside the walls that hold the fire (especially if you’re on top of a patio surface). But you also can start the fires directly on top of the gravel inside the walls if it’s directly on the dirt.

Best Products for a DIY Fire Pit

Trapezoidal Concrete Retaining Wall Block

These trapezoidal blocks work nicely when you want a circular fire pit. Each measures 4 inches high and 11.75 inches on the long side. And, yes, each one is heavier than sh*t.

Buy 10 for $14 on Home Depot

Rectangular Concrete Block

If you want an easier math problem in calculating the size when figuring out how to build a fire pit, stick with rectangular blocks and a square fire pit. Each of these rectangular blocks measures 3.5 inches in height and 10.5 inches in length.

Buy 10 for $39 on Home Depot

Loctite PL 500 Landscape Block Adhesive

This adhesive is perfect for building a fire pit, as it’s made for use on masonry, metal, wood, and other materials. It’s also messy, so keep the kids the hell away. (A kid loves nothing more than a fully loaded caulking gun.)

Buy for $6 on Amazon

Crushed Granite Rock Fines

Because crushed rock like this is expensive, you can use this material in the upper one-third of the DIY fire pit and pea gravel in the lower two-thirds to save a bit of money.

Buy for $30 on Home Depot

Pea Gravel

If you will be using a fire pit bowl in your construction, you could save some money by using this pea gravel in the entirety of the base of the fire pit.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Sakrete Leveling Sand

Sure, you could borrow some sand from the kids’ sandbox to level out the first layer of your DIY fire pit. But, first, it’s not official leveling sand, so it won’t work as well. And, second, do you really want the petrified cat sh*t that always seems to be in the sandbox underneath your fire pit?

Buy for $5 on Home Depot

Razor-Back Steel Tamper

Repeat after us: The tamper is only made for use on compacted dirt or gravel. It is not made to squish the dog sh*t in the yard instead of picking it up with a scooper. Trust us: Squishing the sh*t into the ground does not make it disappear.

Buy for $30 on Amazon

Irwin 48-Inch Level

When you’re wondering why you need a level when building a fire pit, you can use it to keep the layers of the fire pit properly aligned. Plus, using a level — a big one — makes it look like you know what the hell you’re doing on any construction project.

Buy for $31 on Amazon

Sunnydaze Metal Fire Pit Insert

If you are going to want to use an insert in your DIY fire pit, you have to make sure the dimensions of the inner edge of the pit blocks match the size of the insert you want to use, so the lip of the insert rests on the blocks.

Buy for $135 on Amazon

X-Marks Steel Fire Pit Cooking Grill

To do some actual grilling after building a fire pit, rather than jamming your food on a stick, you’ll need a steel grate.

Buy for $93 on Amazon

RumbleStone Square Concrete Fire Pit Kit

Maybe you originally wanted to know how to build a fire pit from scratch. Now, though, you’re not so sure. Can you calculate exactly what you will even need to build one?

This kit looks great, measuring 38.5 inches on all four sides with 21 inches of height. You will pay a little extra for this unit versus a DIY fire pit where you assemble the parts yourself, but having all of the parts ready-made for you in a kit may be worth it.

Buy for $620 on Home Depot

RumbleStone Round Concrete Fire Pit Kit

For building a fire pit that’s round, having a kit may be the way to go. Calculating the exact amount of items you need on your own can be a challenge.

You will pay more for this kit than for the individual pieces. However, you may save almost as much on gas for the car from not having to make extra trips to the hardware store to pick up items you forgot.

This DIY fire pit measures 46 inches in diameter and 14 inches in height.

Buy for $549 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

(All fire pit photos from Home Depot)

10 Funny Grilling Aprons to Whet Their Appetite for Your Dad Jokes

funny grilling aprons main image

In certain households — mine included — grilling time is sacred time. I’m in charge around the grill, and everyone admires and respects my incredulous ability to sear meat in just the proper manner with mouth-watering results.

Of course, the reality is that the kids are running around screaming that they’re starving, someone always has an opinion on what you should be doing with the food, and everyone seems to go deaf the second you ask to have a beer brought to you. Typical dad BBQ moments.

RELATED: The Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill Is So Good, You’ll Use It All Year Long – Fatherly

You may as well ditch the illusion of those perfect BBQ dreams and have some fun with it. Get (and give) a good laugh by poking fun at yourself in one of these really funny aprons for men. Some of these inappropriate aprons are NSFW (not safe for work you, you know..)—or for kids for that matter, but they’re still pretty damn funny for the right crowd.

You may be grilling at home these days with only yours truly (we don’t know who you’ve been stuck with for #quarantine2020), but eventually, the neighbors will start reappearing with booze in hand. When that does happen, we will all be needing a very good laugh.

Now, is it right that your family and friends have said laugh at your expense? You, the aforementioned grill-master? Especially when those same people are about to eat the food you’re cooking? I’ll leave that up to your discretion. Just remember: Revenge can come in many forms, including in burgers “seasoned” with ghost pepper. (Seasoned meaning doused in this case.)

Best Cooking Aprons for Men

funny grilling aprons for men: trophy husband

ApronMen Trophy Husband Grilling Apron

We all know the true reason our wives want us to grill … because we look sexy as hell. We can’t wash laundry, do the dishes, or dress ourselves in the morning correctly, but we know how to look good doing this. We might as well be honest about why she keeps us around with a funny apron for men that designates us as her trophy husband.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons: this shit is going to be delicious

Miracu This S*** Is Going to Be Delicious Grilling Apron

There’s a saying in the business world that you should under-promise and over deliver when making a presentation or proposal to a client. In other words, don’t make unrealistic promises about how well you can do a job, leaving your client underwhelmed when the process is over.

F*** that.

When it’s grilling time, you’re in your element. You’re in charge. With this inappropriate apron, you are promising a delicious BBQ meal, and you can be confident you will deliver.

If you want to try wearing this apron the next time you have to give a presentation to a client, we won’t stop you. Just understand it may not work as well in a boardroom as it does around the grill.

Buy for $20 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: grill sergeant

ApronMen Grill Sergeant Grilling Apron

You know we had to throw a dad joke into any list of cooking aprons for men. (Personally, I feel like an angel kicks a puppy every time I hear a bad pun/dad joke. But I get it. Some people like them.)

