My wife and I love going to the movies, but like most parents of young kids we simply can’t get to the theater to see them like we used to. It’s a little sad, actually, when the Academy Awards come around and we’ve seen none of the nominated movies.
That’s one of the reasons we love Netflix. We’ve been able to catch all sorts of great films.
But the other reason we love it is that it has a ton of great kids’ movies and tv shows that our boys love.
We try to make it a point to have a “Family Movie Night” every once in a while, where we all sit on the living room floor and eat pizza and watch something together. It’s a blast. Right now it is usually just a short animated deal like Veggietales, or part of a longer movie (most recently it was a great documentary about sea turtles that we split into two nights).
Anyhow, I was perusing through the available kiddie movies the other day and was increasingly amused (and more than a little disturbed) at the number of rip-offs of recent popular children’s movies there are.
Here are some comparisons (not all of these are available on Netflix, FYI, but once I started Googling the ripoffs I couldn’t stop):
Kung Fu Panda
Princess and the Frog
Puss in Boots
These sorts of things exist simply to make a quick buck, by tricking some unsuspecting parent or grandparent into buying/renting their movie, thinking it’s the real thing. But I literally did a few double-takes at how blatant some of them are.
Also, how terrible. (Looking for a laugh? Look up Ratatoing on the YouTubes.)
Disney/Pixar seem to get it pretty bad (seriously, “Ratatoing”?), but Dreamworks almost seems to get it even worse, with the multiple Kung Fu Panda and Puss In Boots rip-offs.
I’m guessing Disney just has better lawyers.
The other day I took my boys to a local park.
My older son quickly gravitated towards playing with a little girl who appeared close in age to himself. I noticed that she was there with a man about my age, and, it being a Wednesday morning, I figured the chances were higher than average that he might be a fellow at-home dad.
I’ve been trying to push myself to be a little more brave when it comes to approaching dads in the park at times like that. I know what it’s like to feel isolated and out of place as the only dad on the playground. I want to make sure every local dad knows there are others like him around.
Even after all this time it still feels strangely awkward for some reason, but after a quick hello I managed to ask him if he was an at-home dad. He said no, and briefly explained that he “just” does shift-work and has his daughter during some weekdays. Not at all uncommon. I mentioned my little local at-home dad group, and he quickly muttered something unintelligible, but clearly meant to convey “No! I’m not one of you!” before walking away.
Okay. That’s fine, I guess. I could write a lot about how much I hate that “at-home dad” is taken to mean “unemployed” even though most of the at-home dads (and moms) I know do have some sort of freelance or part-time work. The US Census Bureau may disagree, but to me if you are regularly acting as the primary caregiver to your child because “shift-work” gives you the opportunity, you count to me as a part-time at-home dad.
But really, it was something else that was triggered in my brain by his “I’m not one of you” response that I want to talk about, which is how not-at-home dads see the things I so often harp about here…
With all of my complaints about portrayals of dads in the media recently, it behooves me not to also speak up when a company gets it so, so right.
Check out this new ad for the Volkswagon Polo.
It’s my understanding that this is a car that is only sold in Europe, and whether they think an ad like this would play well here in North America, I don’t know. But they did a great job, and I hope other companies are paying attention.
Well done, VW. Well done.
The other day Babble blogger Cody “They Call Me Cody” Mullins wrote a pretty terrible Mother’s Day fluff-piece entitled “Top 10 Things Mothers do Better than Fathers.”
I say it was terrible, because, frankly, it was. In his estimation, mothers beat dads at: hugging, treating injuries, changing diapers (he must not have heard Huggies can help with that!), making healthy food, keeping the kids clean, snuggling (arguably different than hugging, I guess?), cooking (which is different than making healthy food, apparently), going out with the kids (?), expressing emotion, and making kids feel better (which is way different than how they treat injuries with their magic mommy-powers!).
