My Family is Not Screwed Up Enough For TV

Just what the hell does the title of today’s blog post mean? Well, to explain, I need to go back in time a couple of weeks.

I was contacted on my author Facebook account by an individual. Let’s call him Barry.

Well, not quite who I meant, but sure, let's go with it.

Well, not quite who I meant, but sure, let’s go with it.

Apparently, he’d read one of my blogs on parenting and wanted to get in contact with me about potentially being a part of a new television series about gay parenting. I was like:





So, I didn’t give it much thought until I checked my e-mail. Guess what I found?

That's right! Another e-mail from Barry!

That’s right! Another e-mail from Barry!

I clicked on the link Barry provided, and it took me directly to a casting studio. And right there on the website was the general casting call for the show Barry was inquiring about.

It was real.

The diva in me instantly began contemplating the various wardrobes I’d have to purchase. If I was gonna be on television, I needed to be seen in brand new clothes.

That would be a good start

That would be a good start

I couldn’t wear what I’ve been wearing all summer.

You're speaking to the choir, Endora!

You’re speaking to the choir, Endora!

Then there was the new haircut. Just how would I style my hair for television? Did I need highlights or maybe just a color? I am forty now, and there’s a bit more grey on my head than I’m used to. I needed to call my hairstylist pronto!

Yes, Tabitha does my hair. What? You don't believe me?

Yes, Tabitha does my hair. What? You don’t believe me?

So as I had my people call Tabitha’s people, I mentally planned the inevitable shopping spree as well as the customary changing room montage we’ve all seen in some of our favorite movies.

Then I realized I’d forgotten about two important facts: I had yet to call the man back or broach the subject with my husband.

Yeah, that was an OOPS!

Yeah, that was an OOPS!

I called my husband and told him about the offer. After talking to him, I called Barry’s number he provided in the e-mail. During the conversation, he informed me that the show was about “extreme parenting” and that it was for Bravo.

All I heard was Bravo! The former home of Project Runway and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. The channel that featured the first and only gay-themed Bachelor-type reality show Boy Meets Boy. Where Queer Eye for the Straight Guy first aired, and home to the one-season only disaster I loved to watch Hey Paula.

Then I realized Barry was still talking, and that I hadn’t been listening. I’d been too busy accepting my Emmy for Best New Reality Show.

And the Emmy for Outstanding Lead in a Reality Show goes to...

And the Emmy for Outstanding Lead in a Reality Show goes to…


Um, where was I again? Oh, yeah, the phone call.

Well, Barry was going on about extreme parenting. What the hell did that mean? Was extreme parenting something like taking your kids skydiving to teach them about the importance of a parachute in life?

I needed some clarification.

Apparently, “extreme parenting” meant spoiling your children to excess. Or being a helicopter parent who never let your kids out of your sight. Or being extremely permissive and letting your teenager have sex and providing the condoms and the bedroom.


That’s just a


Well, after talking to Barry about how my husband and I parent, well, he wasn’t very interested in us. My Emmy dreams were dashed yet again!

Susan Lucci, I feel your pain!

Susan Lucci, I feel your pain!

But it didn’t last. In fact, I’d never felt better in my life.

Being rejected for television meant that my family wasn’t a train wreck. Sure, we have our issues. What family doesn’t? We fight, we laugh, we cry, but most importantly we love and support each other.

While that might not make good drama for television, it makes our lives great.

To me, that’s better than any award.

Bruce & Jacob: 10 Years and Still Going Strong!

This weekend my husband Bruce and I celebrate a milestone in our relationship–ten years as a couple. As the date drew closer, I fretted about how to celebrate such a wonderful event in our lives. I wanted it to be perfect, and if you know my husband, he’s extremely romantic and outdoes me at every turn. Sometimes I think he should be the one writing romance fiction instead of me. He’s just that good!

So I thought: what could I do that would show Bruce how important he is to me?

The answer: shout it to the word!

So, friends, family, and those of you who have stumbled upon this post, I want to share with you some highlights from the past ten years of our lives together. Naturally, we shall start at…

The Beginning

When Bruce and I met, we had no intention of becoming a couple. We were going through some rather difficult times in our personal lives, and we were only looking for friendship. Nothing more. Life, however, had other plans in store. Bruce’s friendship quickly became a source of strength. For someone like me, who’s a loner used to taking care of himself, it was both comforting and disconcerting. I had no idea what to do with this man who didn’t play games and who showed, instead of told me, how much he cared. I mean, he brought me a dozen roses when I came down with the flu, and we hadn’t even started dating yet.

