29 posts categorized "Daddyhood"

A balancing act: A guest post from a performing artist parent

May 10, 2014

Guest post from Camellia Nieh, who will be performing with TEMPOS Tuesday and Wednesday.

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photo © Dan Kim

A year ago, my husband I joined a performance group called TEMPOS, blending acrobatics, dance, and physical theater with live music. My husband writes and performs music for the group, and I perform acrobatics. Acrobatics is my passion…it makes me feel strong and alive. Music is my husband’s. We feel so lucky to have found an outlet that enables us both to work creatively together.

Our six-year-old son, Uzi, is less thrilled about our artistic projects. TEMPOS takes up a lot of our time. Friends and family support us a lot with childcare, and we have a fantastic babysitter whom he loves. But Uzi still wishes we would just stay home with him every night. Sometimes he cries when I have to leave for a rehearsal.

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photo © Ty Chance

I feel conflicted about the time I invest in creative pursuits. My husband is less conflicted. He assures me that it’s better for Uzi to see us dedicating ourselves to what we love. That it makes us happier, more balanced parents, and that it sets a good example, too. Fundamentally, I think he’s right. My hope is that when Uzi is older, he’ll look back and be proud of us for being performers. He’ll feel enriched by the evenings he spent hanging out backstage, tumbling with a crew of playful acrobats, or in the music studio in our basement, learning drumbeats and experimenting with the mixing board. Also, my mother sacrificed her personal aspirations to raise our family, and while we’re deeply grateful to her for devoting so much of herself to us, it was also hard always knowing that she felt so unfulfilled.

How do you balance what you love to do with the needs of your children? Do you feel conflicted about the time and resources you invest in doing things you love? Do you wish your own parents had invested more in their own passions, or less?

Best Advice for First-Time, New Parents

November 02, 2012

A colleague of mine has a two-month old daughter.  Back at work while his wife enjoys another month at home, he still looked a little foggy and fuzzy as we caught up last week.  Beyond what baby gear essentials they needed, he wondered: what piece of advice did I (parent to three, eldest being 12) have for him?

My answer, which I learned from watching my own mother (full-time bread-winning, bread-making mama like me): ask for help when you need it, offer help when you can.

Continue reading "Best Advice for First-Time, New Parents" »

Having it all a little bit as a mom

June 23, 2012

Have you read the epic, flag-planting, fierce-debate-inspiring cover story in The Atlantic? I came across it the evening it was published and immediately -- though it was past 1 a.m. when I finished -- read the entire story, 12,000-some words and all. I wanted to stop in the middle several times to say, "this is ground breaking! This is amazing!" but I read through to the end. Of course, by this time, it had already begun to create controversy.

I read it almost like gospel. In my opinion, Anne-Marie Slaughter eloquently and persuasively make the case for why it is impossible for women today to "have it all at once" -- the high-powered career, and children who are well-cared for -- and how societal expectations, policies, and our own relationships might be changed to make "having it all" possible. For one, the "culture of face time" needs to be wiped out (something I agree with so much I'd happily write an entire 12,000-word column on that alone); for another, family values, even the sort that value older parents and siblings and partners, need to be re-valued (this one's worth a couple of books).

The biggest criticism of Slaughter's article is that she doesn't discuss the potential contribution of dads enough; she makes a point that "having it all is possible if you marry the right person" is one of the "half-truths we hold dear." Her husband, indeed, was a working dad rock star, a nurturing dad who helped his boys learn lines for the school play and made Hungarian palacsinta for foreign food night. She mentions Sheryl Sandberg, who famously pointed to her own husband and said, "There’s my work-life balance." Well, great. Not all of us make such brilliant choices; and even if we do pick fantastic husbands, it's still not ideal to put far more of the parenting load on dad. There are times we as moms want to be around; there are times we're really just needed; there are times that a culture that valued family more than work would be nice. OK: that would be nice all the time. We're also going to have to stop expecting any young parent to dedicate him or herself to a job. It's just ridiculous that any boss (or financial backer) should see a new parent or parent-to-be and think: "well, we'll give them a week or two off for family leave and then the responsibility will be done." We should change the expectation of work entirely; 40 hours should be more than enough. You should be able to go home and turn off, even if you do work in a high-powered job. Unless actual lives are actually depending on you. (And then it's probably better if you're actually happy.)

