Tag: parenthood

Being a good parent means not forgetting about yourself

I remember the first moment Vinny was born and the message that went through my head. “It’s all about him now.” And also, forget about sleep for a month but I digress..

When your kid comes into the world, you are no longer the star of your own show. The screenplay shifts and pivots on a twist. A young 6 pound kid takes center stage and the rest is bullshit. Filler. Fluff. Crap. Nowhere near important. And it’s okay.

When Vinny was born on September 2011, the Cards were in the middle of one of their greatest runs in the history of their franchise. 10.5 games out on August 25th before streaking towards a playoff berth and eventually the World Series. They overtook Beast Mode in Milwaukee, Ron Washington and Nolan Ryan’s ego, and the relentless Texas Rangers. In the middle of that, Vinny made his entrance. It was a perfect collision of responsibility and passion.

I didn’t write for KSDK or any other website back then. I wrote blogs right here once a week. Rambling and ranting that only a handful of people noticed. A hundred Twitter follows and a Facebook page without color. None of that shit mattered, right? Well, it’s not that simple.

Here’s the flip side of the “kid is the star of the show” ideal. If you don’t care of yourself, what the fuck kind of parent will you be? If one isn’t happy, he or she can’t please others or make a great life for someone. He’s isolated in dread and agony. What fun is that?

The biggest lie or hollow promotion a parent will ever tell is “I don’t matter. It’s all about them.” Wrong. You need to matter and need to convey something or hold a certain level of passion. If you do not do this, what can you offer a kid? When Vinny looks at me, he wants to be like me. He wants my approval. Always. Constant. Every day. Every kid wants their parent to see them and love them. They do this by watching you and seeing you smile. Then, they know how it will feel when you smile at them. What if a parent doesn’t smile enough? Something is wrong.

It is all about the kids but if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be in a world of pain for a long time and your kids won’t benefit from it. The only thing that changes in your life when you have a kid is sleep, time management and your food bill. What you get is a chance to relaunch through this kid. They are supposed to give you energy and give you new meaning. I want to write as much as I can, run as much as I can. smile as often as I can and make Vinny’s life a constant event.

You aren’t ignoring your daughter or son if you take time for yourself. It’s required.

When I was growing up, I’d watch my dad work, play and basically move through life. You may not know it when you are 5 years old or 10 years old but you are taking notes on parenthood. My dad was a loving parent and attentive but he took time for himself. He’d sit out back and smoke a cigar late at night or play some music and sit still for a while. I understood that and tried to remember to do so.

That is why when the wife and kid go to bed, I have my own time. I write, go to the gym, listen to music, watch some TV or have a drink. I take time for myself. Every parent should. If not, you are doing more harm than good.

You aren’t abandoning your child or doing parenthood wrong if you take a few hours for yourself.

Thanks for reading,


DB Beard

A RANT: Black coffee, stay at home parenthood and whiskey thoughts


I am your bartender this afternoon and today’s drink is a stream consciousness that has no rhythm yet should you hit in some area of the heart or mind. As the great folk singer Todd Snider said barefoot at the Sheldon Theater in downtown STL, “I am not here to change your mind, but ease my own.” Something like that. Here we go.

A Day in the Life of Stay at Home Parenthood

Vin and IBeing a stay at home dad means you have no sick days and sometimes feel like you aren’t normal. Allow me to explain. I get up every day around 9-10am. No, I don’t rise with my kid. He gets up and dresses himself. Wipes his ass. Takes a piss. Gets a drink. Plays with toys. He’s four years old. While dad boots up like a 1985 Macintosh computer, he is already blazing. That’s kids. He will be sitting there sipping a smoothie, playing a game on his iPod, and watching Transformers before I even bare to register a thought. He’s a genius and I can only exist in his world. He knows it too. Every morning, he goes, “are you getting up dad?” As if he was saying, I run on solar powered batteries asshole…let’s go.

