Dad blogger Mike Julianelle recently joked about going “off-brand” while rehashing a family beach day. “Today was remarkably easy-ish,” Julianelle, 40, wrote. “The kids were well-behaved and we sort of almost had a relaxing time!”
A few days later, the Brooklyn-based marketing writer sounded more like himself.
“It’s day two of my summer as a stay-home-dad and I’ve already lost it on my kids,” Julianelle began in an Instagram post that has received more than 3,500 likes. “Actually, I lost it at day 1.5. I’m not cut out for this.”
Julianelle — known as Dad and Buried to his fans — misses working in an office with adults. “I don’t want to be a stay-at-home parent. I don’t want to have to find ways to fill my kids’ days all summer,” he wrote. "I don’t want to plan, I don’t want to pack stuff, I don’t want to herd them places, I don’t want to go places.”
According to Julianelle, he doesn’t have “the temperament,” “the patience” or the “interest” to succeed in his role as a camp counselor to an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old.
“Circumstances being what they are, and my summer being what it is, someone has to stay with my kids all day,” Julianelle revealed, noting that his wife, popular mom blogger Heather Millen, recently returned to work after taking time off to raise their boys.
“Reluctance (and unsuitability) aside, I have no choice but to get better at it,” Julianelle declared. “They don’t need to know how stressed I am, they don’t deserve a dad who’s grumpy and frustrated before the day has even begun, and most of all, they don’t deserve a boring summer.”
It's a common refrain from parents, who are led to believe that idyllic summers are the antidote to too much screen time and every other ill of modern childhood, said family physician Dr. Debi Gilboa, aka Dr. G. “We increasingly feel that if we give our children the summer we remember from when we were young, then all the other things will be mitigated,” she told TODAY Parents. “The pressure we feel to give our kids an awesome birthday — we feel that pressure every single summer day, and it’s not doing anyone a service."
Instead, said Dr. G, take July and August as a chance for your kids to work on character-building. “Teach your 8-year-old how to do laundry,” she said. “Take a bag to the playground and pick up litter for 15 minutes before playtime."
The Pittsburgh-based author of "Getting the Behavior You Want..." also suggests visiting a local assisted living facility. “A toddler playing with toys in the common area brings joys to older folks,” she said. “You don’t need wonderful pictures to judge the worth of the time you spent.”
As for Julianelle, he reports that things may be starting to look up. He and his sons just took a successful field trip to the movies. "It was an adventure getting there on the subway and they liked eating popcorn," Julianelle told TODAY Parents. Then he went off-brand again. "I know those are the things they will remember," he admitted.