×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

How Tough Could It Be?: The Trials and Errors of a Sportswriter Turned Stay-at-Home Dad
     

How Tough Could It Be?: The Trials and Errors of a Sportswriter Turned Stay-at-Home Dad

by Austin Murphy
 

See All Formats & Editions

A father takes a break from every guy's dream gig--covering football (and the odd swimsuit shoot) for Sports Illustrated--to give it a go as Mr. Mom, in this hilarious and heartfelt book

After nineteen years as a writer for Sports Illustrated, Austin Murphy should have had it made. Instead, he'd had it--with measuring his life by hotel

Overview

A father takes a break from every guy's dream gig--covering football (and the odd swimsuit shoot) for Sports Illustrated--to give it a go as Mr. Mom, in this hilarious and heartfelt book

After nineteen years as a writer for Sports Illustrated, Austin Murphy should have had it made. Instead, he'd had it--with measuring his life by hotel rooms and Heisman stories, with members of his church assuming that his wife, Laura, was a single mother. With each missed birthday and recital, he became more convinced that he was missing out on his kids' lives.
So he decided to trade in his current job for a new one: Laura's. Once an ambitious young journalist, Laura's career had slowed when she went on the mommy track. Now, with a "wife" of her own, she would be able to write full time, while he could be present for more Kodak moments.
Alas, the man charged with preparing three nutritious meals a day had never mastered his own outdoor grill. Sublimely ignorant of everything from grocery shopping to house-cleaning to the need to trim his children's nails more than, say, semi-annually, Murphy embarked on his journey much as Shackleton took on the Antarctic: spectacularly ill-equipped to survive it. Between the lice checks, the spring break trip to Las Vegas, and the chairmanship of the Lower Brookside Elementary Variety Show, there were bound to be casualties.
Lively, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny, How Tough Could It Be? is the story of one man's decision to reorder his life around things that really matter and of his adventures (and misadventures) along the way.

Editorial Reviews

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." Agent, David Black. (May 3) Forecast: Murphy will try to attract both dads and moms (and capitalize on their respective holidays) with an author tour and Internet marketing. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Sports Illustrated writer Murphy quit work to manage the home team. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Predictable but funny account of a sports journalist's half-year stint as a stay-at-home dad. "I am like most husbands. We think we have a vague idea of what our wives do in our absence, if we think about it at all," writes Murphy (The Sweet Season, 2001). He had reached critical mass at Sports Illustrated, a magazine that demanded chronic absenteeism from Murphy's duties as a father and husband: "I was missing their lives. I would not get a chance to do this over." Of course, he doesn't know from critical mass. The chronology of entropy that ensues is a well-worn trail, and even if Murphy is not Cary Grant in Father Goose, he does possess a certain vulgar charm of the kind that might be scripted for the actor Owen Wilson. He's clueless when his wife warns him, "Every minute of your day is accounted for. . . . If you don't comprehend that, you're screwed from the start," and he is screwed from the start. But Murphy proves to be a quick if bumbling study. He learns that when the day-to-day caregiver gets sick, tough on you; he learns that when the kids get sick and spoil your schedule (by now he has learned all about the sacrosanct calendar), too bad. He learns all about anger, quoting Anne Roiphe on "the quick summer storm kind of anger, the slow burn anger, the underground anger" that will find him more than once "nodding offhandedly to my perfectly reasonable desire to gangster-slap my six-year-old." (Just a passing thought, never acted upon.) Murphy learns a bushel, from why sex evaporates to why supposedly fun things like skiing and camping trips become a drag. After this paean to all he's learned, it's jarring to read that Murphy later returned to the Sports Illustrated life. He mayclaim that since his adventure, "when I'm home, I'm more involved," but that's cold comfort. Agent: David Black
From the Publisher
Praise for How Tough Could It Be?

"Murphy's a graceful and funny writer, and this is a tale to which many moms and dads will relate with gusto."—Hartford Courant

"A relief from the recent string of fairly predictable books about family...a witty, honest look at being a stay-at-home parent."—Newark Star-Ledger

"How Tough Could It Be' is an honest, funny and touching book about family life and family love in the new millennium"-Adam Gopnik"

"Humorous, heartwarming."—Portland Oregonian

"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."-Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466864269
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
342 KB

Read an Excerpt

From How Tough Could It Be?:

I am not doing this for Laura's approval. I am doing it to find out what it feels like to live in her world, to learn valuable skills and lessons such as: What Happens When Young Children Are Not Fed Dinner On Time. Answer: They undergo cataclysmic, Old Testament meltdowns such as the collapse suffered by Willa, who had been reading on the sofa in the living room until choosing this moment to cast her Lemony Snicket book on the floor and sob, "I'm hungry!" After intense negotiations-Would she like Chee-tos? Hellll no. "I like the puffy ones but you always get the skinny kind!" she accuses, bitterly-she agrees to accept buttered toast and a glass of milk.

As Laura showers and I prepare Willa's snack, a suspicious growling emanates from Spike's crate. Funny, I don't remember incarcerating the dog. Closer inspection reveals a crate occupied by Spike and a certain six-year-old. They are having a little taco-shell picnic. I reach down to open the gate, latched from the inside by Devin, then think better of it. What we are killing here, with dog and boy in self-imposed captivity, is two birds with one stone.

Meet the Author

Austin Murphy has been a senior writer at Sports Illustrated since 1984. The author of The Sweet Season, he lives in northern California with his wife and their two young children.


Austin Murphy has been a senior writer at Sports Illustrated since 1984. He is the author of How Tough Could It Be? and lives in northern California with his wife and their two young children.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews