7 Dad Hacks Every Modern Dad Should Know

Drew Magary explains how to save your Spotify recs, survive kid-sports, and use the toilet in peace. 7 Dad Hacks Every Modern Dad Should ...

Drew Magary explains how to save your Spotify recs, survive kid-sports, and use the toilet in peace.
7 Dad Hacks Every Modern Dad Should Know
You were warned. You were warned long ago that American parenthood is a gauntlet of emotional and physical toil. Friends, family, strangers… they all assuredly told you that having kids is a real bitch. They come at you like haunting gypsies, foretelling of dirty diapers and colicky infants. Stroll around in public with a pregnant woman and you will be both congratulated and cautioned that you will never sleep peacefully again.
But what they often won’t tell you about are the more subtle, modern annoyances of modern daddying. All the baby spit-up and Legos left on the floor for you to step on: those are the givens. But there are so many MORE awful things about being a dad in 2018 America.
And so the people at GQ asked me to come up with a rundown of lesser-known problems that will occur to you, the current dads and the dads-to-be. Because I am not a sadist—and because I cope with dadhood by bestowing tales of dad woe upon others, even those who do not have kids—I have also generously included my solutions to these problems.
Will my advice work? Eh….50/50 odds at best. But being a parent means trying anything in the hopes that it works, so you really have no choice but to heed my bullshit. Commiserate with me now:

1. “Help! The kids keep screwing with my Spotify account!”

Getting your kid into music is not only wonderful for them, but also great for you, because music shuts them up real good. The problem is that, if you use a streaming service like Spotify, children will fall for it immediately and commandeer your account. My youngest son has his own playlist on Spotify that includes two different versions of the Power Rangers theme song. It is the playlist from hell. And it’s blowing up my recs.
The Solution: A family account. It’s only $5 extra a month to upgrade to a family account that gives you five separate accounts that, blissfully, have nothing to do with one another. Please note that each of these secondary accounts requires an email invite and, like so many other tech entities, Spotify hasn’t given a ton of thought as to how much aggravating online labor is needed to send invites to your own junk mail accounts to set shit up for kids. I still have one membership left I haven’t activated because I just don’t want to make the effort. Still, I am happy to not see ten different Parry Gripp albums in my “Recently Played” section—it’s shitty ’80s music and some Carly Rae Jepsen, just the way I like it.

2. “Help! All I do is drive now!”

Sports give children purpose and direction, and all it costs you is thousands of dollars and the personal freedom to drive places you actually want to go. You could try to make plans with another parent. Go ahead. Try it. You will fail. All you’ll get in response is an hour-long sigh and, “We have baseball that day.” The number of nights I have lost driving to some gym tucked behind an office park to pick up a kid at 9 pm is STAGGERING. I could have been drinking and playing phone games, man. Carpooling doesn’t even help because coordinating a carpool is more labor than just doing all the driving yourself.
The Solution: One sport per season, that’s the rule. You people who have your kids do more than one sport at a time? You are crazy people. Everyone just settle down. This needn’t be an arms race where families compete to see which one is the sportiest. Do not have your kid do baseball, soccer, lacrosse, tae kwon do, a DIFFERENT lacrosse league, and diving all at once. The downtime it gives you and your kid is healthy-ass downtime.

3. “Help! I can’t shit in peace!”

Every time. Every damn time I need to have a bowel movement, someone starts screaming. It’s more regular than my colon, frankly. When I tell the kids, “Listen, I’m going to go poop, so don’t scream,” it apparently just INVITES them to start fighting. Fifteen years ago, I never imagined myself yelling at people while sitting on a toilet. And yet here I am.
The Solution: Poop away from home. Some people can only shit at home. I am now the diametric opposite—I’ll gladly flee the premises to go take a dump in The Worst Toilet In Scotland. I don’t care. If it’s got a seat and a hole, I will use it. Save your poops for work and luxuriate. Hearing your boss work the angles in the stall next door is infinitely better than hearing two of your offspring go full Thunderdome over the last Mint Milano while you try to do your business.

4. “Help! These kids are going to kill me with their lethal flu germs!”

When I was a bachelor, I was a complete pig. I didn’t wash my hands all that often. I ate expired food. I picked my nose with impunity. Did I ever get sick? Reader, I did not. No, I was unbreakable, until kids came along and somehow destroyed my immune system. One look at a child and you will get norovirus. It’s like sorcery.
The Solution: No shared food. Not ever. Obviously, everyone in the family should wash their hands and get a flu shot. Past that, my wife has made a rule that no one can eat off of anyone else’s plate. As someone who treasures leftover chicken nuggets as if they were a cache of pure emeralds, I chafe at this rule. When I reach for a child’s french fry, I get The Look. I also have not gotten sick yet this winter. Of course, I’ll get sick now that I’ve told you that. I’ll be hurling into a bucket by noon tomorrow. But until then, the food rule has served me well.

5. “Help! I don’t understand any of this kid’s homework!”

They do not teach kids things the way I learned them as a child. This is likely for the best, but I have no way of helping kids with number lines and place-value matrices and all the other newfangled shit that is part of the basic curriculum. There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a child who is frustrated with homework. Go ahead and double that frustration when you can’t do it, either. I used to be able to multiply things, man. My whole world is upside down now.
The Solution: “Go ask your mother.” She won’t be happy you pawned the kid off on her, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Good luck, Mom. I’ll be over here, drinking a beer.

6. “Help! What the hell should we do today?”

Every single day off in this house presents an existential struggle in figuring out What To Do. The goal is an activity that is enriching, time-consuming, fun, and relatively cheap. Do such activities exist? NOT IN THE DEAD OF FEBRUARY, GANG. In February, it’s just me springing for movie tickets or a fucking trampoline park. My 401k is gone. I regret saying nice things about the winter.
The Solution: Do not live where it is cold. When it’s warm, you can go to a park. When it’s cold, you stay inside and end up wanting to kill one another. Ergo, do not be cold. Move to Arizona. Sure, you’ll be living in a lawless hellhole populated by men with dye-jobs and deranged, elderly bikers. But at least the playgrounds will be dry.

7. “Help! The other kids are dicks and the other parents are clueless assholes!”

As always, the cruelty of parenting is that you can love your kids and do everything right by them, and yet they can still end up in a bad place. This is because other parents SUCK and other kids are spoiled brats who will turn your kid into a spoiled brat the second they whip out an iPhone during recess. It’s the worst.
The Solution: I’m going to amend my above answer and solve this one, too: Do not live in America. You’ve seen what a disaster this country is. We’re all living on borrowed time, and, frankly, I’m a fool for not having fled already. Get your kids out of this rancid pit of despair! What about New Zealand? That looks nice and scenic. Go there. SAVE YOURSELF AND YOUR KIN.
Written by Drew Magary



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MENSTYLICA: 7 Dad Hacks Every Modern Dad Should Know
7 Dad Hacks Every Modern Dad Should Know
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