Hot Topics In The Community
Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes, petting her Baby Dog Daughter, high-fiving her stuck-in-the-90s husband, and eating cupcakes in her garage to escape the crazy. You can Tweet with her online as @dumbparent, but don’t expect her to be serious. It’s virtually impossible.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
This spring I rolled out the BBQ pit all by my lonesome as a surprise to my husband.
I'd planned to grill some steaks for a nice surprise-we-don’t-have-soccer-or-piano-or-anything-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself dinner on the first really warm day that popped up out of nowhere in April.
Armed with his grilling utensils and my expertly seasoned meat, I set up my charcoal, squirted it liberally with lighter fluid, lit a match and yelled, "BURN, BABY, BURN!" on my deck while my children hid in shame and my neighbors stared.
Only, surprise on me.
After 30 minutes of me trying to get the fire to light by burning old credit card bills and intermittently dousing it with lighter fluid (please note: this is a BBQ DON'T unless you are after an eye brow optional look) I realized two things: fire is seriously dangerous, and I suck at grilling.
Who knew when the husbands were standing around that thing, beers in hand, with their I-made-fire caveman chests puffed out, that there was actually some skill involved?
Not me, clearly.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
I started blogging on a whim.
After listening to my BFF tell me about these funny sites written by moms called ba-logs, I decided to have a look at a few myself.
I jumped on Yahoo. Waited for my dial-up to click through and Googled Yahooed? (it was before Google was a big deal in my world), mom blog.
A couple of sites came up. Those linked to a few more. And those, linked me to even more.
I fell in love with the first mom blog I ever read: Bad Mommy Moments.
I read her blog for half of the day while my 8 month old nursed repeatedly and my 3 year old cycled in and out of time out for trying to hit the baby in the face with a shoe. It was a transition period in our lives I guess.
But reading that blog and connecting with the writer and the other women who commented there sparked something in me and three weeks later I was the proud owner of parentingbydummies.blogspot.com, the funniest online destination for moms. According to me.
Like every other English teacher on the planet, I’d always enjoyed writing. Maybe I even wanted to write as a career, but realized I liked food and shelter more.
As a part-time stay at home mom without a pressing need for additional income, I threw myself into creating content for that blog. So my, um, fan (aka my mother) could read it. She’d call me every morning and laugh about what she read on the blog. I guess I could’ve just skipped writing it all together and told her the stories on the phone.
But, eventually other people found my site until, after awhile, I had amassed a loyal following of perfect strangers who were eager to read my daily exploits. Yeah, it sorta sounds creepy, but it’s not.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
I haven’t spent any real time alone since 2000.
I’ve gone thirteen straight years having another human on me, near me, or actually inside of me.
When I think about it, I’m actually kind of afraid of what I might discover about myself if left alone with myself for an extended period of time.
I may not even like myself after all of this time!
But, that fear isn’t enough to make me not want the opportunity to try.
Uncharacteristically, my family came out and asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year. I so desperately wanted to say, “TO BE LEFT ALONE!”
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
So, for those of you who didn’t already know this, I was previously on What NOT to Wear.
Yep. The make over show. On TLC. With Stacy and Clinton. That one.
Prior to that whole thing, I was a daily-sweat-pants-wearing-hair-in-a-bun-still-holding-onto-make-up-from-8th-grade hot mess of a woman. I looked about as good as I felt about myself at the time.
My lack of effort was directly related to the amount I actually cared about myself. Which was, um, zero.
Going on the show forced me to take some time to step back and reevaluate my life. What was I teaching my boys by not loving myself? What kind of mother and wife was I truly when I didn’t even care about myself? How did I get so ridiculously unawesome?
Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a mom.
Where other girls said they wanted to be princesses and ballerinas and truck drivers (this one girl in my second grade class, she was obsessed), you ask me and I’d always say a mommy.
As I got older my aspirations grew (veterinarian, pediatrician, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs), but I still knew that one day, a happy life for me would include a family: a husband and a bunch of girly babies.
