Father Figures: Holiday Expectations

“For kids, the holidays are a utopian wonderland filled with candy, presents, and literal magic.

For adults, the holidays can seem like an apocalyptic hellscape filled with bills, stress, and disappointment. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As a parent, if you go into a holiday with high expectations, you’re likely to be let down.

Three years ago, at a brisk 5am on Christmas morning, I turned on my camera, hoping to capture my kids’ ecstatic faces light up with joy upon seeing that Santa came through. Instead, my daughter tripped on the cat, my crying son tottered into the hall, tripped on my daughter, and then she burst into tears too, inexplicably.

Hours later, more people stumbled into the hallway, tripping on the previous person. The hallway was filled with hundreds of people, all crying.

Watching this video on repeat has become a Christmas tradition for us, the whole family in tears, this time from laughing. Yet another reminder that things don’t always turn out how you expect, and that’s okay.

So whatever holiday(s) you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Festivus, FSM Day, New Year’s), keep expectations low, have a laugh with your kids, and take it all in stride. Just watch out for the cat.

Happy holidays.”

Joel Willis, Editor of The Dad

Man-Cave Candles To Feel Like A Pirate Or Race Car Driver Or Whatever Your Thing Is

Candle Feature

Are you man enough to fill your home with some gentle aromas? Do you have what it takes to confidently strike a match, and set it to a wick without burning your finger a little bit? Can you handle watching the wax slowly melt away, and using that imagery to cope with your own daily stress and anxieties?

Maybe you don’t think candles are for you, eh? Well it’s possible you just haven’t found the right kind. Check out our favorite Man-Cave mood setters, but be warned: You may find the power of scents-memory will transport you back to those days on untamed sea, wrestling with demons both inside and out.

The smell of hard work and the past 

These candles understand the indisputable fact that some sort of booze + some sort of plant makes for a perfect smell. Dark Rum & Oak, Whiskey & Tobacco -or if you’re kinda weird- Absinthe & Black Fig are great scents that suggest you are secretly a Colonial Era blacksmith-turned-spy for the Revolution.


Tiny campfires to remind you of real campfires


By taming the fierce element of fire, mankind claimed dominion over the Earth. Now relish in that ultimate power with a little tiny fire in a cup. With a wooden wick to create authentic crackling, this is perfect for the dad who wants to enjoy taking their kids camping, but doesn’t want to listen to their kids complain about camping.

Mmmmm. Musk. 


Personal grooming: Not always in the cards for a modern dad. But the refreshing aromas of cedar and musk can still be a part of your daily routine. Why musk is  a refreshing smell, we’re not sure. Just one of life’s mysteries. It’s the kind of thing you ponder while shaving, or now, sitting in a chair with a candle burning.

Vroom-Vroom Wax


Are you a grease monkey? Well gear up with candles that say “everyone else is unwelcome in this room.”

Still not convinced a candle is for you? If you are intrigued by enticing aromas, but prefer a bigger canvas, then we hope for your sake the KFC Herbs & Spices Firelogs will be back in stock sometime soon. Meanwhile we’ll be burning the candle on both ends, because we’re cool with candles that way.

We participate in the Walmart and Amazon Affiliate Programs. We may earn a small fee by linking to Walmart.com & Amazon.com. Unfortunately we could not find a capitalism-scented candle for this article. 

Yellies: The New Toy Terrorizing Kids and Parents This Christmas


The holidays can be a tough time for parents. We’re tasked with doing everything we can to make our kids’ Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa as special as possible, and sometimes that means going against our better judgment.

We end up stressing ourselves out moving a silly elf around, draining our bank accounts to get the kids everything they want, and shooting ourselves in the feet by buying them gifts that will go on to haunt our dreams.

One hot new gift this season seems designed to do exactly that. They’re called Yellies, and they are tiny stuffed spiders that – get this – respond to the sound of yelling. Hence the name. That’s right, these toys skitter around the floor, and the louder your kids yell and scream, the faster they move, attracted by the noise.

