Camping Trip 1986

Mario Koran wrote a short piece on being a parent.

They placed her on a table and handed me a scissors, which I think I used to cut the umbilical cord. A lot of that moment is lost in haze. But I do remember the first second I saw her: I recognized myself in her eyes. I knew immediately, on some primordial level, that she belonged to me. She was mine. There was no question.

This. My son looks exactly like me and I can relate to this on all levels.

I vividly and will always remember looking at my son as he lay on a towel, minutes after he was born. Nurses were tending to him, cleaning him off. I walked over to watch. I looked at him and I caught him gazing in my general direction. I started to breathe rapidly. I could feel my face start to scrunch as if to cry, but I wasn’t sad. I was extremely happy. One of those moments you’ll never forget.

★ Clyde Jaymeson Torres

On May 19, 2015, Clyde Jaymeson Torres was born. For almost nine months, I’ve been wondering what my son would look like, what he would be like.

There’s nothing that can prepare you for the moment that your child is brought into the world. I could feel an overwhelming sense of love and urge to protect this helpless, flailing newborn. I was shocked at how closely he resembled me when I was younger. It was like looking at the past, present and future, all at once. He is a little version of me that I want to create the best life for.

He is everything I had hoped for without even knowing what I wanted.

Reflections On Parenthood

Jean Hsu on parenthood:

Having a child forces you to change in a lot of ways. Most of the time, people think of what you lose out on.

It’s so easy to commiserate, especially with fellow parents with small children, about sleep deprivation and temper tantrums that sometimes you lose sight of the wonder that new life brings. Alina is almost 2 years old now, so here are some positive reflections of being a parent.

I love this post. Everyone loves to point out the downsides of having to raise a child. No one talks about the upsides.

Being a better person
Having a small person see you as one of the few big people in their life just makes you want to be a better person. Everything I do—how I react in stressful situations, how I talk, how I act—is a template for how she will act. That is a tremendous amount of power, and I want to do a good job.

It makes me think more critically about what I’m doing with my life—I want the work I do to be impactful, to make the world a better place for her to grow up in. And I want to work hard and smart and be ambitious, so that that is her norm.

This has been the biggest one for me. I’ve cut down my swearing immensely. I won’t even use “stupid” or “dumb” in front of my step-child. I want to be a better person so she can be a better person.

The U.S. And Maternity Leave

The U.S. is far behind when it comes to maternity and paternity leave. Currently, unless you work in one of three states or your company provides it, paid maternity leave does not exist. There is the Family and Medical Leave Act which grants up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave but this only applies to full time workers at companies with more than 50 employees.

In 2013, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation that would make employers offer new parents three months of paid leave at 66 percent of their salary, but the bill, the Family Act, has been stalled in Congress for more than a year. Even if it passes, it won’t fix a system that paints a huge segment of the workforce into a corner. 

So why is the Family Act at a standstill? Gillibrand says Congress doesn’t think it’s important enough. “The issue isn’t being raised because too many of the members of Congress were never affected by it,” she says, pointing out that 80 percent of Congress is older and male. “They’re not primary caregivers. Most members of Congress are affluent and are able to afford help or able to support their [wives]. It’s not a problem for most of them.” Hillary Clinton has also admitted that while she supports paid leave, it’s a political battle the U.S. isn’t ready to fight. “I don’t think, politically, we could get it [passed] now,” she said in a CNN town hall meeting last June.

As a future parent, this is utterly depressing.

For More And More Dads, The Workday Continues Into The Kitchen

Rachel Swarns writes in the New York Times:

“It’s kind of in the back of my mind all day,” said Mr. Kreisberg, 35, describing that perennial working parents’ quandary: What will I cook for the family tonight? “I’m thinking about the ingredients. I’m thinking about what I have in the fridge.”

He hops on the subway back home to Long Island City, Queens, around 5 p.m., dashes to the day care center to pick up his 7-month-old son, Harrison, and often squeezes in a run to the grocery store. Finally, he gets into the kitchen. Soon, he is roasting a chicken stuffed with rosemary, thyme and onion, or seasoning some fresh salmon or frying up eggplant for parmigiana.

Mr. Kreisberg is a freelance copy writer, a husband and a father. He is also a member of what he and other men describe as an often overlooked portion of the population: the growing number of working dads who cook.

Now that the long holiday weekend is over, we head back into our daily weekday routines. For many of us, that includes dropping off the kids at school and going to work. A few hours later, we pick them up, head home and prepare for dinner. For a lot of American families, dinner is the only part of the day where we get uninterrupted time with each other. It’s a very important part of the day, and one where the most important decision that has to be made is, “What are we going to eat?”

This is a very important decision that I have to tackle daily. My wife picks up her daughter from school and helps her with homework while I prepare dinner. More and more males are assuming the role of cook in their households. For me, this is a great article because it acknowledges that there is a growing number of dads that take on the role of cook.

And I’m proud of that.

The Kids Are Not All Right

Our control freak quest to provide the perfect childhood and produce the perfect child is backfiring. Or worse: It is just making our kids hurt themselves.

Nothing wrong with protecting your children, but you have to say no, let them explore on their own and let them fail every once in awhile.

Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?

 

When a college freshman received a C- on her first test, she literally had a meltdown in class. Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to talk to the professor immediately (he, of course, declined). Another mother accompanied her child on a job interview, then wondered why he didn’t get the job.

A major employer reported that during a job interview, a potential employee told him that she would have his job within 18 months. It didn’t even cross her mind that he had worked 20 years to achieve his goal.

Sound crazy?

Yes. Yes it does.