Sunday, June 30, 2013


As much as I live for adventure, I long for routine. I want to see new things every day and be inspired, but I want to do it with the same sweet faces, mix it in with the morning coffee, roasted by no one in particular as long as it strong, have the same serene afternoon nap time and lay my head next to Paul's at night.   

Some days it feels like the days the run the most smoothly, also run few and far between. Days we are all in sync, days our gears fit properly together.  

Those days are usually Saturdays. 

We are having a blast this summer and our days are filled with adventure and familiarity, but we still all work for the weekends. We all know what to expect on weekends, which is an important part of our lives, no matter where we go. It is definately the most important thing we give to our kids. So be it a whole day or just a familiar part of the day we figure out the things we like quickly and put them on repeat.

Saturday mornings are for running, they really always have been. We load up our single and our double joggers and we head out with empty egg crates, granola bars, water and our wallets and hit the trails. We get in our morning run, while the kids take in the scenery then we make our way to the farmer's market for a few supplies for the week and fresh, hot mini-donuts.

Yesterday Sam, for the first time in 5 + years, hit the asphalt with us, insisting on running nearly a mile, and keeping up. We may shortly, let him graduate to cycling along-side us, or pushing me in the stroller and running with his dad.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why Kids

Since being back in the States and in language training, I haven't been as busy with work and have been able to spend more time at home. I am no less busy. Time previously spent in meetings and writing reports is now spent changing diapers, throwing together dinners and doing baths. I try to help out as much as I can, but Elise still bears the brunt of caring for our three children....AND making fabulously delicious dinners...AND being a wonderful wife...AND, least of all, running a successful photography business.

As you may have noticed, this time at home has provided me the space to think a lot about family and kids, and I feel as though I have written quite a bit about this subject of late. There is some irony here, because when you are in the midst of caring for three children, all under the age of five, you have precious little time to go to the bathroom, much less think deeply about family or parenting. At any time of day, Elise or I can be inundated with literally ten demanding requests in the span of fifteen seconds. It is enough to drive anyone mad. In the center of such pandemonium one can't hear themselves think.

Rarely, you have time to question what you are doing or why you are doing it. You are too busy just getting to the finish line, to nap time, or to when everyone is in bed for the night. Rarely, do I ever ask myself, "Why?" In the worst, most trying moments that question may become, "Why did we do this to ourselves?"

"Why kids?"

I am fascinated by demographics. A century or two ago, families in Midwest America would have a lot of kids to help out on a sprawling and busy family farm. Millennia ago, the need to reproduce was raw and instinctual. Caveman procreated without worrying about how they were going to pay for preschool or college tuition, making sure cave babies made it to soccer practice and piano lessons on time, without changing diapers, even.

In many cultures where up until a generation ago large families were common, such as in Latin America, the average number of children couples are having are now in line with Western developed nations. In some European and Asian countries, fertility rates have plummeted, leaving an aging population wondering who will work to support it. I find the macroscopic trends such as these, oftentimes based on cultural norms (or in the case of some nations, misguided government policy) intriguing. How demographic growth powers economies is where the rubber meets the road, and the confluence of national laws governing maternity (and paternity) leave, immigration policy, and fertility rates creates an elixir either sweet or bitter, depending on the mix.

I recently read an article describing how Japanese women were scorning both marriage and motherhood in pursuit of their own livelihoods and dreams. This, in and of itself, is not newsworthy, but the change was extreme and universal, sending Japan to demographic Defcon 1 in a span of less than 10 to 15 years. Now, I presume not everyone in Japan will stop having babies. But what if they did? What if everyone asked themselves, "Why? Why kids?"

Let's not sugarcoat it. When you have kids, especially small kids, 98% of your day is spent working for someone other than yourself. If you go to work in an office or stay at home and work for your kids, you either report to a boss or to your kids. Even if you love packing lunches, making sure the swim bag is stocked with suntan lotion and water wings, loading kids in and out of a hot minivan, and preparing the equivalent of evacuation supplies every time you leave the house just to make sure everyone has anything they might possibly need at any given moment....even if you love doing all that, which we do, there is going to be that morning when you may think about how nice it might be to go to a yoga class, read the paper, or use the bathroom in peace and quiet.