It sounds like a sick joke, and that’s surely how some dastardly aunts and uncles will be treating it when they buy the creepy little critters for your kids. Fortunately, despite the guaranteed headaches these toys are destined to provide, there is a bit of an upside for those parents with a dark side. And it’s being captured on social media.

You see, people are scared of spiders, especially children. And what do children do when they’re scared? They scream. And Yellies love your screams. They feed on them. They run to them like moths to light. And the louder you scream, the more quickly these stuffed spider nightmares will be upon them!

Some parents are taking advantage of this.


View this post on Instagram


Am I the worst mother ever or what? 😂😂 #yellies

A post shared by Tonia☠️🌵 (@toniamaeskis) on

Of course, sometimes a parent’s fun goes a little too far.

It seems Yellies pack as much fun and fear into their tiny $14.99 package for both parents and kids alike!

Just have the Excedrin handy.

Father Figures: 125%

“I’ve never really had a solid consistent father figure growing up.

We moved from town to town, Mom had boyfriend after boyfriend, and my biological dad would ignore my messages and eventually left all social media. I have only one memory of him, when he came to visit when I was six-ish, and it was only for a few hours. He was never to be seen or heard from again.

Growing up was rough, but when I got to the age when I understood what it meant to be a family and a true father, not just a dad, I knew I was going to be the best father I could be. I knew what to do right by what had been wrong and nonexistent in my childhood.

Fast forward 10 years. When we first became pregnant, I froze and cried. I was so happy. We were happy and excited and we told everyone we knew and celebrated. Unfortunately too soon. We miscarried at 3 1/2 months. It was devastating. We thought everything was over, that it wasn’t meant to be.

We were being ushered to move out because the owners were selling the house and we needed somewhere to go. We ended up buying a house (23 and 20 yrs old). Soon after we moved in, the first night of dinner in our own home, my girlfriend got sick. She absolutely loves steak and potatoes but it came right up and the smell made her sick some more. I knew at that very moment we were expecting. She broke the news, but I had already guessed and was excited just waiting for her to tell me.

The pregnancy was miserable. She got diagnosed with HG (hypermesis gravidarum). Hospitalized 3 times for IV fluids and multiple false labors. But our son was a miracle! We didn’t want to know the gender and kept it a surprise. As soon as I helped him out and held him, I yelled “Milo!” I was laughing and crying at the same time.

Fast forward to a year and a half later, when we were blessed with another beautiful baby boy, Remy. Again all joyful tears and sheer happiness!

I will always remember those moments and cherish the memories in bright vivid detail.

The entire journey of being a father AND a husband is hands down the best experience you could ever endure. I give my family 125% everyday and give them the love, attention, and more love that they deserve. I get excited to take them places that will make them cheer and see them smile, and we have movie nights with cuddles and warm hearts. With no real father figure in my life, I knew exactly, within reason, how to be a father and, better, yet a husband.

Today I have 4 dogs, 2 boys, and a beautiful wife by my side. Fatherhood isn’t something you can describe or show someone else. You have to feel it to know that it’s the best thing that will ever happen in your lifetime.”

– Dylan Martin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

This Family’s Yearly ‘Real Life’ Christmas Cards Are Spectacular


Despite allegedly being all about joy, family, and an abundance of fuzzy feelings, Christmas can be a very stressful time of year

Between wrangling heaps of presents for everyone, making sure your house exudes just the right amount of holiday cheer, and trying not to go too far into soul-crushing debt, people are lucky not to be completely exhausted or insane by New Years.

Fortunately, in the midst of all the picture-perfect Christmas updates going around, the Stanleys of Charlotte, North Carolina are sending out photos that feature a bit more holiday realism.

Since 2014, the family has been sending Christmas Cards that highlight the true (and often very stressful) joys of Christmas spent with two young boys. They even added a baby girl to the mix this year!


