Sunday, December 30, 2012

The New Year's Eve Celebration of 2012

The biggest thing I am doing tomorrow is taking my kids to a kids New Year's Eve Celebration from 2pm to 6pm. It is at an indoor play space called Giggles and Hugs. They will even have a balloon drop to ring in the new year. Then after that I am going to pick up a bucket of fried chicken from Dinah's in Culver City and head home to ring in the new year again but at home; safe, warm and in my lounge wear. Perfect is how I would describe it! How are you celebrating with your children?


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Friday, November 2, 2012

HALL OF HEROES

My son was Thomas Edison and his speech was so detailed and he projected well. One proud daddy for sure.
 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WE ARE NOT ALONE

Hello fellow dads, moms and all other followers/readers. It is me Joël or GayDad as I fondly refer to myself. I met A.J. through Facebook and read his blog and liked his Facebook page and became a follower of his blog as well. He at one point was a stay-at-home dad. He did go back to work but has remained a blogger and him as his partner have two cute boys. They are a gay male couple and have created a lovely family. I am so honored to feature him on my blog and gain some new insight to parenting, blogs, adventures and to shed some light on his story. This is part of my interview blog series to highlight other dad bloggers like myself. Enjoy the entry!


Name:
A.J. and Daniel

Professional Title:
Dad Loves Daddy (www.dadlovesdaddy.com)

Why did you start your website?


A.J. (Daddy) originally started a blog called Confessions of a Gay Stay-at-home Daddy as a way to document some of the crazy things that were happening to him as a new stay-at-home parent to two boys after being in the professional world for so long. The site changed over time and Daniel (Dad) wanted to have more of a role so we changed it to Dad Loves Daddy and the focus of the blog is now about life for two dad’s raising two children while balancing marriage, work, family, and life in general.
What was your main goal or goals for the website?


Awareness, acceptance... we wanted to share with others that our lives are just like any other family. Just because we are two dads doesn't make our family issues any different for the rest of society.
What do you feel would be a benefit of your site to the dad community at large? Whether gay or straight?


Camaraderie.... for Daddy every time he would take the boys to the Science Center or a story time there were only mom's there. Where are all the dads!? Facebook and Daddy blogs have given me a great sense of "We are not alone!"

What are your thoughts of heterosexual families and same sex families of the male specific?


I don't think we really have any difference whether we are straight or gay dads raising kids. Kids are kids! They have tons of energy, need direction, and consequences for their actions in order to learn what is right and wrong. In the end, we are all human!

What challenges do you feel that stay at home dads face?


In Des Moines, we never see any other dads. We did find a stay at home dad group through the internet several months ago but they never really met. Daddy thought about starting his own group but didn't have the time or energy to really give it a fair shot so he quickly abandoned that idea!

How do you approach the concept of dads being more and more at home with their kids? Is it still an unconventional thing?


Daddy had a hard time with it at first. I went through this whole "who am I if I'm not working at a job" phase. Eventually I felt more comfortable in my new role and I can't imagine doing anything else at this point!


What would you offer to men who are stay at home dads as advice or insight to their roles in their family?


You are the glue holding it all together!! Stay strong and remember that even when times get tough because your toddler is screaming, the dog is howling, your oldest is laughing thinking it's funny, and your head is about to explode... it's all so worth it in the end!


As A.J. so eloquently put it in this interview, "Camaraderie, dads are not alone!" So they do exist. Yes, more and more dads have become the primary caregivers for their children. One of my good friends is a stay-at-home dad to his two boys. He is of a male/female married couple and I have known them since preschool. My oldest child and their oldest child were in the same class and coincidentally are in the same 2nd grade class now. I find it very refreshing that I too am not the only stay-at-home dad in my children's school community. 

So long I felt like I was the only stay-at-home dad. I remember countless times of being asked if I was the nanny when I would be out-and-about with my kids. I am of Mexican decent, born and raised in California, but for whatever reason other parents/nannies assumed I was the nanny and that I didn't speak English for that matter. Even at the grocery store, gas station and museums. This happens still to this day. Now I always politely say I am the dad of my kids and that I speak English. I'm Mexican American and I was born in this country. 

My point is, I am a dad. I too have the same issues as any other dad and stay-at-home dads do exist! Thank you to A.J. and Daniel for taking part in my interview blog series. I appreciate it a lot. Check out their website which is listed at the beginning of this entry.