This funny grilling apron takes the dad joke to the extreme, even using sergeant stripes and camouflage.

Honestly, every dad has a little bit of a drill sergeant in him, having to order children around the house. So this apron is extremely appropriate. (But never use it to order the wife around. We like to avoid sleeping on the couch.)

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: I'll feed all you fuckers

Famgem I’ll Feed All You F****** Grilling Apron

We all love grilling, but it’s also hard work. Standing over a hot grill, having to down multiple cold beers to offset the heat, just to keep our body temperature relatively normal.

No one wants to hear about our woes, though. They just want the food now, bitching and moaning the entire time.

Since we dads are known for holding in our tempers and remaining calm in all situations, we just have to smile and be polite while grilling, not being able to tell them what we really think.

That’s where this cooking apron for men enters the picture. Rather than continually having to answer the question — “When is it going to be ready?” — just keep your mouth shut and point to the front of this inappropriate apron. (Less talking leaves more time for cooling your body temperature with beer, by the way.)

Buy for $26 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

Saukore That Ain’t Burnt, That’s Flavor Grilling Apron

My dad loved to grill, and he was great at it … most of the time. Once in a while, he’d get busy on a different project and forget to check the grill until it was a little too late.

There was no calling for pizza on these nights, though. The grilling results always ended up on the table, whether they were perfectly cooked, still actively on fire, or anything in between.

So this funny grilling apron speaks to me, as my dad used almost this exact phraseology if any of us little smart-asses dared to question the overdone grilling results. (He used significantly more colorful language than this apron does, but the sentiment is the same and still gets the point across.)

Buy for $18 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

ApronMen Your Opinion Wasn’t in the Recipe Grilling Apron

At any barbecue where you are in charge of grilling, there always seems to be one pain in the ass who needs to inject an opinion into every move you make.

Since the law (at least for now) frowns on you smacking this backseat griller in the back of the head with a bag of briquettes, try showing him this funny apron for men instead.

And if Mr. Opinion still doesn’t get the hint, pretend that you don’t have enough charcoal or propane to finish the job and send him home to get some … across town … in your car with the gas tank on E. If he doesn’t make it back, so much the better. If he does make it back, he’ll at least have put some gas in your car.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

Funny grilling aprons for men: Breaking Bad Los Pollos Hermanos

Loco Aprons Los Pollos Hermanos Grilling Apron

Breaking Bad involved a cook (of sorts) and a delicious restaurant (of sorts) called Los Pollos Hermanos. So fans of the show will love wearing this fun apron. (Sure, Los Pollos Hermanos was just a front for a huge meth operation, but those details don’t have to affect your enjoyment of this apron. The cook on your grill is completely legal, after all … even if you’re using secret sauce and ingredients that you wouldn’t reveal to anyone, including the cops.)

And for those who’ve never seen Breaking Bad, just tell them that, during a trip to Mexico, you were given this cooking apron for men by the master of a secret grilling society that has been active for centuries, and it gives you special grilling powers. If they’ve had enough beers, they might even buy it.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: i like big butts

Nomsum I Like Big Butts Grilling Apron

What’s better than having dad grill some amazing burgers and steaks? Having dad do some freestyle rap while he’s grilling amazing burgers and steaks.

This funny grilling apron is sure to inspire dad to lay down some bars. (We feel very confident that one of the lines will include, “I’m here to say,” at some point.)

Do you think Sir Mix-A-Lot realized what he was unleashing on the world when he released Baby Got Back? Us either. Even if you’re a terrible rapper, you can still enjoy this funny cooking apron for men. Hey, and if your intention was to sleep on the couch tonight, #you’re welcome.

Buy for $18 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

ApronMen Meat Is Murder … Tasty, Tasty Murder Grilling Apron

Sometimes, you’ll have someone at your barbecue who wants you to place some vegetables on the grill next to the meat. We understand that’s sacrilege for some grill masters. We’re not totally opposed to it on occasion, as long as everyone realizes the star of the show is the meat.

But if you run into someone at your barbecue who has a strong opinion that the grill should contain only vegetables, then this is one of those inappropriate aprons that simply must be worn.

Hey, it’s OK to appreciate animals and still think a pork chop or chicken breast tastes amazing on the grill. Humans have managed to balance the two ideas for centuries. This funny apron for men just helps to ensure the tradition continues.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

Panoware I Grill and I Know Things Grilling Apron

Game of Thrones fans will appreciate the humor behind this funny grilling apron, as it twists one of the most well-known quotes from show character Tyrion Lannister. (Come to think of it, no twist was needed: “I drink and I know things” would’ve fit appropriately on cooking aprons for men for grilling time.)

If people who are not fans of GoT see the apron, they might just think you have super dad powers. (This is never a bad thing to make your kids think you have, by the way. The more they think you’re watching them, the less s*** they’ll screw up.)

Buy for $25 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

8 Father-Daughter Activities That Are Fun for All — Golf and Tea Parties Included

8 Father-Daughter Activities

We recently showcased some awesome activities for fathers and sons. Well, dads and daughters have an equally special relationship. Our hearts get hooked at the hospital the moment they grasp our fingers with their tiny fists.

Maintaining that special relationship through the teen years and into adulthood takes some work, though— and we speak from experience. Father-daughter activities are a good place to start.

As a younger dad, you may not have a clue where to start. After all, you didn’t do things with your little sister when you were a kid … other than torturing her endlessly.

Here’s the thing, though: Finding things to do together doesn’t have to be that hard. Don’t overthink it. Just spending time together is a big part of the enjoyment.

When looking for things dads can do with daughters, some things may be more fun for dad, like playing video games with your daughter; some will be more fun for your daughter, like teasing dad on social media; and some will be equally fun for both of you, like learning the latest dance craze. (It’s OK to admit you like it.)

We’ve put together a list of the eight best products to help you find things to do with your daughter and create some enjoyable memories. Hopefully, you’ll build a bond that’ll last through her wedding day and beyond. Or at least you’ll find something to do that won’t have her rolling her eyes at you all day.

Best Products For Father Daughter Activities

Precise X7 Junior Complete Golf Club Set

Golf is one of those sports that we can participate in and enjoy from the time we’re kids until we’re seniors. (Well, enjoy is a strong word. I mean, that period where I couldn’t break 100 for a couple of summers in a row was not enjoyable.)

