Jul 13

My Best Friend

If someone had told me 25 years ago that Chris RepMan, Jr., Cody would one day be my best friend,
Kilimanjaro 015 I’d have asked for an ounce of whatever he was smoking. But, I’m thrilled to say that Chris is, indeed, my best friend. I share this personal tidbit because it flies in the face of a highly controversial New York Magazine cover story entitled, “I Love My Child. I Hate My life”.

The article, which is based on mind-numbingly extensive research, says becoming a parent doesn’t make one happier. In fact, it makes people sadder and undermines relationships. Experts quoted in the text say the findings “…expose the gulf between our fantasies about family and its spiking realities.” Holy counter-intuitive!

The article tracks a parent’s happiness from childbirth on and shows that it’s extremely low in the first few years of an offspring’s life (thanks to zero sleep), peaks when the child is between six and 12, and then tails off big time during the teens (no surprise, there). But, get this: the more children one has, the less happy one becomes (so much for twins). And the richer the parents, the greater their misery. Holy lose-lose!

And, talk about a relationship buzz kill. The cover story says parents spend less than 10 percent of their time ‘alone’ and that 10 percent is typically spent “exhausted and staring at a TV set.” Sound familiar? If one needed a coup de grace to the entire ‘parenting is what life is all about’ argument, check this out: 40 percent of all arguments between spouses are about their kids. Game. Set. Match.

So much for the image and reputation of becoming a parent. But, here’s the real kick in the head. Single people surveyed near the end of their lives always list ‘not having a family’ as one of their biggest regrets. So, it’s a classic damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

As for this blogger, I’m thrilled with my kids and very proud of them. Has raising kids adversely impacted my marriage? Probably. We still argue about them all the time. But, I know I speak for Angie when I say we wouldn’t have passed up parenthood for the world. And, how many dads can say their son also happens to be their best friend? That’s my bottom line. What’s your POV?

Dec 15

Tell your statistics to shut up!

In his seminal 1969 book about major league baseball, former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton wrote about his salary negotiation with Seattle Mariners' Manager Barney Schultz.

Bouton came fully armed for the meeting with reams of statistics showing how many games he'd saved, runners he'd stranded, etc. His goal was a modest salary increase for the upcoming season. Schultz, after reviewing Bouton's data, flung the pages back at the pitcher and yelled, 'Tell your statistics to shut up. No raise.'

December 15 - of white paper.11132009 I was reminded of the Bouton-Schultz saga as I powered through an otherwise extraordinarily superb research paper co-published by Advertising Age and JWT, and called. 'The rise of the real mom.'

It's a lengthy treatise that examines what today's mom really wants and needs, and updates the conventional wisdom that most women aspire to be 'super mom.’ According to the report, the real mom 'wants' four things:

1) To make every dollar count
2) To put her family first
3) Permission to be imperfect (Ladies: permission granted by RepMan, for what that's worth)
4) To be seen as more than just a mom

I was really soaking up the insights until I was stopped in my tracks by what I saw as both negative stereotyping and, frankly, a cheap shot taken at the expense of who else, but men.

In discussing parenting, the report says only men aged 30-44 prioritize parenting as much as women. It goes on to state that, when it comes to parenting, 'men peak at 30 to 44 and dramatically de-prioritize parenting as they age. For men, it's like, I've done my job, I've gone to the baseball games, I've paid for your college education; now you're on your own.' That quote came from Marian Muley, founder of the 85% Niche, a consulting firm dedicated to helping business grow market share among women across ethnic, racial and socioeconomic lines.

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