Our NYC Dads Group & I were selected by meetup.com as their nationwide, Meetup group of the week! An organizer is only as good as the people who surround him. Fortunately, during many of my weekdays, I am surrounded by a bunch of cool dads that care so deeply about raising their kids, and looking to connect with other dads in a similar situation so they can be even better parents. Sure, it is no Oscar, Emmy, or even a Tony Award (airing June 7th), but getting some recognition always feels good! As our reward, Meetup.com is featuring our group this week on their site. Check out their story and brief interview with me below:
Lance Somerfeld & New York City Dads Meetup Group- 05.18.09
“The Stay-At-Home Dad. Ten years ago, the concept was almost unheard of. As the glass ceiling cracks for women in the workforce coupled with recent economic woes, the right choice for many families places Dad in the role of primary caregiver.
Enter Lance Somerfeld, Meetup Organizer of the Week. When Lance took the role as primary caregiver for his son, he entered the lonely world of the stay-at-home-parent. Through Meetup.com, he took the bull by the horns and created the fantastic New York City Dads Meetup Group.
These dads and kids know how to party! Lance has the group all over the city – taking advantage of everything cool NYC has to offer children. Its wonderful! And so is he! Thanks, Lance!”
Was your decision to be a stay-at-home-dad your choice or a result of a job loss situation?
Fortunately, my decision to be a stay-at-home dad was by choice. My wife & I agreed that it made the most sense for our family.
What’s the biggest adjustment/challenge you’ve dealt with since taking over the role as main caregiver for your infant son?
There are several challenges I face as the primary caregiver to my son. As a stay-at-home parent, daytime can be very lonely with the feeling of isolation. It is extremely important for me to reach out and connect with other stay-at-home dads in the same situation to avoid isolation, share best practices, and vent frustrations.
Do you miss working outside the home?
I was a public school teacher at an amazing school in the Bronx for five years before deciding to be a stay-at-home. Yes, I miss working with such a dynamic and caring staff as well as the reward of teaching my 6th grade students everyday. I was fortunate to be in a career I truly enjoyed & look forward to returning to it in the future.
I should add that the NYC Department of Education has an unpaid Childcare Leave of Absence Program that makes it possible for me to stay home with my son for the year and return to a similar position in teaching.
How did you find out about Meetup.com, why did you decide to start your group?
Another stay-at-home dad, Theo R., turned me on to Meetup.com. He inspired me to use the internet (via Meetup.com) to connect and network with other stay-at-home dads in a similar situation and avoid isolation.
I have come across a lot of guys who do not like to ask for directions. Consequently, I selected the “un”original name “New York City Dads Meet Up Group” because I knew it would be easy for dads to find when doing an internet search.
What do you like about being a Meetup Organizer?
Being an organizer of a group like this one is a lot of fun because the dads in our group are so supportive of one another. Additionally, being surrounded by such a diverse and great group of guys enables each of us to embrace our role & have a blast with our kids!
Where do you see the group heading eventually?
I want the group to continue to be a positive resource and support for dads in and around NYC as they take on their role as primary caregiver. There is not enough support out there for dads. Therefore, I look forward to continue being a “destination” for dads with our NYC Dads Meet Up Group as well as providing quality content, information, and news with my blog at www.nycdadsgroup.com.