Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Brave New World

It was a Monday not unlike other Mondays I’ve known. I woke up before the sun rose. I got dressed by the light of my cell phone so I didn’t disturb my sleeping wife. I had laid out my clothes the night before to avoid any potential wardrobe malfunctions. I kissed my wife goodbye and kindly reminded her to put money on the EZ Pass since we were way overdue. When you are unemployed, things like putting money on the EZ Pass just have to wait. But this day was going to be a big day.

I have been unemployed for 14 of the last 15 months. For 15 months, my life has been in a holding pattern, just trying to stay afloat. All of this…our crowded house, the start of my career, the penny-pinching…was supposed to be in my rearview mirror distantly down the road. But it’s not. I’m still here…but not for very long. On this day, I started my new job.

Traveling through traffic to get to work, I feel completely conflicted. I know that my son will wake up soon after I leave and will inevitably ask my wife, “Where’s Dad?” and this hurts my heart. I’ve been so accustomed to always just being there for him…for everything. So has he. My wife and I joke that my son goes through “Mommy and Daddy” phases, where he exhibits a preference for one of us. For the first 2 years of his life his “daddy” phases were short-lived – perhaps lasting a week or less. But, for the first time in his life, my son has been on a “daddy” phase for over a month. Perhaps he subconsciously knew I was starting a new job. Regardless, I would never want to pass up this bonding time.

During my unemployment, I was a first-hand witness to my son’s remarkable growth. At first, we struggled to get through some days (okay, maybe most days). I was happy for a 30 minute reprieve to watch Diego save the Tapir. But, we persevered. As he grew, our days and time together just weren’t long enough. At 2 ½, he expresses such complex thoughts. Instead of mimicking my words, we can have real conversations about his infinite inquiries. Most days I just can’t get enough.

And because of these things, somewhere along my journey, I deconstructed and reassembled my goals and priorities. While I once dreamed of climbing the proverbial professional ladder, I now dream of being with my family. It’s a constant balancing act. But, this time, I feel I’ve found a job that allows me to prioritize what is most important to me. The lucrative bonuses and profit-sharing are non-existent, but those “luxuries” come at cost – one in which I am not willing to accept. I’ve made that mistake in the past. I’ll trade those financial luxuries any day to spend more time with my family.

It’s true that my journey may have started with uncertainty, embarrassment, and even fear. I most certainly have avoided conversations to side step any probing questions about my employment. However, I’ve learned that a job is just a means to providing an existence. My personal wealth is defined by the moments of joy I get from my family – not by some corporate financial structure.

As I sat in traffic on the way to my new job, a lot of my previous insecurities flashed in my head. Am I good enough? Will the same thing happen again? Can I seamlessly transition? Can I balance it all? Will I have enough time with my wife and son? Of course there will be times when I will be asked to make sacrifices. Some days I may not even get to see my son and wife. However, most days I will have to sacrifice very little family time. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful to have a job when so many people are still losing their jobs, or worse. I persevered…I survived. It’s bittersweet.

As a bonus, I no longer need to avoid those probing conversations about my job and identity. I now have an answer.

I am a husband.
I am a dad.
I am a man that has taken an unexpected journey and found out a lot about myself along the way. I’m embarking on a brave new world.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Humbled, Honored and Hopeful

New to the world of blogging, we are honored to have been nominated for one of the top Daddy Blogs in the country. We've never been on a talk show or the feature of a magazine article. We're really just regular people trying to carve out some good in a complicated, fast-paced world.

That being said, it's not like we haven't crossed our fingers that someday we might get a phone call from a publisher or a producer (ehem!). But, the reality is that we enjoy writing and we are glad to have followers that enjoy reading our posts. Ultimately, we are really glad that through our blog we've been able meet new friends and help families and communities in need.

So....we're psyched that we are currently in the lead in's "Best Daddy Blog" category. Besides bragging rights, winners will receive gift cards to Pottery Barn Kids (and, well, the holidays are coming....) and the grand-prize winner will win an iPad!

Voting ends on Monday, November 15th at midnight. The competition is stiff, so keep us in the lead and who knows where this road will take us! Thanks so much for all of your support!


