No One Said It Would Be Easy

One of the great things about blogging is community. My guest blogger today is Elske, and she and I have been following each other’s blogs for a long time now – mutual fans you can say.


Elske is a software developer by day, freelance writer by night, but her main job is being mummy to 21 month old Elisabeth. Her blog ( focuses on her life as a first time mum and life in general. Her lifelong dream to become a successful writer.


In today’s guest post, Elske writes about her experiences when Elisabeth was first born.

About four years ago I went to the cinema with a colleague. This particular time we were going to see ‘The Young Victoria’, a film about the first few years of Queen Victoria’s rule and her romance with Prince Albert. Very much my kind of film.
While we were waiting for the film to start, we caught up on the work gossip and what was happening in our home lives. Because we were both very busy at work we had lots to talk about, and we initially didn’t notice that the film hadn’t started yet, it was late.
When the film finally started, we both stared at the big screen for a few seconds…..then looked at each other…….this was not ‘The Young Victoria’……we had gone to the wrong screen…….unbelievable………..what to do? We quickly decided  we would stick with the one we had mistakenly selected…..which was ‘Marley and me’………a film about a dog, not quite the same genre.


It turned out to be quite a funny film, I enjoyed, but it wasn’t until I watched the film again after having Elisabeth that I noticed a particular line. When Jenny Grogan (played by Jennifer Aniston) is having a particularly difficult day with her baby, she asks her husband (John Grogan, played by Owen Wilson) why nobody told them it was going to be so hard. His reply was: ‘They did, you just didn’t listen.’

This is very true for a lot of parents. You are given advice repeatedly:

your life will change dramatically,

you’ll be tired beyond belief

every task you performed pre-baby without thinking about it will become 10 times harder be proud of yourself if you manage to get up in the morning and get dressed.

Yet, you are still shocked when it happens.

I know I was. My sister had a baby 18 months before I did. I stayed with them for a few days when my nephew was only two weeks old and I saw them struggle through these early days. But even so, I didn’t realize the enormity of the task of looking after a baby until it happened.

The first day my husband went back to work, I didn’t get dressed until an hour or so before he got back home. Getting dressed was the only thing I did other than caring for Elisabeth. The second day I unloaded the dishwasher. I clearly remember feeling frustrated with myself as I saw my exhausted husband clean up the kitchen, cook me dinner, and tidy up without a single complaint. I knew he appreciated how tired I was from nursing, getting up during the night and generally just looking after our little girl. However, I felt like a failure.

It was a big relief when my sister told me that she didn’t do any housework for months after my nephew was born it. Knowing that my sister, who is an amazingly strong woman, had gone through the same thing made me relax a little. I wasn’t failing miserably (even though it felt like it), I was doing my job, which was (and still is) looking after Elisabeth. Everything else could wait.

After a few weeks we settled into a routine. I occasionally managed to get out, although it was quite depressing to tell my husband that we did lots. Then I started listing what we had achieved, and all we had done was gone to the shops around the corner. The first night we had dinner at the table together felt like a huge achievement. I don’t think my husband realizes how much he supported me by not expecting me to do anything more than make sure Elisabeth was ok. Not once did he look disappointed when he came home and saw from the state of the kitchen how bad our day had been.

During those first few fragile weeks, I felt like the whole world was expecting me to have a lovely time with this wonderful little creature we had created, and I felt bad because I wasn’t enjoying her as much as I thought I should. Every mother I met seemed more capable, confident, and happier. However, these confident looking mothers will tell you they had the exact same difficulties. You just hadn’t noticed because you were too tired to pay attention.

Now here is the truth, I love my daughter more than life itself, but having a baby is hard, very hard, and there is no shame in admitting this. Happy parenting everyone!

An Outsider’s View of the Parental Life

I feel blessed in many walks of my life. One such area that I am particularly fortunate is when it comes to friendship. Robert is a long-time friend. He draws, writes, and sings – a real renaissance man. He also designs Websites on the side. So when I decided to start a website, partially due to his urging, I knew he was the person who would be designing it. I’d like to thank him here for the design and encouragement. As I noted above, he likes to write, so I thought I’d give him some space to express his thoughts.