When it’s time, I rise. This is normal. I get up and whisk my slow moving feet over to the Keurig, otherwise known as my second wife or mistress. It’s my go-go juice. My mood barometer. Something to steady me by and launch with. I need it like a skydiver needs his parachute. Like Brian Williams needs a fairy tale. Like Vladimir Tarasenko needs a stick and ice to prove to us he isn’t human. I like my coffee black folks. No cream, milk, sugar, or ceiling dust. If anything, I drop a gram of stevia(plant extract clean sweetener) into it just so I can drink it faster. After two cups, I am ready to ask the kid if he needs anything before I start doing laundry. A waffle, some chocolate milk or a swift kick in the ass. The last one comes the easiest. I check the sink and empty and reload the dishwasher. The key is to not break glasses because you will never find all the shards. Ever. Be careful here. Nobody gets a gold star for putting away dishes fast. They just get a piece of glass in their foot. There is only one John McClane, assholes. Don’t be a tough guy with dishes. Be safe.

Afterwards, it’s vacuum time. Check the floor. My cat usually rapes it at least four times a day. I don’t get cats sometimes. They supposedly cover their shit up by kicking litter all over the floor AWAY from the actual turd and they scratch a carpet because they can’t clip their nails. Laundry started, dishes, and vacuum. I need a holster for my coffee damn it. I could really get some shit done. The possibilities. John Lennon wanted an island. Johnny Depp has an island. I just want a holster for my coffee cup.

Random thought: What did people do before they had coffee pots and Keurigs? What would the world be like without coffee in it? There’s the water crisis. Oil. Clean environment. I think about a coffee-less world and I cry. Genuine man tears. The ones where guys angle their face down, try to catch some pollen and fake a sneeze. No coffee would make me a Purge artist every fucking day. No sequels needed. Give me the gun. Can you picture the movie trailer voice guy?

“One man. One guy. One horse. All in the name of coffee bean extraction. If there’s java, he will be there. Double the action. Triple the caffeine. Dan Buffa is….the Coffee Chaser.” That would be a 90 page script. Maybe sequels where I teach the aliens how to make espresso. Who knows?

So everything is started and this is where I try to sit down and write something. The KSDK crew isn’t in yet and there are optimal times to post articles people. 9am, noon, 5pm and maybe 7pm. That’s it. You want views. Post then. If not, the words you put together will be read by the internet janitor and he doesn’t really exist. If I have nothing by 12pm, I hold off. Save the draft. Cards. Blues. Movies. Whatever, it can wait.

I’ve already checked Twitter and Facebook. Email. That’s before I even get up. For a social media bitch like myself, someone who could live tweet a sleep seminar, I grab my phone before I even lift my head. You respond to some tweet and spell three words wrong because you are holding the phone above your head in fear of dropping it you speed up the thumb taps. That’s first. The apartment could be on fire but I need to check my mentions you pricks.

Once I save the article, I see if the kid wants to go out and witness the outside world. We have one car right now so all we have are the feet and the bikes. I don’t want to talk about my car problems because it will only bore you and make you click on that Blake Shelton/Gwen Stefani “They actually are fucking” talking head piece. We have one car, so Vinny and I head out. He rides his bike around the complex while I drink more coffee and stroll behind him. I am unofficial secret service in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Who needs a suit when you are in a gated community and can be more flexible in elastic shorts. He loves it. We hit the playground and he wears himself out. After two laps around the complex and 20 minutes on the playground, he’s taxed and says, “It’s hot. I’m tired. Let’s go inside.”

I have no problem with this. Why? Because I am selfish. I don’t need to be outside every day all day. I am not Bear fucking Grylls. I can go back inside, relax and harbor my energy for a workout later or whatever. He is tired yet won’t take a nap. He’ll lay down and get up. A few times. He’ll eat something and smash 35 toys together on the floor. Kids are marvels when it comes to scattering their toys around the apartment so a parent has to bend over repeatedly to pick them up. He will space out three trucks far enough to make you crawl around his room. All the while, he looks at you like a large ant who happens to be his bitch.