When you have kids, especially small kids, you don't sit down to eat, you don't have time to exercise, you go to the bathroom with the door open, someone trying to see what is in the toilet, someone else throwing tennis balls at you and a third person telling you how stinky you are. When you have kids, especially small kids, you don't have time or money to pursue your own interests. You don't have a hobby. You don't sleep in past 5:30 a.m. Ever. Not even on weekends. You don't spend one on one time with the person you love most in the world unless you plan to do so weeks in advance and spend more on a babysitter than you might on dinner. I obtain a large percentage of my daily caloric intake eating the food that Clementine has dropped to the floor as I clean up around her high chair because I don't have time to make my own meals.

Of course this is hyperbole....isn't it?

Yet, it still begs the question...Why? Who would do this to themselves? Even the least demanding kids require you to hand over most of your individual freedoms.

I think each parent would answer this question differently. I stumbled upon the best answer I have heard in a very unlikely place, a book review.

Why kids?

Because none of us ever really knows whether the people we become as adults are worth the love and protection given to us by our parents, at a time when we were too young to repay it, unless we offer the same love and protection in kind.

A couple of nights ago, I took Peter to his first movie in the movie theater. He's somewhat of a movie buff and was insanely excited to go. We went to see Monsters University. We bought our tickets and a giant tub of popcorn at the concession stand. We found our seats and waited patiently for the movie to start. There were a lot of previews of new cartoons, including one with a cat. The cat tickled Peter, and every time the cat pranced across the screen, Pete would say in an un-theater volume voice, "There he is again!" It hadn't occurred to me that Pete didn't know you were supposed to whisper during the movie.

We didn't make it through the whole movie. During a scene (spoiler alert!) when the monsters are having a scare contest, he whispered, "I want to go home." I think maybe the movie just got long, and he got tired. Nonetheless, we left, wondering whether or not Mike Wasowski would be let back into the Scaring Program or not.

If what I had read in the book review isn't enough, then first movies in the movie theater. That's why. No other reason needed though we can all think of a hundred similar ones. That's why kids.

It might not be enough for a generation of young Japanese businesswomen, but, right now, it's enough for me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Classic Hanna Moment

Sam lifts Pete up, arms around his waist to reach the Cheetos in the pantry. After three tries, Pete finally snags the bag and they run away, Cheetos in hand, chanting, "4T! 5T! Go!" (Their respective toddler clothing sizes.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

March of the Hippocampi

In Greek and Etruscan mythology, a hippocamp is a mythical beast, half-fish, half-horse. If you're forty or older (like me), you would know that a hippocamp was Aquaman's prefered mode of transport on the Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends. Sometimes, I think Elise and I feel like we are cowboy mermen and merwomen driving a herd of wild hippocampi across the sea floor.

Yes, this somewhat bizaare metaphor is meant to describe work that is more difficult, more futile than herding cats. Sometimes, perhaps many times, that's what parenting is, but sometimes we make our job inadvertently more difficult than it has to be. Why? Because when you love your kids you do special things for them, without realizing what the long term consequences of such an action will be. At the time, you may not know what you are commiting to or what you signed up for.

Worse is when you do it to the other parent. It's one thing to commit to yourself taking  increasingly-detailed and elaborate breakfast orders (often given in hushed whispers so as not to wake their peacefully slumbering sister) as you are putting your sons to bed, it is quite another for me to now expect Elise to have to do the same when she puts the boys to bed. She'll wonder where this ritual came from. When she is exhausted and just wants to lie down herself or enjoy fifteen minutes of peace and quiet before succumbing to the toll the day's accumulated responsibilities have put on her, the last thing she'll want to hear--regardless of whether it is said in a polite whisper or not--is Sam and Peter's breakfast order.



"Can I have a...GIANT....HUGE...bowl of cereal when I wake up?"

"Yes. See you in the morning."

(Of course, he could have asked for the keys to a brand new Lamborghini at that point and I would have acquiesced. Anything to get them to go to sleep.)

Elise and I are both guilty in this regard.

A few month's ago, I completely freaked out on Peter one morning because he asked for two different kinds of yogurts mixed up in the same bowl. I was tired. I was groggy. I don't even know if Clementine was yet sleeping through the night. Moreover, I could not for the life of me figure out where he could have possibly come up with such a ludicrous request. Two yougurts! MIXED UP IN THE SAME BOWL!! It just seemed like a monumental waste of money to have to open two yogurts, knowing full well he doesn't finish off one yogurt, much less two.

