"So you got up with him at 4:30? Yeah I was up with him at 1am, for about an hour or so….not that long."

Zach, recounting Quinn’s sleep last night

Our standards for what constitutes a “decent” night kinda scare me.

parenting sleep

My brief AP rant

Ok, so I love my Attachment Parenting parents, and a lot of my parenting is inspired by AP. Babywearing and breastfeeding have been sanity-saving tools with Quinn, and (when I have the patience and presence of mind for it) I’ve had very good experiences using gentle discipline methods with my kids.

I also understand that many AP parents feel like they’re fighting the current of “mainstream” parenting and always being told they’re doing it “wrong” and spoiling their kids, etc. That many had an “aha” moment when “finding” AP bc they finally found validation for their own instincts.


It really bugs me when AP parents claim that AP is THE way to parent, and that anyone who doesn’t do any one of the AP practices is “going against their instincts.” For many, breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, etc, do feel very natural. For others, they’re not. Some babies don’t even like being worn, or sleep better on their own (imagine that). Not to mention that, in my opinion at least, all those “AP to-do’s” are just things that may or may not work for you, but the heart of AP is in being attentive to your child and their needs and treating them with love and respect. Which really has nothing to do with what kind of diapers you use.

This was meant to be a short rant and then it got long…dontcha hate it when that happens.

parenting AP

Sometimes when the kids are being especially whiny and ridiculous, Zach will turn to me and say, “Don’t you just LOVE being a parent? Doesn’t it make you feel so HAPPY and FULFILLED?”

Very glad to be doing this with someone who can laugh with me. =)


The Daddy Complex: I'm All For Different Parenting Methods...


I just don’t understand how parents can refuse to do unbiased research. How much crackpot parenting have people tried to tell you to do? How do you differ that from the reputable advice?

Parents, especially when seeing differing opinions on a matter, should research their…

I’m torn on how I feel about this post.  On the one hand, YES it is important to reflect on your parenting philosophy and decisions, try to understand why you do and believe what you do, to make sure you are doing things for the right reasons and that there’s some truth/logic to it (not going by old wives tales, etc).  

When pregnant with Donovan, and to an even greater extent with Quinn, I spent many hours researching pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.  By choosing to birth Quinn at home we were definitely going against the grain, and while it was what felt ‘right” to me from the beginning I also wanted to make sure I knew as much as possible about our choices, and that science backed up what my gut was telling me.  One thing I found is that all the research in the world sometimes provides clear answers, but often also just leads to more questions and lots of “well, it depends….”  A lot of research will say X, and other studies will say “No, X is totally bogus, Y is true instead” and you can drive yourself BONKERS trying to figure out what’s really true.  

And then you throw in the massive monkey wrench that is the fact that all kids, and parents, are different.  An approach that will work beautifully on one kid will completely backfire on another.  A system that brings harmony for one family, will bring chaos in another.  And there’s some research on this stuff, but we don’t exactly allow kids to be complete lab rats (for good reason) so a lot of it is limited, and involves a lot of guesswork.  

So. Yes, read up on parenting, children, and the choices you’re making. Do your best to avoid doing harm, and every so often look at what you’re doing and question it to make sure it all still makes sense.  But you also have to just go with your gut.  The vast majority of parenting seems to me to involve a great deal of last-minute flying by the seat of your pants.  

**I will also make a small note here about the inherent privilege in putting down any parent who is “too lazy” to do proper research, ignoring that some parents lack the time or resources to spend hours scourging studies and research websites**

(Source: cantcat)


The Daddy Complex: Dear Childbearing People Of My Generation,


1. Kids are pretty fucking awesome so stop treating them like burdens. They’re kids, not cancer.

2. It’s your job as a parent to be exhausted. It doesn’t make you a special cupcake.

3. The baby stage? Easiest stage of all.

3. Don’t get pregnant if your intention is to pawn your…

Ok, I’ll admit that I may not be an expert yet as my oldest kid is only 3.5. But after being through two infant stages, along with the toddler and now venturing into preschoolerhood, if you insist that the infant stage is the “easiest one of all” I’m willing to bet you’ve had some damn easy babies. Yes, toddlerhood and up have had their challenges but have been WAY WAY BETTER than infancy, at least at our family.

