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Mom vs. Dad
The Not-So-Serious Guide to the Stuff We're All Fighting About
By Lucy Riles
By Tom Riles
Formats and Prices
- Hardcover $26.00 $33.00 CAD
- ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
- Trade Paperback $16.99 $22.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 17, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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While a husband and wife's parenting styles may be worlds apart, they both have the same goal: to raise happy kids who feel unconditionally loved. Mom vs. Dad is packed with sidesplitting and vulnerable personal essays from the trenches of parenthood. In this book, Lucy and Tom Riles tackle relatable topics such as:
- Is bringing a toaster oven to a 5-star resort tacky or genius?
- Is it appropriate to lick your plate clean at a restaurant?
- Does the expiration date on food really matter?
Illustrations of family life will also be included in this intimate and inspiring narrative about the challenges and triumphs of raising children. Mom vs. Dad is the perfect gift for anyone who needs a relatable couple to guide them through some of the toughest (and funniest) issues parents face today.
Should My Wife Wear Heels on Vacation? And If So, Does She Have the Right to Complain About Her Feet Hurting?
I love taking trips with my wife. Just the two of us on a little getaway. Being out of town for a couple of days helps our relationship tremendously. Lucy and I would both agree that these mini trips have really helped our marriage in so many ways. (And massive shout-out to my parents, who usually watch the kids to make these getaways possible.)
However, Lucy and I have very different visions of what we do once we start our vacation. I like to walk and explore a city. I can walk around for multiple hours every day, and I make it a goal to see everything. Lucy has her own approach. The sights and attractions of a city aren’t on her priority list. What is at the top of her vacation priority list is where we will eat dinner and what she will plan to wear for that dinner. Getting dressed up is a central feature of Lucy Vacation Planning. (And she looks good! Damn…)
Since she loves fancying up, she often comes down with HEELITIS. Let me explain.
On vacation, my wife likes to wear high heels. I’m talking the crazy stiletto spikes. The platform espadrille and then some wedges. The, yes, very sexy but also very torturous strappy sandals with a railroad spike for the heel. Those kinds of high heels. And having been with her for thirteen plus years now, I know this means she’ll be complaining about her feet hurting within five minutes of us heading out on the town, and then we have to take cabs all around the city. I can’t pay all those dollar bills for cabs, y’all.
HEELITIS is the Riles clinical name for the foot pain that results from donning and walking in footwear that was designed for wearing only if one is sitting or if one is standing in one spot all night long. From my extensive research on the subject (i.e., watching Lucy all these years) I’ve learned that high heels were never designed to actually be walked in. HEELITIS is a very predictable condition, always occurring when one’s wife insists on wearing heels in a walking situation. So, Lucy’s insistence on walking around on these torture stilts means that I am required to do some serious planning ahead.
While visiting Las Vegas, we had dinner reservations at the casino next door. She wanted to take a cab. Yes, you heard me, she wanted to take a cab to the casino next door. It would have been much harder because the cab would have had to drive around multiple hotels just to get next door. Granted, “next door” can mean quite a few steps in Las Vegas, so earlier in the day, knowing that my wife would be going to dinner in heels, I walked multiple routes to the hotel next door to find out the quickest way. I felt like I was in the Secret Service, checking the route to make sure it was safe for the president.
With a route that started in the lobby, taking an escalator to the parking garage, and crossing a service road, we made it to the casino next door in the least number of steps possible. HEELITIS AVERTED. Mission accomplished.
On a recent New York City trip, we were excited to be going to dinner and a Broadway show. I totally understood why my pretty bride wanted to get dressed up. However, we were planning multiple stops all over town throughout the evening, including some sightseeing that would require a bit of walking.
The subway in NYC is great. My first job out of college was in NYC, so I know the transportation system well, and in this situation, I thought it was best to get a subway card for the day. My wife started out walking to the subway station in heels, but I very quickly predicted her future foot pain. While she stopped at Starbucks, I ran back to the room and grabbed some flip-flops. She carried her heels in a bag until we arrived at the restaurant and show, and boom, it worked out great. HEELITIS AVERTED. And listen, I don’t claim to be a fashion expert, but the female residents of New York City go by this method all the time, wearing sneakers with their power suits and cocktail dresses, dangling their designer sling-backs from their pinkies in a devil-may-care manner. If it’s good enough for those fashionistas, why not my girl?