Men didn’t do that! At least not the men I had dated!

It didn’t dawn on me that I had fallen in love with Bruce until I encountered a personal crisis in life. You see, he was the first person I called. I bypassed my mother and my best friend, something I had never done before. Even though he was (and still is) a busy doctor, Bruce took my call and talked me off the ledge. When I hung up the phone with him, I realized I’d been hooked, and all it took was his kind attentiveness and a flash of his charming smile.

Shortly after, we moved in together, and not long after that, we bought a house, creating a new family with my daughter and Bruce’s two children. I’ll be honest. I worried what the neighbors would think and how the kids would be treated. We lived in south Texas in a very conservative town in an uber-conservative state. I was worried that we would find burning crosses in our front yard, and the children would be terrorized at school. None of the awful events I imagined ever occurred. In fact, life went along as normal, but the extremely pessimistic man I sometimes am, I waited for the other shoe to drop.

Until a magical event happened.

That first Christmas we moved into our house, when our families were all going to get together for the first time, it snowed on Christmas Eve. Now, keep in mind, this is south Texas, where snow rarely falls, and it didn’t just snow it snowed! I’m talking inches, and the snowfall stayed around until Christmas morning, giving our town its first white Christmas, an event not likely to happen again in 100 years.

I took it as a sign. The rare south Texas snow was just like the love I had found with Bruce–once in a lifetime. After that, I just didn’t worry anymore.

The Midpoint

After that first Christmas, Bruce and I settled into being parents and partners. It wasn’t an easy transition. Being a parent is tricky. Being a step-parent, as anyone who’s been there can confirm, is even trickier. A certain balance has to be maintained, or the entire applecart can be upset. I won’t say we didn’t have to run around picking up fallen apples at times, but like any couple we learned how to deal with the small disasters that sometimes create havoc in life. When we came across one of those situations, though, I knew Bruce had my back. We became quite the team, utilizing each other’s strengths and creating a pretty awesome parenting force.


But beyond growing as a father and a partner because of Bruce, Bruce also taught me about the powerful healing force of true love. You see, it was during these years that I became quite ill. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say, that it was a rough time for me. Bruce, being the dear, sweet man he is, picked me up off the floor and carried me on his shoulders until I was strong enough to once again stand on my own. He became my champion, my knight-in-shining-armor, who fought my illness when I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself. He refused to let me give up, and his strength became my own.

Quite literally, his love saved my life.

After re-gaining my strength and my health, it was time to make honest men out of us both. I proposed to Bruce, and he accepted. A year later, we were married in Provincetown, amidst the town we both came to love, the friends we’d made throughout our many visits over the years, and the family who came to celebrate the day with us.

I fell in love with Bruce all over again in Provincetown, and when we were married, it solidified the commitment we made to each other. We told the whole world that we were unequivocally a couple! Whether it was legal or not in Texas didn’t matter. We were now and forever husbands to each other.

The Road that Stretches Before Us

Now, ten years after our first day as a couple, eight years after moving into our house and becoming a family, five years after beating an illness, and almost three years after marriage, Bruce and I are stronger than ever. Has it always been perfect? No. But then again, what in life is perfect?

I’m sure as hell not. And neither is Bruce.

But our imperfections don’t matter when we are together. They are merely bumps in the road, and it is these bumps that continually make us stronger and better capable to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

I know they are out there, coming our way, and that they might even be numerous. Our first child is now preparing to leave for college, and the other two aren’t far behind. We will have to grow and adjust to the challenges of an empty nest, and everything else life plans to throw at us. Still, I don’t fear what the future holds.

The road before us may be darkened by the unknown, but I know when I reach out my hand that my husband and my best friend will be there beside me. We will meet those challenges together, and against the two of us, life’s obstacles don’t stand a hell of a chance!

I love you, Bruce.

I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring!

And thank you, my love, for choosing to love me.

My Thoughts on Father’s Day

Father’s Day never was a really big deal when I was growing up or even as a young adult. You see, my father has been absent for most of my life. He’s still alive, he’s remarried, and has six daughters with his new wife, but I’ve never met these half-sisters and haven’t spoken to the man who contributed to my creation in years.

As such, the day never really merited much celebration. I had good male role models, my grandfather and step-father. I happily celebrated the day for them and made sure they knew how much I appreciated them, but inside my heart, I knew they weren’t my biological father, and since he didn’t seem to give a damn, I never really gave a damn about the day either.

