Fatherhood in New York City
A Q&A on parenting, life, and working while raising children with my friend Eric!
From Simsbury to New York City, the Parenthood Q&A Series takes a stop in The Big Apple to chat with my good friend Eric. We’ve known each other for almost 20 years – since the early days of college! And while a lot has changed since then, he’s still the smartest, funniest, and most generous person I know.
Eric lives in New York, NY with his wife and three children. As with all my Q&As, I hope this is enjoyable to read and also highlights a meaningful perspective on parenting. And be sure to check out Motherhood in New York City: a Q&A with Kristen – Eric’s wife!
A big, heartfelt thank you to Eric!
Peter: Readers might not know you as well as I do. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Eric: I live in New York City with a family of five. I have two sons and a daughter – a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 1-year-old. And I’ve been in New York 13 years now working in finance.
What’s it like being a father in New York City?
It’s been great to be in a community with a lot of like-minded people. For the most part, when my kids make a friend and I then meet the parents – they’re enjoyable to be with. Usually well-educated, intelligent people who have interesting things going on in their lives and have interesting things to say. And they’re pleasant to be around.
A lot of happy families live here!
What’s your favorite thing about living in New York City?
All of the incredible restaurants nearby!
There’s also always something to do and somewhere to go. Approximately once a week my wife and I go on date nights, which is a huge help for sanity!
As a working parent, how do you manage the work-life balance?
Fortunately, my wife stays home so she’s able to cover a lot of the “life” portion as long as I cover the “work” portion. That’s the main way we cover work-life balance – by splitting it two-way.
Beyond that, when you have three kids – even with help – you’re going to spend a lot of time with your children. So, like I mentioned before, date nights are huge to make sure you dedicate some time to spend with your wife.
I’m also lucky that my job doesn’t have long hours, so it’s not as unreasonable for me to manage work-life balance as it is for a lot of other New Yorkers who work 55 or 60-hour weeks. I don’t know how they do it!
If you had more free time, what would you do?
I’m learning about that today since it’s my first day without the family since our third child was born! I spent a half hour playing piano, a half hour watching basketball, and an extra two hours at work. So that’s what I would do if I had more free time!
What’s your biggest pet peeve about other parents?
All of the overwhelmed first-time parents who make their life more difficult than it needs to be – that can get tiring.
When children like something, they really like it. What’s something your children like that you can’t stand anymore?
I’ve had a solid five years of my oldest very passionately being into dinosaurs. My daughter is now slowly getting into them, and I can tell it’s only a matter of time before my youngest is a dinosaur fan too!
Parents buy a lot of things for their kids. What’s the best and worst purchase you’ve made for your children?
The best purchases always feel like anything educational. Any time you can buy something that engages your children and is educational – like a book or workbook – those always feel like the best purchases.
The worst is any toy that incites violence among children!
What’s the coolest thing you’ve taught your child?
I’ve really enjoyed teaching my oldest math that is beyond his age, and also teaching him a variety of math tricks.
When he was three or four, for example, I taught him a math game that he could beat his grandfather in. It involves two people taking turns counting to 21, and the person who says 21 wins. Teaching him how to optimize that so he could beat his grandfather every time – that was really cool and memorable!
What child/parenting milestone are you most excited to reach?
Everyone being potty-trained. And not the potty-trained where you have accidents all the time and still have to wipe butts, but the real potty trained where they can take themselves to the bathroom and wipe themselves!
What has been your favorite child age so far?
Each one gets better so far, and my oldest is 6…so I’d say 6!
What is your family’s favorite holiday?
Halloween – everyone likes it, and as a family who doesn’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukah, we look for other holidays to do something special!
What’s your favorite book to read to your children?
What’s your favorite song to sing to your children?
I don’t love singing to my kids, but I’d say:Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Kids don’t always do a great job of listening to their parents. What’s one thing you wish your children would listen to you about?
I wish they would listen when we say to stop doing something. Especially our oldest – he doesn’t listen if you ask him to stop!
How would you react if one of your children eventually got a tattoo?
I’m not in favor of it, but assuming it’s somewhere not too obvious then it’s not too big of a deal to me. It depends a lot on the type of the tattoo and where it is, and if it stops them from looking normal in society!
When you are old, what parenting story will you share with your children?
I will tell them about how much fun they had playing together when they were younger. I think they’ll forget these years, but they’ve all brought each other a ton of joy. And it might not always be there, but they’ve all had so much fun playing together!
You’re an exceptionally talented tennis player. What about the sport do you find so appealing and fun?
The biggest appeal is that it’s just really good exercise for all-around body conditioning – strength and endurance.
I can’t really explain why I enjoy it except that I’ve spent a lifetime practicing it, which means I can play tennis at a good level. I think it’s just fun to do something well!
Who are your favorite men’s and women’s tennis players – either from the current era or past eras?
Roger Federer is my all-time favorite, and I was always an Andre Agassi fan growing up.
On the women’s side, I like Naomi Osaka from the current era, and Steffi Graf was my favorite back in the day.
Whose tennis game do you most wish you could emulate?
Novak Djokovic – his game lines up more with my game. Sometimes when I’m playing, I’m legitimately thinking about how I can emulate Djokovic! His footwork and movement are really incredible, and that’s the part of the game I think I can improve in the most.
There’s also something about the way Djokovic does it that seems more doable than the way Federer does it. It’s almost magical the way Federer moves around and hits the ball.
What do you think stay-at-home parents should know about what it’s like being a working parent?
The biggest thing to know is that the moment the working parent comes home is not the moment they should take over family duties and the stay-at-home parent can get a break. After the working parent finishes work, that’s often when the working parent needs a break, too! After a little rest, the working parent can then jump in and help out.
What advice do you have for other working parents?
Don’t forget to spend time with your wife! In a family, you can’t underestimate how important it is that the parents are happy together. When parents are able to spend time bonding – the love that comes from them trickles down to the kids!
Thank you, Eric!
Share your thoughts with Eric by leaving a reply in the comments below!
Read Kristen’s interview (Eric’s wife) here: Motherhood in New York City, or browse all Q&A interviews here: Interviews.
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