Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The National At Home Dad Network Convention Saved Me



I started staying at home six years ago and was terrified. I lived in Chicago for 33 years without ever thinking I would move away. Everything and everyone I knew was in Illinois and I wasn't so sure about moving to upstate New York in 2008. Away from family, friends, babysitters I knew and trusted, and away from a community I loved.

I had to reset everything about my life. I had resigned after being a teacher in public schools for ten years and was giving all of that up to stay at home with our kids, who at the time were three and 21 months old. My first week was rough as my son broke his collarbone in a city where I was unfamiliar with where the hospital was and couldn't get a hold of my wife or her parents who lived in the area for help. I felt a little lost. I questioned if I really could do this.Talk about trial by fire.

A few weeks later, once I go the lay of the land, I sought out other dads who were like me. I kept seeing the same moms at the gym and at pickup for their kids. The Y Mommies accepted me as a parent but I still was looking for guys to share my experience with.

It was in my church of all places where my wife and I met a couple who had kids of similar ages. What do you do for a living? they said to which I replied "I am a stay at home dad" Dreading the response he said "No kidding! So am I." What resulted was a friendship between me, him, and his brother-in-law who was also a stay at home dad. We regularly met in Fridays which we donned Dads and Subs. One guy would bring the Wegmans sandwiches and the kids would have an instant playgroup while we got to talk to one another about our weeks.

Of course, after feeling comfortable with making friends in my new city, my wife received an offer to relocate again in August of 2011, this time to Philadelphia and we couldn't pass up the opportunity. This was the first city however where we knew no one and the first city that we couldn't rely on family to bail us out of a jam with the kids.

I looked around for dads groups when we got settled but was coming up empty. There were plenty of mom groups for stay at home moms of little ones, but nothing for dads. I even tried to join a mom's group but was quickly rejected because "they didn't feel comfortable with a man there". I was on an island with really no where to turn until I found The National At Home Dad Network's Convention page. 



I will bet that you didn't know that such a group existed. I have even had people laugh when I tell them this, like men aren't interested in being around with other like-minded dads. I made plans to go the next year in Washington D.C. in 2012 and my wife worked out a schedule with my in laws to allow them to come while I was gone to watch the kids and help out. I piled into the car BY MYSELF and drove to D.C. I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure what to wear. Funny as that sounds, my wife had conditioned me to think of dress code for every event and I hoped that my superhero T-shirt and jeans were sufficient. Thank goodness I didn't take the President's Reception as serious as it sounded. FYI, what you wear with your kids on a day to day basis will fit right in.

NAHDN Convention Washington, D.C. 2012
It turns out that these guys were just like me. They were from all over, staying home with their kids because it was what was best for their family and trying to be the best dads they could be. We listened to speakers; people who had written books on parenting, a psychologist studying the rise of male caregivers in our society, and a website devoted to helping male military spouses who were at home.

In break-out sessions, we had honest discussions without judgement. We could share and be heard while dads helped other dads. Panels discussed popular issues with other men just like me. Guys talked about isolation and everything from discipline to diapers and bottles to breastfeeding. It was here that I first became inspired to start my own dads group, which would eventually become the Philly Dads Group founded at the next year's convention.

Being around your peers in any field will give you that sense of self worth. You see that you aren't the only one dealing with a kid who won't eat or how your teenage daughter won't talk to you. I never laughed so much in my life and its end, I cried. In fact, I always do cry at the end even though I know it is coming. I didn't want this feeling of acceptance to end. I found my people all in one place, no longer scattered but uniformly united by fatherhood.

I was inspired after the convention to really pursue my blog and after a year of participating in my first convention, I became the blog editor for their website. All of the guys in the organization are volunteers, working towards the betterment and acceptance of stay at home dads everywhere.  I immediately was dedicated to doing whatever was necessary to make sure I went back the following year to Denver.

NAHDN Convention, Denver, CO 2013
These guys became my friends online and in real life. I just felt comfortable around them and I could be myself. I honestly can't wait for this year's convention, which is again in Denver. Last year I even went to Dad 2.0 as a representative of the network.