But eleven years ago something happened to change my perspective. My daughter was born, and I suddenly realized how important Father’s Day truly is.

Please don’t misinterpret my meaning. I’m in no way suggesting that Father’s Day is now important to me because I am now the father. Although I enjoy being appreciated by my sweet angel, this day is more than a celebration of me. I now understand that I am the father I am now because of the father I had (or didn’t have).

Bad role models are sometimes far more powerful than good role models.

Because of my father, I’m a constant presence in my daughter’s life, even though I’m now divorced from her mother. She spends more than half of her time with me, and we have developed a special bond that is ours and no one else’s. I’m her playmate, confidante, snuggle bunny, but also her disciplinarian and authority figure. She has my unconditional love and never has to wonder “does Daddy love me?” She hears how much I love her every single day.

Had I not had the father I did, I might have taken my munchkin for granted or lived in the periphery of her life. I might not have taken the extra steps that all fathers should take to ensure that their child feels safe, loved, and cherished. I’m not always the good guy. In fact, there are days when I feel like I’m nothing but a pain in her ass, but all actions I take in her life, whether a hug or a reprimand, show her how much I truly love her and that no matter what, this daddy is here to stay.

So on this Father’s Day of my 39th year of life, this is my Happy Father’s Day to the man who gave me life. Without you, I wouldn’t be the man I am today, and I, and my daughter, sincerely thank you for that!

The “Evil” Planned Parenthood Hooking Kids on Sex

The American Life League, a pro-life group, created a video about the evils of Planned Parenthood. In the video, they compare Planned Parenthood to drug dealers getting children hooked, not on crack, but on sex! In what was supposed to be a serious video, the group instead created an unintentional parody.

While it’s true Planned Parenthood does teach about sex education and offers abortion as “one” of their services, they are not the evil entity the ALL makes them out to be. What they do is take a subject (sex) that for teens is often mysterious and, well, titillating and demystify it. Far too many teens have misinformation about sex learned from other uninformed teens because there are some parents who are uncomfortable broaching the subject. So instead of educating their children, those children are left to educate themselves and each other.

When I was young, I remember hearing stories about getting a girl pregnant by kissing her, or a girl friend (not a girlfriend) telling me that a girl gets pregnant when a boy pees on her. I was, like, gross!

Then there was the shame associated with masturbation and the myths of hairy palms and going blind. I remember constantly checking my hands for stubble and sighing with relief every time my ophthalmologist said I had 20/20 vision.

Planned Parenthood provides teens coming into sexual maturity with the facts about their bodies, sex, and contraceptives so that teens can make informed decisions regarding their own actions.

And while the ALL makes Planned Parenthood out to be evil, the information they lambast Planned Parenthood for providing is available on the Internet. Tech savvy teens have access to all this information–from porn sites to other sites with misinformation. What Planned Parenthood does, though, is organize the information for teens who are going to get it somehow. So why shouldn’t it be from an organization that simply wants to inform, not indoctrinate?

(story via Joemygod)



No Trick or Treat

Ever since my daughter entered my life, trick or treating has been a part of my Halloween routine. For the past 10 years I’ve missed countless Halloween parties or out-of-town spooktacular events in order to lead her, often by the hand, down the dark streets in search of a sugar high she normally is denied.

On her first Halloween, we dressed her up as an adorable puppy. Her mother and I zipped her in a furry one-piece costume and painted a dark circle around one of her eyes. She had no idea why her parents were forcing her inside a hot costume or messing with her perfect face. Still, she sat on the floor, sighed her discontent, and tolerated our efforts, even though the long, floppy dog ears often obscured her view.

When I paraded her down the street for candy I would ultimately consume like a gremlin after midnight, many parents annonced how adorable she was. As the proud papa, I took in all the compliments as if they were being directed at me instead of my daughter. Their acknowledgement of her obvious beauty and charm inflated my ego, affirming that I had, in fact, helped create the most perfect child in the universe.

Since then, the magic of Halloween ebbed and flowed for me as it does with most parents. I even started to dread the day a few years ago. That dread had nothing to do with spending time with my daughter.

I simply recoiled from the thought of fighting the flocks of screaming, rude children, who stampede over everyone in their quest for candy. I also wanted to sidestep the overgrown trick or treaters, the high school aged children and adults who travel from house to house holding plastic bags and collecting candy without appropriately aged costume kiddoes accompanying them!

But more had changed besides the super sized candy chasers. My daughter had grown up. Trick or treating became an event where dad traipsed behind her while she chatted non-stop with her friends and dressed in increasingly adult costumes. The little princess outfits and animal costumes gave way to cowgirls, 80’s girls, and cheerleaders in too-short skirts.