Slaughter makes a point of the Washington in-joke, that those who say they're leaving  a position to spend time with their family are using it as a euphemism for "fired," and that when one does actually leave to spend time with one's family, everyone rushes to say, "it's true! FAMILY! Really!" and hardly anyone believes it.

I left my last full-time job to spend time with my family. But, to be honest, this was also a euphemism. My family took more than the hours "after" work could fit. I didn't "marry the right person." I had kids with extraordinary (in the literal meaning of the word, "outside the ordinary," not "insanely difficult beyond all reason" as it often has come to mean) challenges that kept me running around to IEP meetings and to pick them up from school and up at night, literally. They required more from me than someone who wants to vault up in her career can handle.

So, I -- if you are to take literally the weird and logically-flawed reasoning of another Atlantic writer, Elizabeth Wurtzel -- became an unreal feminist. (Here's what she wrote, so you don't have to click, "Let's please be serious grown-ups: real feminists don't depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own." Her argument was based on "1% wives," who she tarred and feathered as being "dumb" and so obsessed with yoga that they had no room in their brains for anything else, and were ruining feminism for us all by being so dumb and making their 1% husbands think that's what all women are like. I am not exaggerating her piece at all. Like I said: weird.) I started to, over time, depend on a man whose living is mostly made on the other side of the planet driving VIPs to their Very Important Appointments for the Army.

So I can't have it all. And I'm only a feminist in the eyes of the generous. Throwing off an Ivy League MBA for the thrift-shopping, bike-riding, weed-pulling, dish-washing life of an Army wife is fullscale traitorism in Wurtzel's mind, and I'll bet Anne-Marie Slaughter would never have made this call in her 30s, though maybe she would consider it in retrospect.

This is when we find something else. I'm an idea person; I make up what-I-imagine-are-paradigm-shifting ways to run the business world while I shower and while I run and while I bike and while I wash dishes. One of my many such plots was "Mom VC." A venture capital firm run by mothers, kind of micro-social venture capital. Each woman would contribute either time or money -- not a lot by VC standards, $1,000 or so -- or their skills as lawyer/marketer/graphic designer/accountant/strategy expert/content writer/editor. A board would decide where investments would go. We'd all be "job creators," creating jobs for other moms, jobs they could make as flexible as their family needed them to be.

I still love this idea. But it would take an extreme amount of time and dedication to make it happen. Could we? Would we? I think so. In the meantime we have Kickstarter. And it's, amazingly, becoming the kind of place where we can have, not "it all," but a little bit.

I think of it as a version of my Mom VC, but not just moms, and you can buy in with anything. Here are three projects you can support -- use your own venture capital in any amount -- for Portland mothers working to create jobs we can believe in.

  • Stealing Time, a literary magazine for parents. This is my project and it's already shown me just how incredible the community here in Portland, and across the U.S. social media landscape, can be. We've had donations of time and talent and love beyond what I could hope for, mostly by moms, but some of it by people who just care about great writing and reading. It's a literary magazine for parents to take the place of the closing-down Brain, Child, and to also be something more; one issue a year will be devoted to pregnancy and childbirth, creating the only regular venue for truly literary writing about pregnancy. Funding ends July 2.
  • Yankers, time- and stress-saving baby clothes. These adorable and sensible baby clothes are the brainchild of Rosalee Rester, a mom whose funny Babywit was the stuff of consumer lust when I first became a parent. She's back with "stylish, modern, all-in-one outfits designed with a unique and simple pull down panel in the back. This panel allows easy access to your baby's diaper without having to deal with any snaps or fasteners." I love innovation like this; it's exactly the sort of thing a Mom VC would back. Funding ends July 13.
  • Dark and Light, a love story for babies. This board book series was created by sweet Portland mom Shasta Kerns Moore, one of whose twin sons has cerebral palsy. The book "is an elegantly simple board book aimed at very young children. The pictures are straight-forward enough that babies can follow along while adults can consider the wider implications of the story's metaphors." Funding ends June 27.