The men of the NAHDN were there to help when I needed it most and they lifted me higher than I could have imagined. The shared moments with them socially and the sessions on parenting where just what I needed and when I went back home my wife saw a change in me.  I was dedicated and rejuvenated ready to be back with my kids and be the best dad I could be.

Not everyone has the means to make it there which is why there is a scholarship fund. You can apply or have someone nominate you to help you get there. Some men are just not joiners or they question what it would really do for them. For them I say, take a chance. You never know where it will lead. The National At Home Dad Network saved me, and it can save you too.




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ice Cream Man

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media and Klondike, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #KandyBar #ad http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

The chime could resonate around the block and carry across many streets. The ping of that bell would elicit even the most rowdy of children to stop their activity and prick up their ears like a wary foal. "Where is it coming from?" we would say, trying to pinpoint its location like bloodthirsty vampire bats.

Shhhhhh! Pipe down! and when the next ping came, we'd run to the source, gripping that paper or loose change we had just scrounged from the couch cushions trying to run like children possessed to get there first; to procure a that sweetest summer nectar known as ice cream.

I am the first to admit that I regularly treat my kids with ice cream. On a hot day sometimes it is the only sweet relief that not only seems necessary but the expressions on their faces is priceless.

But what about me? What do I get for cleaning pee off the bathroom floor and answering 123,000 questions per day? Often when the kids are asleep and it is just my wife and I relaxing from the hectic day, we indulge ourselves. We turn to ice cream for solstice. We earned it! Parenting should be rewarded with ice cream.



That's why KLONDIKE KANDY Ice Cream Bars are the perfect ending to a crazy day with the kids. Honestly, these ice cream bars are the ones I hide behind the frozen vegetables so that the kids can't find them. With three varieties to choose from with Fudge Crunch, Caramel & Peanuts, or Cookies & Cream, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Just don't let the kids find them!


Here are 5 steps to help you enjoy them more

1) Measure your oldest child's arm length
2) Show the children the box keeping its height beyond the measurement in Step 1
3) Take a photo of their reaction and post it on social media for all your friends to see.
4) Take a video of them watching you unwrap it and then announce that they don't get one.
5) Slowly eat it in front of them stressing the Mmmms and Ahhhs as much as possible.



Parents, take some time to yourself and enjoy Klondike Kandy Bars and forget the kids for awhile, you deserve it! Just how did candy and ice cream come together? Here's the story:



Follow Klondike Kandy Ice Cream Bars on Vine and YouTube for more hilarious videos.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Swim


Sometimes as a SAHD, we face the ugly past. With change in perceptions of gender roles comes this conflict between the ways of old and the progressive modern dad. Unfortunately, we aren't just seen as a dad but something much more nefarious. It may happen at a park or at a class in which a stay at home dad might be the only man there. We often don't receive caveats for being there. A man, in a public area where there are children, must be a threat. 

Many of my fellow stay at home dads have experienced this clash of culture and often it has happened in front of their own children. A SAHD in my circles had such an encounter with a mom and her short sided opinions of a dad trying to enjoy a day with this children. I felt it was necessary to tell his story and he offered to share it with me. If you want to leave a comment for him, call him Swim Dad. Here is his guest post:

I am veteran SaHD, with nine-year-old twin boys.  Recently, I took the boys to the Swim Club where we are members, it's not fancy or exclusive, but it is a club not a community pool.  We got there about 1:30 and it was pretty crowded, I found two free lounges amongst the towel strewn ones.  The boys jumped in and I settled down.  

I didn’t bury my face in a phone or close my eyes for a nap, as shocking as this may seem to some, I watch the boys in the pool.  Not because I don't trust the lifeguards, not because I don't trust the boys, nope, I watch them because they are stupidly reckless at times.

The whistle blows for “adult swim” the boys jump out, grab a baggie of pretzels and begin enduring the long wait.  About a dozen young girls, aged ten to twelve, tweens I guess, came my way and I realized I had the middle chairs of their twelve chair claim.  The boys were, uh, watching the girls so I asked them if they’d mind moving, they thought not, realizing that that would mean engaging the girls.

