I have a store! I am lucky to have friends that know how to do graphic design. My awesome friend Alexandra Sullivan took the OS/NS mom logo (created by my best friend Mint) and morphed it into a logo ready for tee-shirts and other cool things like these:
If you feel so inclined, check out the items! All proceeds go to my journey to BlogHer13.
I was born and raised in New York City. As a child, I remember being taken to various restaurants, museums, and other typically "adult-centric establishments."
Now I have my own children. And guess what? No one wants children around in public places in New York City.
I cannot tell you how many restaurants I've been to where I've gotten dirty looks because my daughter is two years old and wants to run up and down the aisle of the place. I try to tell her to sit down, but she doesn't listen to me. I try to threaten her "we're going to leave if you don't behave." Then she listens for a minute and promptly proceeds to do whatever I told her not to do because she's two.
I try to discipline my kids. But you know what, even when they're behaving "normally" I still get dirty looks from people in public places.
I know I'm a good parent and I do the best that I can. But I think there may be a geographic problem here. New York is not a child-friendly city.
My friend Bonnie lived in Portland, Oregon for some time. She told me that she was able to take her children (Ages five and two) to white table cloth restaurants with absolutely no problem. The waitstaff and patrons were nice to her and there were no dirty looks.
The other day, my friend Adriana and I went to get our haircuts. Not even thinking twice she brought her 10 month old baby to the salon. The salon did not advertise that there was a "no kids" policy.
"Oh...there's a baby," said the Salon director "I'm sorry, but we can't have a BABY here." She looked at Adriana's daughter like five headed dragon entered the salon.
It's a baby! What the fuck? Are you fucking serious?
Adriana's baby sat quietly for two hours waiting while I got my haircut. The salon told us that the only way they would cut Adriana's hair was if we took turns sitting with the baby. The baby sat patiently the whole time. Two hours passed. The manager approached Adriana and said:
"I'm sorry, there just isn't time to do your hair."
I was furious. I asked to speak to the manager and I wrote an angry letter to the owner of the salon.
In other cities and (for that matter) other countries this would not happen.
Christopher Powers is a Stay At Home Dad living in Georgia with this beautiful wife, Alana, three kids and one on the way.
He blogs at A Man in a Woman's World. Being a SAHD comes with it's set of issues. One of the things Christopher struggles with is making play dates with other parents. One of my favorite lines I've read from his blog is "I have more in common with your wife than you. Don't be intimidated." And it's true. Here's what Christopher has to say about being a SAHD:
Since a young age I had always been interested in being a parent that stays at home. There was just something rewarding about taking care of the needs of a family to me. As I got older and the dream jobs of a young child seemed to become either not as interesting or impossible the idea of a being a stay at home parent stuck. I graduated high school, got a full time job and bought a condo but the thought of being a stay at home parent still lingered about in my mind. It was just an idea I couldn't shake. It wasn't always in my mind but at this point in my life I had to admit it was trending.
The first opportunity to follow this idea came when Alana, my wife, got pregnant with our first child Leilani and she worked with me to quit my job to stay at home with her. Since then we now have three children going on four and I’m still at home and loving every second of it. My wife has allowed me to follow my idea that has blossomed to be my dream come true and I can't help to say that Alana, my children, and myself are all benefiting from it. My future has forever changed and I look forward to it and sharing all my experiences that have helped shape it along the way.
I have more in common with your wife than you. Don't be intimidated.
As a stay at home parent and homemaker an interesting thing I encounter is that I always have more in common with the mother/wife of couples that have kids. This subject really links back to an idea I have about men staking their claim in their children's upbringing. Typically I have found couples to be very divided on their duties as parents within the house. I would venture a guess the wife took over with the children early on and the father probably threw in the towel. I'm not saying these dads are bad. Most of these couples work things out just fine with child responsibilities and so on. My point is that if you take into consideration that I staked my claim to parenting and the fact that I am the main caregiver of my children, I end up having more in common with most wives/mothers than I do husbands/fathers.
When I interact with couples in social events I always find myself conversing with the women of the group. Some of them work full time, part time, or stay at home. We talk about the kids and typically the conversation leads to the husbands not getting half of what we as either primary child stakeholders or stay at home parents are trying to do . Now once the topics go to crafts and fashion that is when I bow out but for the most part I do all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, toilet training, and any other unsavory duties non child stakeholders or non stay at home parents/homemakers don't have to do. I'm not complaining at all. I actually love it. But in a lot of households it is not the husband doing most of this.