Happy Father's Day! What are your family traditions?

June 17, 2012

Today was Father's Day, and we didn't much in the way of celebrating the father in *my* kids' life; they made cards and sent them off to Kuwait. I love the idea of celebrating other fathers, though, and we got to hang out with some of our favorite other-people's-dads at the Disaster Relief Trials. As we rode home and did our evening things, I noticed how many dads I saw with their kids, even doing errands. It struck me that, while many mothers choose to spend some time alone on Mother's Day (and the tradition is for mom not to have to cook anything on her day), it's more common for men to spend their day in non-stop daddy mode (and, if you're going to be like the dads on TV, cooking food on the grill).

As I'm temporarily without male partner, I can observe the Father's Day crush from a distance. While I was shaking my head at the display ads at Trader Joe's for hot dogs and beer for Dad, I have a feeling the cliche is just what my husband would love were he here. Next year, I thought, I'll buy a bunch of hot dogs and microbrews and a bag of charcoal and he'll be so happy!

How did you celebrate Father's Day? Do you have the traditions that fit the end-of-aisle displays? Or do you do something unique to your own family? If you're a blended family or you are separated from your children's other parent, how does that work out?

The Novelty Parent: It's not me

March 01, 2011

Many evenings, while I get dinner onto the table, my partner is relagated to toddler- and child-management.  I bustle around in that very stressful pre-dinner hour, and I often hear squealing and giggles coming from the other room, surely the result of my husband nuzzling his head into the toddler's tummy.  More squeals come from the other kids, playing around with their dad little brother.

Not every household has two parents, but - for those that do - each of the two parents often settle into roles.  For me, thanks to my efficiency and love for edible arts, it is my role to mange the kitchen.  My partner, then, has the role of managing things outside the kitchen - in this case - the kids.  In other cases, I often still take on the role of primary caretaker, tending to the basic needs of my family such as laundering, kitchen inventory, handling the calendar.  It wears on me, while many times I find my partner takes on the role of playmate, sports coach, tickle monster.  To be honest: I get jealous.  To be honest: I sometimes get bitter.

To be sure, I can challenge the roles, start a mission to lowly change them.  But, who has the time?  Right now, I do feel that efficiency trumps, and I am indeed the Mistress of Multitasking.  My skill set is better suited for the caretaking and nurturing tasks.  I just want to know I'm not alone.  Does it happen in your house too?  Is there a primary caretaker, and does the secondary caretaker get all the fun jobs?  And, dare I ask: have you managed to swap roles here and there?  Has it worked well?

Helping kids expect the unknown

October 21, 2010

As I type this, I'm waiting to hear if my husband's airplane is landing right now-this-minute, or if he's still hours or days away. We've been waiting for him to come home on leave from Kuwait -- where he's been the last five months with the Army Reserves -- since Sunday, when he left. I told my boys that it was all up in the air, but then he called Monday night with a flight number and time. So, we expect him Tuesday night...

A few hours before his flight was (I thought) arriving, he got on Facebook chat with me (internet was way cheaper than phones), from Germany. OK, so, not Tuesday night. Wednesday? No, he was on "lockdown" for 12 hours. Thursday? Probably?