Somehow, the biggest trick was being played on me! The little girl who had to hold my hand the entire time we trick or treated now barely spoke to me once we exited the front door. She would have been completely content to go without me had I been less of a protective parent.

That was why I was less than thrilled when Halloween of 2011 rolled around. She was now 11, and I didn’t want to just be the parent bringing up the rear, a part I seemed forever cast to play.

I wanted the adorable puppy or the little princess back! The child who got tired from walking and begged me to carry her. The one who eyed other kids with disdain when they got too close to her daddy. The one who had to talk to me the entire time about any little thing that crossed her mind.

But I knew there was no turning back the clock. She had become her own little lady, and I had no other choice but to accept it.

Then, the most shocking even occurred. She chose not to go Trick or Treating!

Instead, she stayed inside with me and curled up next to me on the couch while we watched an assortment of sitcoms (she hates scary movies) in between the overly anxious doorbell rings of the next generation of Trick or Treaters.

Although she wanted to go out with her friends, she lacked the motivation to scour the night to find them. So, instead, she chose me over the candy and the friends.

In that instant, the magic of Halloween returned. I know I won’t have nights like these, when she chooses to hang out with dear old dad, for much longer. She is growing up, and it’s natural for her to spread her wings and fly.

But for that moment, for that Halloween night, I longed for no other place than to have my adorable little puppy once again curled up in my arms before she started drifting off to sleep just like she used to—cradled in her daddy’s arms.

No treat could ever be better!

When Children Become Super Villains!

I love my daughter. More than anything or anyone else in this entire world. There are days when my love for my daughter fills me so completely that I sometimes feel like I could actually fly. When we car dance to a song playing on the radio on the way to school and I hear her laugh at me, bullets could bounce off my chest. When she tells me she loves me or reaches out to hold my hand (in front of her friends or anyone else), my heart swells to twice its size, and I feel more powerful than a locomotive.

In short, my daughter’s love transforms me into Superman. She takes the ordinary, every day “Clark Kent” type of man I am, and she makes me into something better than I was (or could have ever been) before she first entered my life. She is the yellow sun in my universe that grants me the special powers I need to be her father–to love her and protect her with my very life.

Unfortunately, that same sweet girl who grants me the powers is also the one who turns into my arch nemesis!

Now, many of you out there are wondering WTH? But let me see if I can explain.

If you’re a parent (and I know you’re out there because I can hear you sighing in frustration), there are times when these precious little people in our lives, who are typically our brightest joys, can transform into creatures any good superhero must battle.


Me am not you!

One popular villain they can become, for instance, is Bizarro. You see, Bizarro was the villain who came from a world that was the complete opposite of Superman. Sometimes that is exactly what our children become–our polar opposites. Where we are industrious, logical, and rational beings, they have the tendency to attack us with moments of absolute sloth, idiocy, and irrationality that threatens the very fabric of our universe.

We fly into the fray, hoping to alleviate the situation with words of encouragement, motivation, and logic that would typically solve any problem in the rational Superman world. But in the Bizarro world of our children, words of encouragement become criticism, motivation transforms into nitpicking, and logic is, well, meaningless. They bat us aside with a roll of the eyes, and once those eyes roll, the gloves are off. And it’s time for yet another Superman vs. Bizarro battle!


DaaaAAAd! I'm like totally smarter than you!

As difficult as Bizarro is to deal with, he pales in comparison to when our children become Braniac. For Superman, Brainiac is an extraterrestrial cyborg of artificial intelligence capable of using his superior knowledge to lay waste not only to the beloved man in red and blue but also to the planet. How many of you have had a child who believed she/he suddenly developed an intelligence to rival your own? They have all the right answers. They know exactly what the world expects from them, and we know nothing. No, that’s too much. We are simply drooling idiots stealing precious air away from our shrewd children. When Brainiac rears her ugly head, spouting off exactly how smart she is, it’s time for Superman to use his super breath to freeze her up and shut her down.


I want ALL your energy, DAD! ALL!

When our children become the villain known as The Parasite, it is one of the most draining (pun intended) battles of the season. The super villain Parasite steals the energy and powers of Superman. Our children often do the same to us. We come home already exhausted from a long day of work that we barely have enough energy to uncork the first bottle of wine when our children descend upon us. They have school supplies that must be picked up, they have an assignment they need help with, there’s a surprise dance rehearsal they are now late for, or they forgot something at school that they need right now.

