I Need My Daughter to Watch TV, Do You?


By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Last week, my daughter wore her Princess Sofia costume to her ballet class.

She was one of three adorable Princess Sofias. One of the mothers turned to me and said, “I don’t even know who this Princess Sofia is.” I explained that she was a character on a new Disney Jr. series about a grade school princess. I resisted breaking into the theme song (because, believe me, I know every single word).

The mother replied, “Oh I don’t do TV with my girls.” Now this woman, while very nice, is clearly one of those people who is like, “I don’t know about you but I am DOING MOTHERHOOD RIGHT.”

And if her children don’t watch TV, more power to her. I definitely limit the amount of TV Molly watches and I limit which shows she can watch. She doesn’t get any screen time on a computer or my phone or my Kindle. We all have our own ways of parenting and drawing our own line in the sand.

But what I really wanted to ask DMRM (doing motherhood right mom) was to take me through her day. Because on that day of ballet class, Molly and I also went to the grocery store, got her hair cut, got a snack at her favorite bagel place and went to a Halloween party. And she still watched about two hours of TV that day. I know all the parenting books say “have your children play by themselves,” but guess what? My daughter doesn’t do that when I tell her to. She decides she wants to play by herself at the most inopportune times – like when we are trying to get out the door so we aren’t late for said ballet class. But when I need to make dinner, the only way I can do that is if she watches an episode of Super Why.

So what does DMRM do that I don’t that her children never watch TV? I want to put on an invisibility cloak and go to her house and find out. Do you need your children to watch TV like I do? Or is no TV allowed in your house? Talk about it below. I’m so curious to read what you have to say.

What to Appreciate About Being Single

By Amy Amatangelo

Parenting is hard. This we know. But you know what else is hard? Being single.

I spent a good part of my thirties worrying that I would never meet the right man, never have a baby and never have the family I so desired. Sleepless nights. Really bad dates. The booming sound of my biological clock. These things tortured me.

I love the life I have now. I can’t believe that after all those minutes, hours, days, nights, weeks, months and years of worrying, I have the family I always wanted. I know it’s a cliché to say you have to pinch yourself to believe it’s true. But I feel like that every day.

I wish I could go back to my 34-year-old self and tell her “Don’t worry. You’ll meet the right guy. You’ll have a baby. Everything is going to work out.”

Then maybe my 34-year-old self, secure in the knowledge of what her future would hold, could have enjoyed the freedom that does come with being single. And I don’t mean I would tell my 34-year-old self to sleep in (I would and I would tell her to do it as often as possible. I would tell her to try to sleep for a whole day straight if possible) but I would make sure she really knew to enjoy and savor the following:

Nobody Cared What Was for Dinner: Honestly I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner when I was single. I have no idea what I cooked. I think I heated up soup, ate a bowl of cereal, made pasta with sauce from a jar or picked up take out. But now dinner is a thing. I have to plan for it. I have to make it. I like cooking well enough but having to do it almost every day? Not so much.  And usually, before my daughter even gets to the table she announces “I want something else.”

I Could Talk to My Best Friend for Hours: Many a nights I spent on the phone going over the minutiae of my day with my best friend. And, yes, much of our conversation centered around our latest dating mishaps but we knew everything about each other’s lives. I used to joke that I could go into her office and do her job because I knew so much about it and the people she worked with. But now I have my family and she has hers (twins so she’s definitely more tired than I am). Phone conversations are hard to schedule. Get togethers are nearly impossible. Often she’ll end up telling me something important about her life months after it happened.

When I was Sick, I Didn’t Have to Take Care of Anyone But Myself: Sure no one else was around to take care of me when I was sick, but I could lay on the couch all day long, watching TV and eating crackers. That doesn’t happen when you have a toddler. My worst day as a parent was when I was really sick, my husband had to work late and there was no one available to watch my daughter.  That was the day she had frozen French toast sticks in front of the TV for dinner.

My Mess Was My Mess: Seriously I’m not neat. At all. I have a tendency to scatter things about, to walk over something instead of picking it up, and to leave piles of folded laundry on the couch instead of putting it away. But compared to my daughter and my husband, I am a paragon of organization. I’ve suddenly become the neat one in the family (you can hear my friends and family laughing right now). I’m picking up toys, wiping up crumbs, and complaining about socks left on the floor. I didn’t know how good I had it when my mess was the only one I had to worry about.

I Didn’t Know About the Next Level Of Worry: It’s not like I didn’t have any worry at all when I was single. I worried about myself, my job, my sister and my parents. And now I worry about my husband. But nothing, nothing compares to the worry I have for my daughter. It is a level of worry I didn’t know I was capable of.  It’s a level of worry I cannot accurately describe. It’s a level of worry only a parent knows.