Now I have to go pick the boys up in a few minutes, and maybe I'll have something to tell them (we're headed to the airport!), maybe I'll just have to say, "who knows?" Though this is an extreme situation, for sure, I know I'm not the only one who has to deal with a partner who's often making last-minute changes in availability -- work travel, sudden flight changes (voluntary or not so much), having to work late or entertain friends/clients/family unexpectedly. How do you help your kids expect the unknown? Is it fair to say, "we'll never know until he walks through the door?" Or is it better to let them in a little bit on your own emotional roller coaster (not to torture them, but so they'll at least be able to understand why you're on edge)?

Right now, my best coping mechanism could generously be called "comfort" and critically be called "junk": Kettle Chips, coffee shop treats, and Burgerville drivethrough. I've been saving that good dinner (flat iron steaks, roasted cauliflower, mashed potatoes) for three days now... I think it's time to start cooking. I think my heart is telling me I should stick to a schedule and let the schedule-afflicted partner join in if he or she can... but that's a hard thing for this mama to do. What do you think?

Away from babe: when was the first time?

August 02, 2010

The email that came from the baby daddy read: "has no ever taken a ten-month old away from his/her mom for 48 hours?"  He was responding to my resistance to agreeing to let him take our babe away for the weekend when he goes solo to see his family.

Here's a secret: I don't think I can do it.  With the two that came before, it was 2.5 years before I had a night away from them.  And, the first night away coincided with the weaning effort both times.  This definitely will not be a weaning effort, only a time away from mama, one-on-one time with dad.  But, I don't know.  I don't want to.  Maybe I am clinging too much to my babe, not wanting to be apart for two days.  Not to mention: how am I supposed to make enough milk for the 48-hour separation?  They would leave at 10pm on Friday and I have just a few days to pump!

I would love to hear stories about your first nights away from your babes.  When?  How old?  How long?  How did you fare?

Christmas for mamas and papas

December 23, 2009

With a super-tight budget and plenty of holiday stress, I often leave the decision about what to get for daddy until the very last minute, and I've thus far been terrible about insisting the kids come up with gifts for their parents. I realize that, last year, my husband and I really didn't get each other anything. Now it's two days before Christmas, and though I really want to buy him the gift I know he needs: a new (to him) commuter bike, I really don't have the room in my budget. As I troll craigslist, beg for help on Twitter, and wheel and deal, I wonder: have your gifts for the other parent in your life fallen by the wayside since you had children? Who do you spend more money (or time) on? How about you? Do your children and partner get you plenty of gifts for Christmas, or do you end up watching your kids open their presents with a bittersweet mix of happiness (for them) and nostalgia (for the time when you had more to expect on Christmas morning)?

Meeting Mr. Right, who is not Dad

November 24, 2009

Introducing a new parent figure into a child's life is a big step that many of us has been through.  An urbanMama recently emailed, seeking your experience and perspective:

I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter.  I have been separated from her father since she was 15 months old. Since that time he has had NO interaction or contact with his daughter. We have no legal statements of custody (legally, I believe this means that we have joint custody. All of his parental rights are intact.) He has had NO visitation, pays NO child support. He and I do not even speak; not because we are uncivil but because when we separated we separated completely. 

I have recently met the man whom I believe I am going to marry. We have talked about him adopting my daughter.  Does anyone know anything about the adoption requirements in the state of Oregon? I am assuming that my daughter's father will have to sign adoption papers if we wish for my current boyfriend to legally adopt my daughter.

More importantly, has anyone had experience with integrating a father figure into a young child's life? My daughter has never known a father, although she has recently begun to ask things like "Where's my dad?" and "Why don't I have a dad?" as she has started to interact with friends who have both a mother and a father.  I'd love to hear anyone's story, advice, opinion, etc about introducing a father figure into her life at this age.  I have no intention of expecting her to call this new person "Dad".  He and I both feel that if that day comes, wonderful but that is something we will let her come to on her own terms. But how do you EXPLAIN the role of father if and when she asks if this person is her dad?  I believe in being honest and fair with her. I'd like to be able to answer her questions as honestly and as safely, in terms of her development, as I can. I know I don't have all the answers. So, I'd love any support or advice anyone has to share. Book recommendations are always appreciated! :-)

A new daddy group in SE PDX

September 18, 2009

We know there are ad hoc mama groups forming all the time in our midst, but a papa group is harder to come by.  We just received an email from Impact Northwest at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center announcing the formation of a new playgroup, geared toward fathers.