I think about writing again and then decide not to. I reconsider and pump out two quick articles. Yeah,  I can write. It comes easy to me. As you can see here as we pass the 1100 word mark, I can do it whenever I want. Some people make this big deal about writing like it’s calculus or something. They struggle. They retire and un-retire. They try to sound cool when they write something, like they are Michael Jordan coming out for a 3 on 3 session on a North Carolina back court. For me, writing is essential for being happy and maintaining my sanity. I do it because I love talking sports, movies and TV but also because I just love to express a though through the written word. Unlike podcasts and recording, a written piece is always there to go back to and revisit. I can do it easily and on many subjects. For example, I wrote articles on Lance Lynn, the beer of the week, a TV show review, a movie review and scheduled a couple interviews the past 72 hours. It’s a gift and it’s mine. Whether it’s good or not is beside the point. I can do it and people dig it. Good enough for me.

When the kid does crash for a bit, I stop everything. When he does take a short nap, if ever, that is time for me not to do laundry, write or wash dishes. That is time for me watch a TV show or movie with lots of curse words, sex or violence. Yeah, put that on a dad of the year slip. I take this valuable time to watch an R rated movie. Something not named Iron Man, Transformers or Toy Story. Something dirty. Raunchy. People doing bad things with dirty feet and hands or just an action flick with no remorse or need to censor something. You can’t watch these around the kid too much because the next time you are at Starbucks Vinny will imitate Frank Grillo and go, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” When he rises, the dark goodness gets turned off.

I need a shower before the wife gets home. It’s not a “I better smell good so I get some lovin feeling and sexy time” later shower. It’s a need to escape because for some reason, my son won’t bother me there. I keep the door open and he just stays away. He will check on me and ask me if I am done. I can just sit in there, soak, wash and soak more. I am the dad who brings a cold beer into the shower at 330 in the afternoon or maybe a glass of whiskey. Sip that shit. Slow. Drift away for a few minutes and come back. There’s something about hot water, steam, and soap that makes me think time travel is possible. I don’t know. Before I get in the shower I have to do some kind of exercise, especially if I haven’t worked out yet. I need to do a push-up, crunch, weight lift, burpee or something. Call it a man thing. I gotta do it. Explaining it would only make it weirder.

If my wife gets off work at 5pm, she is home by 545. She walks in and like a coroner assessing a dead body, looks over the house and its occupants. This is where the beaten up prisoner, the blow torch, tool belt and bullet casings need to be picked up or stashed away folks. Be careful, watch Dexter and get that shit right.

Dinner happens, loudness ensues because the wife is home and daddy has a tag team partner for the chaos and eventually Vin goes to sleep. He needs to because at 7am tomorrow, he will rise and we start this over again. My wife works 55-60 hours a week. She is a beautiful workhouse, so its Vin and I a lot of the time. That is our life and we are sticking to it. There are stressful days. It’s not even a headache. It’s a combination of a headache, shoulder pain and chest pains all together. You can’t get away from it so just suck it in. You just have to sink to the floor and eat it. It will pass. Every time. It passes and time keeps ticking. In life, the clock never stops. There are no penalties, timeouts or a time to slow it all down. The clock always moves forward, with or without you. That’s life. It’s a never ending stream of decisions, movements, stress inducers and stress relievers.

There’s nothing wrong with being a stay at home dad/writer. Really. There are days where I feel like I am ahead of the game, doing things well and keeping the kid happy. There are other days where it’s 12 Angry Men. Days where I feel like I am behind the eight, nine, and four ball. Days where I get my ass kicked and when my wife comes home, I am a charade of nastiness and it’s not fair to her. You can’t turn off a bad mood. Ever. It lurks on your face like a gash that won’t stop bleeding. I try to limit those days but what can I say I am human and can be a first rate bastard. But I won’t go away. I stay and fight. Like a boxer with no legs left but a will that can’t be denied.

