STELLA FAY METZNER I don’t want to waste a day.

AGE   34

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?   Born in Manhattan, NY. Currently live in Brooklyn, NY

@TWITTER   @stellametzner

ON THE WEB   www.stellametzner.com, stellametzner.blogspot.com (*Editor’s Note* Stella’s blog is a really charming photo journal of her and her son.)

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   One. Hugo, 5 years old.

DAY JOB   Fashion Stylist, Reiki Practitioner. Fashion editor of Jam Magazine which is a new online magazine highlighting all aspects of the modern family; from fashion, to politics, to everyday life.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Separated

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   My son loves reading. We read books all the time. He is almost six now and is can just about read on his own. However the books that he likes are very different then the ones I like. He likes Pokemon, and comic books, and Captain Underpants, while I like and grew up on more story books such as Amos and Boris and The Amazing Bone and Little Fur Family. We do agree on Dr. Seuss though. We both love most books by him and books about animals. My son wants to be an “animal scientist”.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

I work freelance so when I’m not working I try to spend as much time with my son as I can. Combining work and family is incredibly difficult.

I used to own an arts and crafts store for kids and adults called SPACECRAFT. I thought that having a crafts store would allow me more time with Hugo, however, having my own business proved to be way more time consuming and costly then just going to work every day.

I am a single mother so it is sometimes more difficult to work certain jobs or travel for work because I don’t have another person at home to drop-off or pick-up. Hugo does spend a few nights a week with his father though, which is very helpful. His father also works freelance and we often figure out a way to work it out for both of us if there is a scheduling problem.

I am very adamant about having vacations with my son. When Hugo has a vacation or a day off I try to make myself available so that we can have quality time together away from work and stress. I also try to never bring my work home if I can help it.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

Being a parent has changed me in a lot of ways. I definitely don’t take as many risks physically or financially.

I don’t watch as many scary movies, or gory things that are hard to watch. I don’t surround myself with as much negativity. I don’t party as much either. I still go out and have a ton of fun and see friends all of the time, but I don’t have the resilience that I used to. If I go out and get wasted one night then I am a terrible cranky mommy the next day and I don’t want to waste a day of Hugo’s life being that way.

On the other hand, I find that in some ways I am way more active and adventurous. Hugo loves sports and nature and activities and I was never really like that as a child, so I find that now I do more adventurous trips and vacations. I used to just lay on the beach and have a margarita, and while I still get to do that every once in a while, I also like to go for a run down the beach looking for shells and adventure.

IF PARTNERED, HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Parenting affected my relationship with Hugo’s father a great deal. We are very different people with very different parenting styles.

We had a trying relationship before we were parents and then after we had Hugo all of our differences just grew larger.

We work better now that we are not together as co-parents.

It has been difficult to get a structure together but we know how to talk to each other better now and see how to help each other out in ways that we couldn’t when we were together. I think when you are happy as individuals it really creates joy in your relationship. When you are able to know yourself and what you want in life and how to make yourself happy and love yourself then you can be in a place to do that with and for someone else.

I think we are both happier not being together and therefore communicate better and can be better parents.

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

My strength as a parent is my compassion and kindness and positivity. I am pretty patient to a very demanding child and I love to have fun.

My weakness is that very often I just want to have fun and make him happy — so I think he is spoiled in that way. I would like to start volunteering at a soup kitchen with him or something like that so that he can see how lucky he is to have everything that he has. Children always want more and if you give them an inch they will take that and more. I don’t have a problem saying “no’ but I despise when I am saying “no” about everything all day. I would love to come up with a way to just have him stop asking for so much stuff all of the time.

It is trying in this consumerist atmosphere of New York and 2012, but I try.

WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

Hugo’s father is a very loving dad. I think his weakness is that originally, he didn’t really want to be a dad and didn’t think he could do it, so he always thinks he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

That leaves a lot of the decision making up to me. I was never a mother before and I also don’t know what I am doing. I learn as I go, and from my mother, and other women I respect. He just defers to “I didn’t know”, or, “I don’t know how to do that.”

His strength is that he loves his son a lot and loves to spend time with him. He cooks and they have fun together and he loves Hugo more than anything — and that is what is most important in the end.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

I have a huge family and they all mostly live in New York. Everyone is very busy so I don’t have a ton of unpaid childcare but if it’s an emergency usually one of them is available.

My sister has a son who is the same age as Hugo but he doesn’t live in NY. When he is here the boys are always together and we trade childcare daily. When they are not here my sister is still always there for me — whenever she can be. She works in TV though, so very often she is working 16 hour days or more.

I have a lot of friends who I can also rely on in an emergency and a network of babysitters that Hugo loves to hang out with, if necessary.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

My worst parenting moment is when I yell. I grew up with a parent that yelled and when I am frustrated it is the first place I go. I am working on it though because I hate to hear myself yelling. It is my absolute least favorite parenting moment.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

My best parenting moment is when Hugo and I are together, and we are playing or reading or hanging out, or making art work together, or at a movie and we are just enjoying each other. I love to spend quality time with him and feel our bond together. I just love to see him happy.

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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