Neal Pollack IS the ever-elusive Hipster Dad, or so he claims. He has penned the mighty book Alternadad
(link to Amazon) and he writes a great blog, which you can check out by clicking here. Warning that the blog’s rosy title is “The Continuing Adventures Of An American Family In Hipster Parenting Paradise.”
I will let his answers to my very invasive questions speak for themselves, but please sound off on what you think about all of this parenting stuff.
1. Please use three adjectives to describe yourself.
Hmm. Aging Jewish Psuedo-Hipster? Self-absorbed libidinous rabble-rouser? Are those adjectives? How about well-meaning, cranky househusband?
2. Please tell us a bit about your family - number of kids and ages.
I have one son, Elijah, aged 4 and a half. My wife Regina and I also have two Boston Terriers.
3. What do you do professionally, for how long, and do you enjoy it? What about your wife?
She’s a painter and I’m a writer. I’ve been writing professionally for more than 15 years, and I couldn’t imagine another way of making a living. I don’t even know if I’d be capable of making a living any other way. As for my wife, I think she’d enjoy having more time to pursue her actual artwork. We’re trying to get to that point.
4. Talk to us about your own work-life balance as well as how you and your wife manage the joys of parenthood and couplehood (or chaos, whichever you prefer).
Well, we both have work spaces in the house, and are both used to working at home, and in proximity to each other and our kid. But I think we’d both like more time. The major challenge, with my work being in the house, is staying away from the work when it’s supposed to be “family time.” That said, sometimes I can blow off work during supposed work time to have family time. The fluidity may not be ideal, but I’m used to it.
5. You don’t have a typical 9-5 office job - does that make things easier and more flexible? How does a typical day in your family unfold?
Sometimes I wish my life had more structure, but I’ve had a flexible schedule for so long that I think I’d be miserable within a week. We usually are all up by 8 AM, and then we take the kid to school. Depending on who’s doing the chauffering, we get anywhere between five and a half and seven hours to work. A couple of days a week, a babysitter picks Elijah up from school, which adds another 6-7 hours to our workweek.
6. What is the most difficult thing about life as a father?
No one could have prepared me for all the paperwork. Also, seeing your kid in pain, or even afraid of pain, is no fun.
7. What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a new father?
Make any sacrifices and compromises necessary for the welfare of your kid, but never give up who you are. That’s a mistake that leads to a lot of unhappiness and regret.
8. What is the one thing you could not do without on a daily basis?
I really like a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning.
9. What is one thing you wish you could change about your current situation?
I’d like to live in a slightly nicer house.
10. Loaded question: Do you think fathers don’t get enough cred?
Contemporary fatherhood is changing. The old model of silent, strong provider is giving way to a new, more nurturing model. But I wouldn’t exactly say dads are underrated. In many ways, “parenthood” as it’s currently constructed is a farce. We wouldn’t be here if people hadn’t been reproducing since homo sapiens first came down from the trees. So all this talk about “parenting” is a load of bull. We’re all just getting through the days as best we can.
You can get an up-close-and-personal look at Neal and his family on their “Nightline” spot by watching it on Youtube - click here.