When Larry asked me to contribute a guest post, I was surprised, then flattered…and then stuck. It’s true, like most of you reading, that I enjoy writing. But that’s where the similarity to most of you ends. You see, I’m not a stay-at-home mom, a mom struggling to balance work and home life, or a single mom. In fact, I’m neither a mom nor a dad, neither a wife nor a husband. Some of you may be wondering what I could possibly be (and maybe at least one of you is thinking out of the box and considering the possibility that I am a cat), so I’ll save you the time in guessing: I am in fact a man—of the unmarried and childless variety.

By telling you this, I realize I’ve placed myself outside the pale of this community. While most of you struggle with poopy diapers and terrible twos, and finding trustworthy babysitters and decent children’s TV shows,  I’m reading novels, taking art classes, running in weekend races, and going out to unhurried dinners with friends.

Usually at this point, people are developing one of two attitudes about me.

There are those, usually male, who envy me or feel some of kind of hostility. Maybe they got into the marriage and/or parent thing due to pressure from society or family or the existential need to leave something behind.  They wistfully look at someone like me who somehow escaped it all and think I’m having as much fun as George Clooney. I’m the guy who threatens their lifestyle choice by not partaking in it, and they question their lifestyle.

Then, there are those who genuinely feel pity towards me. I’m the guy these sympathetic souls invite to holiday dinners because otherwise I’ll be eating Thanksgiving turkey at IHOP, and will live out his last days among well-meaning but clock-watching home attendants.

So though you may have preconceptions, I just wanted to tell you that not all single, childless guys think you are the suckers stuck at home while we drink lattes and work on our next start-up. I can’t speak for the entire Brotherhood, but I can just give you the viewpoint of me and a handful of my ever-diminishing group of single friends.

It’s true that there are moments when we are thankful we are free of the encumbrances of kids, and the loneliness sometimes felt is counterbalanced by the terrors we see around us. MMK’s imagery in a past post of his kids’ missing the toilet bowl when doing number 1 made it difficult to keep my lunch down for days. Then there’s the tantrum-throwing toddler I seem to regularly encounter in aisle 2 at the supermarket whose piercing screams are enough to induce PTSD. And it doesn’t seem to get better, as I observe the rowdy junior high kids turning the bus into a clown car or the sullen and rebellious teenagers plugged into their own iWorlds.

And yet, in spite, or even because, of this, there seems to me to be a kind of heroic effort in having a family. In a world bombarded with images of individual success and achievement, and of a million different distractions and competing value systems, and horror stories of dysfunctional families in the media, devoting one’s time and efforts to bringing new life into this world and caring for it takes real faith that everything will work out. Everyone seems to talk about the importance of family, but when it comes down to it, it seems to me that most peoples’ minds are on other things. MMK and the other family blogs I’ve had a chance to read are about the day-to-day joys and frustrations of actually raising a family, rather than just talking about it.

From this single, childless guy’s viewpoint, that’s inspiring. Even inspiring enough to make me think more about finally jumping to the Other Side. I’m not quite there yet. But who knows, maybe one day, I’ll have my own blog called, “What Did I Get Myself Into?”  If I ever do, I’ll make sure to give Larry and his blogging community some of the credit.


Kind of Crazy Cold

Today, Monday, is the first day that the temperature is predicted to go over the freezing mark in about a week. Yeah, I know it’s January, it’s winter. I get it. So, I expect it to be cold. But these temperatures have been crazy cold. Want to know how crazy? (Yes, Larry, how crazy cold has it been?) Thanks for your interest – let me tell you.

It’s been:

Soup for every meal kind of crazy cold.

Cell phone works with bare hand only then stay in my pocket kind of crazy cold.

Spit turns to ice upon hitting the ground kind of crazy cold.