When you sign up for stay at home duty, you are signing up for a 24/7 film. The camera never stops rolling. Around midnight is where I get silence and the freedom to watch several R rated movies and carry a thought or two. It’s a time to write so there is little time where I can just throw on a hoodie, roll up into the couch and not exist for a while. Stay at home dads don’t get off days or sick days. We are in it. All the time.

It’s worth it. When Vin is older, I am going to miss those days where he was four, I was 33 and time was endless. He is going to be grown up and I am going to be older and more weary. As parents, you can dream about the days where your kid goes off to school or moves out and you will never be prepared for when it actually happens. At least that’s what I think. When Vin leaves, a part of me will travel with him. Like a carry on piece of luggage that is tied to his wrist. That’s a dad. That’s a parent. You can’t shut it off.

Fuck. Fuck. I had to say this because I just dumped sap all over this previously rugged blog post. It was getting soft in here and out of control.

What else? 

*If you want to eat clean, eat lots of chicken breast. Broil it. Bake it. Whatever. Clean protein.

*Fruits that end in berry are very good for you.

*Don’t drink Sweet Tea. It will fucking kill you.

*A good workout doesn’t need to include weights or a gym.

*Never stop listening to music.

Here’s my final thought. No matter what happens in life, be you. Too often I see people adjust their personalities and makeup for someone else. Life is too short and runs by too fast to not be yourself. You know what I mean. Speak the way you were meant to. Do the things you need to do. At the end of the day, you must be satisfied with yourself. You should answer to you. Doing this will make you a better parent, son, daughter, friend and ally. A false version of yourself is good for nobody. Sometimes you will be mean to others and it’s okay because apologies are humbling and build character. Sometimes you will be nice and it won’t be received and it’s okay because receiving apologies will make you feel amazing. There will be good days and a lot more bad days. Life is a challenge. If it’s not mortality, it’s always something else. Just keep moving. Try to smile but don’t overdo it. Be careful who you bare your soul to. If they don’t deserve it, you can’t take back the information you gave them. Protect yourself at all times.

Thanks for reading. You can go now.


Vincent Buffa: The Four Year Old Beast of Burden

100_0267What a face!

My son Vincent just pissed on the carpet and his expression was priceless. “Hey dad, just had an accident but I wasn’t going to alert you or anything. At least not until this stain was pretty established.”

This is parenthood. Today, Vinny turned four years old. Or young. Or strong. Whatever the new way of age description is. He got here through a hail of cheez-it’s, juice boxes, bacon, shit stains, smiles, cries, fake outs and lots of pee. He’s taught me more things than any other human being could possibly aspire to. He’s made me rethink many decisions. Vin has personally given me headaches and added a gorilla sized boulder of stress to my existence. Kids are the ultimate test. Have one and find out.

I’m sorry if I haven’t dipped this post in sappy melodrama yet. Sorry if I haven’t released the obvious fact that he is the best thing that ever happened to me and blah blah blah. You know, where ladies will gets the feels and the men will salute me while thinking, “Fuck that idea”.

Four years ago, my wife Rachel and I were at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Passing the 30 hour mark of labor, blood, sweat and tears, it was time. Our doctor finally listened to my wife’s demands. The baby was coming. Forget the forecast for a later arrival. This plane was fucking landing right now. She came into the room, gave it look and with a few holy shit looks on her face, snapped into action. Like Peyton Manning coming to the line of scrimmage in the red zone, our doctor walked up to my wife’s spread open legs and then took a few steps back. It was like she was calling an audible. More people please, this bitch ain’t lying. I was escorted out of the room and back in. The moment of truth came upon me, and I had no idea what to do with my hands and my feet were losing feeling.