And like the good superheroes we are, we give them what little reserves we have, we fulfill the requests that parents must fulfill, but when we ask them to take out the garbage, or wash dishes, or pick up their own clothes, they are too busy or too tired. They have sapped all our strength, left us with nothing, and then have the audacity to say they are tired and too busy, while they are dancing in their rooms listening to music on the iPods we purchased for them. At those times, The Parasite finds himself caught in a swirling tornado as Superman suddenly finds the energy needed to run circles around the energy stealer and take back everything they took from us. At least until they can appreciate it later.

Now, I’m hoping that many of you parents out there know exactly what I’m talking about. There must be Wonder Women out there using their lassoes of truth to cut through the lies their children spout. I’m sure there are even Batmen, who try to stay one step ahead of their very clever children who attempt to outwit them at every turn.

I write this for you, for all parents who wage into battle every day. You are not alone! I feel your pain, and I too fight the good fight. While I love my child, and I know you other parental superheroes out there love yours, we have to don our costumes and do battle. It’s for their sakes as much as ours.

Top 10 Tips for Gay Parents

Being a parent is difficult. There’s no manual to follow (like the guidebooks in foreign languages that accompany every set of directions to, say, assemble a bike), so most parents have to make it up as they go. Sure, they consult the sage advice of parents and grandparents. Some might even purchase books from Amazon or other online or traditional retailers in order to determine if how they are parenting is scarring their children.

But for gay parents the task of child rearing can sometimes be more difficult. When two parents of the same sex raise children together, guidance is something almost non-existent except in bigger urban areas with larger gay populations and therefore a greater chance of running across other gay parents at the park, or daddy and me classes, or even in the diaper aisle at the local grocery store.

As a gay man with a partner of 8 years, we have raised our three biological children together. And though there have been ups and downs, I wanted to compile this list for other gay parents out there in hope that my experience will help.

I have no academic credentials in regards to child development, and I do not claim to be an expert. These tips are solely from the experiences and observations of a gay parent.

1. Love the child for the miracle he or she is, but don’t overcompensate for your trials in becoming a parent.

Many gay couples often spend several agonizing months, if not years, searching for the perfect solution to have children. Whether you decide on surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, adoption, or actual sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex (for those of us who actually married members of the opposite sex first), the time and energy spent in finding a suitable donor/birth mother/partner can cause many gay parents to spoil the child rotten once the child actually enters the home. Children don’t need Gucci purses (no matter how fabulous she looks holding it) or Armani shirts (even though he may look strapping in it). They will out grow these items in a few months, and then want bigger and more expensive items like a Louis Vutton clutch or a pair of jeans that cost more than your car payment.

Buying everything your child wants is a trap many gay parents fall into since they spent so much time and frenetic energy trying to create or obtain their child.

Children are indeed a miracle and should receive abundant amounts of love and affection, but that doesn’t translate to getting everything they want whenever they want. Believe it or not, children respond well to boundaries. They may not like it, but saying “no” is sometimes in the best interest of their personal development into an adult and it often teaches them a lesson about life. For example, money doesn’t grow on trees, and if they want something, they just might have to earn it themselves.

2. Just because you’re out of the closet doesn’t mean your children are ready to fling open the door.

Coming out of the closet was a difficult process for most of us, and we have no desire to run back into hiding, where many of the conservative politicians hang out these days. However, our children are a different story. They are faced with their own set of problems and social structures at school, and being different in school can be cause for ridicule. While I’m not advocating parents rushing back into the closet, I am suggesting we don’t force our kids to be as open about their parents’ sexuality as we are. Did you want to talk about your parents’ sex lives when you were growing up? Gross!

If your child is not comfortable with telling the world that they have two mommies or daddies, don’t take it personally. Your child has to adjust to life and figure out for his/herself how to incorporate the differences of their home life with their classmates. They will figure it out, and they will be fine with it. Just let them do it at a pace that is comfortable for them.

3. Create a social network with other gay families.

This ties into the previous tip. Providing your children with playmates/friends who also have gay parents will allow them to see other families just like yours. What child wouldn’t want to meet another pair of mommies who built their own house or another pair of daddies who perfectly accessorize each outfit?

Feeling like part of a crowd is important for children just as it was important to you. When they don’t feel as if they stick out, it bolsters their self-confidence and allows them to simply be. When they are free to be themselves, they can grow into the strong, independent, self-assured adults we want them to be.