The Family Support Workers with Healthy Start saw a need to provide support for the fathers of the community.  So often services are provided and focus on the mother and child, but rarely is there a program dedicated specifically to fathers.  With that in mind the Healthy Start program created a Dad and child play group.  The goal of the group is to provide support and a sense of belonging among fathers in the community.  The group is geared toward fathers of children from birth to 3 years old.
With a generous grant from SE Uplift, and pizzas donated by Papa Murphy’s the dad’s group meets three times a month.  We have gotten community volunteers, who are also fathers to act as facilitators for each group.  At each group we are able to have both an English and Spanish speaking facilitator.  There is no agenda for each group, but rather an environment in which dad’s can talk to other dad’s about the struggles and triumphs of fatherhood.

Group times/dates for the rest of 2009 are: Sept 21; Oct 6, 14, and 19h; Nov 2, 11, and 16; and Dec 7, 16, and 21.  All of the groups meet from 6:00pm-7:30pm at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, 7211 SE 62nd Ave., Portland, Oregon 97206.  For more information, please contact Jessica Bell at jbell@impactnw.org or (503)988-5961 x256

We've added these playgroups to the urbanMamas calendar.  Hope you can take advantage of the groups!

Seeking support for a partner

July 26, 2009

Many of us are in lifelong relationships, and our roles as mamas and papas must fit in with our roles as supporters, confidants, best friends, and significant others.  An urbanMama recently emailed, seeking suggestions for supporting her partner:

I am wondering if any urbanMamas can offer advice or ideas for how to support a husband who has hit a particularly difficult and rocky patch.  My husband has been struggling for months (and even off and on for years) with some general dissatisfaction regarding his life and his career.  A lot of it stems from a job that he doesn't like but he feels trapped in for financial reasons.  Some of it could be a version of a midlife crisis.  It has made him very difficult to be around at times, and I am having a hard time not taking it personally when I feel like he is unhappy with the life we have built for ourselves (while I am more or less satisfied with how things are going).  I know he loves me and our two girls (ages 2 and 4), but I am struggling to be patient with this particularly depressed, angry, miserable phase that he is going through.  Aside from marital counseling, which I am sure we could benefit from, how do I help him day to day when I am trying to juggle my own work and home demands?  Any insight?

urbanPapas need friends too: Seeking SAHDs

June 30, 2009

For sure, we have many fewer conversations here on urbanMamas dedicated to the papas, which isn't to say that daddyhood isn't important!  But, we know there are dads who are faithful readers of urbanMamas.  An urbanPapa recently emailed seeking paparaderie with other stay-at-home dads (SAHDs):

Are there dads lurking on the urbanMamas site who have advice for a new dad who's at home with his daughter? Do stay at home dads meet up anywhere in Portland?  My partner just happened to be finishing an engineering program just as the economy tanked.  I've been back at work for two months, while he's full time at home with our five month old daughter. We'd love to hear from other dads who by choice or circumstance are taking care of the kids.

If there are papas out there who'd like to get together for a SAHD gathering or a daddy gathering, please let us know!   We can help facilitate getting that group together.

Happy Father's Day! Celebrate with kids, or without?

June 21, 2009

Dads_fathers_day On Mother's Day, I scored a few hours alone to go to the farmer's market, and as I wandered around shopping on my own, I watched other pregnant women and women who looked vaguely mama-ish, wondering: would we rather be with our kids, or alone, on this day that celebrates us? I already missed my kids, especially on this day, when having them along would prove that I was one of the laud-ees. (Why I need to prove that, I can't explain.) I decided I'd rather be around them, and hurried home to hang out with my sweet boys and eat market goodies.

