For most of us, becoming a parent is a leap of faith – in ourselves and in our ability to nurture and mold a new life. For some of us, the arc of that trajectory is even greater.
For almost two decades Marc Kuritz was successfully engaged in the political arena. Then, in one year, he quit his job, became a dad, and began his now-flourishing rare book business. How he juggled as he made this journey is the stuff of the laugh-out-loud new book, “Man With Child.”
Meet the author Saturday, June 18, at 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Mira Mesa – and bring Dad and Dads-to-Be a signed copy for Father’s Day.
What inspired you to write Man With Child?
Timing, surprise, and good advice.
The good advice first. A long time ago, a writing teacher told me: “Write what you know.” That’s what many great authors have done. William Faulkner wrote tales rooted in a fictionalized version of his own Mississippi. Robert Frost wrote poems redolent with the sense of his beloved New England. I wrote about poopy diapers and raising my daughter. Trust me when I say that having my literary aspirations come out this way was a surprise.
I started writing one day during my daughter’s pre-pre-school music class. Ms. Jennifer was leading the class in a greeting song. They sang to mommies. Then to grandmas. Then to nannies. Only then, they sang to “Daddy.” Singular. After grandmas. And nannies. That’s when it struck me that my experience might deviate from the norm and I started writing right there in a chair in the back of music class while my daughter merrily thumped away in the drum circle.
Is your book primarily for stay at home dads, or more of every dad’s journey?
Man With Child is a travelogue. When someone writes a travelogue about a journey to Tibet or Timbuktu, it’s not just for people in Tibet or Timbuktu. There are universal aspects to the human experience, even if the settings vary considerably. One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that none of us are quite as unique as we think – and that’s a good thing. I think parents take some comfort in hearing that other parents have wrestled with some of the same child-rearing problems. So I expect that most parents reading this book might nod their heads and laugh with me at least as much as they laugh at me.
What do you see as the primary difference between the mom and dad experience?
In most cases – I say most because there is a truly wonderful variety of non-traditional mommy and daddy combinations in our society today– the difference begins with the obvious. Most moms get a nine-month home-field bonding time advantage over dads out of the gate. Our child’s first and most secure world is mommy’s body where your child hears what mommy hears, eats what mommy eats, goes where mommy goes. Your baby will first open its eyes, hiccup, kick, stretch, yawn, and even start learning its native language inside mommy. Even more than all that, studies tell us that your baby’s first feelings will be intimately connected to what mommy feels and experiences. The bottom line for my fellow dads is that there is a bond between mommy and child that we will neither emulate nor understand. We dads need to respect that.
What do you hope dads take away from MWC?
I hope I’ve provided some observations, warnings, and minor revelations that may be of use to my fellow dads. At the very least, I hope my fellow dads can take some solace and laugh with me at some of the crazy, humbling stuff that being a dad requires.
What do you hope moms take away from the book?
Mommies often seem to stare at us daddies as if to say “What were you thinking?” Well, here is one dad’s answer. Be patient with daddies, ladies. We have our challenges, too.
What did you learn from writing Man With Child?
I think writing Man With Child clarified certain things for me, but most of all it reminded me to laugh. My daughter is almost 10 now, and approaching adolescence. We all know how seriously preteens and teens can take themselves, and how easily they can be insulted or hurt. I tell Dessa all the time to laugh at herself first, and laugh often; that way, nobody can ever laugh at her, only with her. Writing Man With Child reminded me first and foremost that humor is perhaps the best tool we have for reconciling all the strange, challenging, humbling stuff the world throws at us – particularly when parenting is involved.
Antoinette Kuritz and Jared Kuritz are the team behind both STRATEGIES Public Relations and the La Jolla Writer’s Conference (www.lajollawritersconference.com).
Marc Kuritz is the son of Antoinette Kuritz and Jared Kuritz is his brother.