This X7 set is a nice introductory set for kids, helping them learn the game for a reasonable price. Whether you want to hit balls at the driving range with your daughter, have some fun in the backyard with plastic golf balls, or jump straight into the game at a local junior course, these clubs will handle it.

If the kid takes a liking to the game, you can buy her a nicer set of clubs in a couple of years. Who knows? Maybe someday she’ll even beat you. (But you can always save face and say that you let her win.)

There are a bunch of sizes and colors available, pick one she’ll like (don’t pick pink just because she’s a girl). Maybe you can even purchase a new golf bag for yourself in a matching color. (Ulterior motive: Ramp up the cuteness factor here, and your wife might actually be excited about letting you play golf.)

Buy for $115 on Amazon

Under Armour Rave 2 Sneaker

Maybe you’re more of a distance runner than a golfer. Running is another one of the things to do with your daughter that can last from childhood through adulthood.

Running can be done almost anywhere with your daughter, whether you enjoy remote trail running, track running, or running on sidewalks in your neighborhood. You’ll both need highly cushioned running shoes that will support your body and protect your leg joints.

It doesn’t hurt if the shoes look good, so the kid will want to participate. These Under Armour shoes have colors kids will love. They also have breathable mesh panels, so they won’t stink as bad as they could. (Trust us. The stink can almost develop its own personality over time.)

Eventually, you may be able to work toward doing a 5K together. Just be sure to pick one that has great snacks at the finish line. (Bribery works in almost any father-daughter activity.)

Buy for $49 on Amazon

CINEMOOD Portable Movie Theater

Perhaps going to the movies is one of your favorite father-daughter activities. But when you want to stream video instead of going to the movies, this portable projector is a great option. Create your own at-home movie theater.

It allows you to access one of several different streaming services, creating a projection on the wall or on a hanging sheet up to 12 feet away. Also great for night-time viewing out in the yard or on the patio. (Just a hunch, but if you figure out how to stream Disney+ through this thing, you might win one of those “Dad of the Year” mugs on Father’s Day.)

You can download your own video, too, for those times when you don’t have access to WiFi.

Buy for $360 on Amazon

Singing Machine Bluetooth Karaoke System

If your girls love to sing, one of the things dads can do with daughters is host your own karaoke party with this machine. (Truth be told, we’re pretty good singers, too. This is our chance to prove it outside of the shower.)

This karaoke machine works for things to do with dad and daughters of all ages (even teenage daughters or pre-teens). It has LED lighting to keep the younger ones entertained, and you can connect it to your television so you can see the lyrics to let older kids experience the true karaoke experience (minus the overwhelming amount of booze).

It has a CD player, or you can stream songs wirelessly through Bluetooth or over USB.

And after the kids go to bed, maybe you can use the machine to serenade your spouse with your favorite romantic song from when you were dating. (After she gets done laughing her ass off at your attempt, maybe she’ll even join in for some adult singing time.)

Buy for $70 on Amazon

GoPro MAX Waterproof Camera

For things dads can do with daughters that involve action and outdoor fun, this GoPro camera can let you capture it all, so you can watch it again later or post it to social media.

This GoPro camera can handle anything you throw at it. It shoots full HD video, and it can capture 360-degree photos.

If your daughter likes to skateboard, ride bicycles, roller skate, or snowboard, you can attach this camera to her equipment and film the experience, letting her show off her skills later.

Then, to make it a true father-daughter activity, you can try to match what she did. You’ll be amazed by how many likes your disastrous results will get. (It’s always good how dads can provide comic relief in any situation.)

Buy for $499 on Amazon

Backyard Discovery Sweetwater Wooden Playhouse

Building a backyard playhouse is a great activity when you’re looking for things to do with your daughter. You’ll have fun when you’re putting the playhouse together, and you can have fun playing in it afterward.

Now if you previously tried to build a playhouse from scratch, and your carpentry skills are lacking, we’re assuming it didn’t go well. Perhaps that particular father-daughter activity allowed the kid to learn many new swear words. (I “taught” my daughter the F-bomb when she was 15 months old, and she proceeded to repeat it at every opportunity for about a week. Not my best fathering moment.)

This playhouse consists of panels that you can put together pretty easily. This means you won’t look like an idiot in front of the kid. (We hope.) And you’ll actually be able to put it together and play with it in the same day.

It has a great all-wood design, and it should last a long time. Winterizing it each year can even be part of the daddy-daughter activity (there’s a paintbrush involved, after all).

Buy for $199 on Amazon

VIAHART Brain Flakes

If you’re tired of LEGOs or if your daughter has no interest in the little plastic bricks, you can let her show off her creativity in building with these interlocking discs. There are instructions included to make some designs, and you can download more directions for designs if you’d rather follow a pattern.

The colorful discs click together in a variety of directions, allowing you and your daughter to create all kinds of 3D artwork. They pull apart just as easily, so you can clean up quickly. (That is if little brother didn’t find a way to destroy the artwork before cleanup time.)

Each flat disc measures only 1.3 inches in diameter, so they’re easy enough to handle, and they pack up nicely in their own container. 500 pieces are included in this set.

We’re not sure Brain Flakes will ever be as popular as LEGOs, but we can be certain that if you happen to step on one, it’ll hurt a hell of a lot less.

Buy for $14 on Amazon

Jewelkeeper 15 Piece Kids Tea Party Set

Sometimes, as a dad, you just have to bite the bullet with father-daughter activities. Maybe your daughter chooses ballet instead of basketball. Maybe you have to spend your hard-earned money on ballet lessons and tutus instead of on your favorite player’s basketball jersey.

Maybe you have to go to a ballet recital for 4-year-olds who can barely make it across the stage without tripping and falling down instead of going to the basketball game with your buddies on the very day where the home team wins on a half-court shot at the buzzer. It just happens. You cry (a lot) and move on.

Sometimes, part of being a dad is playing tea party. Homer Simpson did it with Lisa. WWE wrestler Roman Reigns did it on a TV commercial. And you’ll probably have to do it, too.