Lastly,  WE ARE NOT ALONE!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

DadSquared....Whoda' Thunk It

Hello folks, 

It is me Joël. I also am now going to refer to myself as, GayDad. So GayDad here. I felt it necessary to let the blogging world know that, yes, I am a gay parent. So that I can educate and shed light on my parenting experiences. That my stuggles, life and worries are all the same as any other dad or mom for that matter. Anyhow on to the interview at hand.

 I have my next interview installment featuring DadSquared blogger Henry Amador-Batten. He resides in Florida, that state of oranges, and is also a salon owner. He and his partner have been together 3yrs now, according to his Facebook page (if I'm incorrect I apologize). They are a same sex homosexual couple who are also fathers. Henry was kind enough to offer me his insight, parenting thoughts and perspective on his blog and what started this endeavor of his. So here it is.....

Professional Title DADsquared
www.dadsquaredblog.blogspot.com

Why did you start your website? 

Well, personally, it began years ago as a way to chronicle our journey to Fatherhood. Soon I realized that there were others like me without a place to share their hope and fears. Eventually it evolved to where it is now. Both the site and the FaceBook page reflect the reality that we exist and that being Gay, Married and Parents is no longer a dream.
What was your main goal or goals for the website?

It will one day be a live and living journal not only for my child(ren) but for the Gay Parent rights movement as well.

What do you feel would be a benefit of your site to the dad community at large? Whether gay or straight
?
 
We have always maintained that there are still so many Gay men out there that still see the idea of marriage and family as an impossibility. Our goal is to show them that the life they dream of is possible and by supplying resources and sharing other's experiences it may help them to see thier light and follow it.
We always say our world is changing " one baby at a time."

What are your thoughts of heterosexual families and same sex families of the male specific?
Raising happy and healthy children requires the same skills, challenges and foundations whether your Gay, Straight, male, female or anything in between.
Once your a Parent, who you love or sleep with (if your lucky enough to get sleep!) takes a back seat to your new role as Dad!


What challenges do you feel that stay at home dads face? 

Well I can not personally speak to this, we are a two parent working family. I do however know many stay at home Dads, I'll leave that answer in their very capable and busy hands..
How do you approach the concept of dads being more and more at home with their kids? Is it still an unconventional thing?
Gosh, being a Gay Dad is certainly unconventional, and there are many single Dads having kids by choice, that too is so unconventional. I would guess to say that stay at home Gay Dads get it from both sides.... The gender role questions... Not only taking on the role of Mom as the caretaker but also as the breadwinner... Again, the experts, like you, are better suited to answer that question.
What would you offer to men who are stay at home dads as advice or insight to their roles in their family?
I would simply thank them for the roles they are playing in creating a new world! Your children will be amazing men and women.. Bravo!


Thank you to Henry for your time and answers to my questions. I can see you place high value on stay at home parents, whether male or female, based on your answer references to me as a stay at home parent. I did take from this interview that 'ALL' parents have the same struggles, issues, worries and day-to-day lives. So no matter your partner, you as a parent are going through it together llike so many other parents. We all just want to share our story and have some commonality with each other. A form of educating each other on how we as individual families handled our situations and relating to one another as parents. I appreciate your time and participation in my interview series. Please check out Henry's blog www.dadsquaredblog.blogspot.com and also his Facebook page DadSquared. Until my next interview series of other bloggers out there. 

Lastly, mind your manners, say 'please' and 'thank you' for it gets you a lot. I know because I speak from experience. GayDad out! 

Joël 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dads and Holistic Health


Hello Daddies, Mommies and anyone else that reads my blog; 

I interviewed several people about dad issues in general. Some of them are dad bloggers, one is a parenting coach and one is a non parent. I wanted various points of view on being a parent. Over the next few weeks I will be posting the interviews as blog entries on my website. I thank each person who participated in my interviews and for sharing their personal insight. I have gained new knowledge and new resource contacts from all this. Enjoy, comment and share your experiences. Thank you. 

Let me introduce you to a non parent friend of mine named Peter Bedard. He is a professional Hypnotherapist MA. C.Ht. who created createyourhealth.com. He is a gay male and I wanted his point of view on his website, parenting and his thoughts on what dads face today. 

Why did you start your website Create Your Health? 

I died. I was in a serious accident. What I went through of dying and coming back to life was a life changing event. I experienced 20 years of chronic pain, having to take several medications and various surgeries. I had to find other ways of healing my body. 

How did this accident happen and what were your injuries? 

I was pushed into the back of a semi truck. I shattered my knee, split my wrist, cracked several vertebrae and sustained brain damage. A parked car came behind while on my scooter. I was going 20 miles per hour on impact which was enough to cause death  had I not had a helmut on. I suffered from fibromyalgia. 
alleriges, chronic pain and I had to re-learn to walk. 