To make a short story longer I asked the girls who said oh no, no, no.  Number Two said “Oh, we don't really mind, it'd be the right thing to do... you know.”

This seemed to convince the kindly ringleader of the girls and they moved from the last two chairs and we moved off the ones in the middle, there was bumbling and giggling, the boys were being silly and the girls were being flirty.  It was cute.  We settle in and adult swim ends and we move on.

Except... except a storm was brewing across the water and it was not in the sky.  I group of five, sometimes six, women were talking animatedly and trying conspicuously to not look my way.  I figured they were the mothers of the girls and I left it at that, but, I did sense something.

Adult swim again.  The boys come back grab some PB crackers and sit again, talking and watching the pool and , uhm, other things.  The girls all go over to a picnic table, grab snacks and return to the lounge-chairs.  The girls closest to my boys begin talking with the girls about snacks.  One of their smooth opening lines is: “I don't really like those Blue Ranch Doritos... they're kinda dry.”  They talked with the girls about cookies and Gatorade and chips and glazed donuts.  I prompted Number One a couple times trying to keep him in the conversation.  The girls had Fig Newtons which the boys hate and I said I liked and one of the girls went to get me one and the another girl said I've got one and, soon, I was munching a Newton.

I know this is getting long but, I wanted to paint the scene as pleasantly and memorably, as sweetly, as possible.  Summer pool. Boys, girls. Cotton clouds.  Blue sky.  Laughter, conversation and...

“Excuse me!?  We don't really think it's a good idea for you to be talking to these girls!”

Huh, what the, who are, where did you...?

I look up at the blue suited MommaBear beside the chairs, one of the mothers I'd seen earlier.  I take off my sunglasses and and say, “I'm sorry, what'd you say?”

“We don't think you should be talking to these young girls.”

“Why, Daddy?” comes from behind me.

“Later, Son,” I tell him.

“Mom, what on earth is your stupid problem,”  The Fig Newton girl asks.

“Well, why on earth would a grown man sit in the middle of a bunch of young girls anyway,” the woman answers.

Tone.  It is all about tone and undercurrents and I know what this woman thinks of me instantly, her and that group of women – and it is not nice, in fact, it is ugly.

I smile.

“There wasn't anyone here when we put the towels down and... why does it matter, Dad?”  The other son this time.

My boys are confused, the girls are mortified and I am thinking hard.  I know the woman, I've seen her here holding court and ignoring her kids and I've seen her somewhere else but I can't remember where.  I have to make a decision, a hard decision.

“Let's get going, boys,” I say, smiling at the younger girls.  “Thanks for the Fig Newton.”

“But, Dad...”

“Let’s go home and watch the first game of that double-header, boys.  We should probably just go.”

I smile at the unkind woman as she smirks behind her mirrored aviators, positively quivering with vengeance and mangled justice.

I've packed up quickly and stand up.  “Say goodbye to these lovely ladies, guys.  Let's shove off.”

“But, Dad...”

I don't get too far when I hear the sweet Fig Newton girl.

“Jeez, mom, what is your stupid problem?  He's a nice guy and those boys are so cute.  Mom, they go to our church.”

That's where I'd seen her.

We walked out past the pod of mothers, laughing about how much they hate figs and how hard it must be to play a double-header.  It was the right conversation to have today, today...

You can argue all you want about this.  Should I have stood my ground?  Maybe.  Should I have taken on the bully of a mother and whittled her down to the cold fish she truly was?  Too easy, really, too cruel.  Should I have gathered the two or three other moms I knew there that day who had treated me with dignity and kindness when I was new here, and knew my wife, and presented them as character witnesses at this trial by innuendo?  Procedurally, I wasn't sure how I'd go about that.

Some may think what I did was a chickenshit way out.  Well, you know what, this isn't the summer for explaining predators and irrational fears and prejudice and adult bullying and simplemindedness and the treatment of dads in society and envy and, well, dirtiness.  No, this is the summer for hitting baseballs, jumping off boards and eating watermelon while the hot Ohio sun fades behind the distant trees.