It never crossed my mind, at the time, that this was something Elise had done for Peter the day before to make him happy. Probably for no other reason than that she loved him. In retrospect and in the grand scheme of things, of course what was the big deal, you may ask? I have no defense, except to say that dealing with Peter many times seems like a death by a thousand cuts.

Of course, I am no less guilty than Elise. Enter: "The Juice with 'Things' in It."

When we were on vacation in Washington, a longtime friend of Elise's visited with his family. They, too, had small children, and as the day got longer and the effects of not napping grew more accurate on everyone, I set to entertaining and distracting as best I could. In doing so, I unintentionally created one of Peter's greatest vices, the Juice with "Things" in It.

I poured Peter and his tiny, new friend juice. But rather than at that point simply serving it to them (and thereby saving both Elise and I future toil), I started to pretend to add spices, oils and syrups to the juice, basically anything and everything that was in the spice cabinet that made an impressive shaking sound (think peppercorns or rock salt).

To this day, Peter will ask for juice with "things" in it which requires preparation akin to making holy water or  a witch's potion. A pinch of this, a dash of that. A splash of water to top it all off.

Obviously, we do not mind doing these things for our children, because we love them and because they (usually) say 'thank you' and mean it. But mostly because there will come a day when Peter won't want "things" in his juice. He may not even want juice at all. He'll just grab a soda out of the fridge and make a break for the front door, and I'll be left standing in the kitchen. Just me, holding the pepper grinder.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Occupy Brazil

The last week saw a wave of sometimes violent protests rock Brazil. What started as a small movement in Sao Paulo demonstrating disapproval with a twenty centavo hike in bus fares, became a nationwide movement expressing a wide array of grievances which swept up one million Brazilians in over one hundred cities.

It is one thing to turn on the news and see violent protests taking place in China, Turkey, Egypt and Syria. It is quite another to see the same thing in Brazil, a place so near and dear to our hearts, a country that is as close to a home as we have right now.

Ironically, it makes both Elise and I incredibly homesick for Brazil. We talked to Brazilians. They told us their problems. In their own words, our gardener, our empregada, the people I worked with in the federal government shared their worries and told us what they would do differently. Now, a whole nation is telling its leaders what they would do differently.

It hits very close to home, and we are anxious for news from Brazil. On Brazilian Independence Day, Sam, Pete and I took to the Esplanade in front of the Congress building and watched the military parade and the air show. We stood shoulder to shoulder with the Brazilians and celebrated their nation. On the same Esplanade that we drove many times, that we ran through on a number of 5k and 10ks, a crowd 60,000 strong protested government corruption and were met by a row of police in riot gear, a line of thick, plexiglass shields, and tear gas.

Elise and I are both cheering for Brazil. I won't delve into Brazilian politics, but we both want the best for such an incredible country, a country that we would be happy and honored to call home again.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rogue Wave-y Hair

When Paul plans date night, there is almost almost always the possibility of crowd surfing. 

Wednesday night we rolled out pretending we were childless warriors, only totally not childless and not the warriors we once were, apparently. 

I donned my rockin' Brazilian lace shorts and leather jacket, even in the midst of Brazilian turmoil, I'm sending out my support. I opted for flats at the last minute when I remembered that I didn't want to get stomped on by the lady next to me who would likely be wearing hiking boots (she was).  I even pulled out some curly hair moves, Rogue Wave-y hair for the event, a show at the Black Cat in DC. A band we dig, Rogue Wave

We've been a little hard up for a babysitter recently since our college student headed home for the summer. We're still a little spoiled from Brazil, if you dare to call it spoiled, we just call it "marriage maintenance." I simply don't see how marriages with 3 + children survive without weekly date-nights or date-days. It's hard here, ironically, in our own county. We are full time, all the time. Not only do I no longer have two mornings a week to work, we don't have a regular date night. We love our kids, but our kids also love us, when are sane and in love, which we are when we finish our sentences to each other, alone.

The reality of returning to America, in many ways, has been our own rogue wave. But instead of being side-swept on Wednesday night, we broke out our damn surf-boards, donned our inky smeary "of age" stamps and stormed the Chat Noir hand in hand...with only the brief indication that we might be imposters when the bouncers flashlight, during my purse search, turned up a sandwich baggy of....

