Accidental Parenting Advice

I adore Bob Ross. He made me want to be an artist.

I adore Bob Ross. He made me want to be an artist.


Hello and Welcome to Conversations with Hank: An Accidental Parenting Blog
(shudders, embarrassed to even type these words)

I never set out to write a parenting blog.
I am by no means qualified to give you advice.
Frankly, unless the words, “Joy, can I ask your advice about something?” fall from your lips I will probably never, ever give you advice. Ever. Nope. Advice sucks, especially unsolicited advice which is why it took me so long to embrace what my little corner of the Internet had turned into.

In 2010 I moved to Portugal from the American Midwest with my dashingly hilarious scientist husband and our then three year old son, Hank. (Our daughter Molly was born in November 2014)

I had two very significant moves growing up and I was always struck that when I would return to visit friends or family left behind they were shocked by how much I had grown or how my personality had evolved. It was as if I were perpetually seven or twelve years old, caught in an irreconcilable time warp.

Keeping this in mind after we moved an ocean away I started to write down conversations I had with Hank and added them to letters and emails back home and posted them on social media.

My family and friends loved hearing Hank’s growing voice in these conversations and started sharing his quirky uniqueness with their friend circles until two years into living in Portugal two very wise friends of mine independently suggested I start a blog. (Thanks Winter and Nicole)

In January 2012 with the help of a friend (thanks Braulio) Conversations with Hank was launched and from day one someone has messaged me thanking me for my advice or telling me they are going to save that particular conversation for when the same situation arises in their home and each and every time I am flattered yet befuddled by that word: advice.

I see this blog like a time capsule. I can click on any date in our archives and be instantly transported back in time to five year old Hank, six, seven, eight year old Hank. This blog is a time machine that I selfishly devote my time and energy to.  I will admit that in these conversations I am parenting but I wouldn’t say that qualifies me to dish out advice.  This blog speaks for my skill set dealing with my kids.

I am not the best mother. I am their best mother.

I am grateful that my ramshackled, hyper-explanatory way of attacking each and every situation that presents it’s self is helpful, but personally I would hardly call it advice and I spent four years resisting the word all together.

I don’t advise. I merely truthfully transcribe our conversations, but my intuition has been nagging that I need to listen with an open heart, stop fighting, humbly accept the complement and review. So that is what I have spent the past month doing.

This blog maybe a time machine for me but for you, the reader, it is another thing all together. As is with all art I need to let go and leave these conversations up to your interpretation.

So I accept and I thank you for helping me see what you wish this blog to be and I will embrace my small contribution to the parenting genre.

With that in mind I would like to be clear that I know I am not perfect and I don’t expect you to agree with every aspect of my parenting of Hank and Molly.

You will find if you peruse our archives I publish the good, bad, funny and ugly of life, health, motherhood, childhood and marriage. In short, I publish our truth. I do my very best to prepare Hank for adulthood, because as I have said since the day he was born, “I didn’t work this hard to raise an asshole,” and just as I won’t dream of giving you advice this blog and our social media accounts are drama free, hate free zones. This is also why comments sections are disabled.

It is also our wish that photos of Hank or Molly’s faces not appear publicly on this blog or social media. If you do meet us, please, no selfies. We would love to shake your hand and if time permits to share a coffee, but as Hank and Molly grow I want them to be in control of their public presence on the Internet.

So after much debate and soul searching I have decided to own the title given to this blog by it’s readers, but with the caveat that it is a parenting blog purely by accident.

Thank you for reading and sharing Conversations with Hank with us. I sincerely wish you all the very best of luck and to be kind to one another.

Every family is different, therefore so is every correct answer.

~ Joy (aka Me)

P.S. For those unfamiliar with Bob Ross he taught painting on American Public Television from 1983-1994 on The Joy of Painting.  You can find episodes on YouTube.  He believed there were no mistakes in art (or life) only happy accidents.