The soft kind that liked dancing and tutus and pigtails and princessing.
I wasn’t against having a son per se, I just always envisioned myself with a daughter. Or three.
As I sit here staring at my playroom filled with knights and light sabers and this really creepy wolf mask that they play with daily, I can’t even imagine a different life.
And, I’m happy.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
Since the day I brought my first baby home from the hospital, I’ve had visions of grandiose.
I’ll be the best mom ever, I thought.
My child will never throw a tantrum, embarrass me in public, or accuse me of doing so to him.
I will lose my baby weight within weeks of delivery, maintain a clean house, cook dinner nightly, cloth diaper, and nurse like a boss. My son would be bilingual and I would probably go ahead and homeschool.
Also, I’d have the most stimulating, sanitary, and organized playroom known to
Santa is real, just like the Easter Bunny.
Clearly I was delusional.
I’m not the best mom ever. That baby never threw a single tantrum, but his two brothers surely made up for it. And, while I’m happy to say they’ve never once called me embarrassing, I know it’s coming as sure as I know that I’ve said those exact words to them on more than one occasion.
I cloth diapered when I had to, my house is a wreck, I cook when I can’t get my mom to do it for me, nursing was a beast, my son barely knows English, I wouldn’t homeschool if my life depended on it (okay, maybe if my LIFE depended on it, but I’d be pretty cranky about it), and I am literally still trying to lose the baby weight 5 years post partum.
Also, until recently, my playroom looked like a hoarder was living in it.
Here’s how I changed all of that!
Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
We celebrate Earth Day big time at our house.
Of course it’s because the Earth is our home and it’s our responsibility to take care of it and respect it and make sure it doesn’t suffer a fiery death because of our general carelessness. But, that’s every day. We don’t need a special holiday to remind our children that we need to recycle, pick up our trash, and conserve resources around our house.
I can yell at them daily for that.
What we do need a special holiday for is to make a party out of it! And, get our kids to work in the yard with smiley faces.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
Cleaning never has and likely never will be “my thing”.
I don’t enjoy it in the least. I often find the activity so unpleasant that living in relative filth doesn’t even really get to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a totally disgusting human, and I don’t make my children live in squalor.
It’s more that I outsource the tasks whenever possible, and I’ve done a pretty spectacular job at instructing my children on how to clean pretty much every single thing. You know, so I don’t have to.
Don’t look at me like that. With your judgy ‘she’s-lazy’ eyes. They like doing it and it’s like building a life skill or something.
There are times during the year, however – spring being one of them – that I just absolutely have to get my hands dirty.
I do it right though; no wasting time, no dallying about, just getting to it on the few things that matter. Just, quick and easy spring cleaning for me.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
Summer is quickly approaching, which means that we are in the throes of planning our obligatory “pack all the kids in the car and hope no one barfs” road trip.
It’s one of those things we try to make happen for our family every summer because, um, we have to?
I know, we don’t have to, have to, but we want to? Sorta. Or, like, mostly.
I mean, I could personally do without the barfing and the fighting and the are-we-there-yets that are pretty much inevitable if we ask our children to be strapped to a car for more than 30 minutes at a time.
But, the memories we create when we finally reach the beach, covered in barf and ready to snap, are what make it pretty much all the way totally worth the torture of getting there.
Fortunately, as we travel more I get better at making our trips less like being water boarded and more like being on vacation. A vacation where I don’t get to sleep in or go to the spa or even read more than a sentence of my book without being interrupted, but a vacation still.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 by Amanda Rodriguez
My youngest son turned 5 in January.
He’s smart, and funny, and really energetic.
He’s also 4’1.
Yep, that’s freaky big for a preschooler.
He’s the tallest kid in his class.
He’s the tallest kid on his soccer team, in his swim class, and in his gymnastics class. He’s the tallest kid on his football team, in his story class, and most places we go where other kids his age (or close) dwell.
Which is awesome.
Except it seems that most of the other parents don’t think so.