Today is Father's Day, and someone on my Twitter stream was musing about whether she or her husband deserved the day off; June 21 is her birthday. I immediately thought, neither, isn't celebrating with family what these days are all about? but held my tongue (or fingers); maybe she just meant "day off of cleaning the dishes."

Another dad I follow, though, said he thought Father's Day was a day for dads to spend with their kids. I began to reflect that it's far more common to give mom a day alone on her day, whereas it's more common to have dad+kid activities on dad's day. Given the long experience in our culture of domestic/career divisions with its conventionally-assumed distribution:mom's making breakfast and folding laundry, dad's putting on his tie and readying for a commute; these days have traditionally sought to change that dynamic for 24 hours.

But in our progressive 21st century culture, the facts have changed... right? Dad's doing laundry, mom's often commuting, but most of us still spend Mother's and Father's Days the same as when we called our parents "mother" and "father" (at least on TV). How is it in your house? Does dad celebrate by going on kid-tastic adventures, or does he go out and hang with his daddy friends? Or is it a big family barbecue -- and does dad man the grill or sit back and drink rootbeer floats (my own dad's fave)?

For the record: today, we're making one of my husband's favorite breakfasts, huevos rancheros burritos, and later we'll all be going on what I think is the best Pedalpalooza ride of all: the Unimproved Ride Road. How about you?

What do you do when two is enough? The big V?

July 28, 2008

We've talked forever about our decision to go with an IUD for our preferred method of birth control, with well over a 100 comments and going.  We have an urbanFamily looking into the big "V", a vasectomy, and seeks your doc suggestions in and around Portland:

Our family is looking at the big V this year for my husband. I'm looking for doctor recommendations.

Any more tips, tricks, or advice?  It's always welcome.

What's up for Father's Day 2008?

June 06, 2008

Now, the time has almost come to celebrate the daddies in our children's lives.  Is this a gift-oriented holiday for some of you?  Care to share gift ideas?  How else are you contributing to making it a special day?  If your child(ren) doesn't live with their papa full-time, is the celebration different or is the holiday less highlighted in your world?  Are there other ways you are celebrating father figures in your family?

urbanMamas, but for urbanPapas?

April 02, 2008

We at urbanMamas, though we're called urbanMamas, welcome mamas and papas (grandmas, aunties, grandpas, uncles, and all the caretakers of our little folk) to come share experiences and perspectives.  Still, our thrust has always been - and always will be - our mamaraderie.  Well, what about paparaderie, beyond our piddly section devoted to daddyhood?  George recently emailed:

Do you know any sites that are similar to Urban Mamas, but for PDX fathers?

And what about the dads?

March 09, 2008

Thank you, Tracy, for beating us to the punch, for we were going start a conversation along the same vein.

In amongst all the angst of the "Do you stay at home?  Why or why not?" question, there was not a lot of talk about dads.  Sorry for the fact that this question assumes a dad is present as I know it won't relate to everyone, but what is the role of dad in your home?  How do you divide work?  How do you think dad and mom relationships differ with the children?  How do the dads feel about their role and would they want it to be different?  Do moms want dad's role to be different?  Very curious about this....

We know that the vast majority of people who read this site are, in fact, mamas.  We also know, however, that there are quite a few papas out there that read regularly and comment oh-so very infrequently.  We appreciate you papas treading lightly and allowing the conversation to ensue.  But, we are also interested in bringing papas deeper into the fold.  We would love to hear from you, too.  We realize that not every family has a papa.  Still, we want to ask mamas and papas alike: What is papa's role in your household?  What would you like to see different?  What would you never change?

