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Fatherly Figure

The founder of our favorite Dad site gives us the rundown on his own baby balance.

Fatherly Figure

Baby’s arrival inevitably comes with change. It can mean letting go of your pre-parent self and some of the pleasures that came along with it: freedom, spontaneity… sleep. But it can also breed incredible creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving. And freedom, well, it’s still totally attainable, as long as you have the right set of tools.

For Simon Isaacs, an impending baby meant giving up some of his “single guy” life--think professional marathons and running around the world on foot to raise awareness for safe drinking water. But it also helped him dream up Fatherly, the smart Dad site that’s quickly become a must-read for parents and parents-to-be.

For our last stop on our Bugaboo Runner tour around NYC, we hit the Rockaway boardwalk with Simon and his baby girl Kaia for a quick workout, and learned about how this Brooklyn dad keeps moving forward, now with his baby on board.

Why are you so passionate about fitness?

I grew up in Vermont and spent most of my time outside (we lived pretty remotely and our TV only had one channel). As a family, we spent a lot of time cross-country skiing--a sport I later competed in internationally--which, in turn, got me into running and racing marathons. Today, tradition is a big part of fitness for me. But being out there, running trails and pushing myself, is just a lot of fun for me.

In what way does running give you a feeling of freedom that other fitness activities can’t replicate?

I have to run and move. It’s really not a choice--it’s a big part of my inner workings. The first few minutes of a run is about shaking off whatever stress or anxiety might be taking place. It’s when I am running, with my mind free of all the clutter, that I am doing most of my creative thinking for my business, Fatherly. But the most magical thing that happens on a run is when my legs, heart and breath take the same rhythm I stop thinking altogether. That doesn’t happen everyday, but when it does, it’s pretty surreal. I’ve always wanted to be someone who could meditate--but I’ve struggled to be able to do that--so running’s my best hope.

How do you fit in time to care for yourself between parenting and your career?

Mornings are my time with my daughter Kaia. Having a jogging stroller has changed the game for me (and my family). I put her in the Bugaboo Runner , grab our dog and head out. It’s like killing four birds with one stone. She loves it, our dog gets outs, I get to exercise, and my wife gets some more sleep.

What are some things you hope to teach your little ones about being active?

I attribute a lot of who I am today and what I have done to my athletic career--and even the lessons I learned really early on. My parents, who were both artists, introduced me to being out in the wild and being active. They supported me but never pushed me at all. I’d love for Kaia to be exposed to the same sort of thing--and learn and grow in the process. I’d love for her to grow up with a deep appreciation for being healthy and active. I’d love for her to learn to push herself and for her to see what she is capable of in this way. Of course, sports and being active, is what I personally know, and I have no idea what she will want to pursue. But like my parents, I can only hope to be there and support her to dive in fully to whatever her passions become.

How has becoming a parent impacted or changed your fitness routine?

When I first learned that my wife was pregnant, I had this intense desire to be super fit by the time she was born (which I later learned is a pretty common feeling among my guy friends). But when the baby came, exercise took a back seat, particularly as my wife and I juggled two really demanding jobs. I could have done much better in staying active in those early months. Now, Kaia is a big factor and part of every decision we make or activity we do. So, finding ways to incorporate her into those things is huge.

What’s are some of your favorite NYC spots to get out there and get active with your kid?

Injury prevention is a big thing for me as a runner, and the best way to do that is to stay off the pavement as much as possible. My absolute favorite place to run is just a bit outside the city at the Rockefeller State Preserve--it’s endless miles of the most gorgeous, super wide trails you can imagine through farms and fields and along streams. It’s a super quick 45-minute drive and well worth it. We live right next to Prospect Park and are close to the Rockaways--both are really great places to work out.

Sometimes we all need to unwind. When you’re done hitting the pavement and the baby's tucked in bed, what does a perfect end to a day look like?

We’ve started to limit our TV watching and instead throw on some music and hangout together and talk. Those nights are definitely my favorites. They seem to last longer and I feel so much better the next day. But we also both run our own businesses and are often working late into the night on things, which is the reality of it. Plus, there’s some epic shows on right now. Winter is coming.

If you could give expectant parents who are worried about losing their freedom some words of encouragement, what would they be?

The freedom you know now is gone. It’s done… never to be seen again. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to still do the things you love and get out there, but you have to let go of the past and redefine freedom a little. I think a lot of the anxiety and stress around losing freedom comes from not letting go. And I think guys have a harder time doing this, in part because we don’t have the 9+ months of physical preparation that cause us to slow down. And we unfortunately tend to take far less time off after kid arrives. So, I guess my words of encouragement are, “Get over it, buddy.”

 

Photography by Justin Borucki.

This post was brought to you by Bugaboo.

12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$189

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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21 questions to ask your partner instead of, “How was your day?”

2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

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