This tea set will help you get started, coming with all the parts needed, including a carrying case. And if you choose to turn your cup of tea into a Long Island Iced Tea when the kid isn’t looking, no one will blame you. Don’t forget the snacks— every tea party needs tea (water) and crumpets (cookies or trail mix in our house).

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

8 Father and Son Activities That Will Actually Impress Your Kid

Finding quality time to do father-son activities is a high priority for any dad. A day you spend working overtime at the office instead of tucking your son into bed is another day the Cats in the Cradle song plays on a loop in your head. Depressing.

But when you’re looking for father and son things to do, don’t feel like you have to do something extra. If you’re constantly trying to one-up your together time, you’ll eventually lose sight of what’s important: hanging out with your son.

RELATED: 100+ Trivia Questions And Answers For A Challenging Game Night At Home – Scary Mommy

So we’ve thought up some wholesome and fun activities that let you spend quality (not questionable) time together. These father-son projects won’t get you in huge trouble with your spouse like father-son WrestleMania. It also won’t have you building a Mad Max car out of your son’s plastic scooter. And while our father-son activities won’t be as fulfilling as starting a non-profit organization together, you will be able to spend quality time playing, talking, and laughing, which is what really matters.

Best Products For Father-Son Activities

Wilson Baseball Gloves and Rawlings Ball

One of the best and most traditional ways to spend time with father and son games is to have a catch. (Yeah, we know: “Have a catch” is a stupid way to say “play catch.” But Field of Dreams said, “have a catch,” so what are we supposed to do? It’s f***ing Field of Dreams.)

We’re going to put a twist on having a catch, though. As a dad, you want your son to have the same favorite baseball team as you do. If you’re a Dodgers fan, you want your son to love the blue too, so you can share that fandom into old age. (And he sure as hell better not be a Giants fan.)

With this Wilson t-ball glove, you can have it shipped to you with official colors and logo of any Major League team. (Some people would call that brainwashing your son to like the same team you like. Others would call it brilliant. We’re going with the latter.)

To complete the set, add a Rawlings baseball with the same team logo. And if you need a glove, or if your son is older, we really like the Wilson A700.

Buy Wilson A200 Youth T-ball Glove for $25 on Amazon

Buy Wilson A700 Baseball Glove for $60 on Amazon

Buy Rawlings Official MLB Team Logo Baseball for $7 on Amazon

Aomekie Telescope

If you’re both busy during the day and need some father and son things to do at night, this beginner level telescope is a great choice. It can be fun to explore the night sky, especially for a kid who has a bit of an obsession with all things space.

If you live in the city, where light pollution kills the night sky, this model ships with a backpack that allows you to carry it with you on a drive to the country so you can actually see the stars and moon. (Do not tip cows on the way as a bonus father-son project, no matter how tempting.)

Now if you’re going to take a younger child out for an adventure with the telescope, you need to temper the expectations. You aren’t going to see colorful nebulas, closeup views of the storm on Jupiter, or even ET’s spaceship with this beginner-level model. But it still can be fun inspecting the details of the moon or trying to spot Mars.

Buy for $86 on Amazon

Coleman Sundome Tent

When you make the trip to the country with your telescope, you may want to make it a full-on camp out. Nothing quite speaks to father-son activities like learning how to build a campfire and putting up a tent. Big benefit: Because this Coleman tent is easy to assemble, you won’t look like an idiot in front of your kid, wrestling with a tent that won’t cooperate. (There will be plenty of time to look like an idiot when he’s a teenager.)

This tent’s made of waterproof materials, so you’ll stay dry against the damp ground or in case it rains during the night. It’s also well-ventilated for humid summer nights.

It has room for four people in case the rest of the family wants to come along. But it’s not snake- or spider-proof, so that may discourage some of them (try not to grin as you point that out).

Buy for $65 on Amazon

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with Lens

If you’re looking for more father and son things to do while outdoors and spending time in nature, a digital camera can be a lot of fun. They will likely ask “what’s a camera?” and you’ll have to sound like an old man recounting your pre-iPhone, digital camera days, but just maybe your kid’s a renaissance guy who knows vintage is cool.

We love the idea of letting kids shoot photos with a digital camera because every kid that ever holds a camera shoots 100 photos in the first 100 seconds … most of which come out terrible. With a digital camera, you aren’t stuck paying for film processing and prints for the 99 awful photos out of 100.

This is one of our favorite beginner level DSLR cameras, as it has a low price point for a DSLR, especially considering it ships with a starter lens. It also has quite a few features aimed at helping those new to photography learn to use the camera.

After shooting the photos, you and your son can spend more time together by looking through the digital photos, picking out your favorites.

And if the kid drops it while on the hike, and it bounces over the edge of a ravine, smashing on the rocks below, you won’t feel as bad as if you had let the kid hold a $1,000-plus piece of camera gear. (We said “if” the kid drops it. Yes, we are the eternal optimists.)

Buy for $399 on Amazon

Holy Stone HS200 RC Drone

In the old days (those digital camera ones), you and your dad might have built a balsa wood glider, which flew great exactly one time. It then crashed into the ground, smashing into a million pieces, and that was the end of the father and son games … and the start of uncontrollable sobbing. (I have to admit, I always hated to see my old man cry after the inevitable crash.)

These days, you and your son can fly a remote control drone together. Now there’s no guarantee it too won’t crash and break into a million pieces. But this drone is made to be reassembled relatively easily after a crash, keeping the tears at bay.

This drone ships with a 720p HD video camera, and you can use your smartphone to activate the camera, creating fun videos and photos. Just don’t teach the kid that it’s OK to use the drone to spy on the neighbors. Have them repeat: drones are for good, not evil.

Buy for $70 on Amazon

Bandai Hobby Star Wars Tie Fighter Building Kit

There aren’t too many cultural icons that were popular when you were a kid and are still popular now that you have your own kid. The Simpsons may fit the bill … and they may still be going when you have your own grandkid.

But when you want a sure-fire cultural reference that spans generations, it’s Star Wars. Hell, Star Wars might be more popular now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s.

Building your own Tie Fighter model is one of the best father-son projects. Fathers and sons have been building model kits for decades, and this one will be treasured for years to come. (Just make sure you don’t hog all the fun. Let the kid do some of the work, even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly.)