Pepperidge Farms Baby Goldfish. Busted.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Film Is Not Dead: My Review + A story + Photos

I want to show you the culmination of a few ideas that I've been working on that my life has been busy shaping for the past few years.  This is my new business blog a blog for my work, I'll still be here as always, with Paul and the kids, but you should and are honored guests over there. Stop by often.

Let's take a trip, grab my hand, press here.


Monday, June 17, 2013

A Library of Home: A Belated Father's Day Post

I have always been surrounded by books. My father is a professor, a collector, a connoisseur by nature, always has been. From what my Grandmama tells me, he read encyclopedias cover to cover as a little boy.

My first memories are of the books on shelves in our home that were covered in gold foiled lettered spines that meant nothing to me at the time, but everything to me now.

At some point in my life I began to doubt the collection of books that my father has amassed. I won't lie that I even began to question his sanity at a point or two. Floor to ceiling book shelves in his office that create a labyrinth to his desk...both at home and at his office at the University, layers of oriental rugs, books, bankers boxes and knowledge. Books in every room.

I spent this past weekend in New York City with my best friend wandering the streets and photographing a city that is near and dear to my heart. In all of its simplicity, a weekend away from our children, a weekend of wandering, devoid of plans or deadlines, we allowed ourselves to stumble upon things that we never would have otherwise. 

On Saturday afternoon, carts of books drew us in to this tiny bookstore, Alabaster Book Shop on 4th Ave in Greenwich Village. 

As soon as I walked in I was home. 

Floor to ceiling books, years of cultivation, layers of oriental rugs, bankers boxes, wooden ladders, labyrinths of shelves about a giant wooden desk that served as the checkout. Shelves that had long been outgrown. 

It was like a garden that began with carefully planned beds and had become wildly overgrown with the passion of its inhabitants. It was perfectly, natural, ordered, chaos. The finest of its kind. 

There wasn't a corner that was left untouched, antique furniture pieces filled with books, stacks of books, piles of books, table lamps to light your way, picture lights to highlight its best works of art.

I never wanted to leave. Much like my father's office and his home. A space filled with knowledge and love, passion and perfectly natural chaos. 

The finest of his kind.

Happy Father's Day Dad.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mid-Language Blues

I am halfway through a thirty-week course in Tamil. As I recall from my Portuguese class, the hardest weeks are still to come. The last few drag on forever, but in the middle, you hit a point at which you can no longer use the excuse that you are a beginner to explain your mistakes, and yet have not had enough time to master anything expect the most rudimentary of pleasantries. And yet, I feel, unlike with Portuguese, Tamil is a language I will never really know. This fact, in and of itself, is intimidating. At this point in Portuguese, I was two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through class. I was basically just amassing vocab, having been taught most of the grammar I would receive, and could even follow along well enough in class to space out. No such luck in Tamil.

Moreover, I feel as though this point also marks what would be approximately the halfway point of our time in the States. I feel like a sailing ship that has hit a dead patch of ocean. There is no wind to fill my sails, and the promise of a breath of it is still several weeks away. Though the monsoon has come to India, we will soon enter the hottest days in DC, when most politicians will flee to their summer homes in Aspen, the Catskills, and the Hamptons, while I slog through the past positive verbal adjective, the associative suffix, and morphophonemic endings.

We can no longer say we just came from Brazil or are about to leave for India. Not that we are solely defined by our movements, but we are just here. Dr. Seuss would call it a 'waiting place', but with three children under five who do not have the patience to wait 5 seconds for you to fetch a spoon from the silverware drawer we do not have the luxury of waiting.

Last week, we spent the week talking about accidents and natural disasters, namely the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that struck India and Sri Lanka. I knew on last Monday it would be a long week, I just didn't realize at the time how long. After days spent watching videos of the tsunami on YouTube, I'd had my fill of watching buses wash away and people clutch to the trunks of coconut trees. I couldn't wait to come home to a form of chaos with which I was more familiar.

Our weekends have been good. Very good. Too good, and now I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, dreading having to speak Tamil all day tomorrow. I should just drop into a Portuguese class to lift my spirits, to remind myself that I am capable of learning another language.

