Can You Do It All? Do Super Parents Exist?

My husband and I are big fans of a funny parenting blog and facebook page called HowToBeADad. I'm sure you've heard of it. Charlie and Andy (The Dads) are very silly, creative, funny and witty and have even been accused of being heartfelt and touching from time to time. Even though they will try to convince you that they are purely an "entertainment blog!" But the love they have for their children and their wives is apparent in their writing and you can just tell that they have the utmost respect for their family. It shows in how they speak so highly of them. Honestly, as a women with a similar-minded hubby, I can fully appreciate and champion that sort of mutual love and respect a husband and wife share for their family and this is what keeps me coming back to their blog regularly. That and they have some super funny reader/commenters too. I've never been so thoroughly entertained by user comments before as I am with the funny folks who enjoy their blog/facebook page. There is just a lot of positive energy going on over there and I like that. Making the hardcore trenches of parenting look fun.

Oh mean it's...  Nevermind.

So this was posted on their facebook page today and it inspired me to write a blog about it. Besides, this was waaaay too wordy of a comment to leave on anyone's facebook post - even my own! I don't think anyone would really appreciate that kind of gratuitous verbiage as a fb comment. So I thought, "Hey! Wait a sec...I know where I can speak freely and not worry about a word count!  My own gosh darn mom's blog!" (Said in the voice of, Merida from the Disney movie, Brave.)

So here's another post for you to read, mom.  (I'm pretty sure you're the only one left still reading this thing, haha. My faithful, tireless supporter. My mom.)

Charlie from HowToBeADad writes:

"On a daily basis, I'm confronted with trying to be the parent who provides or the parent who is there. How do you deal with it? Cloning? -charlie,"

Here are my thoughts, for what's it worth-

Coco Cana from My Tales From The Crib writes:

I think this is probably one of the biggest issues mothers of newborns face after having a baby. Especially if they are on maternity leave from a career they've either worked really hard for, or need to return to due to money issues or both.

Should I stay home or should I go back to work?
Should I work part-time? Full-time? From home?  
Can I even stay home (financially) if I want to?
Can I even afford to go back work (cost of daycare, etc.) if I want to?  
What if I don't want to stay home?  
What if I don't want to go back to work?
Will my career still be there when I return?

I think it's about finding the balance and I think that it can be possible to do both - provide as well as be there. It might not be in the exact form you want it to be or have imagined it to be, but it can possibly be possible - if that makes any sense.

I think it's about being present and in the moment when you are home with your children and making the most of your time together so that when you are away from them working, etc. you can feel confident that you are doing all that you can when you are face-to-face. 

I've been a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) since the day my oldest was born over *4 1/2 years ago. We have a *2 year old too and during this process of navigating the world of being a full-time SAHM, I've been trying to find pieces of my "old" self again through some freelance writing, keeping up with my mom's blog as well as a couple of new adventures of writing children's books and doing some funny screenplay writing with a super funny writing partner. So in a way I've become a work-from-home-mom, which presents it's own set of challenging aspects. When I'm away from them writing on my own or with my hilariously funny writing partner, Kristin (which is a few hours a week), I'm trying to make the most of my creative time away from them. When I'm home I try to make the most of my face-to-face time with them. As well as find time for my husband and time for me and time for family and time for cleaning and time for grocery shopping and dishes doing and laundry folding and time for friends ...and time for my therapist to deal with all of this constant pulling and tugging at my life on an hourly basis.

*(EDITORS NOTE: Depending on when you are reading this, my kids have aged, bittersweet as it may be. My oldest was born in '06, baby in '10.)

Finding the balance: Easier said than done of course and it doesn't really play out like that everyday. Nobody can accomplish this all the time.  And in this economy, it is becoming harder and harder to live solely off of one income if you want to spend more time at home while the kids are young.  We are on a serious budget just to make it work week-to-week and there are times, oh-so-many-times where I just want to clock out and eat lunch alone listening to "my music" and partaking in some adult convie without all eyes and ears focused on my every everything. And let's face it - it's nice to poop in peace without answering a barrage of questions surrounding your whereabouts.

Can I get an amen?

My struggles with finding the balance: There are always things I can work on to be a better, more present parent; like turning off the computer more when they want to play, or sit on the floor and play trains more as opposed to folding yet another load of endless laundry. But again that is the "balance" I'm talking about. Sometimes certain things need to be done or should be done, but they don't always have to be done right that second. The laundry can wait, or reading an article or commenting on a friend's facebook picture from their vacation can definitely wait. Checking your bank balance can't always wait if you need to make a last minute online panic transfer, or something cooking on the stove can't always wait unless you just planned on ordering a pizza anyway. But a lot of stuff can wait. I know I keep saying it, but we've just got to try to find the balance. It's hard to find it, and somedays are much harder than others, but on the days where it clicks, it's awesome.

And we rarely regret the days we spent playing at the water park all day long as opposed to mowing the lawn, cleaning out the garage, pulling weeds and scrubbing the kitchen floors.

My Partner In Parenting: My husband is the one who works full-time in our house and I'm always amazed at how he can turn on his "daddy brain" the second he takes off his motorcycle helmet and walks into the house - regardless of how taxing his day was at work. He's a very fun, funny, playful guy in general and I think it keeps him young and enjoying life with our young children. His face lights up when he sees them and they can feel that. He's always down on the floor giving horsey rides, or baby wrestling, making up silly songs to squash tantrums, etc. and he tries really hard to make a point to  turn off his phone/computer whenever the kids want to play with him. There are times where they'd rather play by themselves and that is when we feel like we can sneak in a few minutes on the internet or me time or whatever. (Or we sneak it in and go do it in the bathroom........the internet I mean...ahem...cough-cough.)  There are many times of course where we can't be present every second we spend with them which isn't realistic or even what they want from us anyway. Sometimes parents just have to do other stuff when their kids want to play and that is reality, but for the majority of the time we just try to do our best and make our time with them count.