But my biggest question is, since my wife looks so good regardless, isn’t it okay if she brings along some proper sneakers so we could do some walking around town?
There is this mom. She’s been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) for a decade now. Her day-to-day life plays out in a house where dishes, laundry, homework, and constant mess are never ending. Showering doesn’t happen nearly as often as she would like. Most days, the only time she leaves her house is for her kids’ school pickup and drop-off, and for dance or baseball practice. The only adult she sees regularly is her husband, and the rest of the time she is surrounded by mini dictators who fight, whine, place demands and negotiations on her until she’s at their mercy. Because she is literally on the run all.the.time, she’s in “proper sneakers” morning, noon, and night. And when her kids are finally asleep, she only has enough energy left to kick off those proper sneakers, eat Pringles, and drink wine while watching crappy reality shows on Bravo.
That mom is me.
But every once in a while, about two to three times a year, something truly glorious happens. Something that allows me to take off my suburban mom persona and replace her with Vacation Lucy. And let me tell you something… everyone loves Vacation Lucy, especially my husband, Tommy!! These two, maybe three times a year my husband and I leave the kids with family (very loving and capable family, lest you be concerned) and we get the heck out of Dodge! Vegas is driving distance for us so that always seems to be a staple spot we go to annually.
Now “Vacation Lucy”…
• showers daily;
• naps daily;
• drinks cold cocktails poolside daily; and,
• at night, dresses up in fun, sexy outfits that include high heels.
And if you’ve been to Las Vegas, you know one single hotel can be up to a mile radius, not to mention the half mile you have to walk from your hotel room to the elevators. So, when Vacation Lucy comes to Vegas, Vacation Lucy does not want to walk the Strip at night. My husband enjoys doing marathon walking courses around the Strip. But do you know what else my husband enjoys?! The hot, sexy outfits and heels I wear.
And you ladies know that the higher the heel, the thinner the leg looks… and Mama needs all the help she can get for slimming down those thighs, if you know what I’m saying!
He tells me, “Just wear flats,” or, “Bring an extra pair of shoes,” which don’t exactly fit in the clutch I’ve packed to go with my dress. Plus, I’m officially in my forties now. Vacation Lucy has to compete with twenty- and thirty-years-olds with tight tushes and breasts that haven’t fallen or encountered milk-sucking leeches that bless you with stretch marks. Mama may be past the age of wearing skintight pleather but she can still rock a LBD (little black dress)… if my heels are high enough!
Moral of the story, women want to look and feel their best. Especially SAHMs like me who don’t get out much. We want a reason to get our hair and nails done, to throw on that dress and heels we love but never wear. So yes, when I finally have an occasion to dress up and spend quality time with my husband, order the short cab ride… it’s a forgettable expense for a chance at an unforgettable night (wink wink).
And, for the record, it’s totally false about my feet hurting after five minutes. They hurt after about fifty minutes.
Well, they may not hurt until minute fifty, but you’re already talking about it at minute five.
Should You Share Food with Your Partner?
Growing up as the youngest of twelve kids meant a lot of things: I would never have control of the remote control, I would never get to sit shotgun, and I would always, always, always have to share everything! I had to share my clothes, which were hand-me-downs, never new. Not only did I have to share a bedroom, I had to share a bed with my two older sisters for most of my childhood as well. And when it came to food, the only option I had was to share. No individual Happy Meals for us: My parents bought in bulk and it was survival of the fittest. When my mom would pull up in the driveway, she would honk the horn, which indicated you were to come out front and help carry in the groceries. We kids would rush to the front porch, devouring whatever contents occupied those grocery bags. The snacks were always the first consumed, usually within minutes. And like hibernating bears, we consumed as much as our bodies would allow in order to last us until the next grocery run. If you did not do this, it was a diet of sticks of butter and generic canned tomato soup for the remainder of the week.
This sounds like you were competing in a reality show while growing up!
Now that I am a mom, I still have to share a lot of things that come with the mom territory. I rarely have control of the car radio and remote control, mostly because I just want my kids to stop fighting. I still share a bed with two other people; this time my husband and our littlest kiddo, who crawls into bed every night with us. And just about anything that enters my house is fair game for all to use.
