Thursday, March 12, 2009

Parenting Advice

Since I'm an engineer, I have the pleasure of getting to work with mostly men. I'm not being sarcastic about that at all. I would die if I had to work with a bunch of women, having to hear them whine about their husbands, that the receptionist looked at them funny yesterday and the vending machine has been out of diet coke for a week would kill me. Don't get me wrong, I love my girlfriends and the girl talk we have, there's just a time and a place for it and work is not really one of those. I much prefer my lunch conversations to be about the motorcycle trip last weekend or hilarious sarcastic comments about whatever is on the news during lunch. There's lots of laughing and no drama at all.

I really enjoy the unique perspective I get from my male counterparts on parenting. The other day a group of us were discussing improvements to our work tracking board. We're pursuing an alternative to post-its as our tracking medium and we were discussing the need to get our leadership bought into using the new system. One of the engineers said, "It's like getting your kid to stop using a pacifier." The other male engineers nodded their head in agreement. The other female engineer and I said, "How exactly do you do that?" (Neither one of us has children). He then said, "you just start cutting it shorter and shorter until they can't suck on it anymore." The other female engineer then said, "So you're saying we should just make the post-its smaller and smaller until our leaders just get too frustrated, they use the new method out of desperation?" He said exactly. I then asked, "What did your wife do when she had an angry, frustrated 2 year old that couldn't use a pacifier anymore because you cut them all up?" He just said, "I don't know." Hmm...

Another favorite parenting story from work was when one of our team leaders received a call from his wife saying his 3 year old son had managed to jump out his window. Apparently he had been misbehaving and his mother put him in his room for a time out. Judging from other stories about this particular child he's a tank with boundless energy. He was mad mom had shut him in his room and while she was on the other side holding the door shut, he decided to open his window, remove the screen and jump out to the backyard (his room is on the 2nd story). I can only imagine the shock and frustration his mom experienced when her 3 year old that was in his room on time out walked in the front door ready to play. Now as our team leader was telling this story, was he concerned about the safety aspect, not really - the child was fine, worried about the blatant lack of respect, nope - he was proud of him for figuring out how to get the screen off and having the guts to jump out the window. Ah dads and their wonderful bits of advice about child rearing. Thank goodness for mothers.


  1. Oy. Steve is going to be one of those dads... I just know it.

  2. I like working with guys, too. Some of my favorite insights have been into marriage and a husband's view. My favorite experience was when my coworker's wife had their first baby. Someone brought cookies into the lab and he declined, explaining that he was going on a supportive diet with his wife so she could lose the baby weight. Our veteran husband (married 6 years, 3 kids), enlightened him. He said, "No! Whenever you go on a diet with your wife, you diet at home. Then you eat as much junk food and crap as you can at work!" When asked why he replied, very seriously, "You do NOT want to lose weight faster than she does."
    Ha! So true.