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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-home Dad (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 228
 
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Author:
 
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Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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We liked?


Life as a stay at home parent, offered from the seldom heard perspective of a stay at home dad.

Not so much?


A little preachy at times (but not overly so).


Final Fiendish Findings?

As a parent of five myself, I can really relate to a lot in Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, and I enjoyed the straightforward and humorous tone of the book. I actually laughed out loud at the line, “By the way, none of this applies to laundry. Laundry still sucks. Buddha would bitch about the laundry.” because there are few tasks more soul suckingly tedious than doing laundry for a family, and Scott Brenner captures that feeling exactly. This is a great book for stay at home parents who need to feel they are not alone, but also for working parents who want to get an understanding of what it’s really like to be at home.

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Posted May 29, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

“…there is a lifetime full of happiness in your children’s eyes.”

There are few things in life as rewarding as being a parent. Sure, kids are messy, noisy, complicated, expensive, and just plain labor intensive, but it is worth every penny and every lost hour of sleep to see them growing and evolving into the unique adults they’ll someday be. Life with kids can seem like a race sometimes, no matter which side of the workforce fence you’re on – homework, endless practices, sick days, and of course, laundry, often seem to engulf every minute of every day. But taking the time to step back and really look at what is important can make a huge difference in your life with both your children and your spouse. Author Scott Benner offers this advice and more from a perspective not often heard – that of a stay at home dad.

The life of a stay at home parent is one that can really only be understood by someone who has been there. Working parents may feel like the at home parents get plenty of time to relax during stress free days with their little angels, while the at home parent may feel like the working parent gets at least some time to themselves and a little adult conversation while they themselves are literally on duty twenty-four seven. It’s a debate that is often heated and rarely ends well, with both sides resenting that they are not being heard. With Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Benner really approaches his life as an at home parent with respect for both sides of the issue. Rather than making a case for his side, he simply presents what life is like in the trenches – and makes a real effort to point out that these are issues that any stay at home parent, male or female, will encounter.

I have to say that is my favorite aspect of this book. I have often wondered abstractly about the differences between a stay at home mom versus a stay at home dad. Obviously both parents are completely capable of caring for their children, but are there fundamental differences in the male versus female approach to running a family? In Benner’s opinion, the answer is no. He mentions several times that people often question his wife on things like how she gets his son’s uniforms so clean, always assuming that these type of tasks are in the female domain, but that is simply not true. Tackling the misconceptions of dad as a stay at home parent is done not by lauding a stereotypical ham handed male approach, but by emphasizing the fact that those stereotypes aren’t based on reality, and a dad can be just as efficient and loving a caregiver as a mom.

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal focuses not just on the day to day happenings of life with kids, but also on how spousal relationships change when kids enter the picture, as well as highlighting various important events throughout Benner’s life as a father, including his daughter’s traumatic diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. This is a peek inside the life of a stay at home dad, yes, but it’s also a very personal accounting of some really tough topics, all handled honestly and sympathetically. Scott Benner doesn’t claim to be the perfect parent, and that is what makes his story worth reading.

As a parent of five myself, I can really relate to a lot in Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, and I enjoyed the straightforward and humorous tone of the book. I actually laughed out loud at the line, “By the way, none of this applies to laundry. Laundry still sucks. Buddha would bitch about the laundry.” because there are few tasks more soul suckingly tedious than doing laundry for a family, and Scott Brenner captures that feeling exactly. This is a great book for stay at home parents who need to feel they are not alone, but also for working parents who want to get an understanding of what it’s really like to be at home.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)