An Amazing Concert...for a great cause

The Rock Your Bottom concert was a resounding success. We had over 130 attendees at the concert and together, we raised 3,624 diapers for NJ families in need. It's been a week since the event and we are still amazed by the generosity and support that made the event such a success. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated diapers. We are still receiving diapers from our amazon wish list, which can be found here. If you were unable to attend the concert and you still want to contribute, please feel free to buy diapers from our wish list.

A special thank you to all our volunteers for their time and talent for making Rock Your Bottom an amazing event. We were so honored to have the support of all our volunteers for an entire afternoon.

In addition to all the diaper donations, we received generous donations for our tricky tray raffle from some very talented people: 

The lucky winners went home with some amazing prizes!

Of course, we also had an amazing performance by Preschool of Rock, who had all the little bottoms rocking! His songs are so infectious, my son was singing them days after the event! Preschool of Rock's new semester of classes begins in January, so be sure to check out his website and sign up early!

Also, a big thank you to Jason Platko for taking over 400 pictures of the concert. His pictures will be posted soon!

Finally, I am most thankful for my wife. She wears many hats on most days, but she worked tirelessly in organizing and planning the concert. I'm constantly amazed by her philanthropic spirit and selfless devotion to breaking down barriers for positive change. She should be proud of herself. I certainly am!

Thank you again to everyone who was involved in making Rock Your Bottom a huge success. A little help goes a long way and your donations will help many families. For that, you should be proud. Congratulations to everyone! 

Stay tuned...there's more to come!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rock Your Bottom Concert is This Saturday, November 6th

Rock Your Bottom concert is quickly approaching - this Saturday, November 6th - and we are looking forward to seeing you there!

The doors open at 3:30pm at:

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey
31 Evans Terminal, Hillside, NJ

Rock Your Bottom Concert is FREE, but as part of the Huggies Every Little Bottom campaign, we ask our friends to donate an unopened package of diapers to support New Jersey families in need. All diapers will be donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey as part of the Huggies® Every Little Bottom Campaign. Our goal for this event is to contribute over 2,500 diapers to the cause.

Rock Your Bottom is sure to provide a great time for friends of all ages. In addition to a fun-filled performance by Preschool of Rock, all attendees will receive FREE raffle tickets to win a variety of prizes from our generous tricky tray contributors!  Take a look at the list of prizes below, and start thinking about where you want to drop your tickets!

Of course, the more the merrier.  Feel free to invite friends/family/colleagues/neighbors to our event.  Encourage them to register here:


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dad Behind the Blog: Making the Most of A Life Unexpected

"Life is a journey, not a destination."
"The journey is the reward."

Quotes like this usually adorn beautifully landscaped images of mountain tops with soaring eagles or a grey-blue sky with shimmering golden rays peaking behind white, fluffy clouds. The words and images are meant to conjure hope and inspiration.

They don't usually accompany pictures of families struggling to make ends meet, or trying to make sense of the difficult circumstances that have been dictating their life for the past 14 months. Yet, I do think this blog has tried to provide hope and inspiration - to bridge the connection between “us” and “them” and to help make sense of life’s challenges.

Someone asked me recently, “What’s the point of the blog? What is it going to do?” Honestly, when we started blogging, I don’t think we had any preconceived ideas about what it would “do”. I just knew my husband had a story to tell – a story probably very familiar to a lot of men and families in this tumultuous economy. I encouraged him to blog, as a way to express his own thoughts and frustrations, but over time, I found that contributing to the blog was cathartic for me, too.

But…it was my husband’s bravery and candor that have driven this blog. He has an innate ability to connect with his readers, as he shares his very personal journey through life and fatherhood.

For this reason, I ask that you vote for him, as an outstanding Daddy Blog. Please take a moment to click on the "Nominate Me!" icon below and enter this blog into the "Nominate your favorite blog here" section. Include a link to this blog and share why you have enjoyed following his story. As we celebrate six months of blogging, I’m taking this opportunity to celebrate the man behind the posts!