That or I should give up now because if THIS is the “easy” part, there’s no way I’m gonna survive what’s ahead….

it's been a rough weekend ranty mc ranterpants fatherhood parenting baby toddler twins dad mom motherhood family

The Daddy Complex: Fall On Me


If you’re a parent, you’ve undoubtedly heard the adage that when your child can climb out of the crib, it’s time to transition to a regular bed. But, that adage fails to explain exactly what “climbing out of the crib” means. And, if you think about it you’ll probably land on an image that we…

This is exactly what terrifies me about cribs. It seems everyone has a story about their kid falling out of their crib & landing on their head. Usually they’re unhurt, but stil! And the way they’re treated as just funny stories…like, “Yeah little Jimmy fell from 4ft high and landed right on his head, hahaha! Thank goodness he didn’t break his neck, the little rascal.”

And this is why we moved D to a bed on the floor at 18months, as soon as he showed any ability or interest at all in trying to climb his crib…

fatherhood parenting baby toddler twins dad mom motherhood family crib bed child development rem

Phone conversation with my husband this afternoon

Zach: So, what kinds of enriching activities do you have going on with the kids this afternoon?

Me: Well, Donovan's napping. And right before you called Quinn was playing on the floor while I checked Twitter on my phone.

Zach: Ah, so Free Play, then? You know, sometimes I wonder what it is that I'm paying you for.

Me: You don't! That's the brilliant part. It's basically just room and board. And the occasional pretty object.

SAHM parenting conversations

How to have a relaxing flight



Step 1: Have a kid.

Step 2: Take your kid on a lot plane flights between the age of 1 and 2.

Step 3: Go on a flight without your kid.

Step 4: Laugh at all the non-parents who think traveling is stressful.

Bloody Marys also help.

I love this.  Donovan is a well-seasoned traveller, and we just recently took Quinn on his first trip via airplane.  I used to think flying was a pain in the butt… now I actually fantasize about getting to fly on an airplane by myself one day, and how awesome that will be.

pro tip travel improvising fatherhood natesmithcomedy dad parenting funny humor LOL

A Few Things…


The Daddy Complex is on Facebook.

The Daddy Complex is on Twitter.

The Daddy Complex makes short puppet videos that are on YouTube and Vimeo.

The Daddy Complex is here for your “infotainment.”

The Daddy Complex felt dirty typing “infotainment.”

The Daddy Complex appreciates everyone who’s helped spread the word about The Daddy Complex.

The Daddy Complex enjoys your company.

The Daddy Complex wonders if you wouldn’t mind getting it a beer on your way back.

Do yourselves a favor and give this guy a follow/like/poke/beer. You’re welcome.

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Baby sleep


Even three hours feels like a relief, but only barely. People keep giving us conflicting information: our baby slept through the night at 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 2 months, 2 and a half years, 7(!) years. When are we going to sleep again? What’s the truth?

The truth is, for better or worse, that it depends.  Everyone is telling you different things because every baby (and family dynamic) is different.  Some babies start sleeping through the night (which some define as 5-6 continuous hours of sleep, while others mean bedtime to morning uninterrupted) at 6 weeks and stick to it, others keep waking frequently for years. Everything inbetween is normal. 

With my 2 boys, sleep has varied greatly.  Both of them started going longer stretches fairly early on (6-8wks), but then soon enough started waking more frequently again, and just cycled back and forth.  My 3yo started sleeping all the way through the night most nights, sometime between 1-1.5yrs old.  My almost-8month old baby still wakes every few hours, though it also varies by night.  

Kellymom.com has a list of studies of infant sleep which I found fascinating to read.  One specifically looked at 600 babies who were 6 months old, and found that only 16% of them were sleeping through the night every night.  That can be incredibly depressing for a new parent to hear, but I’ve also found that having realistic (aka “low”) expectations helps tremendously with dealing with the sleep deprivation.

Bottom line: don’t expect to get much sleep for the next several months at least.  If you get it sooner than that, great! (though remember it won’t last).  If your baby keeps waking often for a while, well, at least you’ve been mentally prepared for it.  I promise you’ll sleep again one day (at least that’s what I keep telling myself…)

sleep babies infant parenting