First off, as I’m writing this, our littlest is indeed sleeping next to me, and it is 5:00 a.m. Yep, I’m sharing! That’s a nice story that you told above about your history of sharing, and I can totally relate to buying in bulk; my parents did too. We likewise didn’t do individual Happy Meals; it was getting the thirty-five-cent cheeseburgers on Tuesdays, which McDonald’s offered. The family would be out the door for under three dollars. To this day, I do bulk food shopping at Costco, and then our little family SHARES the groceries.
When I ask you to share, all I want is two french fries from your takeout order. I just want to make sure they are safe for you to eat. Or if we’re eating out, I’ll ask for one bite from your entree. I don’t want more than that. I just need a tiny taste, and then I’ll go back to my meal. We share finances, a home, and everything in between. We should be sharing food. It’s just what families do!
My tolerance for sharing food has expired. Especially when it comes to sharing food with my husband.
Right. But can I just get a couple of fries? I’m not asking for much over here. I’m your life partner, after all.
My past has made me quite indulgent and stingy with my food. I purchase excessive amounts of groceries to avoid having to share.
That’s why you buy excessive amounts? I never knew there was a reason, I thought you were just consistently overestimating what our family’s stomachs could consume in a given amount of time. Since there is so much food in the fridge after you excessively grocery shop, I eat like I’m in a race to help finish it all. It feels like another type of reality competition series.
One indulgence I most enjoy in life is going out to eat at a nice restaurant without the kids. I relish the endless options to choose from on a menu, the cook in the back waiting to make it just for me, where I can eat it warm and not have to do the dishes afterward. It’s a glorious thing.
My husband, however, likes to order something different from a menu and then tries to share my meal.
I enjoy taking you out to restaurants! You always look beautiful. And yes, I want to order a couple of meals that complement each other so we can share. I’ve got my eyes on the warm pasta dish, and you get the steak. Or I’ll get the flatbread pizza, and you order the giant salad. That’s what a relationship is about, complementing each other. Helping to make each other better. Let’s make our meal better by sharing.
Heck no! If you want what I have, order it yourself. Even with fast food, you won’t order fries for yourself…… and then you ask me for some of mine.
Exactly. I don’t want an order of fries. I’m so glad we’re finally on the same page here. All I want is two fries so I can taste that salty goodness. That’s it. Please?
Order your own dang fries! (He really is insufferable about trying to share food.)
Actually, I’m insufferable about not wanting to waste food. As I was told growing up, we are so lucky to even have food on the table at all. Sharing food is the way it should be, and I’ll never stop asking. If we ordered another order of fries for me, and I ate only two, that would be wasteful.
When we’re out to eat, to demonstrate his take on the good old “treat others the way you want to be treated” angle, my husband will offer me a few bites from his entree.
Yes, here I am enjoying the most delicious chicken piccata of my life. The chicken is baked perfectly, the peas are on point. The lemon taste, the unbelievable capers. I am loving every second of this, and yes, I want the one I love the most to try this. (Then, simply in the name of symbiosis, shouldn’t I get some of yours?) I’m just doing unto others as I would want done unto me. From a culinary standpoint.
“No thanks, dollface. I’m good with what I ordered.” That’s what he tells me. But then he will go with the lurking shark move where he sits quietly staring at my plate. And when I’m clearly not finished, he’ll go in for the attack. He’ll ask, “Are you going to eat all of that?” I am literally midbite and now I’m that much more motivated to eat all of it because of his comment.
So you’re finishing your dish out of spite, rather than sharing with me? At a restaurant, Lucy often comes down with a condition known as “toss happy.” She’ll allow her plate to be removed from the table before it is empty. If she told the server, “We’re still working on this,” those are some of the most beautiful words I would have ever heard.
If I don’t keep my eye on her, she’ll place her napkin on top of her food, and the server will take it away, even though I still wanted to try a bite. I’m certain she would at times rather have it thrown away than allow me to have a few bites. I have to watch her like a hawk and offer assistance in eating whenever I can.
My favorite move at a restaurant would be the opposite of “toss happy.” I like to wipe the plate completely clean. I’ll take the bread and wipe up every last drop of my entree. The ultimate respect I can give the chef is returning the plate so clean it looks like it was never touched. Not many things embarrass Lucy more than this. I’m not only a member, I’m the founder of the “clean plate club.”
