Mr. Shawn Hatosy is an actor and a husband and a daddy. I first saw him in the TV show "Numb3rs," on which he played a character named Dwayne. Dwayne is guy with serious issues, who gets our hero -- Colby Granger -- into shitloads of trouble. Although, in the end, Dwayne does go out in an ultimately self-sacrificing Blaze Of Glory. And even when he is being kind of a douche, you've got to sort of love Dwayne. He's just that kind of a dude. The next place I encountered Mr. Hatosy was on "SouthLAnd," playing the good-hearted, faithful, and rather oppressed Officer Sammy Bryant. Since I started watching "SouthLAnd" mid-way through Season 4, it took me something like a month to realize that the guy playing Sammy was the same guy who had played Dwayne. It seemed as though Mr. Hatosy had embarked on a rather rigorous work-out schedule in between the two roles. (Not that he was ever out-of-shape. He had just become rather Mr. America-like since the days of "Numb3rs.") I then started following Mr. Hatosy on Twitter and found out how hilarious he is. I also discovered that he is a husband and a daddy with two young children; and he will make amusing, warm-hearted comments having to do with family life. And that got me to thinking about Life With Littles.
It is easy for me -- at the ripe old age of 50, with three twenty-something children -- to look back at my own days as a mommy of babies and toddlers through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. It is easy to remember the sweet times rocking in the rocking chair with my sweet babies, the daily walks in the fresh air and sunshine with my little ones in the stroller, pushing my toddlers in the swings at the park, having graham crackers and milk at the picnic table in the back yard. And those are all wonderful things, memories to be treasured. And if you are currently in the situation of having babies and little ones, I encourage you to treasure all those moments. Even though it may not seem like it now, they are fleeting -- as are all of life's moments.
But, Mr. Hatosy, through his amusing Tweets Of Wisdom -- concerning crying and poops and the licking of electrical outlets and dog crap on stroller wheels -- gives me a reality check. Now, please don't get me wrong. He is no d-bag. He very, very obviously loves and enjoys his children. But, he is in the midst of Life With Littles. And Life With Littles is not all serenity and Sesame Street and Raffi. It involves stress and boredom and worry and sickness and LOTS of messes. Sometimes many simultaneous messes. I remember having messes radiating out from me in all directions and I would have no idea where to begin. Little children are quite good at leaving a path of destruction in their wake. They also can seem hell-bent on the idea of endangering their own lives. And this is all very exhausting to mommies and daddies.
I remember one day when I had a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and an infant. Nobody was potty-trained yet. (I was not good at potty-training. I pretty much sucked at it. So, my kids were in diapers for longer than usual.) I had just changed probably the tenth dirty diaper of the day. After washing my hands in the bathroom, I went into the kitchen because it was time to fix everybody a snack. (It was constantly time to fix everybody a snack.) And what did I find there? Two-year-old Bridget had colored the bottoms of her little kid sneakers with blue marker and walked all over the white kitchen floor. Yes, the white kitchen floor was COVERED with blue footprints. I wish I could say that I took it well and with good humor. I wish I could say that I snapped an Instagram photo and put it on Twitter with a cute caption. The fact of the matter is this -- I did not take it well. I am ashamed of this, but it's the truth.
As I look at my grown-up kids, I am relieved to find that they all seem to like me. At least, most of the time. And this makes me very happy, because I know there were many times when I did not shine in my role as a mum of little ones. And there are -- of course -- many times when I don't shine in my role as a mum of young adults, either.
But, back to Mr. Hatosy. He reminds me not to be the kind of older woman who lords my motherly wisdom over the parents of babies and toddlers and young children. Because even though being a parent of little ones is lovely in so many ways, it is also hard at times. Damn hard. And what I want to be is the kind of older lady (and maybe, someday, a grandma) who is actually helpful to younger parents. Somebody who is encouraging. Somebody who is understanding. Somebody who is not a douche-bag. ;-)