Obviously I was not a fan. I guess if he’d called it “10 Ways my Wife is a Better Parent Than I Am” I would have less problem with it — at the very least maybe it would serve as a list of ways he recognizes that he can try to step up his parenting game a little. But no, it was all about how Moms are better than Dads at these things. Which might even be true in some areas, but I think most people know that cooking, cleaning, not forgetting the diaper bag, and administering first-aid are not abilities determined by whether your chromosomes are XX or XY. They are abilities you get by having a willingness to learn and the opportunity to try.
Anyhow, the worst thing about the post, as it turns out, wasn’t actually the article itself, but the comments about it on Babble’s Facebook page. They linked to it with the words: “Finish this sentence. The one thing that mothers do better than fathers is ___________. (Then see what this dad said!)”
I can’t even describe to you how disheartening the responses turned out to be…
In addition to pregnancy and giving birth, most discussions about the importance of mothers surrounding Mother’s Day tend to focus on celebrating moms for the more domestic aspects of parenting.
Often, ideas for how to pamper moms on their special day are encapsulated in suggestions like giving her a “break” from cooking or from watching the kids, or to clean up the house for her. Sometimes we seem to forget that almost 70% of mothers with young children actually work outside of the home full or part-time, and time with their family is what they want more than anything.
While some relaxation, some pampering, and a celebratory meal she loves are certainly welcome, we should recognize that there is way more to being a mom than cooking and cleaning and childcare.
My wife Anna is one such amazing mom, and I’ve asked her to share some of her thoughts on why she loves being a “Working Mom.”
Being a Working Mom
Right now, I am a working mom married to a stay-at-home dad.
It wasn’t always our intention to raise our kids this way, but life goes in crazy directions sometimes and we’ve always liked to keep all of our options on the table. Throughout my marriage to Chris, we have taken turns both being at home and working full-time. But the last time we were both working full-time simultaneously was shortly before our eldest child was born. Since then, our boys have always had at least one parent at home with them. This arrangement has worked really well for our family.
I loved being at home with my kids. After Tucker was born, he and I had some wonderful times with just the two of us. We attended what I affectionately called “Baby Class” at the hospital where I delivered, which enriched my life in countless ways. We got together regularly with different friends for playgroups. We napped together in the middle of the day (possible if, like me, you can fall asleep virtually anywhere and at any time). Life was good.
But when I started working again, I realized how much there was to love about not being at home.
Here are seven of my favorite things about being a “Working Mom” (particularly, one married to an at-home dad):
I get to shower. Every day. For those of you with kids (especially those who have stayed at home with your kids at some point), you understand how sweet a gift this is.
When I’m at the office, I have grown-up conversations. Both conversations with other adults and conversations with grown-up topics. After I leave in the morning, I really don’t think about diapers for the next nine hours or so. It’s a nice escape.
I’m no longer the parent running most of the errands. Though I enjoy grocery shopping, I’m usually not the one doing it anymore. The same is true for other random stops that need to be made. I now typically don’t have to commit the time, and if I do make a stop on my lunch break or after work, I can be in and out very quickly because I’m only transporting myself.
I almost never have to make dinner. I am blessed with a husband who loves to cook and is really very good at it. I don’t mind preparing meals, but it is so great to get home after a long day and have my job be to play with my kids while someone else takes care of getting the food ready.
My lunch time is my own. If I want to run errands, I can. If I want to sit quietly at my desk, I can. If I want to eat with friends, I can. My schedule isn’t dictated by anyone else. And if I’m eating with other people, the person next to me doesn’t steal the napkin out of my lap to shred up and throw on the floor.
When one of my boys does something particularly adorable, I get a call or email about it. This makes me feel connected to them in a way that’s really special, and I appreciate so much that I can feel like a part of their daily adventures.
When I get home at night, I almost always get an enthusiastic greeting. This is something Chris has encouraged since my oldest was really little, and it’s a wonderful way to end the day. Mama’s home! Hooray!