I’m sure that I could come off spiteful and stingy. But when you are raised the youngest of a dozen kids, you learn early on the value of basic human necessities to survive. And, y’all, this mama’s a survivor!
That’s cool and all, but can I just have a couple of fries?
Should You Compliment a Spray Tan?
Let me start by saying I believe my wife is just as beautiful without a spray tan as she is with one. She’s a stunning lady, it’s as simple as that. But over the past few years, my wife has more frequently started to dye her skin orange. If we’re going to an event, or she’s heading out on a weekend away with her girlfriends, she might get a spray tan a day or two before.
When she comes home from a spray tan, it’s very noticeable. It’s noticeable because I then have an orange wife. After a couple of days as an orange wife, Lucy turns tan, and she is then ready for her event as a faux sun-kissed babe.
There are a few items of interest about your wife going orange for a couple of days. She immediately smells a little different, which is interesting. And then there is the showering thing. She tells me that she can’t shower, because otherwise, this fresh new tan will streak. And forget about making out with her. Should that encounter get a little, say, sweaty, I’d then also be responsible for destroying the tan illusion since the color would not have had time to “set.” So basically, this tan is a built-in chaperone to marital relations. The minute Lucy walks in the door as a fresh shade of orange, I’m regretting her getting the tan.
It’s not that I speak with an uninformed negative opinion of going orange. I myself had a similar experience of “orange regret” heading into college back in ’97. I had just graduated from high school and turned eighteen years old that same summer. Now, I grew up to be a pretty good kid. Never breaking my parents’ rules or trying to act out, I wasn’t one to go buy cigarettes, even when I was legal. My attempt at a rebellious decision that infamous summer was when I used Sun-In lightener for my brown hair. Who remembers Sun-In? Basically, you would spray this peroxide mixture on your hair and go hang out in the sun for a while. It was supposed to give your hair this sun-kissed look, those bad-boy blond tips that were all the rage in the mid-1990s. But let’s recall that I have dark brown hair. Dark. And so this Sun-In experiment? This resulted in an orange mane when I started college. That’s right, my opening act with a whole new population of potential friends and colleagues was with me sporting pumpkin hair. My fellow college freshmen started calling me Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh, because of my, well, orange hair. How about that for a first impression?
Let’s just say I NEVER got any compliments for my orange hair, which is why maybe I don’t throw out spray tan compliments like they are nothing.
Anyhow, when my wife comes home with a spray tan, I notice that she is now orange. I acknowledge it. Then I recently learned that she wishes I would compliment her spray tan. Huh?
It never dawned on me to compliment something that is fake. Do you compliment fake teeth? If a man had hair implants, do you compliment that? It feels kind of awkward to me.
Oh, really, Tommy Riles? You shouldn’t compliment something fake? Then I guess we should go back to real Christmas trees instead of the fake trees you force upon our family. You go on and on and on about how much more superior fake Christmas trees are than real ones… but they are FAKE. I don’t know, to have you arguing for real in light of your Christmas tree philosophy, it feels kind of awkward to me. (See chapter 24,“Christmas Trees: Real vs. Fake.”)
Wait, I’m not looking for compliments on a fake tree! I’m just happy that it is doing the job, and it was the right decision for us on so many levels.
Back to spray tans. I thought the correct protocol if you suspect somebody got a spray tan is that you just notice it, and move on.
Now that I know my wife would like a compliment for her spray tans, I’m going to go ahead and do it. But who’s with me? Does this just seem like an odd thing to compliment?
Listen, folks, I haven’t had a lot of reasons to leave my house over the past decade. Kids’ school pickup, drop-off, doctors’ appointments, the grocery store… I know, I know, I lead a VERY exciting life. Not. So, when I actually have something that takes me out of the house, inspires me to shower and put on a bra, Mama’s gonna BRING IT.
The nails get manicured, the eyebrows get threaded, the hair gets trimmed, and the skin gets sprayed to match the likes of a bronze goddess. When I was growing up in Chicago, us midwesterners savored sunshine and baked our skin with baby oil and tanning beds. Nowadays the spray tan is a fantastic alternative. Mama wants to glow like JLo! So, the day before the big event or trip, I go to this fabulous fellow mama, Emily, who runs her whole spray tan magic business out of her guest bedroom while her kids are at school. She makes this pasty white, Scotch Irish American girl shimmer and shine into the bronze goddess she was born to be!