What did you do to find alternative healing methods?

I searched alternative therapies, learning from other people's experiences and most of them were just people who said this worked for them and had tried it. Those people found that those therapies worked and I tried everything afterward.

What was your main goal or goals? 

To share these ideas and therapies to other people. To see and learn about it. The biggest was to take the mystery out of holistic health....people have a fear of hypnosis, crystal energy, acupuncture - but I say take time to see, hear and experience what it looks like - take what you like and leave the rest. The main ending concept was to have this website be a main resource for alternative therapy and have it be a constant evolving process.

How often do you post or try new therapies?
Of course when time and funds allow for more productions, blogs and it is a 
labor of love. I enjoy trying new therapies, sharing them and seeing how they actually work. 

What do you feel would be a benefit of this site to the dad community at large? 

Well, the adage of 'moms take care of everybody,' its a myth. When you are a caretakeer you need a resource.  Conventional medicine, surgery and various therapies are offered but there is no talk of nutrition, holistic health or wellness awareness.

What can dads do to help incorporate holistic health into their family?

Someone being a caregiver can find out resources to help their families feel better. A mom, dad or anyone can have this as another resource, or a dictionary of holistic health. That is one of my main goals. To be able to offer that as an option to everyone. Also holistic nutrition is something folks don't know and neither does a conventional doctor. The conventional doctor tends to...(a-say eat better) or (b-exercise more). But what is that and what does it mean. That is not clear to 'you' as the patient. You can see that on the Create Your Health website. 

Now moving on to the topic of families today....What are your thoughts of heterosexual families and same sex families of the male specific?. 
I never thought they differed.  It's a misnomer that they are different. Each type of family has to deal with different issues, age differences, a disabled child and daily stresses. To separate families in a categorical manner only helps keep a distance between them and it only maintains the fear of 'different' families. 

What challenges do you feel stay at home dads face? 

Support! Dads don't get the support they deserve. Our culture is so inclined to give the support to moms. When someone hears that a 'dad' is a stay at home dad , there is a surprise.  It can come across that a dad can't raise a child in a way that a mom can, which is a fallacy.  I have caught myself saying, "You're a stay at home dad!" as a surprise. One more common thought toward stay at home dads is that they are less of a man and are emasculated in choosing to be a stay at home dad. 

 Do you believe that gay parents try to raise better children than their heterosexual counter parts? 

No. Being a parent for any lesbian, gay, bi, transgender person is more of a choice. It is a possibility for heterosexual couple but they can face infertility issues. Both parties have the option to adopt.  When a level of desire is so high to have children then those parents tend to be better parents. This is my observation based opinion.

How do you approach the concept of dads being more and more at home with their kids? Is it still an unconventional thing? 

Los Angeles, New York  and Chicago are becoming the cities where it is conventional. However, the rest of the country still see it as unconventional. Do I think it should be more acceptable for men to be given an opportunity to be a nurturer- yes. Will it be more widely accepted across the country, probably not. An example I see of dads being more present is a daycare in Silverlake that I drive by. I can see more and more dads picking up their children. 

What are some fears, worries or concerns that all stay at home dads may have?

To see men who are nurturers - men who are afraid of their feminine side- who want to be a stay at home dad. They haven't been able to integrate that into their lives. Some may have a partner who is 'Yes' go ahead be a stay at home dad. Some may have a partner who doesn't feel that it is okay and the male feels punished for wanting that -esmascualted for a male wanting to be nurturing to their child. I see more and more men who want to be the primary caregiver- to change diapers, is our society okay with that overall....not yet. 

What would you offer to men who are stay at home dads as advice or insight to their roles in their family? 

My advice - follow their passions, joys and loves. Don't let the views of society limit them expressing those things. There are so many opinions and judgements out there that if they listen then it puts you one step closer to your grave. 

My insight is if we learn to let go of all those limiting beliefs, judgement and opinions that you then can reclaim your joy and discover what that joy is.

What do you feel is the biggest obstacle facing gay stay at home dads? 

The threat that comes into their masculinity and gender identity. One common question is, 'Who is the mother in the relationship?' and that is not the case. The case is both are nurturing caring fathers. A double threat is from society that they are less of a man. The way to overcome that is to heal the double wound of the gender identity and to have a positive self-worth evaluation of oneself.  A secondary wounding - am I valuable in the relationship/ life , not the bread winner, not out there in a traditionaol role. Again it is about knowing your worth and your role and being confident in it. To  live in your joy of being a parent. 