I think I shifted to the side of the room where there weren’t six nurses and other people whose faces I could only see half of. After a few grunts, shouts and come on’s, Vinny flew out like a rushed snap into the doctor’s arms. He was rushed over to the table to be wiped, checked, poked, slapped and examined in every way possible. I guess everybody in the room had seen Aliens and were just being cautious. I mean, my wife and I are Italian so anything is possible.

I looked at Vinny but went over to my wife to check her out. I mean, she had just given birth to a human. I think in a few looks, I gave her a telepathic “atta girl” and went back to the table to see about my son. He was pissed. After all, he was pulled out of a warm, cozy, temperature controlled human oven. So nice and easy. Now he was out and about. Weird smells, air, people and sights. What the fuck!? He looked at me and screamed. He looked at everybody else and screamed. He was pissed. And naked. I think I cut something and then Vin was taken over to Rachel.

You know the interviews with hockey players RIGHT after they leave the ice. Reporters asking them questions and they just left the ice. This is what that was like. Rachel being handed the baby while family members walked in and doctors asked her questions. She had no idea what to say. She just wanted to hold her baby.

The first few months were surreal and full of panic and obstacles. Then Vinny went into the hospital with SVT which was caused by Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome. It causes an extra electrical(no my son is not an Avenger) pathway between his heart’s upper chambers and lower chambers, thus speeding up the heart rate from a normal 115-120 to a crazy 290. He was in the hospital for little bit. He got out. And then he went back in for a stomach condition, caused by a more common and less “holy shit” problem called pyloric stenosis, which turns your digestive hole from a required dime sized entry way into a pencil tip. He got out of the hospital afterwards and has been healthy ever since, save for the common cold and fever here and there. That and occasionally being an asshole.

What can I say? Parenthood kicks your ass six ways from Sunday. In the four years since Vin arrived, my family has experienced a lot of things. My grandma died. I lost my job twice. My wife got a great job. We moved. Money problems have beaten us up. We aren’t in St. Louis anymore and I had a crisis of conscious over the winter that nearly wrecked everything. Since, the ship has been righted and things are better.

Still, my son is pissing on carpets, a symptom he has collected from being in between schools and right at the edge of being potty trained. He hasn’t taken a huge dump on my face so there is that. However, piss doesn’t come out of carpets so well so pardon me if this got a supporting actor credit in this post. For portions of Vinny’s life due to travel, moving or shit schools, he has been home with me. Two wild peas in a pod. Vin and I are a married couple in ourselves. We shout at each other, hug and kiss each other, and hang out. All inside five minutes. After seeing me five minutes before, Vin tells me he misses me a lot. It’s the age of anything goes.

I’ll tell you this. Parenthood is hard work but worth it in the end. As much as it seems incomprehensible at this moment, I am going to miss this age when I am teaching him how to throw a baseball, to shave, and how to drive me to get coffee. I am going to miss the days where all we had to think about was what pair of pants needed to be worn and which Transformers movie we were going to watch(Fuck you Michael Bay). These days of 1, 2, 3 and 4 years old are going to be gone the minute he starts to truly think for himself.

He won’t be small forever so I must enjoy these days. Everybody tells me that. Be thankful you get these moments. As much as I want to shove my piss smelling hands in their faces and show them the knot inside my forehead which creates headaches, they are right. Most parents don’t get this. They see their kids for 2-3 hours tops. Some parents are in the armed forces, overseas or just away. I am lucky yet fried at the same time. It’s great really. No, really!

One day, as far off as it seems now, Vin will want to craft his escape from the Buffa household and start a life and family of his own. I will be sad then. My wife and I will be alone. No more madness. I try to remember this when we are looking at each other in a grocery store parking lot like two clueless defensive coordinators trying to stop the Vin attack. I try to tell myself I better soak this shit up because one day, Vin will be on his own.

On September 14th, around 4:50 in the afternoon, Vincent Daniel Buffa was born. Four years later, he is a beast of burden that makes this guy proud.


*Sorry I said fuck so much for the people who love God and shit.