BY: Swim Dad

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Banish The Playdate


When I was a kid and I wanted to play with my friends, I would call them up on the rotary phone. If I was lucky enough to get the push button phone, if my older brothers weren't on it, I would call them in succession running down a list of my go-to guys.

"Brian, this is Chris, can you play?" He'd check with his mom or dad and come back on the phone or I'd hear the entire thing as if I was there "MOOOOOMMMM! CAN CHRIS COME OVER?" After confirmation, I'd jump on my bike and head to his house and I knew that I had to be home before dinner.

That was it. There was no pre-scheduling get togethers at each other's homes. Playdates didn't exist.

This playdate garbage is ruining our kids. I shudder every time someone asks me if our kids can have a playdate together. That word is almost as bad as Mr. Mom. Almost.

This idea that two kids playing together has to be an event is altering the spontaneity of our children. It has become too formal with set dates and times and has rendered my son incapable of calling his friends because he feels awkward asking, especially when a grown up answers.

Adding the word date to this phenomena of play has ruined the whole experience for me. It makes me feel like I should be preparing a cheese plate and some activity that as a "host" our guest kid will be taking home a fabulous parting gift.

Can't I just play on my phone while they play in their room instead of planning some elaborate craft where they end up making a stained glass window just for fun?

It's time that parents stop overdoing things when it comes to our kids. The emails and the special venues are starting to wear me down. My special venue is my backyard, where I may or may not be pulling weeds while your kid plays on our swing set with my kids. Hell, I may even turn on the sprinkler for them if they want to get crazy.

Also, the whole production between you and I is unnecessary. The back and forth emails about your plans and my plans are exhausting. Let me get out my calendar and let's discuss. Can she come over? No? Okay then, let's move on.

The word playdate also gives off this connotation that I should be opening doors for you as you drop off your kid. They are only playing and there is no need for us to hang out unless you are one of those moms that feel uncomfortable leaving your kid with me. You probably don't want to be THAT mom though because when I drop my kids off at your house I'm not loitering because I trust you.

I am OK with you dropping her off and dashing to the grocery store sans child, just as long as I also get to dump my kid off on you another time when a Marvel superhero matinee is about to drop.

Kids are slowly being desensitized to the spontaneity of play. Before cell phones and social media, we found out where our friends were by the multitude of bikes parked on the front lawn. I spent most of my time as a kid riding my bike to the park and playing pickup games of basketball and baseball. We played Star Wars for hours and acted out scenarios from our heads. We climbed trees!

When there was no one to play with, I didn't pester my mom to contact all her friends to set something up. Sometimes she would just point and other times she just told me to go outside and I threw a ball against the garage, for hours.

I made up championship basketball scenarios, threw pop flys to myself, and made up games with whatever I could find in the garage. One game involved a skateboard, a tennis ball, and a storm sewer grate. Skateball never took off probably due to the fact that the rules fluctuated on a day to day basis because we could never remember them each time we played.

My father, who grew up in NYC, played stickball with a pinky ball and a bat that he sawed the handle off my grandmother's new broom. From one ball, they invented a dozen games like "stoop ball" which clearly was created from just being outside and working with the environment and what they had. Play wasn't about what you could do, but what you could make of it.

Many of our kids are totally incapable of this activity and they are losing their ability to think outside the box because play is handed to them on a silver platter. My six year old daughter tells me often that she is bored if she is not being constantly entertained and all too often instead of forcing her to figure it out, I defer to the iPad.

Kids are at their best when their imaginations are in play. We are dumbing down their ability to be independent thinkers with scheduled activity and feeling like we are to blame when they have "nothing to do" Isn't it ridiculous that I feel like I am a cruise director in charge of keeping everyone occupied?

When will kids learn to use their imaginations again and not rely on an app to keep them entertained? It's our responsibility as parents to make it stop. Let's start by banishing the word playdate and focus on just making our kids play in imaginative ways. Let's lose the structure and the formality and remove the dates so they can just focus on playing.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Power of People : Lifting Up The Millers



My daughter is entering that stage of independence often known as the "I Can Do It Myself" stage. She thinks that she can do things alone and she tries, though she often fails miserably and then the tears come; frustration and anger follow with her lashing out when she finds that she can't do it on her own and needs my assistance.

