Has it Really Been a Year? by Lance Somerfeld of NYC Dads Group
Lance Somerfeld, a founding member and co-organizer of the NYC Dads Group, is a stay-at-home dad of 3-year-old Jake. Since co-founding NYC Dads Group in 2008, the community has grown to more than 500 active fathers in the New York City area.
Has it really been a year since my son was born and I was thrust head first into this amazing role as a father? Yes. The evidence is a prize of a son who keeps opening and slamming the desk drawer next to me as I write this reflective piece. More evidence—I enjoyed this year so much that I decided to take on another year of full-time dad duty. Now, I will get to hang with my son every day until he is two years old. How cool is that?
I remember when Jake was a just a few weeks old and would sleep most of the time. I would get so excited just to see him with his eyes open for a few minutes. Now, he is up for most of the day, and I can barely get his diaper on properly as this active child squirms and flips around on the changing table. What a rewarding experience! Diaper changing, feeding bottles of milk, soothing a crying baby, reading the same books over and over again, and maintaining a nap schedule may not sound rewarding…but, these are all opportunities for bonding, growth, and development.
I was not prepared for parenthood, and I imagine most new parents aren’t. Sure, I read some books and had friends with kids, but the way I learned best was by being an active, engaged, and involved father coupled with the support of loving family and friends.
As I reflect, I realize the game of parenting is constantly changing for me. For example, I used to put my son in his bouncer seat for 30 minutes while he entertained himself by staring at his hands or pressing the sound buttons. Or, I popped him into the Exersaucer while he spun his way around in “kiddy” paradise. This enabled me to have the “freedom” to shower, read the paper, and take care of some household chores. Now, the game has changed significantly since my son is more mobile and pulling himself up on everything. Consequently, I must adapt, and strive to find more creative ways in keeping my son entertained and safe. This way I can still keep the apartment (somewhat) neat and have a little valuable “me” time to maintain my sanity.
I embrace my role of being a stay-at-home-dad and spending so much quality time with my son. Therefore, I look forward to the changes and challenges ahead…and of course, reaping all of the rewards!