“The very first time we tried to take a ‘traditional’ Christmas card photo we had hilariously bad results,” Jonathan Stanley told Bored Panda.

“We were new parents with a one-year-old and everything went wrong – baby cried the whole time, it was windy, the lighting kept changing, you name it. If two of us looked okay, the third one blinked. We laughed so hard at how bad the photos were that we decided just to send them out as is and our family loved it. From there the tradition was born – instead of trying to send perfect cards, we would send something that represented the chaos of parenting.”


“At first, I think my wife kind of rolled her eyes and said, ‘okay, we’ll try it,'” he said. “I had no idea if a staged scene would make sense or be funny, but we went for it and it just kind of worked. The kids love it, though when they see the final product I have to constantly remind them that it’s fake and to not try it in real life. I worry sometimes I am putting ideas into their heads!”


Jonathan says his goal is to make it look like it’s a perfect Christmas scenario, “as if it’s a Pottery Barn ad or something,” that has gone horribly awry.

“I also take care to make sure its a realistic as possible – most of the scene is shot practically and I try to minimize the photoshop required to yield the best results. Today most people have a strong eye for recognizing when something is fake, so the goal is to make it just real enough that they question how we pulled it off.”


“The hardest part is getting the kids to look in the right place and hold the right pose – especially when they were younger,” Jonathan added. “We use a lot of tricks like putting bells on a pole and then holding it where their eyeline needs to be, etc.

“Also, ensuring they don’t bump the tripod while we are shooting – easier said than done when you have two boys running around for an hour. We shoot each kid individually and then stitch it all together…but if the tripod gets bumped it ruins the effect and we have to start over.”


Obviously, the Stanleys have built quite a reputation at this point.

“Our friends and family would be so disappointed if we went back to a normal card at this point. It’s also a great creative outlet and once the kids are a little older it will open up some crazy possibilities that aren’t feasible with a four-year-old and a baby.”

“I think deep down everyone hates trying to get a photograph for a Christmas card,” he admits. “It’s near impossible if you have young children – so people appreciate a card that emphasizes the challenges of parenting vs. hiding them. Plus a lot of people seem to appreciate that the cards are a fun thing we do together as a family. After all, the family that plays together stays together!

Emotional Harold Baines Remembers His Dad at Hall of Fame Induction [WATCH]

(Getty/Ron Vesely)

Over the course of his many years playing and coaching in the MLB, Harold Baines was known as a man of few words. His focus and mindset always seemed to be on the game.

That perception changed soon after the ceremony where Baines was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

During a post-event interview, Baines was asked who would be most proud and happy about his accomplishment. Baines mentioned his family and then immediately became emotional when talking about his father who passed away three years prior.

With tears welling up in his eyes, Baines called his father “my hero.”

Speaking later with NBC’s Chuck Garfien, he elaborated on his response and described his father’s unique relationship with baseball.

“It’s hard (to talk about him),” Baines said. “It’s very hard. I think I played the game for him because he couldn’t. He was born too early. So I always felt I played the game for him. I love the game but it didn’t mean that much to me like it did to him.

“I was fortunate enough to get drafted, and I just said, ‘I’m playing for him.'”

Like Baines, his father was not a very expressive man but his love for the game and his son was apparent.

“He didn’t show emotion,” he said. “I know he was proud.”

Paternity Leave with Rob King | Ep.7 | What To Do With A Night Without Kids? | The Dad

Rob has a little too much fun when he gets a night to himself. Also, actor John C. Reilly joins Paternity Leave for another “Celebrity Bedtime Stories.

Subscribe to The Dad on Youtube

Dad Grades: Goofy From A Goofy Movie

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Taking your teenage son on a cross-country fishing trip is tough enough as it sounds. We can’t imagine it’s any easier when you’re both anthropomorphic dogs. In this edition of Dad Grades, we take a look at Goofy from A Goofy Movie.