And yet I don't want to wish this time away. The Fourth of July, two weeks away, unofficially marks the halfway point of summer. A few days after that, Elise will take the kids to Spokane for two weeks, and as exhausting as the last two days of single parenting have been, I am not looking forward to seeing them go. Though it doesn't feel like it, time passes, and with each passing day, we get just a little bit closer to leaving for India. It is still a long time off, but I think after having experienced four seasons in Northern Virginia we will be ready to go.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Common Decency

Elise is in New York City for a birthday girl's weekend while I stayed behind to hold down the fort. It's not as bad as it sounds. It was entirely my idea. I knew what I was getting myself into, so this morning, I packed everyone up and took them to the zoo. Though they had already been to the zoo a half dozen times already, Elise always takes them during the week. I still hadn't been and was dying to see the new seal exhibit.

After fueling up with doughnuts and coffee, we drove into town. Of course, we stopped at the seals first. They didn't disappoint. Seals amaze me. Usually one can easily tell the difference between something natural and something made by man. Natural things are organic in shape. Like snowflakes or leaves no two are exactly the same, composed of curved lines that cannot be duplicated. Whereas man can easily program a computer to pump out a kazillion drawings of a snowflake or a leaf or a straight line or perfect trapezoid using lines of the exact same length. What, to me, is so amazing about seals is the way they can propel themselves so effortlessly in a perfectly straight line through the water. It is not an organic movement. It is unnatural, like a torpedo or a rocket.

After the seals, we hunted wolves. Sam and Peter howled at the empty enclosure to no avail.

I discovered that Clementine was not a fan of either the elephants or the gorillas.

In front of the reptile house, two Galapagos tortoises mated. Sam looked up at me and asked, "What are they doing?"

"They're making a baby."

Then, the male tortoise began moaning, a low, guttural moan that he repeated over and over.

Sam: "Why does he keep making that noise?"

"Umm...Let's go see the alligators."

But truth be told, the human watching was nearly as interesting as the animal watching. I noticed that people are either at their best or worst while at the zoo; that a hot day with whiny, tired toddlers either makes a parent...or breaks one. I'd like to think I'm in the later camp, but I also know my limits, and the closer it got to noon, the quicker I drifted toward the exit.

In my human watching, I noticed a distinct like of common decency with which people--mostly parents, married couples--spoke to one another. I think if they stopped and just listened to themselves or, better yet, had someone record how they talked to their loved one and played it back to them, they, I hope, would be shocked and appalled.

As Clementine and I waited for Sam and Pete to take turns looking through the telescope at the elephant exhibit, a young overweight man came out of the bathroom toward us. He had a thin, but bushy, bright-red beard, round, John Lennon glasses and wore a green t-shirt that read, "Trust Me. I'm a Jedi". He wrestled with a crying toddler, not much younger than Pete, the same way one might try to wrestle from the grasp of a hungry boa constrictor. He was headed toward a woman, presumably his wife, behind a stroller, who asked the man, "Did you go?"

He glared balefully at her and spat, "What do you think?!"

Later, Clementine and I were watching a giant gorilla swing through his enclosure. Mostly, I was trying to convince her that the gorilla wasn't going to whisk her away and raise her as its own like Tarzan. The woman standing next to me was digging in a backpack being worn by her husband. They were surrounded by three children, all older than Sam. I'd guess they were between 7 and 11. She was clearly having difficulty finding what she was looking for, and the man never thought to take the backpack off and help her find it. Instead, he sniped over his shoulder, "I don't know why you keep putting it back in the same spot if you can't get it out."

Like I said, Clem wasn't a fan of the gorillas, and I didn't stay long enough to see if she ever found what she was looking for. Part of me hoped it was a frying pan she was going to use to clock him over the back of the head. Or pepper spray.

On our way to the car, I witnessed another couple whose little one was breaking down. (At least, Pete knows when he is breaking down and has the courtesy to inform us, "I'm breaking down.") The father was trying to wedge the uncooperative youngster into the stroller whilst the boy did his best impression of a howler monkey. I don't exactly recall what the mother said to the clearly exasperated father, except to say it was something to the effect of, "It's not like he's never done this before." To which the dad replied, "But at the zoo?"

Yes, even at the zoo.

I am not passing judgment. In every one of these instances, it could have very easily been one of my kids that was breaking down. It has been. I've been there, and it will be me again someday. I just wish people would remember that you wouldn't talk to your dog that way, so why would it be okay to talk to the person you love that way? Because they know you love them and you can get away with it? I might feel differently if this were an isolated incident, but this is three instances in the span of so many hours. How many others were there this morning? And the nature of it is even more troubling. It's subtle enough that many may not even notice. But these kind of comments are insidious and they will creep into your subconscious and feed on the love that is there.