The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short: I have a nephew who is 16 now (Wow! Crazy!) and sadly, he lives very, very far out of state so the precious moments we get to spend with him are unfortunately, few and far between. There was a time not too long ago where I was the "cool Auntie" and he enjoyed spending one-on-one time with just me hanging out. (I taught him how to make a chocolate birthday cake from scratch.)

But now he has a very, very busy life of playing sports full-time and basically he's a typical teenager with a girlfriend and lots of friends who are all busy doing the typical teenager stuff - which pretty much means avoiding any long-term contact at any one siting with anyone over the age of 18.  And that's OK, because we all went through it. But it does strike a hard blow to the gut (and the ego) when you think back to them as a teeny-tiny little baby you took naps with and a fun little toddler you taught colors too and a cool little dude you surfed waves on Kauai with. To you it feels like a few years ago and they can't even remember a lot of it. Especially the baby years. But to them, that was them being a "kid" and now they are not a kid. I repeat, a 16 year old teenager is NOT a kid!

So when I feel like I'm having a hard time being a mom to my own very small children who seem like they will be very small forever, I think back to the quick-as-a-snap childhood of my over 6 feet tall nephew and it just seems like yesterday we were teaching him how to boogie board and ride a dirt bike and he thought we were the coolest people in the world wanting to spend all of his time with us when he was visiting...and that time is long, long gone. It's gone in a blink of an eye really and it will never come back. You will never be small enough to fit in the crook of my arm again, or 5 again, or 8 again, or 12 on the verge of being a "rad teenager" again. And suddenly you realize that a person's childhood is so short. So, so, so short. I can already see my own sweet child o' mine changing from a cute little chubby faced toddler to a tall, long limbed big girl with her own funny personality and unique style and talents who's going to be starting kindergarden soon. And "the baby"... forget it. He's already rejecting all things baby and is now addicted to anything with wheels, and making sound effects to every action, running instead of walking and wanting to be a "big boy" and stay at preschool when I drop off sissy as opposed to coming home with mommy. *sniff sniff*

(I win that one though....for now.)

So I think as a parent, you just have to make the most of it, try to create moments and memories as much as you can, be in the moment more than you're not and try to spend your "at home" days giving your all so that you have no regrets when you have to be away.  ...As well as get stuff done around the house of course. Balance.

Reign It In With A Quote: Just the other day I found this quote (pictured below) and it spoke to me so deeply I painted it for my kitchen with my daughter's watercolors one sleepless middle of the night.


Lately, I have been feeling like I need to put more time and energy into somehow making this mom's blog o' mine as well as the facebook page that goes along with it (drum roll please) "more popular." It's stressful actually. I don't know how "big blogs" like HowToBeADad do it. It's a lot of work, time and energy in a very fickle online world of millions of funny parenting blogs. Sometimes no one comments or "shares" or even hits "like" and then you'll read a post from a blog like, The Pioneer Woman who literally has had 35,000 COMMENTS on ONE post.

Me: (disbelief) No.
Me: (shock and horror) YES!
Me: (indignant) Come on. You're exagerating. It's the Irish coming out in you again.
Me: (indifferent) Go read it yourself.  
*clicks link provided*
Me: (shock and horror) Are you frickin' kidding me?  
Me: (IKR?!) No, no I am NOT kidding you!  
Me: (shock and horror)Wow!
Me: (nodding - subdued shock and horror) wow.

The Pioneer Woman. 639K facebook likes alone. Shit just got real, Son.

It's enough to make a no-name baby mama writer like myself go batty just getting people to read, let alone have any back-and-forth dialogue about it.  My average reader comment is 0. That is not a typo.

But--- then I found this quote...and *exhale* just fit. It put things into perspective for me and made me feel a bit less "cray-cray" about generating more and more and more of a blog audience.

So now I'm back to just writing silly ol' lil tid-bits here and there for me mum.

So Charlie from HowToBeADad (who kind of resembles my brother-in-law a wee bit)~this one's for you too. For what it's worth.  

Will Work From Home. Painted quotes for sale.'s gotta eat.

Oh and before I go, you can all take this visual with you and break it out whenever you need it. This is from my funny hubby. Do you remember that poster that used to be in your childhood dentist's office and it had a fuzzy baby cat hanging by two paws from a tree branch and the caption read:

"Hang in there!"

My husband does that to me whenever I'm feeling overly stressed about being a SAHM to two crazy kids who like to fight over toys they didn't care about til the other one started playing with it, and who don't want to eat their scrambled eggs and cheese and I'm standing at the kitchen sink up to my elbows in dirty dishes - so pretty much daily - and as he's heading out to work he'll make a funny "oh crap I'm falling. I can't hang on any longer" face and hang his hands on an imaginary tree limb and say, 

"Hey Babe, Hang in there!"  

Then the door closes and I can hear him "meow" as he heads to the garage.  

Moral of the story: It's good to know funny people, marry funny people, give birth to funny people or be a funny people yourself. 

Hang in there everyone. It's almost Friday!

Your pal,

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