I would love to hear what you wish you had appreciated when you were single. Post your thoughts in the comment section.


By Amy Amatangelo

Time changes when you become a parent.

Or at least it did for me.

I’m not talking about how fast the years go by, which, of course, they do. I look at pictures of my daughter from last Christmas and I cannot believe how much she has changed in the past year. And how it doesn’t seem like it’s been 12 months since I was last stressing about preparing for Christmas.

I’m talking about the other cliché about parenthood – the years are fast but the days are long. For me, the perspective shift on time happened while I was pregnant. Before I became pregnant if I heard about someone having a miscarriage, I thought it was very sad and felt a great deal of sympathy for the parents. But it wasn’t until I became pregnant myself that I really understood how long six, eight, ten or 12 weeks of pregnancy truly is. That those are weeks  full of hopes and plans and dreams for your unborn child. Weeks of reading pregnancy books and getting weekly email updates. Weeks of sharing the news with family and friends. While I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy, I understood the pain of those who have miscarried more acutely.

And when I think about the tragedy in Newtown, I think not only of the birthdays, graduations, and weddings those beautiful children had ahead of them. I think of how many diaper changes, baths and bedtime routines happen in six or seven years. How many jars of food are spoon fed.  How many books are read. How many teeth are brushed.  How many loads of laundry are done. How many songs are sung. How many nights are spent up with a sick child. How many milestones are celebrated. How many family vacations are taken. How many smiles are smiled. I think about all the parental worry that can happen in six or seven years.  Will she ever toilet train? Is he eating right? Am I picking the right preschool?

So much life happens in six or seven years. It is way too short amount of time to parent a child. But it also a long time to be someone’s parent. I think about this and it tears me to my very core as I grieve for the parents of the Newtown victims and any parent who has lost a child.

It’s Okay If My Daughter Eats a Lollipop Everyday – Letting Go While Away

By Amy Amatangelo

Recently I had to take a trip for work. I left my two-year-old daughter Molly in the care of my husband and my in-laws. My husband works full-time and I work part-time. So, like many moms, I am the one on the front line with my daughter every day. I can translate everything she says, anticipate her mood swings, and know what makes her most happy.  That’s all to say that leaving for six days made me anxious.

I was in the middle of writing my 10 page “What to Do While I’m Away” tome when I had an epiphany: I was being ridiculous.  RIDICULOUS! I was leaving Molly in the care of people who know her and love her. My husband is with her every day. My in-laws raised two children. But still it is hard to let go.

So I tried to make peace with the fact that it would be okay if:

  1. She eats a lollipop every day. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that I wrote five paragraphs on what to do if Molly asks for a lollipop. Absurd, I know. (Where did I think all these nefarious lollipops were going to come from?) If she gets an extra dose of sweets for six days, she is not destined for tooth decay and a sugar addiction.
  2. She wears a mismatched outfit that is either too big or too small. If, despite the fact that I’ve laid out six outfits for her, my daughter wears baggy purple shorts with a Fourth of July t-shirt (an actual outfit my husband once put her in), no one is going to care. She’s not going to appear on an episode of “What Not to Wear.” Her outfit will not end up being judged in the back pages of US Weekly.
  3. She eats nothing but crackers (her absolute favorite food) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Will she get constipated? Probably. But I won’t be the one at home dealing with that situation.
  4. She stays up too late. If she doesn’t get to bed until 10 p.m., this will not doom her to a life time of late night partying. And if her sleep schedule is all goofed up when I return, well that’s a small price to pay for six days alone in a hotel room.
  5. She’s not reminded to say “please” and “thank you.” Molly is currently in what I like to call the royalty phase of being a toddler. She barks out orders and expects those around her to jump at her command. She like a queen who needs a lady-in-waiting. My in-laws, who adore her, are more than happy to be her servants.  I can re-train manners upon my return.
  6. She misses me.  And, this one is the hard one; it will be okay if she doesn’t. If she’s having so much fun with grandma and grandpa that she hardly notices I’m gone, that might be tough to take (am I not the center of her universe?).  But I like to think we will both appreciate each other more upon my return.

What are some of the things you’ve had to learn to let go of when you’ve taken a trip without your child(ren)? Talk about it below.