Buy for $24 on Amazon

Blank Comic Book

Draw Your Own Comics Blank Comic Book

Most young boys love comic books, so you could spend a fun day with your son reading comics. But maybe your tastes in superheroes aren’t quite the same. Maybe your son is a Marvel fan, and you’re more about the DC characters. (We know, we know, those are fighting words.)

Instead of just reading comics, maybe your father-son activity is more about creating your own comic adventure. This is a perfect father and son thing to do for a kid who loves to draw. There’s also a father and son games section at the back when you want to take a break from drawing.

This book contains many template pages that give you a head start on creating an amazing comic, along with some blank pages for wilder imaginations. (And if you want to get on mom’s good side, maybe make her the superhero in the story.)

Buy for $5 on Amazon

The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers

Maybe your son enjoys spending time in the kitchen, rather than hiking outdoors, having a catch, or drawing. If so, we have you covered with this book, containing recipes based on the Bob’s Burgers TV cartoon. (If you haven’t watched Bob’s Burgers, we’re guessing your son has, so catch up.)

Bob runs a small-town family restaurant that specializes in hamburgers, and one of the running gags in the series is that Bob always has a daily burger special with a clever name and crazy ingredients. (You really haven’t seen Bob’s Burgers? It’s been on the air almost 10 years on a pseudo-real network on FOX. You need to up your TV watching game.)

We’re not sure anyone ever orders the burger of the day on the show, but this book has actual recipes for some of those burgers. You and your son can have a lot of fun finding just the right burger to try and then make it together. You may be able to teach him a few of your grilling secrets along the way.

We won’t guarantee it’ll taste good, but it’ll provide plenty of laughs. (Maybe let mom be the taste tester, just in case it sucks. She’ll be too nice to tell you how truly awful it is.)

Buy for $15 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

How to Unclog a Toilet – Waging War on the Clog From Kids Toys, Rings, and Other SH*T

Tacklife Drain Auger Toilet Clog

Although you can’t count on too many things once you become a parent, you can count on a kid flushing something down the toilet that will cause a major clog. (A significant number of plumbing businesses survive on work from things kids do the toilet. True fact.) There are stretchy hairbands, wedding rings, and every possible toy from Legos to foam bath letters to mounds of Play-Doh (yes, it’s happened to us). Of course, you’re welcome to shove your hand in and try to grab the sh*t out (pun intended), but it’s often too late as the kids love watching it go bye-bye while flushing.

How To Unclog A Toilet

Regardless of whether the toilet is clogged from a child’s toy, a morning bathroom situation, or something in between, unclogging the toilet takes a little bit of know-how and the right products.

If you’d rather skip to the products you can use when you want to know how to unclog a toilet, scroll down. Otherwise, here are some hit and miss options for how to unclog a toilet without a plunger.

We cannot guarantee these techniques will work all of the time. We can guarantee they will create a f*cking mess that will have you questioning whether digging an outhouse in the backyard would be a better option.

Always turn off the water source before working on your toilet clog. The shut-off valve is the tiny oval-shaped knob on the wall or coming out of the floor behind the toilet.

  • Pour in extra water: When you have a siphon style toilet, adding more water to the toilet bowl puts pressure on the clog from the weight of the water, and the extra water may pop it loose. Or it may overflow the bowl and create a mini-flood. Fun times.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Empty as much water from the bowl as possible. Then use a combination of two cups of vinegar to one cup of baking soda, which may work on organic materials causing a clog. It’ll foam up and look cool too, so the kids will love it. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes and then dump in extra water to see if the clog has loosened.
  • Don’t use a wire hanger: You’ll see plenty of Internet suggestions that tell you to unwind a metal clothes hanger and try to snake it through the toilet. A flexible auger (like we have listed below) will work as a toilet snake; an inflexible wire hanger will not. The siphon style toilet has multiple loops and bends in the pipe before it reaches the main sewer pipe. (You can see these bends outlined along the outside of the toilet if you want to crawl around near the back of the toilet.) An inflexible wire will just get stuck.
  • Use a 2-liter pop bottle: Empty as much water from the toilet bowl as possible. Fill a 2-liter soda bottle with water. Jam the nozzle end into the toilet drain hole and squeeze the bottle hard. Hopefully, the rush of water will knock the clog loose. Be ready for a lot of splashback, though. Like a HAZMAT level of splashback.
  • Saving an item: The chances of you being able to pull an item out of the toilet is slim, not without disassembling the toilet. For small items, like a wedding ring, if you flush, it’s probably not even going to get stuck. It’s just gone. On the other hand, children’s toys may get stuck. You’ll want an auger to try to snag it and pull it back out. If you push it farther down, it could create even a bigger problem.

Best Products For How To Unclog A Toilet

Tacklife Drain Auger

We might as well start our list of products used to unclog a toilet with a power tool. (You know why.)

This snake has a 25-foot cable that can pop loose clogs inside the toilet or other pipes inside the home. It works on pipes between 0.75 and 3 inches in diameter.

It’s powerful enough that it will clean out the majority of clogs, but it’s not overly powerful to the point that you’ll do excessive damage to the toilet and sewer pipes, and the plumber just makes the cha-ching noise over and over as he’s inspecting your work.

Buy for $100 on Amazon

 

Neiko Toilet Plunger With Aluminum Handle

When wondering how to unclog a toilet, a high quality, solid plunger will do the trick more than 99% of the time … 98% if you have kids.

You can bet your significant other is going to try to convince you to buy a little plunger that fits underneath the sink, matches the bathroom’s decor, and that won’t be noticeable.

No.

If you are ever going to stand up for yourself, this is the time. You need a big plunger to handle the worst clogged toilet problems. It’s simply physics. Do not lose this fight, or you’re going to lose your battle with a clogged toilet … and your manhood. Seriously.

Buy for $14 on Amazon

Green Gobbler Liquid Clog Remover

If you’re wondering how to unclog a toilet without a plunger, and you’re sure the clog in your toilet is organic — crap, toilet paper, or something similar — this is the solution. It’s made more for sink pipes, but it’ll work on a nasty toilet clog too.

The best solution is to pour this into the toilet bowl, let it work for a half-hour or so. If the clog is still there, try the plunger again, as the clog remover may have loosened things a bit.

It works especially well on hair clogs. Why would you have a hair clog in your toilet? We don’t want to know. But if you do, this is the answer.