Helping the Papa make Papa friends

February 11, 2008

It's so fun when we get to meet you in person!  Last night, we met Kelly and Ethan, mama and papa to a 5 month old Jackson.  Ethan stays home 3 days a week with baby Jackson.  When we got to talking about daddy groups and possible papa meet-ups, it occurred to us that it'd been a while since we'd talked about support for the papas. 

Beyond "Support for the SAHDs" or "Surfing urbanPapas", do you have more suggestions for the stay-at-home daddy set?  Know of a great papa group?  Have you helped your babe's papa connect with other papas?  What are foolproof ways to get the daddies in on the playdate circuit?

Support for SAHDs

October 01, 2007

Megan seeks advice from the urbanMamas on behalf of the urbanPapas:

I'm going back to work next week and my husband will be staying home (in NE Portland) with our 5 month old son. Do you know of any networks (i.e. like urbanMamas) for stay at home dads?

Surfing urbanPapas

August 21, 2007

Are there any urbanPapas out there who fit this bill?

My husband has been a dedicated surfer since his college years at Black's Beach in San Diego. Since we had kids, what used to be a vital part of his life has turned into a very occasional activity. However, now that the youngest is 4 and we've emerged from that period of crazed intensity, my husband is looking to get back in the ocean on a more regular basis. He's wondering if there are any UrbanPapa surfers out there who'd like to share gas and driving (and good conversation!) on a once-a-month daytrip to the coast. As a parent, he understands the contstraints of family life, but he's looking for a guy(s) who are committed and won't flake out on him.  Please call Bruce at 503-872-9943.

Kid's Sick - Who Stays Home?

August 15, 2007

Just as the Activistas were discussing: Papas & The FMLS - Is anyone using it?  A University of Cincinnati study recently released and looked at dual-working parent families: Who puts family first when a child is sick?  Their data "finds a large gender disparity in providing urgent child care, with 77.7 percent of women taking time off from work and 26.5 percent of men reporting that they attend to child-care needs".

If you and your partner both work, how do you decide who stays home with a sick child?  How does your workplace treat you're child's sickness & your need to stay home?  As a single parent, have you found emergency back-up care that works?  What do you do as a working parent when your child is sick?

What's up for Father's Day 2007?

June 12, 2007

So, uMamas, do you have special plans to celebrate the urbanPapas in our lives this Sunday?  Melissa recently emailed:

Please tell me that I am not the only mama out there with a "daddy" that BUYS everything he wants.  If he doesn't already own it then it is out of our price range.  What are you getting the father of your children for Father's Day?

urbanPapa Doctor Recommendation?

May 03, 2007

We urbanMamas are interested in good health for urbanPapas, too!  Christina has a great question:

I have a question I'm asking on behalf of the UrbanPapa in my family. I've always taken for granted the fact that I have a doctor who specializes in women's health issues, but my husband has been looking for a doctor who specializes in men's health and has come up empty. He'd like to have a doctor he can go to for a general check-up, talk about various issues and build a relationship. Any recommendations? I want him to live a long, healthy life!

Question for 2-house families

April 21, 2007

urbanMamas and Papas, Sadie Rose would love to hear how you have juggled scheduling for your child(ren) who have two or more places to call "home":

I have a 2.5 year old boy, and he goes to his dad's one night a week. But now, things are changing and he's going to be there nearly (but not quite) half the time!

I was just wondering if anyone out there has any ideas on the best way to do the split household with a little guy. I was nearly twelve when my parents divorced, and as I headed into my teens, I liked the longer stints at each house so that I didn't have to go back and forth so much. But clearly, with a toddler, I'm not going to do it as I would with a teenager. At this point, we have developed a schedule where he goes to his dad's house 2 nights in a row, comes back to me for 2 nights, back to dad's for 1 night, and then back to me for 2 nights.

It sounds complicated, and I suppose on many levels, it is. I am just wondering if any uMs have any other ideas or experiences or advice on this matter. We are barely even through our first week with the new schedule, so I'm not even sure how it's going to go. Time (and emotions) will tell.