When 90% of my life revolves around taking care of my children and my wife's needs I just don't have much to add to sports and business talk most husbands I have met use as conversation. When Alana and I meet new people with kids I typically hit it off with the wife more than the husband because in most households, even with two working spouses, I have more in common with the wife than the husband. With most new parent hangouts we wind up really get along with the other couple and everything seems awesome. We usually conclude our meeting by saying we should get the kids together. Unfortunately when the time comes to follow through, couples with stay at home moms or moms as the primary child stakeholders always ask for family play dates. This means they want my wife and I there with out kids and not just me. Most of my individual attempts to set up a time to hang out with the kids gets ignored or excuses are made as to why it won't happen when only the other couples wife would be available.
I personally find it odd really. I'm not sure if it is intimidation from the husband or worry from the wife as to how it may look. I typically get the cold shoulder or excuses when trying to get play dates involving just me coming over. If the other couples husband is there or Alana comes with me then it seems to be fine. At first I didn't think anything of it but eventually I got the picture after running into this situation over and over again. Perhaps I find it odd because Alana and I are so confident of our relationship that she is perfectly fine with me engaging with the opposite sex for the sake of providing interaction for our children and adult interaction for myself.
Don't get me wrong. There are a couples out there that are awesome and don't seem to care but I have seen more that do. If Alana isn't there or the other woman's husband isn't there when I come alone I get cancelled on regularly. And then it gets rescheduled by the wife and eventually canceled again. It is a royal pain for me because I click so well with the mothers because I am usually in the same shoes as them with the kids and other responsibilities. Along with this I can usually sense their frustration with the situation but the real fact as to why they cancel is rarely mentioned. A few moms have voiced the real issue and for that I am thankful for the truth. Some of them even stand up to their husbands and let them know it's not about their insecurities and I thank them for that as well.
In the long run this is something I have noticed over time. At this point it is pretty obvious that some couples are just not comfortable with me being around their spouses by myself because I am of the opposite sex. Perhaps stay at home dads are just one of those societal changes that haven't become fully acceptable yet. If so I hope that through a multitude of good experiences and open minds that eventually it does.
A little while ago, I wrote a post called I'm Not a Blog Rock Star. I talked about the fact that I'm a real person who copes with social anxiety.
Even though I share a lot about my life online, I'm afraid to go to parties and be in large groups.
There's a big conference coming up for bloggers in July. It's called BlogHer. It happens every year, and can never afford to go because I've been a SAHM for five years and (even though I'm also freelancer and substitute teacher) I don't make very much money at all.
I started a grassroots campaign to send myself to BlogHer.
If you enjoy reading what I write, if I make you laugh, if you love me, please donate to send me to BlogHer. There are awesome prizes for every level of donation. If you have any suggestions for additional incentives for donating please comment below.
Without further ado, here's the campaign link. My goal is to raise $650 to attend BlogHer. With your help I can take this blog to the next level.
I was talking with my friend, Jon. He and his fiance Becky (like me) have two small children.
"Listen, anytime you and Becky need a babysitter let me know! I would love to watch them." I told him. And I meant it. Of course I would have to bring my own kids with me or his kids would have to come to my house, but still I meant what I said.
On the other hand, I've encountered a curious situation regarding babysitters.
I cannot tell you how many times friends have said this statement to me:
"Anytime you need a babysitter, let me know!"
Yet, when the occasion does arrive, and I actually do need a babysitter, the same people who were enthusiastic about watching my kids, mysteriously have other plans.
Now don't get me wrong, I know my friends have their own lives to live, and they're doing awesome things. But please do us all a favor, don't say shit you don't mean. If you say "I'd love to babysit your kids, anytime!" Mean it, or don't say it at all.
A lot of times what people really mean when they say "I'll babysit anytime you need me" is "your kids are really cute. I wouldn't actually want to watch them, but they're adorable."
But seriously, if you think that you should say it.
Today was my trial day teaching two-year olds. I was nervous about getting to the school on time, so I pretended that I had to be there 30 minutes earlier than I was really supposed to get there.
Wow. Today was intense. Two year-olds are snuggly but they are also high energy and extremely physical. They also cry a lot.
It's interesting, because I also have a two and 1/2 year-old daughter at home. I realized a lot about Samara after spending a day with 12 two year-olds. I appreciated her more.
At two and 1/2 Samara is learning language at a rapid pace.
The kids I spent today with were still pre-verbal for the most part, but the words they did know they were excited to share!
What I love the most about two year-olds is how emotionally raw they are. If they're sad, they cry. If they're angry, they scream, if they're happy they laugh. And they display all those emotions intensely.
My dad is awesome. He's a Libra like me and he has an infectious laugh. Whenever he laughs, I laugh.