Buy for $25 on Amazon

Booda Brand Drain Auger

If the power auger we listed earlier is a bit out of your budget, this hand-operated auger gives you a cheaper alternative. Its 25-foot flexible steel wire can stand up to repeated uses, and it can bend 90 degrees or more to wiggle through the bends and kinks in the siphon toilet piping.

You won’t look as cool as with the power auger, but it’s better than putting on a rubber glove and trying to jam your hand down the toilet hole. Way better.

Buy for $22 on Amazon

Samshow Toilet Dredge

We readily admit, this thing looks terrible. It looks like something you might find at that store that’s under the Interstate overpass. And we only know that because we went there for gag gifts for a friend’s bachelor party. (That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.)

It’s a plunger of sorts, but the flexible part is made to wind inside the siphon tube, allowing you to get at a nasty clog. It’s not going to snag an item and pull it back to you like an auger might, but it tries to push the clog farther along, hopefully allowing it to wash down the sewer pipe.

We’d rely on the regular plunger first, but this is a reasonable choice as a backup before calling in a professional.

Buy for $14 on Amazon

FEIYABDF Pneumatic Toilet Dredge

Here’s another God-awful looking toilet unclogger. If your wife balks at having a large traditional plunger in the bathroom, she’s going to lose her sh*t if you try to store this where it’s visible in the bathroom. So place it in the back of the closet and only bring it out when you really need it.

Jam the equipment through the hole in the toilet bowl. Then build up air pressure in it with the included pump. Let the air go, and it hopefully with blow the clog away, down through the sewer pipe. Be prepared for some serious toilet water flying backward out of the toilet bowl.

On the plus side, at least the manufacturer is highly focused on safety. After all, the warning label that comes with it says, “Do not spray on people.” We can’t make this stuff up.

Buy for $50 on Amazon

Ultimately, if you cannot pop the clog loose, you’ll have to pull the heavy toilet out of place, working at the clog from the opposite end. This creates a giant, wet mess. And if you don’t re-seat the toilet correctly, you could have serious leaks. It may be time to call in a plumber if the toilet needs to come off the floor.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Ask The Dad: Done With Fatherhood

(Getty/tommaso79)

This question comes from Kristin in Los Angeles.

Hey Doyin, you are a fantastic asset to The Dad with your advice column and, hopefully, you’ll be a fantastic asset to my family. Here’s the quick story: My husband is a great guy and we have two beautiful daughters together (6yo and 3yo). Recently he stopped being as involved with the girls as he used to be. He often just sits on the couch, stares into space, finds little joy in anything, and complains when he has to do normal “dad stuff.” I’m not sure what’s going on with him, but my girls are noticing it, and we’re all miserable. You have a great way with words. How can I smack some sense into him and get him back to being the guy we all love?

Thanks for the kind words, Kristin. I also think I’m pretty good at this advice column, but there’s one factor I’m most proud of: I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t pretend to. Based on what you’re telling me, I can tell that your situation at home isn’t going to improve with me dishing out a few witty lines or by “smacking some sense into him.”

(Giphy)

Have you considered that your husband could be suffering from depression? To be clear, I’m not here to dish out medical advice, but coming from a person who suffers from depression (me), it certainly looks like he checks many of the boxes. Sadly, we still live in a world where men can’t openly talk about being depressed without being viewed as sissies who can’t “suck it up” and deal with it.

To emphasize how big of a deal this is, depression is currently the leading cause of disability worldwide with more than 300 million people affected by it. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that a solid percentage of those 300 million people are men who are suffering in silence. Could your husband be one of them?

In my personal situation, I kept my depression to myself and I became more irritable, disinterested, and hopeless around my children. No way in hell I was going to say anything because I thought people would punk me for being soft. This continued for years before I finally hit rock bottom and visited with a therapist — and without hyperbole, I can say that decision literally saved my life.

Now I’m able to enjoy the good, bad, and ugly things that fatherhood brings.

(Giphy)

If you want my advice on this, I would HIGHLY recommend that both of you visit with a licensed therapist as soon as possible. He/she can help to unpack whatever is wrong with your husband in a way that I can’t. If he enters the sessions with an open mind, I’m confident that things will improve.

Even in today’s “man up” culture, I wear my depression like a badge of honor because I understand that true strength doesn’t come from wearing a mask of fake toughness, but by being vulnerable and admitting you have a problem. I hope your husband will agree with me.

Ask The Dad: Not Good Enough

(Getty Images/Dan Dalton)

This question comes from Dan in Fresno, CA.

My wife’s best friend is married to a stay-at-home dad (let’s call him “Reggie”). My wife is constantly in my ear telling me all about the “wonderful” things Reggie does with his daughter. One day it’s a photo of the French braid he created for her, another day it’s the tea party he hosted for her and her little friends. Our daughters are the same age and I’m tired of my wife trying to shame me into being something I’m not. I don’t do hair, tea parties, or grocery shopping, but at least I provide for my family, unlike Reggie. How can I get it through to my wife that she has a good thing in me?

What was that, Dan? I can barely understand you since you’re chewing on that Peanut Bitter and Jealous sandwich.

(Giphy)

At least you provide for your family? Do you even know what a stay-at-home parent does, my guy? I feel like I’ve covered this already. Choose your words better next time.

But I get it. You’re upset because wifey is pumping up Reggie instead of you — but taking potshots at him is lame, because it isn’t about him. It’s about you.

When it comes to criticism of any kind, I always advise people to consider two things: the source and the accuracy. If at least one is on point, you’re doing yourself a disservice by ignoring it. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think your wife knows you pretty well, so the source doesn’t get any better than her.

Without knowing a thing about your family dynamic other than what you just sent me, I’m going to assume that your wife wants you to do more for your daughter other than bringing home a paycheck. And with that in mind, why don’t you do hair or tea parties? Are you too cool for it? Are you scared to do it wrong? Too busy? None of those are viable excuses. I’m telling you right now that when you’re six feet under, your daughter won’t give a fresh damn about your fancy job. What she will care about are the memories you created with her — like doing hair, tea parties, and other ways to bond. In other words, she’ll remember how you were as a dad.

Speaking of which, this isn’t 1950. Anyone who thinks being a dad only means paying the bills is a fool.

