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It Just Takes One Voice for Others to Sing

Even before we met, at age 16, Mike and I had something in common. Our moms were both Barry Manilow fans. If you don’t know Barry, aside from the recent tabloid magazines, his singer, songwriter, musician, and music producer career has spanned over 50 years.

MIKE: When we were young and at home with our moms, the record players were worn out playing songs like “Mandy,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and who can forget “Copacabana.” Secretly, I still can’t get those songs out of my head, and I may or may not at times sing one of those catchy tunes.

My favorite Manilow song is One Voice. It came out when I was ten years old, and at the time I liked the solo voice that hit the crescendo with a crowd of voices. Today, I still like the meaning behind the lyrics of all it takes is one voice, singing in the darkness, and when you look around you’ll find there is more than one voice

With the launch of our book this week – ZagZig Parenting: (Mis) Adventures of a Career-Driven Mom and Stay-at-Home Dad, we had the privilege to be interviewed by Matt Schneider, author, co-founder of the City Dads Group and host of the Modern Dad Podcast. Matt and former teaching colleague Lance Somerfeld started City Dad’s group as each took on the challenge of primary caregivers in their families and sought support from other men.

Mike: I admire Lance and Matt for the work they have done in building their network. I remember, nearly 20 years ago approaching other men with children that I saw in a grocery store or at a park and asking if they were stay at home dads, handing them my business card and asking if they wanted to get our kids together. It sounds creepy now, but being a lone voice can be, well…lonely.

We have gotten a lot of support from friends and family during this journey, and for that we say a big THANK YOU. One of my favorite comments over the past few days on the book, however, has been from a mom who said, “Kori is one of the first moms to make me feel not alone in having to borrow a diaper from another family.” I laughed with her, reflecting on my own experience that I write about in the book, and smiled thinking she is no longer the lone voice in the darkness, she has someone else to relate to.

At the end of the day, that is the point. As parents, we can feel alone in the parenting chaos. One hundred times over, parents have encountered teenagers, doing things that test the boundaries – as they are designed to do – however, you, as a parent are experiencing it the first time with your child in unique circumstances. The more we share, however, the more we realize that the issues really are not that unique, and even more importantly, you and your child will survive and you are not alone.

Mike: Ugghhh, before initiating and joining a dads group, I used to think I was the only one who could not manage my wife’s expectations. I still do – ha! ha! – but I also know I am not alone in that battle as all the dads I have met over the years have voiced similar concerns.

When we open up about our experiences, others will share and join us in the darkness, and eventually shed a new light. Neither Mike, nor I are experts at parenting. We are experienced parents of four children, now teens to young adults, and we have made mistakes along the way. We also, however, are willing to share these stories so that people can laugh at or with our chaos, feeling less alone and more part of the parenting tribe.

At age three, our oldest child, who is now 20-plus, looked at two giraffes at the zoo, one bigger than the other, and declared it was the baby giraffe and the daddy eating lunch while mommy was away at work. We hesitated as we almost went to correct her, thinking not all would see it that way. Perhaps we have passed on that legacy and she will be the one voice, singing in the darkness and enlightening a new way of looking at a baby giraffe and her parent without seeing gender roles.

To order your copy of ZagZig Parenting, go to Amazon.

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