He's an actor, and when I was in fifth grade he started an acting class for me and my friends.
He's never been an animal person, but the first dog he ever bonded with was my childhood dog, a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix. Her name was Villa.
My dad and I are so similar that when we argue it's hilarious to watch. We say things like "No, you listen to me!" And the other person isn't listening at all. We're both Libras so we're sensitive.
I remember the time that my brother and I were flying to California from New York, and our plane was delayed for nine hours. What American Airlines didn't know back in 1989 was that Jeff Fader is from the Bronx. Once he found out that the engine was being changed on our plane, his Bronx roots came out. 30 minutes later my entire family had free plane tickets to Orlando.
When my dad told me bedtime stories they would always end the same way, "and then they opened a hardware store in Cleveland."
He also had a blue stuffed rabbit that he used to make silly sarcastic remarks that always made me laugh.
Dad, I love you. You have been there for me through every stage of my crazy life and continue to do so. Thank you for being an amazing person and a force to reckon with.
Yesterday I was riding the 1 train home from Soho. At Canal Street the train came to an abrupt halt. I sat in the train car for several minutes waiting for the inaudible announcer's voice to come on attempting to explain why we were staying put. No such announcement came. I made an executive decision to exit the the train and find an alternate route home.
Upon exiting the train, I found myself on the corner of Canal Street and 6th Avenue. I literally turned myself around in a complete circle, confused as to what to do next. Then I spotted a row of bikes that looked like this:
Citi bikes! I felt a surge of excitement ignite within me. All at once I pulled out my debit card, swiped it and I had a numeric code that promised to give me access to a bike. The only problem was I couldn't get the code to work! Luckily, a man walked by who was returning his bike. He assisted me in getting a replacement code and I was able to unlock my prize: a bike!
I had a bike in my hands. It cost me $9.95 and I was ready to rock and roll and ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.
I got onto the bike, and I immediately felt a sense of freedom surge like electricity through my veins. I didn't need the subway, I could get myself home. It brought me back to being 15 years old when I rode a bike 150 miles from Connecticut to Rhode Island on a camp biking trip. We stayed in the basements of churches along the way.
I pedaled my way down 7th Avenue and onto Worth street. I cut off many city buses, like a boss. I felt free, invigorated, the wind blowing my hair back as I rode. I pedaled my way onto the Brooklyn Bridge, sweat dripping down my face, breathing heavily.
I stopped half way across the bridge to rest and admire the view of the East River. Then I continued over the bridge, my eyes focused straight ahead. I felt like a nomad, displaced from home, but knowing that I would find my way back there.
As I rode down hill, adrenaline rushed through my body and I let my feet sit on the pedals, coasting down to Boerum Place into the land of Brooklyn.
I soared down Atlantic Avenue, scaring some tourists, causing one woman to exclaim "Whoa, miss!"
I arrived at Dean Street and 4th Avenue where there was a Citi Bike docking station. I docked my bike into it's parking place. I was dripping with sweat, but I felt amazing. I soared, I was free, I conquered the Brooklyn Bride.
Next year Ari starts Kindergarten. He got into an awesome school, but it's in the middle of nowhere. In the suburbs children ride these to get to school:
In New York City, parents get their kids to school in all kinds of different ways. Some walk, some take the train, others take the city bus, some drive, and then there are the kids who actually take a yellow school bus to school, just like the kids in the suburbs.
Since Ari is only five, I'm not sure if he's ready to take the big yellow school bus. It could be daunting for a little kid to sit on a bus with a bunch of older kids. I remember my mom telling me that's how my brother learned his first curse words, riding the school bus.
Since we live in hippy-dippy Park Slope, there are a lot of parents who bike their children to school. So that could be an option for us. However, since I have two kids, I don't know how that will work out with bike seats.
I've seen some formidable bike seats that I would love to purchase. Like this one, for instance:
How dope is that? I want someone to push me around in that!
So there are some options. I could take both kids on the train every day, but that sounds like a circus. Plus, it's actually two trains I would have to take including a transfer station that's full of stairs. Stairs + stroller = NO!
So I get back to my original question. Is Ari old enough to take a big yellow school bus? If he is, that would be a giant relief to me based on the geographic location of his school in relation to my house.
The other day I got an email from Ria Romano over at Romano PR. She asked if I'd like to try the Oransi Fridge Air Purifier. I said, sure! I mean, having two little kids, my fridge consistently smells bad. So Ria sent me this little air freshener.
I like to call it an air freshener robot, because it reminds me of R2D2.