Of course, I am happy to jump in when she needs it, helping to get her past those rough parts just feels right as a dad. We have been preparing for moments like this with our children ever since they were born. Sometimes, you just can't do it alone.

All too often we think that we can't possibly ask for more than just words but truly all it takes is to ask. It sounds easy though it is hard. We want to do it on our own and not be a burden to others. We want to prove that we can do it alone and that stigma may hold us back from being helped.

Help may manifest itself in many ways whether it be a gesture, a donation, your time, or your heart. I would do the same for a friend or family member but also a stranger who was in trouble. I think of all the times people have helped each other in our world when things have gone terrible wrong.  It's a lesson my kids have learned from us that no matter what you have, you should be able to give some of it to others and lift them up. People united can be powerful.

So when my friend and fellow SAHD, Oren Miller was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer I was devastated. I read his beautiful post about his diagnosis and what he was feeling. I couldn't help but think What if it was me? What would I be able to do for my kids and my wife?  I couldn't sit by and watch it happen. I didn't want to be a bystander, so I looked for any opportunity to help him in any way that I could.

Myself and other Dad Bloggers reached out our hands to help and united in the cause #Dads4Oren. Oren's page on GiveForward.com was started by Brent Almond, another blogger, and by the time I made it to the page, the $5,000 goal had jumped up to 10K, then 20K, and now is sitting at a little over $26,000! That's the power of people.

Oren and his wife Beth, plan to use the money for medical expenses, to put some aside for their two children, Liam and Madeline, and to go on a vacation together for some much needed family time.

So, if you can find it in your heart to donate to Oren, this is your chance to show this world just how powerful we can be, together.










Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Art Attack : Beautiful Batik



Did you know that studies has shown that children do better in school if they have a curriculum that invests in the arts as a way to support their learning? Common Core curriculum supports this idea that creativity and critical thinking go hand in hand. Teaching your kids to be creative will help them to become better problem solvers by supporting critical thinking and outside the box solutions to problems.

Art Attack is a new feature of DadNCharge where I will share my knowledge of an art educator of 10 years in fun and informative projects for kids.  The NAEA (National Arts Education Association) and the United States government have set National Standards for children K-12 in the visual arts. By the time children graduate from high school they should be able to demonstrate and have an understanding of these benchmarks.  With each lesson, I will teach you how these apply to your own children's understanding of visual art even if for them, it is just all about fun.

So, without further ado, our first project, BATIK!

A Canting, used to apply hot wax in intricate batik designs

Batik is a cool effect that happens when a medium, in this case wax, resists another medium like paint or ink. The wax is applied and allowed to dry, allowing the wax to penetrate the fabric and protecting it. Then, the material is dyed and the ink fills in all the areas where the wax isn't. Once dried, the wax can be removed by either scraping it off or using boiling water to remove it.

But how can I do this with my kids??? There is no way I am giving them hot wax!

What colorful material do you have already in your home that are made out of wax? CRAYONS!

Lesson: Batik 

Age level: 2 and up 

National Standards learned: 

1. Content Standard: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
a. know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes 
d. use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner

Materials:
  • Crayons, 
  • watercolors 
  • watercolor paper
  • bowl of water


Instructions:
  1. Take the watercolor paper and have your kids do a crazy design on the front.      
  2. If you need some art history inspiration, try Joan Miro or Wassily Kandinsky
  3. Shapes and lines are important and a necessary stage in the development of artistic skills. 
  4. Stress leaving some white space in between the bright colors and tell them to push down very hard.

  1. Take watercolors and paint over the entire design. Yes, you heard me right. The wax will resist the paint and only be absorbed where the white paper is left. 
  2. The kids can go bananas with the paint, in fact, the more they do, the better off the project will be as the colors will somewhat mix in the next step.


