Stay-At-Home Dad: A few First World problems

My problems are paltry in the grand view of things.

While people in less fortunate parts of the world struggle to find food and clean water, I complain about a broken child safety strap on my grocery cart.

I’ve heard such complaints referred to as “First World problems.” These are gripes that people in developed countries have that people in less fortunate parts of the globe can’t fathom. For example, a children’s DVD that doesn’t allow the viewer to skip the previews — First World Problem.

I realize I’m fortunate to live in the First World, yet things still irritate me. So at the risk of sounding spoiled, I thought I’d offer some of my parental pet peeves or First World Problems. Here goes:

Soap dispensers and hand dryers placed beyond the reach of my 5-year-old.

Kids books with missing pages (usually from the library).

A ringing phone or barking dog that wakes my child early from his nap.

Capable young boys who routinely miss the toilet.

When a child starts more than three consecutive sentences with, “Can I have ... ”

The last wet wipe.

A request for a potty break just as the waitress brings our food to the table.

Broken crayons.

Anyone who promises something to my children and doesn’t deliver.

Concession stands.

Running out of a staple: milk, juice, toilet paper, syrup, etc.

Batteries NOT included.

Being corrected for a technicality. “Dad, Wolverine is not a superhero. He’s a mutant. Duhhh.”

Unkempt fingernails.

Fruit snacks that “may contain traces of peanuts or tree nuts.”

Slightly deflated basketballs, soccer balls and footballs.

Restaurants without kids menus.

Swim diapers unable to keep out beach sand.

Twisted seat belts.

Ads that interrupt Internet apps for children.

That dollop of baby puke that you can’t see but certainly can smell.

Juice boxes with missing straws.

Stores that sell children’s shoes but don’t have anyone to measure feet.

Unsharpened pencils.

Kiddie complaints about a meal that was either expensive or difficult to prepare.

Swearing in PG-rated movies.

Public washrooms without changing tables.

Play-Doh embedded in the carpet.

Lego instruction booklets with more than 25 pages.

Looking at this list, I realize I’ve got it pretty good. I feel bad for even complaining when other people clearly are worse off. In fact, that’s another one to add to the list:

Feeling guilty about pointing out my First World Problems is in fact a First World Problem.

Howard A. Ludwig is a former SouthtownStar business writer who traded his reporter’s notepad for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.

He can be reached at