Desperately Seeking Parenting Classes

March 02, 2007

When parenting styles clash, what's a family to do?  Jenn asks:

Our son is 2.5 years old and i'm well aware that his often crazy, unpredictable behavior is normal for his age.  my husband, however, is losing his patience minute by minute and simply shuts down in the face of it. It's causing serious stress on our family and our marriage, and i feel we're at an impasse - we need some outside help. I was wondering if anyone out there knows of a good toddler parenting/family communications class or workshop we could attend either as a couple or all 3 of us.

Family Adventuring 101

February 26, 2007

This Wednesday Milagros will host a special get-together for the fathers and fathers to be out there. We will provide a variety of suggestions and tips for successful family adventuring.

It doesn’t matter what your outdoor experience is, whether you have scaled mountains or just taken walks in your neighborhood, the focus of this discussion is helping you choose and plan outings that will be memorable and fun.

Bring your questions and your own experiences to share. Tony will be bringing his experience as an outdoor guide for Outward Bound and Adventure Learning as well as an adventuring parent to the conversation.

Wednesday, February 28, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm at Milagros, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Portland. $3 per person suggested donation.

UPDATED: For the boys

January 13, 2007

NOTE: I need to cancel the February 15 playdate.

My intent at some point is to start a blog that is for the men-folk but I know that I'm not the only Papa who checks out UrbanMamas for ideas/suggestions/info. So please allow me to provide a commercial advertisement targeting the boys on this forum for just a moment:

Upcoming UrbanPapas Playdates:
Thursday, January 18, 10 am - Noon
CANCELED: Thursday, February 15, 10 am - Noon

at Milagros, 5433 Ne 30th Avenue, Portland

Bring yourself and your kid - but kid is not required. If you want to bring a snack to share, go for it! - but not required. Remember to help clean-up before you leave!

UrbanPapas Forum - Family Adventuring: Travel, Outdoor Life, and More with Family and Kids

Wednesday, February 28
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
at Milagros, 5433 Ne 30th Avenue, Portland

Facilitator/featured speaker Tony Fuentes. Tony will provide suggestions and tips for successful family adventuring based on his experience as an outdoor guide for Outward Bound and as an adventuring parent. Bring your questions and your own experiences to share.

No kids this time. $3 per person suggested donation. This is our first time doing an evening kid-free meeting so please RSVP.

UrbanPapa Get Together

December 05, 2006

There was a post on the need for opportunities for Papas and Papas-to-be to meet, greet and swap stories, advice, or what have you. Putting together a group like that has been on my to-do list for many, many months.

I am now a Papa for the second-time - Gael Cesario Fuentes was born on 11/30, all is well with him, his Mama and his adoring big sister. I realize that I just need to do this thing or it may never happen, so here it goes:

What: UrbanPapa Thang - a chance to meet other dads, enjoy some complimentary coffee, and/or just hang out

When: Thursday, December 21, 10 am - Noon at Milagros, 5433 Ne 30th Avenue. If all goes well, this will become a regular thing on the third Thursday of every month. I'll keep you posted on that.

What to bring: Yourself, your infant, toddler, or preschool aged kid(s) - kid is not required. If you want to bring a snack to share, go for it but not required.

If you have any questions, send me an email

Dad's Groups?

November 29, 2006

We mamas know we have a great thing going here with urbanMamas.  While we aren't an exclusive all-mama community, we are admittedly biased toward all things mama.  (Shout-outs go to our most regular urbanPapa participant, Tony at Milagros!).  How does an urbanPapa find his support and community?  Anyone know of ongoing groups or websites?  Kate asks:

I have posted a couple times on the site and find it to be a really wonderful tool.  I am in my second trimester of pregnancy and it has now started to feel real.  My husband is excited and nervous and would love to find a dad's group to meet with soon-to-be dad's to talk about his upcoming role.  He is coming up empty on the web, as am I.  Any suggestions about where he might look for support?