Dads need more than paternity leave. We need understanding.

I’ll keep it real. There are some societal issues that make the lives of dads more difficult than necessary. Let me start with a story.

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The 5 Best Things I Ate On My Cruise

When Carnival offered to take my family on an 8-day cruise to the eastern Caribbean, I jumped all over it. Sure, seeing beautiful sights and enjoying the great weather are wonderful perks, but do you want to know what I was most excited about?

The food.

Carnival doesn’t mess around when it comes to food options and there is literally something for everyone. Like I said before, if I had to attach a percentage to it, I’d say that 75% of the time we were awake on the ship, we were putting some yummy goodness into our mouths.

Here are five of my favorite things I ate on the ship.

#1 – Chicken Parmesan from Cucina Del Capitano: Look, this is not your run-of-the-mill chicken parmesan. It absolutely melted in my mouth and I still can’t get over how fantastic it was. I consider myself to be a pretty good cook and I spent months trying to duplicate the recipe, but failed miserably. All I know is I can’t wait for my next cruise to experience a second helping.


Also, the ambiance of the restaurant was amazing – and at times I completely forgot that I was on a ship floating in the middle of the ocean. If Italian food is your thing and you’re planning to cruise with Carnival, then you absolutely need to eat here. You won’t be sorry.

#2 – All of the burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint: Are juicy burgers up your alley? Then Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint is for you. No frozen fast food burgers here. Everything is freshly made and prepared Guy’s way, or in a fashion that works for you. This spot was extremely popular on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine, and rightfully so. I can’t remember the last time I ate such a tasty burger.


#3 – Green eggs and ham at the Seuss at Sea breakfast: Without question, this was my daughters’ favorite. I’ve read countless Dr. Seuss books to them and to see the characters come to life was absolutely amazing for them (and for all of the kiddos onboard the ship).


But the food was on point, too. The green eggs and ham were so tasty, and my kids kept asking for more. Carnival definitely gets an A+ for making that breakfast experience so fun and memorable. My girls are still asking when they’ll see Thing 1 and Thing 2 again.


#4 – The 24-hour pizza and ice cream on the Lido Deck: I could pretty much stop there, but I’ll keep going and ask, “Is anything better than 24-hour pizza and ice cream??” I think not.


I lost count of how many times I went there to grab a late-night bite for my wife and me while the kids were sleeping. Not to mention, with salads, Asian cuisine, deli options, etc., there’s something for everyone on the Lido Deck. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time there.

#5 – The steak in the dining room: The dining room food was amazing, but I truly enjoyed the steak. Again, the quality of it and the atmosphere made you forget that you were floating in the ocean. But if steak isn’t your thing, Carnival does an amazing job of offering diverse menu options to satisfy the pickiest eaters of any family.


Best of all, it gave my family an opportunity to dress up and look nice. That part alone made it memorable.On one of the formal nights, my daughter and I took some professional photos with Carnival’s photographers, and one of those photos was chosen to be on “The Wall Frame of Fame.” That was a pretty cool moment.

Cruising is absolutely amazing and I loved every moment of it, but when I look back on what I remembered the most, without question it was the food. I’ll put my cooking skills up against most dads, but there was no way I could duplicate the epic grub Carnival served up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to make some green eggs and ham for my daughters.


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

The Biggest Kid On The Ship

“Yes, you have to eat your vegetables before you have dessert.”

“No, you shouldn’t ride your little sister around the living room as if she’s a horse.”

“Yes, you have to wear pants/shorts to school.”

This is just a sample of the things I’ve said to my kids on a given day. Daddying (yes, I made it a verb) is often extremely exhausting. Our kids are constantly testing the boundaries of our patience and sanity, and every sentence seemingly starts with us saying, “stop” and ends with us counting to three.

When I find myself staring at the ceiling in my bed after a long day of said daddying, I find myself wondering, “Man, I just want to be a kid again.” Don’t get me wrong, I love being a dad – but a dude needs a time out from all of the craziness and responsibilities every now and then.

That’s when Carnival came to save the day.