Moral of the story: If you suspect your wife made some sort of effort to look good, just compliment her. Whether it’s a new outfit, hairstyle, makeup, or yes, even an orange spray tan that will eventually turn your lady into a beautiful bronze trophy wife… send a little love her way. She needs to hear it more than you’ll ever know.
PS Let the record show that I will happily forgo any complimenting of my fake tan IF our family can start getting real Christmas trees again.
Complimenting spray tans it is! What I’ve learned is that I want to help lift my wife up at all times. I guess on this topic you’ve won me over, and I’m going to start complimenting. I want you to feel good. And if I ever use Sun-In again (maybe for our twentieth anniversary?) I’m going to expect a compliment from you.
With some of these topics, you’ve gotta learn what Baby Mama needs, accept it, and do it for her.
Is It Okay to Correct Your Partner’s Grammar and Spelling?
The person with whom I have chosen to betroth* likes to point out my spelling and grammatical* errors. Like he is somehow superior to me because he can spell. Last time I checked, I didn’t marry my English teacher. I also did not seek out a soul mate who possessed a fondness for correcting other people’s spelling… but somehow, I ended up marrying one of “those” types.
I am in no way superior to my stunning and thoughtful wife. She is much more empathetic, generous, supportive, and beautiful than me. But there is one thing at which I am much better than her: SPELLING.
Also, objection to your point above. The people need to know that you often ask me how to spell certain words and that asking on your part happens much more than the number of times I, unsolicited, correct you. Will you please admit that?
Now there are few things I despise more in this world than a person who gives unsolicited spelling and grammar corrections.
Let me step in here for a moment. Congrats! You spelled “unsolicited” correctly!
Cool, you know the English language really well. Good for you. Please continue to love it and write exquisite* sentences that raise your inner literate. No, for real, I’m not being sarcastic. If one of your talents includes being a phenomenal* speller, I applaud you.
You weren’t being sarcastic, but you were being facetious. (Note: Lucy loves using the word “facetious,” but I’ll put money on the fact that she had no idea how to spell it until reading it here, right now. But that’s okay, because like I said, she is MUCH better than me in many different areas.)
It’s true; I did not know how to spell “facetious” until right now… That doesn’t even look right. Are you sure it’s spelled like that?
But what I am trying to get at is the second you project your grammar superiority* upon me, whether it be in the form of a social media comment, text message, or email, you go from being an English scholar to a jackass. (Pardon my French… spelling.)
I’ve never claimed to be an English scholar. A math scholar? Perhaps. I scored 710 in math on my SATs. I scored much lower on my verbal, so I took an SAT prep course. Then I scored even lower.
- All too often, bickering couples turn molehills into mountains. In Mom vs Dad, Tom & Lucy Riles prove that the view is better, and usually funnier, from the molehill. I think this book deserves a hashtag; #BickerBest—Tom Bergeron, TV Host and Veteran Husband
- A true to life, humorous peek of his side/her side that will bring smiles and laughter to your heart. It confirms what I've always said, men are strange and women are weird...You'll love it.—Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times bestselling author of Sheet Music and Have a New Kid By Friday
- Tommy and Lucy just get it. I've always said, parenting is the hardest job on the planet, and marriage is the next toughest. These two have the ability to make you laugh and feel validated at the same time. Mom vs. Dad is an amazing book that proves parenting is a contact sport.—Meredith Masony, Founder of That's Inappropriate and Filter Free Parenting
- In Mom vs. Dad, Lucy and Tom Riles bring an entertaining and conversational approach to exploring the everyday challenges we face as partners and as parents. There's plenty of heart and humor in the real-life situations they explore, from sharing meals to sharing a phone charger. The result is a book that's eminently relatable, always thought-provoking, and reads like a fun conversation with friends.—Carrie and John Pacini, Co-Founders, Mom 2.0 & Dad 2.0
- What a fun and refreshing read this was for my wife and I! Lucy and Tom bring a relatable sensibility, hilariously covering topics which ALL OF US bicker about.
—Taylor Calmus, creator of Dude Dad, and host of Super Dad on the Magnolia Network
- On Sale
- Nov 17, 2020
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Worthy Books