(Giphy)

In regard to your wife, you need to let her know that the passive-aggressive stuff needs to stop. I gave you my assumption as to why she’s behaving this way, now all you need to do is confirm it. “Hey honey, I feel like you’re trying to tell me something by bringing up Reggie all of the time. What specifically do you want from me?” Once she gives you an answer, act accordingly.

We’ve established that you’re a great provider. Now it’s time to step up and provide the things to your family that won’t cost you a dime.

Ask The Dad: The Dirty Mouth

(Getty Images/Denis Sladkov/EyeEm)

This question comes from David in Cleveland, OH.

I have a buddy in my neighborhood who is a fellow dad and our young sons are really close friends. The problem is, the dad likes to swear a LOT. Every other word is “fuck” this or “bullshit” that, and that would be fine if we’re watching sports together as grownups, but he has no filter around the kids either. I’ve told the dad about this, but he still continues to do it at my house when the boys are playing together. Last week, my son’s 2nd Grade teacher informed me that he’s swearing a lot in class, and my wife and I never swear in front of him at home. How can I get it through to the dad to stop swearing in my house without hurting his ego or impacting our friendship?

David, let me ask you something.

Let’s say this guy enjoys coming over to your house, but has a habit of whipping out his junk and peeing all over your floors.

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You’ve told him to stop, but he still does it — and now your impressionable son is “watering” his 2nd Grade classroom with his dirty lemonade and his teacher is not here for it. Would you write to ask me how you should discuss this with your buddy in a way that wouldn’t hurt his fragile ego? Chances are you’d throw him out on his ass, call the cops, get a restraining order, etc.

You can argue with me all you want that peeing on your floors and cursing in your house aren’t the same thing, but the common denominator is this “friend” of yours is straight up disrespecting you in your own home, and that is not OK. Additionally I can’t help but find it concerning that you’re so worried about this dude’s feelings when he clearly doesn’t give a damn about yours.

I don’t have much to say about how you should handle this other than to put your big boy pants on and set boundaries. Your house, your rules. You don’t want anyone cursing in your house, fine. Firmly tell him again that this cannot continue, and if it does, he simply cannot come back (and the same goes for his son).

If he truly values your friendship, he’ll respect your wishes.

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By the way, why is there no mention of how to talk to your son about this? Maybe because you already have that covered? I hope so, because that would be the headline for me. He’s in 2nd Grade and he’s already getting in trouble for his mouth? That needs to end immediately.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but your #1 priority in life as a dad is to your family. Unfortunately, I see this with a lot of men where they’re so focused on keeping things cool with their grown ass buddies that their relationships at home suffer (parent-child, partner-partner, etc.). Don’t be that guy.

So are you going to let this guy come into your home and make the rules? Fuck all that. (Excuse my language)

 

Ask The Dad: The Gun Playdate

(Getty Images/Martin Hospach)

This question comes from Phil in Dallas, TX.

Doyin, I’m a big fan of your work here, although, I have to admit I never thought I’d be the one writing in with a question, but here I am. My 7yo daughter has a really close neighborhood friend and she’s always at her house. The problem is, my wife recently learned that this girl’s dad is an avid gun enthusiast and now she refuses to let our daughter play there. The dad was in the military, owns his own consulting business, and is extremely qualified/trained to own guns. My daughter is devastated that she can’t play at her friend’s house and I think my wife is completely overreacting. What would you do in this situation?

Thanks for the kind words, Phil.

The gun debate is on fire right now and I’m not here to change anyone’s mind on that front. If you must know, I’m not a “gun guy” — but I respect responsible gun owners and their rights to own firearms. That said, your wife isn’t overreacting. Check out these quick facts:

1,300 children die and over 5,700 children are injured by gunshot wounds every year in America. Also, firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death among children behind illness and unintentional injuries (such as car crashes and drowning). This is a BIG deal.

Now, is this dad out here trying to be Yosemite Sam? Probably not.

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But it would be foolish to believe that guns don’t pose a threat to kids, regardless of how responsible the gun owner is, or how “foolproof” his method is of hiding his firearms. Speaking of which, one dude I grew up with told me recently that “a locked up gun or an unloaded gun is useless, because no bad guy is going to break into my place and wait for me to unlock it from the safe or load it.” That means a loaded gun is somewhere in the house that could potentially be accessible to kids. Could the same be said for your neighbor?

It would be pretty sad if your daughter lost a friend over this, and I don’t think that needs to happen. Going forward, I would suggest meeting with the dad (along with your wife) and tell him your family’s concerns. If he acts like a damn grownup, he shouldn’t take offense to the fact your wife is worried about her daughter being in a house with guns. Additionally, why not just have this girl come to your house for playdates instead? Seems like a fair and easy compromise to me.

Last, but definitely not least, you need to take your wife’s concerns seriously and not write her off as some overprotective mom. What would you rather? Ignore your wife’s feelings and make her resent the hell out of you? Or simply roll with my suggestion? Even if the dad is offended that you questioned him, so what? That’s his problem, not yours.

The gun debate will certainly continue, but there should be no debate when it comes to doing what you feel is right for your children.

Ask The Dad: The Boy Who Likes Dolls

Young child playing doctor with a doll. (Getty/Kristal O'Neal)

This question comes from Tony in Ontario, CA.

I have an 8yo daughter and a 5yo son. A couple of months ago, my daughter gave my son one of her old dolls, and he loves it. I refuse to let him leave the house with it for obvious reasons — but whenever he’s home, he is always singing to the doll, brushing the doll’s hair, feeding the doll, etc. This isn’t what I expected when I had a boy. Should I put my foot down and take the doll away or should I just pray he figures it out on his own?

Bruh…

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I gotta keep it real with you, my dude — your son is the last thing you should be worried about.

You mentioned this isn’t what you expected for your son, but what were you expecting, exactly?

That he would bench press 225 lbs straight outta the womb?

Ask for a shot of Jack Daniels before bedtime?

Fight any kid who looks at him the wrong way?

Give you a rundown of the “cuties” he plans to spit game to in his kindergarten class?

Hit you with quotes from Braveheart on the drive to school?

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Seriously, I need to understand why you’re so concerned about his love for dolls. From what you’re describing to me, your son seems to be a nurturing, loving, and caring little boy — the kind of boy that may someday grow up to be…

…wait for it…

.

