Where the Men at?

The strange and surreal female(-only) factor of being a work-from-home mom.

Where the Men at?

When I became a mom, a whole new world of friendships opened up. Nearly anywhere I strolled in my Brooklyn neighborhood with my newborn, I could count on connecting with another mother. I picked up mom friends on the street, in coffee shops, waiting in line at the grocery store. And the conversations I had with these other mothers – even complete strangers – were instantly intimate. It would be two minutes and then we’d be talking about our c-sections or our raw nipples, or our desire to send our husbands off to get vasectomies. Being a mother is the great equalizer, I guess. This community of mothers with whom I’ve enmeshed myself and without the company of whom I can’t imagine raising children is a wonderful thing except for one tiny factor: I almost never talk to men anymore.


My life is like the 1950’s. From the time my husband leaves work to the time he returns, I inhabit a nearly all-female world where pretty much the only men I interact with are those that I pay. Is this a feminist utopian fantasy? Or is it the slightly strange life of being a stay-at-home mom and freelancer?

Here, hop onto the kickboard on my double stroller, and I will take you through a typical day in the life of my virtual testosterone wasteland and the men I meet along the way.

8am: The Couch Guy. A guy comes to fix the Crayola “washable” marker stain on my couch. He speaks only Spanish and I do not, so this doesn’t really count as male interaction. I say goodbye to my toddler and his sitter and head off to the café where I like to work.

8:15: The Doorman. The affable, young doorman at my building wishes me “good morning” when I walk by on my way out the door. Again, not really a conversation. Plus, I think he’s paid to do that.

8:30am: The Security Guard at Preschool. My husband forgot to bring my son’s lunch when they left for preschool drop off that morning, so I head to his school. I am greeted by the male security guard, who laughs at all my jokes and is therefore up there on my list of favorite people. He’s a captive audience, however, I’m not really sure he would willingly talk to me if he weren’t stuck at his post.

8:45am: The Stay-at-Home-Dad. On my way out of the school, I pass this unicorn and wave hello. Sometimes we talk for a minute and I am reminded that I do, in fact, know how to engage with members of the opposite sex. I would love to have a play date with him and his son, but being that he is a rare species and in high demand, his dance card is always full.

9am: The Waiter at my Local Café. When I sit down to work, my favorite male waiter and I catch up on the daily gossip about the other patrons and who has quit since yesterday. Possibly the longest conversation with a male that I will have all day.

10:30am: Mom Friend Alert! A mom I know from the neighborhood is on the take-out line, waiting for her coffee. We chit chat the way moms do: how heavy her period is this week, decide she should remove her IUD, and then we compete over how much we each drank the night before, after the kids went to bed. Typical womenfolk stuff.]

12pm: The Baby Music Class Teacher. One of the two teachers at my baby’s mid-day music class is a dude, and he could easily pass for a Fred Armisen character in Portlandia. I swear he’s singing right to me and my son but he hides behind his moustache and his guitar as soon as class is over.

1:15pm: Male Patron at the Communal Table. Back to work at the cafe. I ask the man sitting next to me if he can keep an eye on my laptop while I run to the loo. He seems annoyed at the Netflix interruption and grunts in response. When I return to the table, he’s gone. My computer is still there though!

2:45pm: The Ice Cream Man. Snack break with Mike, the ice cream truck operator. We engage in the conversation of: “Chocolate please” and “Thank you!”

4:30pm: The Guy at the Market. On my way home, I stop at the little market for overpriced milk. The guy working the counter is so familiar he is practically my “guy friend,” but even though he knows how I like my coffee, he doesn’t know my name.

5:15pm: Cute Piano Teacher. Note: When starved for the company of men, relatively decent-looking becomes cute, or even handsome. Cute Piano Teacher and I talk about Pearl Jam, and I try to impress him with talk about music. I fail miserably, but at least it is an interaction that involves an exchange of ideas. So I guess this counts as “meaningful.”

6pm: The Hero Returns. Finally, my husband comes home. Both the dog and I follow him from the front door to the bedroom where he removes his tie, to the kitchen where he starts on dinner, and basically I do not stop talking at him until we close our eyes to sleep.

There’s nothing wrong or bad about not talking to men in a real way during the day. It certainly isn’t terrible living a life that is all #girlsquad all the time. But admittedly, I don’t always like living in a female-only bubble. You see, the thing about bubbles is that your perspective rarely changes if the view from inside is always the same. So Male Patron at the Communal Table, I hope I’ll see you again tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, we could be friends?

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.


    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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