Michael Bahler’s work has appeared in Modern Love (2015 & 2008), Motherlode, Mom.me, Parent Co., Glimmer Train, Nerve, Best of the Web (Dzanc Books), 3:AM Magazine, Modern Loss, Swink, The Brooklyn Rail, Hanging Loose, Eclectica, Parting Gifts and the New Jersey Review of Literature. He lives in New Jersey.
Arguably the best thing about being Jewish is having a Jewish grandmother, so it makes me very sad that my kids are never going to know my mother, who died when our eldest was 6 weeks old, or my…wife's mother, who passed before we got married. We want to give our young kids a sense of who their grandmothers were, but we also don't want to burden them with our sadness or freak them out about death (and have them worry we are about to die). Trying to strike the proper balance, here's… >> Read More
Around this time of year, I find myself being much more solicitous with my two boys, aged 7 and 5. How are you feeling, I ask when I oversee them brushing their teeth before school. Has anything been…bothering you, I inquire when we’re sitting on the couch playing Uno after dinner. Is there something you want to talk about, I say, when I put them to bed. Like Christmas? I so hated being Jewish as a kid that I started wearing a cross around my neck in high school and telling people… >> Read More
I recently accompanied my 4-year-old, Manny, to a birthday party at a local museum. To my horror, all the kids were piling into an elevator to take them up to the third floor dinosaur exhibit. I’m…so deathly afraid of elevators that I never would have gone to the party if I had known I was going to have to ride in one. I grabbed Manny’s hand and hurried to the museum employee serving as the party facilitator. “Manny’s afraid of elevators,” I fibbed to the young woman standing at the… >> Read More
About four years ago, Motherlode ran my essay "In Defense of the Doormat Dad,” in which I championed my permissive free-range parenting style. I allowed my then-2-year-old son, Benjamin, to set his…own bedtime, take hour-long baths, and basically rule the roost. He was an amazing kid and I was content to step back and let him find his way without too much fatherly interference. I knew my essay was provocative, but still bristled at the comments section predicting Benjamin would end up a brat, or worse,… >> Read More
When you’re around something all the time, like I was around breastfeeding, it’s natural to want to give it a try. Over the past six years, I watched my wife dutifully nurse our three kids,…including our newborn. I saw how they suctioned onto her nipple with open maws and happily suckled, and I was intrigued. Plus, we weren’t having more kids. So if I wanted a turn, time was of the essence. My wife didn't say yes right away, and she threw up all these defenses like how my… >> Read More
When you have two boys and want a girl, you have to really want another child in general to get pregnant again because of the good chance you’ll keep having boy after boy after boy after boy and…then lose the presidential election (see Mitt Romney). Unless you’re going to rig the sex selection process with invasive IVF, you have to really embrace the idea of a new baby with a gender-neutral, Title IX, co-ed bathroom spirit. Jen and I had broken this sacred commandment; we were pregnant again with our third child but… >> Read More