.

.

.

A GOOD DAD.

Because you were kind enough to reach out for my help, I’m not going to end you on these internet streets. However, I think you really need to reconsider what true masculinity is all about.

Despite the numerous obstacles little girls have to deal with, at least they live in a world where they believe they can do anything and be anything. Unfortunately, we’re letting our sons down in that regard. We have to get past the nonsense that the only acceptable emotions boys can express are happiness, anger, and lust. If our young boys bottle up other feelings like sadness, empathy, and kindness it could end badly for them.

The suicide rate is four times higher for men than it is for women and I’m sure a main reason for that is boys/men don’t feel comfortable being true to themselves based on being shamed by society or their parents. Needless to say, this is something to be taken very seriously.

Since you asked for my advice, I’d suggest embracing the fact that your son is happy. He is hurting absolutely nothing (except maybe your ego) by playing with dolls, so let him do it. If it makes you feel better, there are actually dolls on the market that cater to little boys. Doing so doesn’t make you “soft” or “weak” as a dad; it shows that you’re interested in raising a well-rounded young man. A young man who won’t contribute to the frat-bro toxic masculinity that will end up making your daughter’s life more difficult as she gets older.

The world is changing, Tony. Your 5-year-old son has figured it out. It’s time that you join him.

RELATED: I Went to a Frighteningly Realistic Doll Event to Please My Daughter – Fatherly

Ask The Dad: The New SAHD

(Getty/LWA/Dann Tardif)

This question comes from Barry in Colorado Springs, CO.

I’m a Customer Service Rep for a large telecommunications company and my wife recently got promoted to Executive Vice President at her job. The good news is she’s going to make a ton of money with her new position, but the bad news is she’s going to spend a lot of extra hours at work. Because of that, we agreed that it would be best for me to leave my job to be a stay-at-home dad to our 18-month old twins, which isn’t a big deal because my salary is crappy. I know I should be OK with this, but I’m worried about what my friends and extended family will think of me if I’m not working anymore. You did the stay-at-home dad thing. How did you handle it?

Let me correct you, Barry. You may not be working in a cubicle in corporate America, but you will be working. Probably harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. I think the major issue for most men in terms of the transition to being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) are the misconceptions about the job. It isn’t just parking yourself on the couch watching SportsCenter all day.

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You will be 100% responsible for the lives of two tiny humans. That means feeding them, bathing them, entertaining them, teaching them, soothing them, getting them to take naps, cleaning up their poop, etc. In addition to all of that, you’ll be responsible for keeping the house clean, doing laundry/dishes, going grocery shopping, taking the kids to doctor appointments/playdates, the list goes on and on. By the end of your first week, you’ll be wishing you were dealing with irate customers at your day job, trust me.

So you believe me when I say that you will be working, right? If so, then you shouldn’t have any issues dealing with the Neanderthals who don’t understand that being a SAHD is a real job. There are approximately 2 million dads in America who choose to stay home with their children, so you are hardly some outlier.

Yes, I did the SAHD thing and it was the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life — but it was also the most rewarding. My kids look at me like I’m a damn superhero for all that I do for them and we have a bond that will never be broken. That in itself made the sleepless nights and frustrating days worth it.

(Doyin Richards)

So how did I handle the people who didn’t like the fact that I was a SAHD? I just didn’t give a shit about them. My focus is and always will be on my family.

At the end of the day, whose opinions are more important? Some unenlightened clowns who don’t understand that it isn’t 1950 anymore or those of your wife and twins? I think we both know the answer to that.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say louder for those in the back: THERE IS NO MANLIER JOB ON THE PLANET THAN BEING A GOOD DAD.

Own it and wear it like a badge of honor, my friend.

Ask The Dad: The Drinker

(Getty/Photographer is my life)

This question comes from Justin in Los Angeles.

My father was an abusive alcoholic. He physically abused my mother and my siblings. Fast forward to my adulthood. I’m a father of two. I never seen it coming even though it’s in my blood. I recently started drinking every night. Although I’m definitely not abusive, I’m having trouble kicking the habit. I love my wife and children very much and although I would never do any harm to them, I feel like I’m doing harm to myself. Any ideas to help stop drinking?

First off, I want to give you serious props for your bravery in writing this question. For some reason (and we all know the reason), men don’t like admitting when we have problems, but the strongest dudes I know are the ones who reach out for help.

From my vantage point, it sounds like you’re drinking as a coping mechanism and you have to get to the bottom of it. Since you mentioned this started recently, what changed in your life to get to the point where you’re now drinking every night? If you don’t determine the root cause of your problem, you’ll only end up treating symptoms — meaning, the problem will keep coming up over and over again.

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If you’ll allow me to get personal for a minute, I had drinking problem too. Mine was a little different because I didn’t need/want a drink every night, but when I drank, I got wasted. Similar to you, I would never harm my family — but I certainly was harming myself. In September 2016, it all came to a head when I went out to a friend’s birthday party and got drunk out of my mind. The next morning my kids were jumping on top of me to play with them, but I snapped at them to leave me alone. They were so upset.

At that moment, I realized the root cause of my drinking problem was I didn’t like myself very much. I believed the only way I was tolerable in social settings was to be a sloppy drunk, because “who would like the sober version of me?” I thought. Needless to say, I finally got over my hang ups (with the help of weekly therapy sessions), and I’m back to being comfortable in my own skin again. I haven’t had a drink since September 18, 2016 and I have no desire to ever again. It’s not just my family that motivates me to be better, but I want to be better and healthier for myself.

Now back to you, Justin. My suggestions to stop drinking are pretty simple:

  • Figure out why you started (and are continuing) to drink.
  • Figure out why you want to stop and use that as your motivation.
  • Begin the process of stopping to drink. I was able to stop drinking cold turkey, and I recognize how tough that can be for some people. Go forward at your own pace, but always go forward.
  • Get support along the way. There’s no way I’d would’ve been able to get through that time without the support of my family and friends, and I’m sure your loved ones will be there for you, too. Also, don’t rule out therapy or online support groups. You’re not alone, and there are more people willing to help you than you know.

Stay strong, my brother. Speaking from experience, I know you can do it.

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