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How Tough Could It Be?: The Trials and Errors of a Sportswriter Turned Stay-at-Home Dad Paperback – May 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (May 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805074805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805074802
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,492,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murphy (The Sweet Season) has been a Sports Illustrated staffer since 1984, covering everything from football and swimsuits to the Tour de France and the Olympics. Unfortunately, while globe-hopping and meeting deadlines, he was missing key events in the lives of his young children. A six-month sabbatical enabled him to explore a new, unfamiliar lifestyle as a Marin County Mr. Mom, while his wife "flung herself into her long-neglected writing career." Murphy soon found himself donning oven mitts, picking up dry cleaning, buying toothpaste and tampons, housecleaning, slicing onions (and fingers), carpooling to the elementary school and folding laundry. Despite pointers from his wife, meals remained a challenge: "There is homework enforcement and, if I'm on the ball, the preparing of tomorrow's lunches while cooking tonight's dinner." Skilled at capturing human interest details, Murphy writes in a fluid, anecdotal manner, displaying a sensitivity and homey humor that will be equally appreciated by men and women. Female readers will smile with satisfaction as Murphy attempts anger management while confronting "unpaid work to which there is no end." Asked how "the Experiment" is going, he compares it "to entering the ring with the unseen adversary. I never know where the next blow will come from." At the end of the six months, Murphy realizes he's "now equipped to be a bigger help for the remainder of our days together.... If I am not, like Thomas, a 'very useful engine,' I am at least a more useful engine than I was."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Murphy, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, has a way-cool gig, covering all the major sports, but he decided to take a six-month sabbatical as a stay-at-home dad while his wife pursued her career, also as a writer. The result is hardly a surprise: Murphy learns that domestic engineering is a tough job and that mixing love with discipline is even tougher. There are the usual comic set pieces involving off-to-school chaos and terrible dinners, but somehow Murphy keeps it fresh with self-deprecating humor, a genuine desire to connect with his kids on a higher plane than middle-aged playmate, and a crisp style that incorporates some of the absurdist sensibilities of Dave Barry. Despite Murphy's Sports Illustrated connection, the target audience here is the off-the-sports-page crowd. Don't be surprised if Murphy turns up on The View singing the praises of enlightened parenthood. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn T on May 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
I zipped through this book in just two days because I just had to see if he figured it out! He did and all I could think was, my husband must read this book!
I laughed throughout the whole book, his perceptions on stay-at-home parenthood and his easy writing style made for a great read.
As a stay-at-home mom, I appreciated knowing that there was at least one other person in the world who couldn't quite fall in love with house-cleaning and laundry, even though they're high on our "job description" list.
Now I want to read his Sports Illustrated articles..if I can find time between the laundry and the dinner-making!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Moe on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I LOVED this book and have given it to many as a baby gift or just because gift. It really helped me see that I was over achieving in the household and my husband was underachieving. After we both read this book, we had a heart to heart that was much lighter and productive than the vent session I'd rehearsed for weeks prior. It really helped me lighten up and helped my husband see he needed to step up to the plate. Highly recommend.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This sounded pretty predictable and I expected sitcom humor, maybe a few laughs but familiar ones. But Murphy (whose work you may know from SI) is much better than that. He's wry without being too sarcastic, and he's never mean-spirited. He's a likeable narrator and this is a surprisingly sharp and funny book. A great father's day gift.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was very gratifying to read. I'm a SAHM with 3 young children who ran out and bought the book after reading the funny excerpt in People Magazine. So insightful and entertaining. I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just couldn't get past the fact that this guy is a professional writer, as is his wife, who thought he might be able to sell some books on this unique subject. It honestly distracted me throughout the entire reading. His was an interesting experiment of a man working around the house for a few months. But hey let's face it, he is now back to his high-profile career of sports writing after having finished with this low profile writing project. Rent the movie "Mr. Mom," it's better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B.Reader on May 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this book would be a fun read since I'm a stay-at-home mom with the laziest husband ever. Though the book was a fast read and did make me smile, wasn't what I expected. First off, the author has older kids, 8 and 6 I believe. Just TRY and let a man take over the household for 6 months with a toddler and baby...it'd never happen which is why this guy waited until the kids were older to "experiment" with staying home. The guy did have a tough time volunteering at his kids' school and was really involved but he wasn't HOME like many stay-at-home moms all day. Both he and his wife write for a living so they write articles from home for magazines. I give the author credit though, more than most men wouldn't give two hoots if his wife had special dietary concerns or listen to his wife's tips and suggestions. He's honest but he's putting an effort. Granted he sees the light at the end of the tunnel (which he mentions during a discussion with his wife) so I'm sure it makes it easier to deal for 6 months. It's a decent read but hopefully you'll get it cheap.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Collins on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a writer who decides to stay home for 6 months with the kids - I think just for the purpose of writing a book and making money. If he really wanted to "be there" for his kids, why didn't he scale back on his career long-term?

There are a couple of funny moments in the book, but nothing all that interesting.
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