Category: parenting

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Greetings From Camp Boredom!

reetings from Camp Boredom where the Millers are anything but bored! Four weeks into our summer of intentional boredom (how does boredom pass so fast?!) and many parents are itching like a kid covered in bug bites for the Camp Director’s update.

I gather there’s a well-founded fear that my campers  — and the Camp Director — may not come out of this camp alive. Or perhaps what’s closer to the truth: The Camp Director may not be sane for enrolling her kids in a camp, well, that’s not a real camp.

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Girls Don’t Have to Love Pink, Daddy Says So!

We live in fascinating times when dads offer daughters a worthwhile lesson in pink. I was recently schooled in colors by a certain dad in the House of Obligatory Pink — Mommy-and-Me ballet class with my three-year-old daughter (who was wearing purple).

In an attempt to teach tempo, the ballet teacher handed out a rainbow assortment of ribbons for the children to dance with to the beat. The lone dad and his daughter happened to receive the royal blue ribbon. To my surprise, he acted as if she had been named Cinderella. He applauded the color’s beauty, extolling the history of royal blue, how it was the color of choice for princesses. Take Cinderella’s blue ensemble as proof! Judging by his emphatic eyes, it was his way of telling his daughter that girls could love any color–even blue. Translation: You can do anything a boy can, too!

How true. Now Mommipop Contributor Keith Harrington shares why he takes pride in raising a daughter who’d rather wear blue.

Choosing to Be a Dad Over Choosing to Drink

Keith driving with kids selfie

Nobody wants to hear it — even if it’s Brad Pitt saying it — but boozing and parenting don’t mix. In case you missed it, Pitt recently opened up about quitting drinking to GQ, and it made international headlines.

Now it’s Keith Harrington’s turn. His story is more than just a headline, though, it might just change your habits, too. What he’ll tell you is quite sobering: The day he gave up drinking is the first day he became a Dad.

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When Are Kid Birds Ready To Fly? Survey Says… 27.5!

Laying upside-down on the piano bench, my six-year-old son made the most startling discovery: Our family was expecting… baby birdies!

Sure enough, a mourning dove had hid her nest above the columns on our front porch. As if under a spotlight, her nest appeared only because we all stopped to take a look at the world more like a child — upside-down.

It wasn’t long before the two eggs hatched, and the baby birds discovered their wings. We watched as Mommy Mourning Dove lovingly foraged for and fed her birdies. All of us were fascinated over the equal role of the Daddy Dove as he, too, came home to do his part.

The Do’s and Don’t-Do’s of Weekend Parenting

Keith & Bunny
Dad to two Keith Harrington and Mr. E. Bunny

Kids don’t come with instruction manuals. And for weekend-only parents, the rules of parenting can be even more difficult to figure out. Time with your kids is limited, so it’s easy to fall into the “Disney Dad” trap, showering them with gifts and over-the-top experiences to make up for lost time. Divorced dad Keith Harrington shares his do’s and don’t-do’s for weekend-only parents. These rules apply to week-long parents, too!

A Divorced Dad Goes to School

When Keith Harrington goes to his daughter’s school, he gets a lesson on how BOTH parents in a divorce can be involved in a child’s education. And everybody wins.

By Keith Harrington

It was the role of a lifetime… one not to be taken lightly.

I was to portray one of the most iconic names in literary history. I honestly had been researching the character for years. It seemed that all of that studying and reading was about to pay off. Despite the character’s larger-than-life status, I was ready to conquer and, hopefully, entertain a large and possibly unforgiving audience. I would like to say that my dressing room was the size of a janitor’s closet, but that would be inaccurate. It actually was a janitor’s closet.

Keith Clifford
Gwen and me, Clifford The Big Red Dog


Finding Joy in Parenting After a Divorce

Keith Harrington learned to find joy in parenting after a divorce.

Keith Harrington loves a good laugh, always has. Now he’s learning to pass on his laugh on to his children – even after a divorce. As Keith says, once a dad, always a dad. Discover how Keith keeps a Mommipop state of mind for the “greater good” of his children.

Q: What gives you a Mommipop state of mind (joy in parenting)?

Hearing my kids laugh and be silly. Learning their little quirks. Making them pancakes and bacon. Hearing my daughter recite Red Sox players’ numbers and hearing my son tell jokes.

Q: Describe your parenting style in three words.

Firm but fun

Q: What’s the best parenting advice you ever received?

‘The key to parenting is don’t overthink it. Because overthinking leads to … what were we talking about?’ – Homer Simpson

Q: What’s your favorite memory of your parents?

Going to Disney World as a family and the random funny stories that happened there. Like the time we had a camcorder and were filming ourselves eating breakfast. As we were all saying “hi” to the camera, some woman at another table asked if we wanted her leftover muffin. I have no idea why we all thought that was funny, but it still makes me laugh.

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How Snow Solved a Sibling Rivalry (And Saved the World From iPad Domination)

It was the last day of Spring Break, and my boys’ dreaded requests for screens were starting to rear their ugly heads. The cold weather was keeping us in, but Mama Bear was determined not to give in (even if I needed to do eight loads of laundry and organize a school volunteer list all before the day’s end). “No, boys, I stand by my first NO.”

They asked with more bravado. I played deaf. They said they’d be willing to do chores to earn it. Hmmm, tempting. Nope, I reminded them of our family’s 30-minute iPad limit on the weekends.  I was a bullhead, “No means no.”

“But mom, we want to create music on Garage Band!” Ever so clever, they used the key word that Mom likes, create.

How could I say no to creating beautiful music? Oh NO, I can’t back down now! That’s parenting 101: Never change a “no” to a “yes” or forever suffer the manipulations of children trying to turn your “no” into a “yes.” That’s how I got here, anyway, right?

But I did it, AGAIN.

The Oven You Want Your Kids To Play With

Today I’m missing Mayberry, the neighbors who moved away and the cousins who live just too far to come over and play. Chances are you have a few Mayberry friends too. It’s the family with kids the same age as yours, and if you’re really lucky, the parents are fun to hang with too. You dream of how perfect the world would be if your Mayberry friends just lived a little closer.

Kirkham Solar oven
Our six-year-old scientist and his DIY solar oven making a “grilled cheese.”

To make my own Mayberry, I’m sharing this fun science project–a DIY solar oven–with all my Mayberry friends and family. It’s the perfect, kid-friendly oven for making grilled cheese, nachos or even s’mores! You could put the kids in charge of dinner if you really wanted. 

Too Much To Do? Take a Walk With a Child

Kids wander. And after today, I realize Mommy needs to do a little more wandering too. Too often, as parents, we stay on task, focused on our to-do lists that never seem to get done. We end up frustrated when our kids steer us off track, needling us with this or that. Well, today, I decided to let my kids take me off-track, and it made me fall in love with being a mom all over again.

Tucker dandelion
One-year-old Tucker discovering the freedom of green pastures, dandelion in hand.