What I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Parent

By Amy Amatangelo

I’ve been a mom for over two years now and here’s what I’ve learned that I didn’t know before:

1. You will have a laser focus on poop: I had no idea how much I would think and talk about poop. When my daughter was a newborn, my husband used to call home from work every day wanting “the poop report.” Poop continues to be a huge topic of conversation in our house. Seriously, we are all poop all the time.  Has she pooped? What did the poop look like? How many days has it been since she pooped?  We have songs we sing every time my daughter has a bowel movement.  She’s old enough now to sing right along with us. Will she be in therapy years from now because she was traumatized by singing “Who let the poops out?” Only time will tell.

2. Stay at home mom, working mom, it’s all hard: Before I had Molly I thought that being a working mom would be harder. Working moms juggle a career, employer demands and deadlines with raising a child, day care drop-offs and pick-ups and having to leave work whenever their child is sick. That’s hard. I didn’t think stay-at-home moms had it easy, per se, but I didn’t know they had it so hard. I now know how difficult it is to be home with a baby, all day, every day. What it’s like to be the one to change the majority of the diapers, provide the majority of the meals, deal with the majority of tantrums and provide the majority of entertainment day in and day out.  Being a parent is a hard job no matter what your circumstance.

3.You’re going to think other parents are nuts: Eventually you’ll be talking to a parent and they’ll say something like “Oh The Wizard of Oz is Carrie’s favorite movie” and you’ll be shocked because Carrie is 18 months old and too young to have a favorite movie, let alone one that features scary, flying monkeys.  But here’s what you have to remember – you are probably doing something that another parent thinks is equally crazy. Molly has always been a skinny child, so we pretty much let her eat whatever she wants whenever she wants. If another parent came over and saw Molly munching on a cupcake at 6:30 a.m., I am sure they would have something to say about it.

4. Don’t ever tell a new mom that this –whatever this is- is only a phase and that it won’t last long: This used to drive me crazy. While that is true, of course. It doesn’t make any difference to the mom who is getting up three times a night to breastfeed. Sure her baby may sleep through the night in four months. And sure in the grand scheme of a life, four months is not a huge amount of time. But when you are up in the middle of the night and a good night’s sleep is a distant memory, this is not what someone wants to hear. The appropriate response is “That is so hard. You must be exhausted.” And leave it at that.

5. Not everyone will think your child is as adorable as you do:  I am always shocked when the checkout clerk doesn’t think it’s positively charming when Molly wants to “sign” the credit card machine or when they don’t delightfully chuckle when half of the boxes I put on the conveyor belt are open because Molly has eaten her way through Whole Foods (see point #3).  But it’s probably not a bad thing for your kid to run into people who only see a whiny, demanding 2-year-old. It will give her something else besides poop to talk about in therapy.

6. You will never ever be able to finish a full cup of coffee in the morning: Just let that dream go now.

What did you learn about being a parent that you didn’t know before? Talk about it below.

Welcome to The Mom Episodes!

By Amy Amatangelo

Hello and welcome to my new parenting blog: The Mom Episodes.

As some of you know, I have been writing about TV for many years (check out my TV Gal blog if you’re interested). A few years ago I gave birth to my daughter, Molly, and I’ve realized I have lots to say about being a parent too.

On this blog you will find:

My musings about parenthood: For example, lately I’ve been obsessed with the moms I meet who are wearing trendy clothes, whose hair has been blown dry and styled and who have perfectly applied make up. In my mind, these women have full-time nannies and a personal assistant. They probably don’t but it makes me feel better to think that they have a team of people helping them look great. The other day I took my daughter to our music class and I looked down at my shirt and realized I had a hole in it. A hole. Not a little hole. A “I can’t believe I left the house with this shirt on” hole. I try to look good every day but really what I accomplish most days is being clean.

Reviews and commentary of children’s TV programming: If there’s a new kid’s TV show that I think is great, I’ll let you know about it. I’ll also have news about what’s happening with children’s television programming including when new episodes start, special guest stars and plot lines.

Sales and Bargains: I’m all about saving money. My entire family thinks I should be on Extreme Couponing.  So if I hear about a good sale or a great coupon or figure out a way to maximize savings I’ll let you know about it.

Fast and easy recipes: I hate it when a recipe is advertised as quick and easy and then starts off with “take two cups of diced, cooked chicken meat.” If I had diced, cooked chicken meat, I wouldn’t need your recipe now, would I? But every so often I stumble across a recipe that is super easy (little prep time, usually involves two pots or less) and fairly healthy. I share those recipes here.

But mostly this blog will be a fun place to discuss the joys, frustrations and laugh out loud moments that come with being a parent.  I won’t post as often here as I do on my TV Gal blog so please sign up to follow my blog so you will know every time I have a new post.