The air freshener robot (also known as the Oransi Fridge Air Purifier) is battery-operated, and it makes my fridge smell good. Hooray!
The kids think it's fun too.
Ria also sent me another awesome item to try. It's a ball of laundry detergent. The Robby Wash Ball is literally a ball that you throw into your washing machine to wash your clothes!
It contains hypoallergenic detergent that's easy on your skin. Hooray! It's great, because I have the most sensitive skin known to man.
The other awesome thing about The Robby Wash Ball is that it's reusable and refillable. Hooray for the environment!
Do you want to win an air freshener robot and everlasting laundry detergent? Enter below!
I started writing when I was a child. I remember at an early age, loading my mother's electric typewriter with paper and typing out story after story. These were stories about princesses losing hats, impossible children, adventures of animals, and whatever else happened to float into my brain at the moment.
One day, my mom bought a Macintosh Plus computer. That day, my life changed. I went from spending my afternoons on the typewriter to having quality time with the computer.
Somewhere along the way, I began to write a story. That story evolved into a bigger story and finally it became a novel. I began writing it around seven years-old. I'd work on it here and there between school obligations. I took a break somewhere around the age of ten and then came back to it at age 16. Then I took yet another break and finally, at age 27, I decided to finish it, let my friend Brian edit it, and self-publish it.
The Mystery of Alan Norman McBride is about two sisters that live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan who overhear gangsters plotting to murder a millionaire, Alan Norman McBride. They take it upon themselves to warn this millionaire and stop these thugs in their tracks.
I remember having a lot of fun writing this novel as a kid. To me it represents where I came from (writing-wise) and I value the fact that I was able to complete a project over many years.
Do you want to win The Mystery of Alan Norman McBride? Enter below to win a copy!
I had Ari when I was 28 years-old. I was the first one of my friends to have a baby. When I started to meet other mothers in the playground, I noticed something; they were 10 years older than me. In a funny way, I felt like a teen mom. I mean, I was in my late 20s, so I was clearly not a teenager. But yet, the parents that had kids my age were much older than I was.
Then I started to take stock of my own friends. Some of my friends started to have babies, but there were plenty of my friends who went into their 30s still unmarried with no kids. I continued to feel weird and like an anomale. Were people in their 20s not having kids anymore?
Then I thought, maybe it's a geographic region thing. Maybe people who grew up in New York City in the 80s are waiting to get married and have kids.
Plenty of my friends are perfectly happy being single and/or in a committed relationship with no kids. They're living life pursuing their passions or trying to figure out what they're passionate about and do that.
Here's another thing, even though I have kids my life is still not figured out. I'm still trying to find my way in my career. I have half a masters degree and haven't decided what to do with myself vocationally. I know I want to write in some capacity. I'd love to be a published author someday, but I still haven't found what I'm looking for. That's also a U2 song.
I think the point is, there is no right path. We're all figuring it out.
I have a friend who's a lawyer, making a lot of money who's still unhappy. He's looking to change careers. To me that says something. Money isn't everything either. You could be "successful" on paper, making a six figure salary and still not have your life figured out.
I don't know, are the 30s the new 20s? What do you think?
Until today, my couches were white and had stains on them. I got them off of craiglist for super cheap. One day, my friend Alex was over and she said, "you know, you could totally dye these couches."
The idea sounded intriguing, so I asked her to tell me more.
"Well, we just buy some dye and do it! A lot of dye." She said with a laugh.
Alex is an artist, so she had a vision.
I told her I wanted purple couches.
One day, my friend Zahir and I were hanging out in the Fader garden. Alex came over to drop off a cat toy for Egreck. Suddenly a plan hatched in my head. "Okay guys, next Sunday, we're dying the couches."
The two of them laughed, but they realized that they were signed up this task.
Alex went to a fabric store and bought a lot of dye.
Today, here's what happened:
Thank you team couch, Alex and Zahir for making these works of art!
Yesterday I went to the gym, did 3.7 miles on the elliptical machine and swam. It was 90 degrees outside, so I was proud of myself for 1. making it over there and 2. pushing myself that hard. On the way home from the gym, I noticed a bakery I'd never seen before. The thought of chocolate anything was too much to pass up, so I entered the pastry shop and was immediately intoxicated by the smell of baked goods. There was so much to choose from!
As I was pondering over whether I wanted a homemade whoopie pie, a s'more or a brownie, a man entered the shop holding a laptop. He made conversation with the barista (I can call him that because he was also serving coffee) and from their repartee I assumed this guy was the owner of the shop.
"Are you the owner?" I asked.
"No, but I come here often enough." He replied with a smile.
"Oh, what do you do?" I asked him.