Insist kids wear gloves and hat no matter how much they complain kind of crazy cold.

Need to knit your dog a sweater kind of crazy cold.

Afraid of the heat bill kind of crazy cold.

Can we retire to Florida now kind of crazy cold.

Wish I had a way to preheat the car kind of crazy cold.

Where can I buy one of those scary ski masks kind of crazy cold.

How many layers can I wear with out falling over kind of crazy cold.

Keep food cold in the garage kind of crazy cold.

Didn’t know that body part could get that cold kind of cold.

Hell freezing over might be warmer kind of crazy cold.

Hey it’s in the 20’s and that’s not so bad kind of crazy cold.

Counting down 51 more days to spring kind of crazy cold.

It’s been… ahh you get the point. Anyway, as my childhood friend, MG, reminds me, the past couple of winters have been relatively mild. So, this crazy cold streak is just the odds coming in.

So let’s hear from you – what would you add to my ‘that kind of crazy cold’ list?


Under Pressure

I am always surfing wordpress for new sites to follow. A couple of months ago I came across

The post was from a fan gloating about a Cowboys victory over the Eagles. I had to reply to this annoying Cowboys fan. Well, this led to an exchange of comments with the blogger. I found that this Cowboy fan had a sense of humor and was almost conciliatory.

Since then, Kate and I began following each other’s blogs. Her posts focus on her life as a single mom who is always there for her family and friends. Despite that she swears she is not a future winner of the mother of the year award. However, she has sure enjoyed the journey.

Thanks to Kate for your contribution. I hope you all enjoy her writing as much as I do.

Read below and see how she deals with pressure.

There is this great song by Queen called “Under Pressure”.  I’m sure you know it, and you know that the most excellent David Bowie is featured.  It came in at #31 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s, just in case you wanted some trivia with your blog today.

I was recently asked to be a guest blogger.  I was shocked.  I was surprised.  I was beyond honored.  I was all of the sudden (wait for it…) Under Pressure!

I mean this is a big deal. was the first blog that I followed that wasn’t a friend of mine.  I’ve enjoyed his writings and they’ve inspired me.  And he wants me to appear as a guest blogger? What would I write about?  How could I compare to his musing? Would I completely alienate his audience? Oh man, please don’t un-follow his blog if you really hate my guest post!!!

I thought about it all afternoon.  I wondered what would be a good topic to write about.  I figured that it needed to be somewhat generic, since you probably don’t follow my blog, writing about my usual cast of characters would leave you cold and in the dark.  And, I should keep it light and fluffy; bring a smile to your day.  Most importantly, I should stay on track! My blog is Named so because I can’t tell you how many times a week that I have to stop and ask myself that question!  Truth is stranger than fiction really applies in my life! And a lot of it is really random stuff – so how do I pick something to share with you about me, how far do I go and seriously – what do I write about??

So, I called my girlfriend, E, like I do every day.  Okay, that’s a lie, I seldom call her.  She calls me.  I’m a great friend, but I’m horrible about calling the people in my life.  If I don’t talk to my dad for a couple of weeks, he’ll call just to make sure I’m alive.  I have a good dad! Back to the point.  I told E as soon as I could about being invited to guest blog.  We gushed over it as only girls can do.  Then we moved on to other things.  About 30 minutes later, out of nowhere, I blurted out, “What am I going to write about? I am drawing a complete blank!  It has been stewing in the back of my mind for the last 30 minutes.  I’m completely obsessed about what I will write about.”  Seriously, it was close to panic time.  There was no way I could live up to the expectation.  What would I write about?

Then E and I realized how funny it was that I spent all day worried about the guest post. Was I really  drawing a blank about what I would write about?  CDO totally kicking in (it’s like OCD, but the letters are in order like they should be!) and lurking in the back of my mind all day long.  I was cracking up at myself and then we realized – what a wonderful post it would make!  I’m sitting here obsessing about what to write about – yes, that really did just happen!