How I ruined my kids’ day before 7 a.m.

Happy Friday! Here are the ways I managed to ruin a perfectly good morning and make my kids scream at me by being a monster of a human being:

  • Ground the coffee beans.
  • Poured the coffee.
  • Did not allow Twin B to sit on my lap while I was in the bathroom.
  • Used the microwave to reheat my coffee.
  • Asked Mister Man to put down the window scraper for the car.
  • Didn’t put Twin A in time-out for playing quietly by herself.
  • Provided a yellow fork with a red plate. EVERYONE KNOWS THEY SHOULD MATCH.
  • Had hair.
  • Didn’t finish my coffee.

How is your parenting going today?


Debunk Tuesday: Three frugality tips that have it all wrong

Occasionally, YCD aims to turn common wisdom on its head. This week we’ll see why three of the most common tips from frugality blogs are nonsense.

Google “how to save money” and you’ll come up with a bazillion lists of things to do to cut your expenses. Included among such nonsense suggestions as using rewards programs at coffee shops and printing graph paper are a few pretty consistent suggestions. Some are great, and we’ll cover those in the days ahead. Others seem to be repeated as if gospel despite the fact that they crumble under a little thoughtful scrutiny. Here are debunks of three seemingly smart pieces of advice that you’ll encounter over and over.

1. Don’t make a grocery list.



I hope Father’s Day sucks

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I’ve got small kids, so there’s a chance that I’ll have a cup of coffee delivered to me in bed by a toddler. There’s a much smaller chance that I won’t step in puddles of spilled coffee once I get out of bed.

My wife is very sweet, and she may have nice things planned for the day. But it’s quite possible those plans will be thwarted by some combination of child sickness, lack of money, digestive issues, and/or general misbehavior. It’s possible that coffee won’t be the only puddle of liquid that I step in. It’s possible that the responsibilities and burdens of another day will pile up and threaten to overwhelm. There’s the potential for it to be a terrible day.

And that’s so exciting to me.


I’m a firm believer in the unity of opposites. There’s a lot to be gleaned from studying dialectics. Every significant philosopher and writer has commented on this concept at some point. The basic premise is that something can’t exist (or, at least, be quantified or understood) without its opposite. There are philosophical, spiritual, and physical approaches to the idea, but it all comes down to context. What does something mean if you’ve got nothing to compare it to? Even if you’ve never studied it in an academic context, you understand the meaning: it’s how people can say sappy things like how the sun always shines brighter after a storm.

As a younger man I embraced negativity and problems for a very different reason. I loved problems because they gave me an excuse to be volatile, to be angry, to curse the world and my circumstances instead of taking responsibility for them. I know many men who face this same problem on a regular basis. It’s a pestilence, and it’s shockingly common among young Christian men, especially fathers. We who are supposed to have at least some answers for our littles and who put on a calm face most of the time are often raging on the inside, and we look for tiny moments to let it out. Or we let it fester until it boils. Both are equally bad. You think the frog cares whether the water warms gradually or if he’s put into a pot that’s already boiling? Either way, it’s cuisses de grenouilles for dinner.

You know the feeling?

I believe we’re honed through fire. (See 1 Peter 1:3–9.) There’s no such thing as grace without suffering, no such thing as forgiveness without sin. This applies not just to faith, but to every aspect of life such that our lives are the fruit of that faith. The trials and fire of parenthood don’t exist to make us miserable men, but to assist in our continuing growth to become better men worthy of imitation by our children.

So I hope the morning sucks. I hope something goes very wrong. I hope Twin A and Twin B spill my coffee and break my new Star Trek mug while they’re at it. I hope Mister Man throws a fit when he doesn’t get to grind the coffee beans. I hope Fourth Corder is sleepless from 3 a.m. on and inconsolable even as the sun rises.

And I hope I’ve learned enough to thank my children for their efforts, to keep my anger in check and give it up in prayer instead of lashing out. I hope I can love my children in spite—even because—of the stumbles. The best Father’s Day gift my children can give me is the opportunity to keep trying to be a better father. I hope I remember tomorrow morning that I wrote this today.

Happy Father’s Day!


Throwing down F-bombs: Faith, family, frugality, freedom

Faith, family, frugality, freedom

These aren’t just playfully alliterative, but actually meaningful. Really, they’re what this blog is founded on—or, rather, what the life this blog chronicles is founded on. Let’s pound ’em out.


Most important to me. More important than anything—even my family. Does that make me a bad father and husband? No. It’s made me a much better one. My faith demands that I live a life of love and honor God through my love and care of my family. And though commitment to an almighty and sovereign God means that every little failure I make—and there are many of them—burns like hell, it also means they’re all forgiven. Which, wow, makes parenting much less terrifying.


Second most important thing to me. Young Christian Mom is the best earthly thing that ever happened to me, and our offspring—Mister Man, Twin A and Twin B, and Fourth Corder—are incredible blessings. So much so that I left my good-paying and respectable office job so I could focus on being a better father, husband, and family member. Not because I could afford it (I certainly couldn’t) but because we felt it was the right thing to do at that time in our lives.


I don’t mean phony BS like clipping coupons or saving 50 cents per latte by going to a local drive-through instead of Starbucks. I mean actual frugality, which I define as thoughtfully considering every potential purchase by asking four questions:

  1. Do we need it?
  2. Do we actually need it?
  3. How essential is the thing I need it for?
  4. Can I borrow it or make my own?

The basic premise is that the best way to save money is not by spending less of it but by not spending any at all. You’d probably be surprised how often that’s an option.


Not the ‘Murica! kind, but the lifestyle kind. It’s why I left my corporate job to be a work-at-home dad doing freelance editing and writing. Because that stuff can be flexed much more easily than an office job. I’m here when my kids or wife need me, even if it’s just for five minutes while everyone has decided to poop at the same time.

Being a work-at-home dad means I can reprioritize on the fly. If we need to spend a couple of days helping out a sick family member out of town, I can take my laptop and work when things are calm. If we want to take a vacation, I can try to drum up extra work and work 80 hours a week for a couple weeks to earn the extra cash needed. (But really, why spend a bunch of money on a vacation?) If my pastor asks me to speak on Sunday or the church needs some communications work done, I can temper my freelancing while I focus on those opportunities to serve. I can put first what should be first. And that’s unfathomably more important than the supposed comfort of a salaried office job.

Those are the words that help define my life. What are yours?


Who is the YCD?

I look like this most of the time.

I’m a father of four kids under the age of 5, husband to my greatest blessing, and a reborn-a-couple-of-times Christian. Professionally I'm an editor, writer, and creative consultant, but my real job is trying to be a better husband and father. I started YCD because fatherhood is really damn hard, and we don’t talk about that enough. Let's change that.

Read more about YCD.


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