I shouldn't pass judgement, because I don't know the history of any of these couples. I only see a nanosecond of their lives, albeit an unpleasant one. When it is me with the inconsolable child, I am able to maintain my composure enough to remember that Elise is not my enemy. If nothing else, she is my unwavering ally. For this I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Memories of Winter

I've been holding out on you for far too long, I know. It has been quiet here as I undergo a huge transformation. A transformation that has everything to do with my business but has far more to do with every vein running through my body. It starts in the very tips of my toes and reaches far beyond my human form, effecting my tiniest people and my truest loves. 

More in depth to come, but for now, briefly: I've stopped shooting digitally and have started shooting 100% film, bother personally and professionally. I have gained back precious time with my family, regained perspective, simplicity and passion for quality. Forsaking quantity in all forms. For more of my most recent client work in film please visit my brand new website and new photography blog

Here are a few shots from my very first roll of black and white film, shot at the beach at Paul's dad's house on Jupiter Island over Christmas. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

From the Parents of Small Children

A friend of mine recently posted the following article to his Facebook page:

I don't read Parenting magazine or pay much attention when people try to give me advice on how to raise my children. Evidently, there is a wealth of parenting advice available both in print and on the web. I have somehow managed to miss most of it. Not because I don't think I could benefit from a little advice or guidance. I don't know everything. In fact, I know astonishing little considering I have three children. But I follow my instinct, gut and common sense. I set the bar somewhat low. None of my children play with their own poop or smear it on the walls like chimps at the zoo as I have heard other children do, so I think we're doing all right.

Ironically, being the father of three children, I don't have time to read a lot about parenting. I spend 95% of my time and energy when I am not at work parenting, so the last thing I want to do with the remaining 5% of my life is read about parenting.

But the author of the above article--whose job it is doubtlessly to not only inform, but be witty, controversial, and, thereby tangentially, sell online advertising--has been exposed to more than his share of parenting literature.

I don't think his approach in this article is unique. Of the few pieces I have read about being a parent or the actual act of parenting, most remind us that we, as parents, are human and fallible. I think most articles are meant to diffuse those who try too hard which, in my estimation, is probably a pretty small percentage of parents in general. Of course, no one would read an article telling them they weren't doing enough as a parent.

And I agree with the author that we are human and fallible. Me more than most. But I also believe it is a very slippery slope to navigate once you allow yourself not to do everything in your power to raise the best children you possibly can. Maybe I bear this responsibility heavier than most.

Unlike Steve Wiens, I do appreciate that they grow up too fast. Sam taught me this and it was one of the only things that kept me sane when I was lying with Clementine on my chest on the love seat in the living room of our house in Brazil at 3:30 in the morning. I didn't fit on the love seat, and my feet hung off one end and my head off the other. I was far from comfortable. The rainy season had returned, which meant that commercial jet airliners would buzz our house every five minutes as they approached the international airport. I could see the lights coming from far away through the cloud cover, ethereally like extraterrestrials in the night. The noise would fill our entire house for the briefest of moments, before screaming away. Somehow we all grew accustomed to the sound. Even Clementine, eventually. But knowing that Clementine would not sleep on my chest at this most un-Godly of hours forever is one of things that made it bearable. At times, even pleasant. Despite, or perhaps because of, the airplanes.

And I don't think it is okay to be a crappy parent. Don't beat yourself up about it either, but your children are not the enemy.

I know the author is not saying it is okay to be a crappy parent, but once you hold yourself to a lower standard, when do you stop? I know every parent needs time to themselves. All parents function better after a morning run, yoga without kids hanging from every limb, or beers with a friend, but, sadly, we all know the parent who does nothing but make time for themselves. While I understand the intent of articles like this one, I would rather aim to achieve ten things and only accomplish seven than aim to achieve five things and successfully achieve them all. Yes, there is some disappointment associated with the former--I might even think myself a terrible parent--but at the end of the day, I would have more to show for myself.

I know that neither Elise nor I would ever want to look back and wish we had done more. That we hadn't given every iota of our being at that time to being the best parent we could be. I do wish that I had no other responsibility than to play Legos with Sam every morning, but I know that one day he will understand that I had to balance his wants and needs with my other responsibilities, namely to his brother and sister and mom.