Thank you to Peter Bedard for sharing his thoughts, opinions and personal experience. Please visit his website createyourhealth.com for more information on holistic health. I did take away from this interview two main points. To have a positive self-worth evaluation of oneself and to follow your passions, joys and loves. My next interview will come in a few days. Please comment and share your thoughts or experiences. 

Kindly, 
Joël 

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Have You Done to Make You Feel Proud?






Hello Folks, 

So my title is my own question to myself. I have been feeling melancholy since both my kids have started school. They started last week on Tuesday and I found myself unsure of what to do with myself. It is the first time I have been alone in 3 years. Yes, that's right! 3 years ago is when I quit my career in banking and became a full time stay at home dad to my two kids. My partner, Sean, graciously agreed to allow me the opportunity to be a stay at home dad. This is something that I dreamed of since he and I had our first conversation about having kids. I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to be a consistent prescence in our kids' lives. What an honor and a privilege. 

This has brought me to a new topic or feeling that has been perplexing me. It all came to a head this Saturday while watching a movie together as a family. It touched on parental raising and your children going after their dreams. So for me, I took from the movie the idea of, 'Who is going to tell you they are proud of you?' or 'What makes you proud of your kids?.'

For me, the only person that is going to tell you they are proud of you is yourself. It starts with you, internally and accepting your flaws and your strengths. You can not wait for your parents, friends or even your partner to do so. It starts with you! I had to realize that now and I have done so in the past but now that I have been a parent for 3 years now I know that it also carries over into your parenting. 
Now don't misunderstand me, my partner praises my parenting our children often. However, he knows how to reel me into reality and put me in check when I need it. Last night was an example of that. 

I didn't ever get that from my parents that they were proud of me. My mother was a heavy alcoholic and drug addict. So I wasn't raised by her and I didn't ever expect much from her. The only thing I did get was medical issues growing up and slow maturation. My father took me from that situation and I was fortunate to be raised by him, my aunt(his sister) and my grandmother(his mother). The two people who did right by me were my aunt and grandmother. My father treated me like pooh. There was physical and psychological/verbal abuse from him. He didn't like anything I did and it didn't matter that I tried to do things he liked to please him. I felt it never was good enough. He would torment me before I went to a colorguard show or football game. He would make me cry for wearing my Songleader(cheer group that danced only) uniform when I would leave the house. 

I felt like I was worthless and that I didn't make him proud. I graduated high school and was headed off to college. Did my father come to my high school graduation? NO! I was crushed but I didn't let him see that. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. Now I was kicked out of living with my father when I told him I was gay. He disowned me and I don't exist to him. It is still that way to this day, sort of. I don't look to my parents for any approval. I don't even seek it from the few family members in my life now. 

I am proud of how I have raised my two kids to be independent self loving kids. My son has no problem walking down to the 2nd grade play yard on his own while I take my daughter to the kindergarten playground. My daughter has no separation anxiety when I leave her to check on my son. Yes, they are at the same elementary school and that has made for an easier schedule for me now. I still have a lot of involvement in their lives. So that is what my kids do to make me proud of them and I am sure they aren't aware of that but I tell them that constantly. I love them and I love my partner and I love my life. I tell myself that I am proud of me! I am and I feel it and I glow more now because I have put that out there. 

So if any one feels in any way like I have or did, just tell yourself ....You are proud of you! It comes from within and starts with you! 

Kindly, 
Joël 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Fun

So the summer for my two kids was very short. They return to school on the 14th of August. I have kept them very busy with museum trips, free kid events at local malls, play dates, small family only bday celebration for Janette who turned 5 and the list goes on.

However I have to say they only thing on my mind right now is the fact that she isn't a little baby anymore but a little independent self sufficient girl. She starts kindergarten and will be at school  for a full day.  Wow right! Since I am a full time stay at home dad to my two kids I am feeling very emotional about it.

Am I still needed? Do I matter to them now? Is it me or am I just a drama queen? Well, I feel like I am not needed anymore. That what matters most is which friends of theirs will be in the class and yes I am a drama queen. I know the first two don't apply to me but honey I am a drama queen. Just don't let my other half, Sean, know that I admitted that. He would have a field day with this admission. LoL ;-)

So I have cried while folding and hanging her uniform clothes. I have cried while prepping her backpack with school supplies and I also cried when I made her hair appointment, which is on the day before she goes back to school. I'm an emotional mess, I know sob sob sob right!?