They offered to take my family on an 8-day eastern Caribbean cruise and I was super excited about it. Granted, I knew that true daddying never ceases, but at least I could let my hair down (wait, I don’t have any hair…searching for a comparable metaphor) err, kick back a bit and be a kid myself.

The best part about it is I found that being silly and carefree while on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine helped strengthen my already strong bond with my two young daughters.

So how did I pull it off?

First off, I wasn’t such a stickler when it came to dining. I told my girls that we were all operating on a “SeeFood Diet.” In other words – if you see food, you can eat it. Carnival could not be better in that regard, because the meal choices are plentiful and delicious.


I left my Veggie Police badge at home, and nobody was happier about that than my daughters. There were days when we ate pizza for breakfast and ice cream at 10:00pm.

Why did we do it? For the same reason that anyone does anything.

Because we could. The Carnival Sunshine has 24-hour pizza and ice cream onboard. Needless to say, that perk alone made it the best vacation ever for them (and for countless other kids on the ship, I’m guessing). And yes, I was one of those kids who enjoyed every bite.

Next up, we played games. Lots and lots of games. On sea days, we always found ourselves in the arcade. My daughters were so excited to have me play the games with them. I wasn’t a passive observer while they ran around like crazy – I was in the trenches as well. The smiles were nonstop, because as I mentioned before <insert link to previous post> creating memories with our kids is one of the most valuable exercises we can take part in as parents.


Finally we posed for silly photos. I wanted my daughters to know that I can take a break from being serious and be a complete clown. Even the Cat In the Hat didn’t know how to react to us.


I’m so incredibly thankful for having the opportunity to find my inner-kid again on that Carnival cruise because it made me become a better dad when I got home. Things that mattered so much beforehand didn’t matter as much anymore.

The kids skipped a serving of veggies? Big deal. They’ll survive.

The kids want to wrestle each other? Big deal. That’s what kids do. As long as they’re safe, I’m okay with it.

The kids don’t want to wear pants or shorts to school? Sorry, that’s just too bad. They need to learn that some things in life are non-negotiable.

Just like I’ve learned that being a kid myself at times is non-negotiable if I want to live a happy and balanced life.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

Hey New Dads – You’re #DoinGood

Father’s Day is approaching and there are lot of pieces out there geared towards the men responsible for raising our children (obviously). But what about the new dad? I’ve only been a dad for four years so I definitely can’t say that I have all of the answers about fatherhood. But if I could offer some quick-hitting advice to new dads in four major areas, this would be it.

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Going Viral: Unfiltered

I’m honored to be a part of the #ParentingUnfiltered movement by Plum Organics because it’s about being okay with the fact parenting can be difficult, messy, exhausting, frustrating, and embarrassing at times. I’ve learned that it’s almost impossible to relate to the parent who has it all figured out, because that parent doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to learn that valuable lesson. Let me explain.

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Society’s Fear of the Black Man

As a fatherhood author and activist, I pride myself on talking about issues that celebrate our similarities instead of focusing on our differences. However, when NPR’s Morning Edition contacted me to discuss society’s fear of the black man, I took them up on it because it plays a role in how I approach being a dad. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to the interview in its entirety and share your thoughts.


When Being A “Good Dad” Is A Bad Decision

Men are making progress when it comes to the family dynamic. Dads are more sensitive, loving, nurturing, and involved than ever. Don’t believe me? Turn on the television and you’ll see less of the bumbling buffoon depictions of fathers and more of the dads that were featured in the recent Super Bowl ads.

But just like anything, there is a pocket of individuals (men, in this example) who choose to hold onto antiquated stereotypes of what a dad’s role is in the family. Their careers and job titles mean everything to them (Sr. Accountant, Partner, Vice President, CEO, Manager, Director, etc.) because it forms the almighty triumvirate of money, power, and respect.

In other words, that is the priority. Their kids and spouses may have all of the material items they could ever want, but they will always long for the intangibles that a loving daddy and partner can bring.

Here’s a story I like to share whenever men have their priorities out of order…