I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for a month and a half, and I was supposed to be a famous daddy blogger by now. I had the big-picture stuff all planned out: A steady stream of review products and display-ad revenue followed by a huge advance on my bestselling book. Before long, CBS would turn my Twitter account into a sitcom, and morning shows would fly me in for parenting advice. I vaguely remember including some ideas about supporting a working mother and raising a baby boy.
And then, just as I was remembering how awesome I am, “Saturday Night Live” tries to take me down a peg with “You Can Do Anything!” In the sketch, Bill Hader and crew lay some thick sarcasm on YouTube-famous kids, blaming their obnoxious self-esteem on over-encouraging parents:
I guess my success as an energy-drink reviewer makes me part of the “YouTube generation” they’re lampooning. But the wake-up call is too late for me. I just walked away from an eight-year career in online journalism. I spent a lot of that time angry that my immense writing talent wasn’t getting me more public recognition, even though I wasn’t writing most of the time.
In fact, the real reason I’m launching this daddy blog is because I NEED YOU TO TELL ME I’M A HILARIOUS WRITER. You think I’m a good dad? Fine. You think my baby is cute? Whatever. Just tell me I write good. I need your validation to sustain the pie-in-the-sky fantasy outlined above.
Is there any chance my 4-month-old son could grow up with more realistic expectations? I’m starting to worry that I’m coddling him by indulging his near-constant need to be held. He’ll go to school in an era of hypersafety and criminalized bullying, and there’s a good chance he’ll never get punched. Is that really a character-building experience I should want for my boy?
“The world needs more singer-songwriters, and fewer doctors and engineers,” Vanessa Bayer says in the sketch. A New York Times article just told me that what the world’s corporations really need is a precise, nimble workforce of human drones willing to live at the factory and put in 12-hour days six days a week.
I think I might temper my son’s dreams by telling him he should aspire to a meager existence in the Orwellian future factory-cities of Foxconn USA, assembling iPhones for a thriving middle class in China and India.
Who am I kidding? This guy is obviously a star, and nobody will ever tell him any different.