What I know for a fact is I am just happy that she is ready, confident and happy to start a new chapter in her school life. She and Jonathan will be at the same school now. That means the same schedule, vacation days, early dismissals and an easier way for me, daddy, to keep track of it all. By this fact, I wouldn't make a great personal assistant, ha! :-P

My partner Sean will be there on their first day of school as well as Janette's hair appointment. I am so happy that he has taken time off the be with us in another milestone memory for our family. He is my heart, my rock and I love him. That is what keeps me grounded and from being a blubbering idiot. He is the calmer of the two of us. I may not always show my emotions but it is hard for me to keep my composure. He is better at it than I am.

Well I close this blog with one last thing. I thank my grandmother who always supported me on everything I ever did as a child, tween, teen, young adult and adulthood. She is a true testament of supporting and loving your children no matter what. I strive and hold myself to that standard everyday.

XOXO and KINDLY,
Joël
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kids Healthy Muffins

This was provided by my new parent contact Alison Astair and I wanted to share this on my blog website. I plan on making some substitutions to make them even more healthy. Suggestions are using organic unbleached whole wheat flour as well as organic options for some of the other remaining ingredients. 

These are to be some yummy healthy options for my kids and kids alike!!!! Enjoy.

Oh and I will post when I make these. Woohoo. 

Please mind your manners and say 'please' and 'thank you' for it gets you a lot and I speak from experience. 

Kindly, 
Joël 
KIDS MUFFINS! These are delicious and so healthy. Lots of great ingredients in there. Make a bunch and freeze some so you have a quick and healthy treat on hand!

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste
2 large bananas, mashed
1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash
2 carrots, grated
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 standard muffin cups.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Store at room temperature for up to two days, or freeze.
KIDS MUFFINS!  These are delicious and so healthy.  Lots of great ingredients in there.  Make a bunch and freeze some so you have a quick and healthy treat on hand!    Ingredients    1/2 cup butter, softened  1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste  2 large bananas, mashed  1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash  2 carrots, grated  2 eggs, beaten  1 cup all-purpose flour  1/2 cup oat bran  1 teaspoon baking soda  1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice  1/2 teaspoon salt  Directions    Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 standard muffin cups.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups.  Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Store at room temperature for up to two days, or freeze.
 ·  ·  · 43 minutes ago · 


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Monday, July 9, 2012

New Parenting Contact

Made my first parenting contact to use on my website/blog. Exciting!!! I will be sharing her wisdom, insight, knowledge and expertise. Thank you https://www.facebook.com/parenting.coach.alison.astair
Giving parents the tools to use helps reduce the stress and makes parenting a more positive experience.More successful and positive parenting builds stronger relationships between parents and children. Parent and child success is what we all strive for!
Page: 2,392 like this
 ·  ·  · a few seconds ago · 

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Funday

Today was a fun filled day with the whole family. Sean, Jonathan, Janette and I went to see the new Spiderman movie, then it was off to Giggles 'n Hugs for lunch. What a great place to play, eat and have a glass of wine. Oh and there was a treasure hunt which Jonathan won. His prize was a king crown and he also won a queen crown for his sister. There was an added bonus to his winning, a free cupcake which was shared among the two of them. I highly recommend this place for kids. Indoor play fun at its best.

On another note, shopping is at a high these past weeks. A lot of retail stores are offering extra percentages off of sale items. It has been a steal! Sean and I picked up some amazing stuff. Definitely keep your eyes out for those sales!

Lastly a quote really struck a chord in me and I try to live by this daily.
"Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." -Dr. Leo Buscaglia

Remember your manners and say 'please' and 'thank you' for it gets you a lot. I speak from experience. :-)

Kindly,
Joël



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Friday, July 6, 2012

Finally!

Hello and Welcome, My name is Joël and I am a full time stay-at-home dad to my two kids. My son is 7 and my daughter turns 5 on July 19th. My partner Sean, who is the best ever, works to support us all and allow me to live my dream of being a stay-at-home dad. Yeah! I am thrilled to have my own domain name/website for my blog. My goal is to create an open resource center and discussion forum for dads. Whether you are gay or straight, I am accepting of all. I know when I become a dad resources were limited and even more so for a gay dad. I've been a stay-at-home dad for 3 years now. I have to say I enjoy everyday of it. Even when I get cranky at my partner or when the kids have tested me to my limit of patience. I thoroughly love it. My life now is more than I ever dreamed it could be. I feel blessed and I am humbled everyday. My grandmother raised me and she too was a stay-at-home caregiver to me and my two older brothers. It is my joy and passion to do the same for my kids. Thank you for reading my blog and allowing me the opportunity to create this project. I hope this grows and grows. Please spread the word. Kindly, Joël