4. Cultivate a circle of friends who are not only gay but straight.

While it’s important for you to show other families like your own to your children, it’s also important for them to see you interact with other heterosexual adults, who are completely accepting of your gay family. This will demonstrate to your children that there are people out there who are not like your family but who still love you and them because let’s face it, the majority of the world isn’t as fabulous as a gay family.

This provides your children with an even broader framework for moving forward in their developing years, when they are able to integrate not only the fact that there are others in the world like them (children of gay parents) but other people in the world who see nothing strange or unusual about your family.

5. Let your children fight their own battles.

This is a tough one for any parent, gay or straight.

When our children face obstacles, bullies, or conflicts, we want to charge right into the fray, pick them up, fend off their attackers, and make everything okay. While doing so is perfectly acceptable if your child is attacked or in danger of serious harm, not every conflict needs your intervention. Children must learn how to settle differences for themselves. In many of our childhoods, before we even understood what being gay was, we were used to being on the wrong end of a conflict or being picked on for no reason. We certainly don’t want that for our children. We want better. But resolving their conflicts is practice for doing so as an adult. After all, you are the intensely fabulous person you are because of those conflicts. Don’t take that important skill away from them by always riding up on your horse to save the day.

6. Be affectionate with your partner in front of your child.

Some gay parents wonder if displays of affection might somehow influence their children to be gay and let’s face it, we get enough criticism from conservative radicals about “recruiting” as it is. But watching our parents hug or kiss didn’t turn us straight, so watching us be affectionate with each other won’t make them necessarily gay.

It’s important for children to see you and your partner in a loving and affectionate relationship. How you and your partner treat each other will imprint itself on their future relationships. They will search for the kind of love that the two of you have displayed at home, so not only show love but be the kind of partner to each other that you would like your child to one day find.

7. Embrace diverse populations as you expect to be embraced.

Open your children to the wondrous cornucopia of cultures that exist in the world and put a stop to the catty judgments we may have spouted in our youth. We don’t want the world to hate us, so it’s important we don’t pass on any prejudices we might have to our children. Instead, show them that there are others in the world who don’t live like they do or even like other Americans do. Open dialogues about families in Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, etc. Let your child see how truly unique every individual is. This will foster a deeper respect for differences between people, cultures, and lifestyles within your children and keep them open minded.

8. Be a “normal” family.

So often gay families feel pressured to be better than straight families around us. After all, we feel we have a lot to prove to those who want to prevent gay couples from marrying and/or adopting children. The weight of that pressure can be the cause for an empty wine bottle or two, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to show up the dissenters who exist in the world is simply being normal, and all families have their quirks and their spats.

What do you mean you want to watch football? A Bette Davis marathon is on!

There will be times when you won’t like your partner and he/she won’t like you. There will be days when you want to strangle your children or when your children will want nothing to do with you.

That happens in every family.

However, those spats make your family stronger. When your daughter gets upset at you for dressing as Lady Gaga for the school Halloween carnival, you will learn to tone down the costume for next year and maybe do 80’s Madonna instead. Still, you work through the differences, you adjust your relationships, and you grow. Families don’t remain static; they are dynamic and change over time. So don’t aim for perfection; shoot for the middle ground. That’s where everyone else is who is happy.

9. Being fit was important when you were single; being fit is important for your children.

Most of us remember the insane diets we went on in order to remain “club thin.” We had to attract the guys or gals at whatever scene was hot in our particular neck of the woods. But now that we are partnered, happy, and not going out as much, remaining healthy is still important. Good eating habits and proper exercise instill the importance of healthy living that your children will carry through to adulthood. Sometimes fitness and good nutrition take a backseat to convenient fast food because parents’ lives are hectic, but eating out excessively and not modeling a proper outlook on physical education are a disservice to your children.

10. Those spa days you used to love or the evenings when you only hung out with friends are even more vital.

Taking care of yourself is important to being a good parent. Don’t sacrifice all of your needs for your children. You need to replenish your reserves, and sometimes that means a night or even a weekend off. Go pamper yourself at a spa. Head over to your friend’s house for drinks. Have a good time and let your hair down or put that old wig back on!

Not only does this give you a break from your children, it gives them a break from you. They need that too! When you are reunited, not only do you appreciate each other more but you’ll be ready to tackle the next set of crises that always seem to pop up. Just as you can’t pour anything out of an empty container, you also need to be refilled. You have to be replenished to be able to dole out the love, discipline, support, and guidance your family needs. We aren’t an endless bottle of wine, even though after some tough nights of parenting, we might need it!