Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

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#RemeberOurFamilies

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When Seattle husbands Rich and Brian found out they were going to be dads, their initial reaction was panic. "It was so early in the adoption process, we weren't really ready for anything," remembered Brian. "We hadn't read any books, we didn't have a crib, we had nothing... we were going to be dads and the baby was going to be here in a week!"

"I didn't really think about being a parent," added Rich, "and more what do we needed to do logistically, and how we were going to make it all work."

The dads adopted Emerson from birth and raising a girl has taught the dads a lot; they are her biggest advocates. The dads are making sure that they're "raising a girl who feels empowered and able to speak up, play sports, just as anyone else does."

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A birthday tribute to my dad, who taught me the most important life lessons about what it means to be a father. 

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Sometime shortly after sunset, our family will gather around the dinner table to light the first candles on each of our Menorahs. Led by an authoritative and pleasant voice on our Hanukkah app that also keeps track of which night of Hanukkah we're celebrating, we'll recite the Hebrew prayer that accompanies the candle lighting.

After a round of "Happy Hanukkahs" and kisses for the kids, we'll instruct Levi, Sadie and Ella to select one present each from among those lying on the floor under our Christmas tree and marked with their names. While there are always more gifts than we’d prefer, the truth is most don't come from me and Ferd, but instead from loving family and friends who tend to ignore or resist our pleas to limit the number of toys our kids get.

The gifts they open tonight will be their "first night" gifts, and we've found that the process of choosing which present to open first tends to be the most exciting part of the whole gift-giving experience for them.

Brian with his three kids

With the kids still pre-occupied on the task of unwrapping their presents, Ferd (my non-Jewish husband) will put out the platter of his delicious made-from-scratch potato latkes that always bring me back to my own childhood watching my great-grandmother standing over her cast-iron stove doing what she loved doing most: feeding her family.

Before getting the kids off to bed, we'll put out a bowl of milk and a plate of fresh-baked cookies for Santa and his reindeer to snack on. Every year the kids tell us they'll stay up waiting for Santa, but the excitement and anticipation somehow works against them, and they always fall asleep soon after settling into bed.

On Christmas morning the kids will invariably wake before us, but they're under strict instructions not to open any gift before we've joined them. In addition to more gift openings, we all look forward to Ferd’s Christmas breakfast treats reminiscent of his Dutch childhood.

Having been together for almost 25 years, Ferd and I started blending our holidays a long time ago. We used to be more relaxed about how we spent them. Since becoming dads, we are much more focused on celebrating holidays that hold special meaning for us. We've been creating new traditions around these holidays that I hope will stay with our kids well into their adult lives.

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Waiting for our flight in Newark Liberty Airport; checking out the El Al goodies; getting ready for take-off

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I've been living with HIV for close to 30 years. I don't need to wait until World AIDS Day to reflect on the tremendous impact HIV and AIDS have had on my life.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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