Optional Step: Let it dry and then rinse off the bowl of water. As you are rinsing, scrunch up the paper to give it some texture, and gently squeeze out the water. Let dry on a paper towel.






Friday, June 13, 2014

Gramps and His Basement

The sounds that came from the basement were mesmerizing. The constant whirr and buzz of saws like a swarm of angry bees, the hammering of metal on wood upon unseen projects. The smell of fresh cut wood and developing chemicals, the traces of sawdust from their shoes when they walked up the long wooden steps. The clunk, clunk, clunk of my grandfather's shoes up those creaky wooden stairs and me, straining, laying in the entryway trying to peek under the basement door just for glimpse of what was happening beyond my sight.

I remember this place so well. I can smell the tobacco of my Grandpa's pipe and my Grandma cooking hamburgers in the kitchen. I am trying to drown out the sizzle so I can hear what is happening down those stairs. Just what is in store for me down there?

My grandfather had a knack for making the ordinary seem so extraordinary. Just the chance to ride the lawn tractor while riding on his lap still seems better than any roller coaster or ride I have ever been on. Venturing into his basement was the only exception, nothing could outdo the mystery behind the basement. My grandfather was a do-it-yourself Willy Wonka. He was the Picasso of jigsaws , my own personal Ansel Adams and the Aristotle of teachers all rolled into one.

You see, you had to be a certain age to explore the basement and being old enough to go down there was a rite of passage. You became a different level of boy in my Gramps' eyes. His basement was a wondrous place for me as a child. It was a place where I was first introduced to a band saw, the first place I held a BB gun, and it was the first place I ever developed a photograph.

Well, technically, it was a color photogram, a photograph created by light travelling through a colored object forever burning itself to the chemistry of color paper. I was very young when I made it.  I still have it sitting on our mantle, the oranges and yellows autumn from fallen maple leaves fresh from Grandma's front yard garden forever imprisoned in the Kodak Cibachrome paper my Gramps kept in supply. I remember gathering them with her while she encouraged me to hurry and scooted me up the gravel driveway headed for my first time through the basement door.

He let me learn by doing. He was always patient even when I made a critical mistake. I think that it almost delighted him because it meant I could learn something new and then he would make me do it all over again. He never brushed me aside and did it himself. The last time I usually did something, he just stood back and watched.

My grandfather was a chemist by profession but he was an amazing artist. He created pictures out of different kinds of wood grain, called marquetry, to create realistic representations of people like Abraham Lincoln and Jesus. On the side, as a hobby initially, he took photographs. When he retired he became a professional photographer in Madison, Wisconsin and travelled all over selling his photos. He used to take us with him sometimes, in the giant black Dodge van, lugging chests of framed photos he all did himself and setting up his wire displays one section at a time well into his late seventies. Travelling with my grandparents was always an adventure as Gramps couldn't hear and Grandma couldn't see. "Vernon, you aren't going the right way" she would say. I'm not sure if he pretended not to hear her or really couldn't but often responded with a "Huh?"

He took us fishing and sometimes we just drove with Grandma, listening to her tell us every fact about Wisconsin she could hold in that amazing brain of hers while Grandpa just nodded and interjected with a "Yup."  They found roadside ice cream shops and quiet fishing holes where we could just be together. That is was what was important to them.

He kept every letter that my brother and I wrote to him, proudly displaying it on his wall in his photo lab in the basement. I used to walk past this one letter he kept up there since I was eight. I had written it with one of those pens that has every color as an option to change inks. And had sent a photo of a boy and his grandpa fishing that I had cut out of a magazine that I sent to him captioning it "This is you and me"

He could talk to anyone and everyone and had the greatest smile and laugh. When you looked into his eyes, they just twinkled with a boyish excitement. He could tell you stories and you would hang on his every word. At night when the house was still, sometimes I couldn't sleep because of the anticipation of spending another day with him wound me up.

He wasn't about what you had but what you could make of a situation. He was about people and getting to know them and being genuine. Sometimes, when we would be in the basement together we would talk about everything I was doing. He always had a words of encouragement, never judged, and only listened. Then, in his own quiet way, would teach me a lesson without me ever knowing it.

