Gay Dad Life

Before Baby, After Baby: One Dad's Comparison

If I could offer any advice for someone expecting to bring home their new baby it would be: appreciate the circadian sacrifices. Your whole life is about to get turned upside down and everything you are about to experience will be foreign territory. The comfort zones you have come to rely on will often be out of reach, and you'll have to find new and creative ways to navigate your new life. This entry is dedicated to anyone who is at any point on the pathway to parenthood. I know you are probably wrecked with emotions about all things new baby, but do make sure to appreciate this time with your precious leisure activities. I am sure your anxiety is running high and the last thing on your mind right now is leisure activities. However, in hindsight of our journey I wish I had known just how fast several of my favorite pastimes would become a thing of the past.


Douglas and I have been together for almost 12 years now. We work well together and most of the time we can finish each other's sentences. We make a great team and I appreciate everything he does.

Before babies: I worked as the general manager of a restaurant in the French Quarter for 10 years. Most of my time was spent operating that restaurant and, in a way, it and all the employees there were like my babies. I devoted a decade to learning how that industry works. It allowed me to fall in love with most aspects of that profession.

After babies: and after deep discussions with Douglas, we felt it would be better for me to leave the restaurant and dedicate all of my time to the children because he is in medical school and a lot of his time is spent at the hospital. We strongly felt that having one of us here all of the time would be much better for them rather than finding a full-time daycare or nanny. I do miss my previous life in the restaurant but nothing compares to being at home with my babies all day. On the upside, my hospitality career isn't over... it's just on hold, as I plan to open my own restaurant one day when our kids are older. As for now, their growth, development, and well-being comes first. My occupational sacrifice was just the beginning of this new life.

When I was younger, I remember being dumbfounded by guys I graduated with that would just "let themselves go" after they had kids. "Why would they do that!?" I would often ask myself. "I'll NEVER let that happen to me!" Never say never! I have come to realize that it isn't like those guys wanted the coveted "dad-bod," rather, it just happens because their is not enough time in a day.

Before babies, the peaceful bike ride to the gym through the live oak trees in uptown New Orleans was my favorite part of the day. Listening to my favorite music while riding through the beautiful campus of Tulane University was sublime. I was able to spend a couple of hours there each weekday and afterwards I felt re-energized and confident about my appearance.

After babies, there was just no way I would be able to leave the house on a bike much less work out at a gym. Instead, I needed to find peace in knowing that my time spent keeping my girls happy and healthy was much more important than my peaceful bike rides. The compromise? Being able to run on my treadmill a couple of times each week. But I know that with patience I will be able to return to the gym once the girls are school age.


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Let's talk a little more about leaving the house. The small things like going to the mall or the grocery store used to be fast, simple tasks that only took a small portion of the day.

Before babies, I use to just run to the store for a quick thing or two without thinking much about it. Time for an oil change? No problem! I could complete these errands quickly and with minimal effort.

After babies, it takes 15 minutes just to find her other shoe (it's probably at the bottom of the ball pit). Then 10 minutes more to change the other's clothes because they barfed all over their cute outfit you were so excited to show to the world. Then add 10 more minutes just to herd them together and load them into the car. Once you back out of the driveway and start your little adventure you realize you forgot the damn stroller. Or worse the baby's binky (fyi that's a big deal and totally worth turning the car around for). So tack another 15 minutes onto the clock. Leaving the house probably takes longer than the whole trip itself did before babies. But don't get me wrong! Once you head out to your destination with all the proper necessities and everyone is collected and ON FLEEK... that feeling beats everything else. That feeling of accomplishment is what it's all about, friends. Oh and yes, the happiness and well-being of the kids of course. But it's also that feeling that you can conquer the world.

Even if it's just that simple trip to Walmart.

So, as hard is it may be mentally preparing to bring home your little nugget, think about and appreciate your "before baby" category and know that the search for that elusive binky, and hours of inconsolable crying and sleepless nights are just around the river bend.

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Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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