(Walt Disney Company)


Ask enough people who love their dad why and you’re bound to hear the adjective “goofy” at some point. There’s a reason. That thin line between lame and endearing is where all the dad jokes live. Silly voices. Novelty grill aprons. We at The Dad encourage this yes-nonsense approach to parenting.

(Walt Disney Company)

Dads don’t get much goofier than, well, Goofy. His hormonal son Max has mastered the eye-roll, quick to dismiss his father’s boisterous, happy-go-lucky demeanor at every ah-hyuck. Get over it, kid. If your dad’s name is Goofy you don’t get to act surprised when you find yourself at a place called Lester’s Possum Park.

(Walt Disney Company)


It’s tough to find fault in such a kindhearted, jovial character like Goofy. If there’s one thing we feel he could dial back a bit, it’s that he can often be quite invasive and overbearing, however well-meaning. The movie begins with Goofy bursting into Max’s room without knocking: a roll of the dice for any parent with a teenage boy.

(Walt Disney Company)

The story then hinges on a father-son fishing trip that -son really, really doesn’t want to partake in.

Now, we’re not saying give your child free reign to do whatever they want, whenever they want. But c’mon, Goof. It’s the first day of summer vacation. Your boy’s smitten with a classmate named Roxanne and anyone who’s anybody will be attending her Powerline concert viewing party. The fish will still be there come mid-July.


Involved. Perpetually cheerful. Willing to evade venue security in an attempt to get your kid on stage with his favorite pop singer just to impress a girl he likes. Goofy is the type of dad we should all aspire to be more like.

(Walt Disney Company)


Check out our previous edition where we graded Al Bundy from Married… With Children!

Father Figures: Heart Murmur

“I’d always known that I wanted to be a father but I never knew if I was ready to be a father.

My wife Holly and I began trying a few months after our marriage. Then months went by with negative test after negative test. After two years, we decided to give a fertility treatment center a try. We spent thousands of dollars trying IUI and each round was unsuccessful. We were down to our last shot before we would need to make a choice of putting things on hold to save up for full on Invitro.

Our next attempt was on Mother’s Day, 2016, and a few weeks later, we found out that the IUI was successful. We sat in every appointment teary-eyed and thankful for our blessing.

On January 19th, 2017 we welcomed our son Miles. I still did not know if I was ready to be a father but knew that I had to be. I broke down the moment they placed Miles in my arms and thought about the years preceding his arrival. The disappointment, the lost pregnancies; it all faded away when he looked into my eyes. At that point, I knew that being a father was exactly what I was meant to do.

A short two hours later, they informed us that Miles had a heart murmur but that it should go away after 48 hours. We stayed in the hospital for days only to find out that the murmur was still there. After tests, we were informed that our son had 2 large holes in his heart. When he reached 14 lbs, they decided that he needed to open-heart surgery. We were both shocked, and nervous to put such a tiny human through such a big procedure.

On the morning of June 14th, 2017 our son underwent open heart surgery at almost 5 months old. The 8 hours he was away from us was the longest my wife and I had ever been without him. We were beyond relieved to hear that the surgery was successful and our boy was in recovery, but nothing prepared us to see our son lying in a hospital bed with more tubes, sensors, and IVs connected to him than I had ever seen before.

We stayed in the hospital for weeks watching Miles recover “much quicker than expected” according to all of the nurses and doctors. After a year and a half, he’s been given the all clear and his heart is good as gold!

I never knew what to expect when entering fatherhood, but my father always had explained that was normal. He said, ‘You don’t really know what you are getting into, but once it happens, you know exactly what you need to do.”

My son has been my pride and joy since the day I found out we were pregnant and he is the toughest person I have ever met.

Fast forward to this year, on my 30th Birthday, my wife informed me that we would be expecting our second child all naturally! We can’t wait to welcome our little girl into the world next April.

Fatherhood has completely changed my life and I couldn’t imagine how I got through life without the blessings that I now have.”

– Nick Fleshman

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com