I try to apply what I have learned from Gramps down there in the basement as I am raising my own kids, hoping that the patience and teaching he taught me are passing on to them. The basement where he helped shape me from a boy to my own man still resides in my memory though Vernon is long since left this Earth.

He was the perfect example of what I think a father should be; gentle but strong, wise but with a boyish curiosity, modest but giving. So this Father's Day, I want to say thank you Gramps for helping to teach me how to be a man through encouragement and support and not by doing it for me, but letting me discover that on my own that anything is possible. You and the basement revealed those doors for me and because of you, I learned to walk right through them when they opened.






Thursday, June 12, 2014

We're on TV Again? Our Debut on the TODAY Show

"I just got an email from a TODAY Show producer. They want to know if they could come and record a day in my life as a stay at home dad" I said to my wife one evening.

She looked at me like I was kidding and said "Oh yeah? How do you feel about that?"

I said "I think I want to do it. It's a great opportunity to share what stay at home dads go through everyday and you know with me, it will be real"

"Yeah, she said, I'l like to see what happens during the day, I'd watch that"


The emails followed from the producer of the segment, Josh Weiner, who told me that he wanted to follow me for a day and record what goes on with my life as a stay at home dad. I agreed, and found out quickly through my network of dads, that two other guys were also going to be followed including Pat Jacobs of JustADad247 and Mike Heenan of AtHomeDadMatters and Frank Lowe of Gay At Home Dad . The segment, which aired Thursday, June 12th at 830am was part of the TODAY Show's Modern Dads series the week leading up to Father's Day.


I told my kids what was going on, as much as you can explain to a three and six year old about what is about to happen. "We're going to be on TV AGAIN?" is what Sarah (6) said. I had appeared on the local news about a consignment sale that the Philly Dads Group was participating in and was interviewed while they circled my legs. Kids, as we all know, say whatever is on their minds so we didn't know just how ready NBC was for our kids but we wanted to share just what it meant for SAHDs to be Modern Dads.

Josh was slated to arrive at 8am but because of traffic through Philadelphia, arrived in our neighborhood at 8:23 as we were headed to the bus stop to drop off my oldest son, Adam.

"Are you the camera guy who is supposed to be recording us today?" she asked.

"Yes I am. It is very nice to meet you." he replied.

"You're late." she fired back.

Welcome to a glimpse into the stay at home dad life, TODAY show!

We started the day dropping Adam off on the bus and Josh shadowed us the whole time. We started the day off by heading to The Play Cafe, a local indoor play place for kids 0-5 years old. They usually aren't open on Mondays but my friend and owner, Lauren Ainsworth opened it up just for Philly Dads Group. We had a great playgroup that morning and we had ten dads and their kids show up that day. One member even drove in from Jersey to hang with us!



After the playgroup, we headed home getting shots of us coming out, then a shot of us walking to the car. Sarah kept asking "Why do we have to stand here? Why can't we just go?" and then the unscripted awesomeness of tired kids in the backseat ready for some lunch.  

Running late from the playgroup, I had planned ahead and made the girls' lunch just in case. But running behind lead to an impromptu picnic in the back of the minivan. 

After lunch, we dropped off Sarah at school and he captured the goodbye. We headed home with just Heidi and I and did our normal daytime routine, play, play, and more play.  After she got tired of Barbies, we worked on prepping dinner for the night which is something I do to get the kids involved. 

The producer, Josh as we sat on the couch said "Wow, you really don't get much downtime do you?"

After school was the usual schedule, helping kids with their homework and reminding them of their chores before mom came home and we ate dinner together. 

Though I was mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day, I felt it was really important to get the word out about how much as changed with dads and their roles as caregivers in society today. With 2 million stay at home dads out there and this number rising, I felt we needed to be represented in a positive light so that the rest of society can catch up. 

Thank you to the TODAY Show and the CityDads organizers, Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider who helped make it all possible. We hope you enjoy our story of the Modern Stay At Home Dad.

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Thanks to Josh for his work on this video and for spending time with me and my family.