HAROLD STEPHAN A parent with angst…(1 of 2)

AGE   44

HOMETOWN   Manhattan

@TWITTER   @parentwithangst (note, singular spelling is correct)

ON THE WEB   parentswithangst.com

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   One

DAY JOB   Producer/Songwriter/Dad

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK
What children’s book is a favorite in your house and why? I Stink! by Kate McMullan is the story of a voracious garbage truck’s adventure through the big city, with an alphabet lesson thrown in for good measure.

What book has made a great impact on you or your kids? The Runaway Bunny touches me every time I read it. I love the balance between the parent letting the runaway bunny grow while always anticipating the next move and making sure the baby bunny is safe.

Was there/ is there a story that was passed down from generation to generation? The three bears is one of those timeless stories that I remember my mother telling me. I like to tell the story most every night night when my son is dozing off to sleep. (Well, every other night since my wife and I rotate reading chores ☺)

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

How have you, or you and your partner, arranged your life/schedule to provide the daily care for your kid(s)?

When my wife and I first met we took a great interpersonal growth workshop together called Lifespring (now called Personal Dynamics). One of the relationship-changing concepts we took away from the course was “Family As Team”, meaning the family unit functions best with a team spirit.

Over the years we have just kind of fallen into our roles organically and we approach parenting in the same manner. We are both up at 7am getting our son ready for school. I make the coffee. She picks out the clothes. I put them on our son. (He’s just turned five so he’s not totally independent, yet). She makes his lunch. I take him to school on the bike. And on it goes, back and forth, back and forth, like a volleyball game.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL? For instance are you now careful, when pre-children you led bungee jumping and sky diving expeditions?

My wife and I tried hang gliding when we first met and I can assure you we won’t be doing any hang gliding as parents. Mainly, though, it has made me become as efficient with my time as possible since that’s the most limited resource I have.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Our relationship has grown in many ways. For example, we started a band writing songs and music about parenting topics. My wife and I make sure we have a date night scheduled once a week where we know we will be having dinner out and doing something fun together. Otherwise, it’s easy to get out of balance in the relationship.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

My main strength is being in the moment and spending time with my son on his terms. My main weakness is caving into his demands. (Yes, darling, you can have that chocolate chip cookie…)

WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

My wife’s main strength is keeping the household organized and running smoothly. She is the glue that holds everything together. Her main weakness is she sometimes forgets to take care of herself.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

We have an amazing nanny who works for us part-time.

DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?

Yes, our son has a developmental delay and special sensitivities. Through a lot of hard work over the past few years we are seeing major improvements. It has made my wife and I grateful for all of the amazing support available in Manhattan and all the dedicated individuals who devote their careers to our children.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

Watching my wife and my son almost get hit by a car in a parking lot by a driver who clearly saw them. I banged on the car in anger as it passed by and the event escalated to a level that not only set a bad example but placed us all in harm’s way.

Lesson learned: Sometimes it’s okay to lose to win.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

I ride my five year old to school every morning on a bicycle past the Second Avenue subway construction site. On a recent ride he asked, “What holds up the street?” I answered, “The ground”. “What holds up the ground?”. I replied, “The earth”. “Did construction workers build the earth?” he asked. I started laughing. Considering that a few short years ago my son was diagnosed with a learning disorder, I was thrilled my kid was putting me on the spot with a great question.

Lisa Duggan

Lisa Duggan is the Founder and CEO of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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