As we all know too well, fathers have their virtues (awesome crib-assembly skills) and their vices (feigning sleep as soon as diapers get dirty). In other words, we can’t live without them, even if they can’t keep their paws off our little ones’ Plum Organics pouches. Of course, there is always room for improvement. And who are the best teachers? No, not us! We are way too naggy to effectively modify the behavior of the modern man. Rather, Daddy-Os should self-tweak by taking tips from their toddlers. Sure, studying kiddies sounds slightly creepy and might not completely eradicate compulsive Blackberrying or groin-grabbing. Nevertheless, our offspring can sometimes surprise us with their savvy and style, and teach Da-Da a thing or two.

  • No self-respecting dude who has successfully graduated from seventh grade should wear mesh shorts. Especially on Madison Avenue. Umbros do not work either. They were cool for a hot minute during Color War circa 1991. Good-old-dads need to get with it and check out a fab new fashion blog for the five-and-under set . Yes, thirty-somethings should be ashamed that two-year olds know more about pocket squares than they do! Go to: The Trending Tot for a man-child makeover:
  • If only men cried to get what they want. Women respond much better to tears than barking, condescension, bullying, grumbling, tyranny, whining, or silence. Win an Oscar with that blubbering. Win us over with emotion. I would sooner run to the dry cleaners for someone bawling their eyes out from exhaustion, frustration, grief, or joy, than for stoicism.
  • Men need lessons on making Mommy happy. Even mini-munchkins know that going in the potty means a trip to the toy store or a Gelato cone for dessert. If men would only get it in the bowl or hamper or dishwasher instead of the rim, floor, or sink, it would certainly be a win-win. Hello?! Ever heard of: happy wife, happy life?!
  • “Mama, you look pretty today. I love you.” These could be the words of a child staring up at a woman in two different socks, a psycho-chic top-knot of unwashed hair, and a t-shirt stained with toothpaste, egg-yolk, and unwashable markers. Note to fathers: flattery will get you everywhere. We can’t always be gorgeous while working, tending to tykes, and keeping some semblance in our overflowing homes. We know that our guys sometimes fantasize about Heidi Klum or Denise Richards and other do-it-all dames. But maybe it’s okay to fake it, tell us we are breathtaking, just like our kids who don’t know any better.  We just want to be called beautiful. Who doesn’t?

Although the list could continue, this is just a starter kit for the quintessential clueless-dad. After all, we don’t want fathers to freak when they realize just how far they’ve fallen behind. And in spite of their occasional missteps, most Daddies do their part in making our children strong, safe, and secure. I may be a little late in posting it, but Happy Father’s Day. We couldn’t do it without you.

Mamaste, JLB.


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Jenny Ladner Brenner

Jenny Ladner Brenner

Jenny Ladner Brenner is a native New Yorker with a home on the Upper East Side. Somewhere in between tending to a toddler, caring for a cockapoo, and paying attention to an overworked husband, she managed to release her debut novel, THE DINNER PARTY, which explores the explosive cocktail of friendship and marriage among twenty-somethings living in New York City. Jenny has been featured and interviewed on various websites and blogs, and is currently refining the concept for her next “best seller.” More about Jenny and THE DINNER PARTY can be found HERE.