daddy isn't a babysitter

There's a weird element of family culture that bugs me. Maybe people don't talk about it, but it's sort of understood in certain circles. There's a weird idea floating around that in two-parent households, Mommy is The Parent, and if/when she's gone, Daddy steps in as The Babysitter.

Mommy does things a certain way. She's human. She knows her limits and her kids, so she's established systems of how things work.  Monday through Friday, the shoes are here, the cup is there, and we know at which stage of the routine we take that last-minute trip to the potty. Things aren't always smooth because of, well, humans, but we get it done by following point A to point B and so forth.

But then, it's Saturday and Daddy's home from work (or, more likely, Sunday and you're trying to be less than ten minutes late to church). The extra hands means everything's different. Kids are screaming, teeth are gnashing. I can't pee with my sneakers on!  I only drink milk in the Darth Vader cup! These are my brother's socks!

I do understand that kids respond to routine and habit, but as mothers -- and as people in general -- we need to be able to tell the difference between what's wrong and what's another way of doing things.  I'm not going to 'correct' my husband for putting a child's shoes on before he goes pee. (Logic: He does not take his shoes off before he pees anywhere else. I hope..) 

Mommy, don't be so ruled by your child that you begin to believe that it's reasonable for him/her to demand that ONLY you open his juice box.  Maybe you put the wings up and maybe Daddy bent the straw, but the message to your child that his/her father is incompetent is damaging.  That undermines not only his entire position as a father, as a leader, and as a man.

How will your kids ever believe that Daddy is the God-ordained head of the household if all they ever see is him deferring to Mommy on everything that matters to them? Do you think your kids tune into your discussions about finances or some topic where you are more readily willing to submit? Here's a hint: they do not. If you want your kids to see Biblical submission in a marriage modeled, they need to see it in a context that is in some way relevant to them. So chill out, Mommy, and don't communicate that Daddy is a sub-standard, fill-in Mommy. Let Daddy be Daddy. He's probably really good at it.


reading, writing, and social field hockey

I learned something about myself when I started my sophomore year of college at Millersville University.  I enjoyed being athletic and fit, and I enjoyed spending time with my friends, but I did not love field hockey.  **gasp** This was a big surprise, because I really thought I did.

I learned this as the fall progressed without me, for the first time in eight years, picking up a hockey stick.  I had so many good memories, but what I learned that season was that it wasn't the sport itself I enjoyed.  I loved being with my friends, working towards a common goal, fighting together, laughing (and sometimes suffering sunburn) as a team.  Oh, and winning. We were pretty awesome, you know...

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED watching the US Field Hockey team play their last game before the Rio Olympics.  It's a great sport.  But the game would have been weird to watch alone. I was there with my dad and my sisters, rehashing wonderful memories!  We could've been cheering for baseball (GO YANKS) or for a group of synchronized mamboing penguins.  My point is, what I thought I loved was not what I loved.

What I have learned now that I'm this wildly mature adult version of myself is that I love the social aspects of all things I do. Board games, sports, eating... I love the talking and the story-swapping and the laughing and the "you think that's bad wait until you hear what happened to me" one-up-man-ship of talking with interesting people.

Reading (and writing, I've learned) for me is also very social.  Like Stephen King taught me in On Writing, I write better dialogue because I'm an extrovert.  I want to talk about my book. I want to Book Club with other people and dialogue about the characters I created. (Yes, I used Book Club as a verb.)  I want to hear them laugh and watch them read the sad parts. 

Nothing has made me happier than hearing people's comments as they read The Senator's Youngest Daughter. I recently had the privilege of sharing a Facebook messenger dialogue with a friend as she read my novel.  She opened the book over a period of days, letting me know what she was thinking and experiencing as she read it.  What a glorious, encouraging, treasured experience for me.  

I love making people laugh, making people feel something, so to experience her trip through Brenna's story was fabulous.  Some of the comments would be enormous spoilers, so I can't relate them all here, but here's a sample of how she made my day:

  • I may or may not have neglected every chore I had today in exchange for more time with Brenna.
  • I can't stop.

  • Poor [husband] has only seen my forehead sticking out the top for two days lol

  • I just got goosebumps.

  • I'm sad it's over. Please write more books.

So no more field hockey for adult me, but hopefully more writing in the future.  And I want to talk to you about it: about what you're reading, about what I'm reading, and hopefully, about what you thought while reading what I'm writing.