Toronto

CBC Canada Writes Feature: The Urban Daddy. Bringing the modern dad to the blogosphere


While away on vacation with the family, this article was posted on the CBC website, under the Canada Writes section. It was written by Jennifer Warren, who is an amazing writer and she took my words, my thoughts and my ramblings and turned them into gold. For that I will always be grateful.

The link to the original article is right here; http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html

The article on me, The Urban Daddy, and my business, inTAXicating Tax Services and is below;

“Bringing the Modern Dad to the Blogosphere:

By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.

As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.

Warren Orlans, aka, The Urban Daddy with children

When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?

I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.

I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.

You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?

I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.

I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.


There are a lot of “mommy” blogs out there, but not so many “daddy” blogs. Why do you think this is?

I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.

Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.

I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.

You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?

When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?

How does your family feel about your blog?

My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.

I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.

You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?

InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act. In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.

Warren face 2012

 

So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?

I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.

Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.

I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.

What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?

Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.

If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.

If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.

All images courtesy of Warren Orlans and The Urban Daddy.”

•Check out The Urban Daddy »

Visit inTAXicating Blog

Head over to the CBC Canada Writes Site to discover more great Canadian blogs »  Please.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things We Should Not Lose Sight Of


I have a lot of stuff running through my mind and when I go to write them down so I do not forget, I forget them.  So I’m going to try to empty those items in a Thursday 13 post, whereby I list 13 items on a topic, and the topic this week is 13 Things Happening Around Us We Cannot Lose Sight Of.

13.  Uruguay has a player named Luis Suarez who is a pretty damn incredible soccer player.  He beat England pretty much by himself which must have sucked since he plays in the English Premier League.  Suarez, however, likes to bite his opponents.  He has done this a couple of times before and was most recently suspended 10 games for it.  He clearly has not learned, however, as he bit a player in Uruguay’s FIFA World Cup game.

Now what are they going to do with him?

Should he not have learned by now?

If FIFA were his parents, would biting him back be justified to teach him a lesson?  How about making him write an apology, or punishing him for the lie he told when he denied that it happened.

12.  Russia appears to be trying to re-assemble the USSR which is disturbing, but even more upsetting is the amount of anti-Semitism and gay-bashing going around.  This country clearly wants to remain a super-power by controlling its citizens, however the trampling of basic human rights places them back in the 1960’s and that much be stopped.  Shooting down planes is also not cool at all.

11.  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford return to work on June 30th after 2 months in rehab.  He immediately jumps to the top of the polls for re-election and I don’t know why.  Granted, John Tory has 61% of the popular support, but it appears that Torontonians are poised to make another huge mistake.

10.  In my day job, as a tax collections consultant, I have found the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is taking forever to process simple requests and have been quick to assess but slow to follow-up.  Where is the accountability? #inTAXicating

9.   Miami Heat star LeBron James has opted out of his contract either to become a free agent and join another team, or because he realized he cannot do everything and that Chris Bosh is pretty fragile and useless, like he was in Toronto.  So with a new contract at a cheaper price, the Heat can buy more / better players.  But with LBJ on his way back to Cleveland, and talks of Bosh wanting to go to front-runner and defending champion Houston Rockets, does it make the Bosh-o-saur seem like less of a player, who wants to go where he can get a free ride, not bang in the paint and play safely?

8.   Toronto sports teams suck, and sports fans here are perplexed.  The Raptors and Blue Jays were supposed to suck and be last place in their respective divisions this season, but the Raptors won their division and the Jays are just out of first place in the AL East with pretty terrible starting pitching.  The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, and the Toronto FC, made changes and were expected to at the very least, make the playoffs but both bombed.

7.   Starbucks Brezza coffee is fantastic!

6.   I feel bad for business owners who do not do their homework… In my neighbourhood, for example, a new restaurant just opened selling food which I’m pretty sure no one will eat.  Worse, it opened across from a religious centre where very few would have / have ever tried that food.  (Shaking Head)

5.   Did they find that missing plane yet?  Sad.

4.   5-years yesterday since Michael Jackson died.  I seem to hear more and more of him on the radio each and every day.

3.   Girls and Woman in countries all over the world are being kidnapped and tortured for no reason whatsoever.  This needs to be stopped, like yesterday.  Until each and every person in the world, man, woman and trans-gendered are allowed to live free and safe from persecution, we have a long way to go.

2.   Hate is taught.  For a child to grow up in a free and democratic country and think it is okay to vandalize something with hate messages which probably would have gotten him jailed, tortured or killed in his country, means his parents and community are breeding hate and that cannot and should not ever be tolerated.  Shame.

1.   Education is the key, my friends, to pretty much everything.  Education, exercise, never trying drugs, and using common sense will lead to a better human race and should be the corner-stone for a new way to bring up our children and judge others.

 

#DontBeALemon

#BeARoseBud

 

Olivia Chow Running for Toronto Mayor Position. One of the Top… Spenders as a MP.


According to the Federal government, here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/PublicDisclosure/MemberExpenditures.aspx?Id=MER2013FY&Language=E

I’ll break out the stats. Have a look at others. This could be the Mayor to bankrupt Toronto:

Expenditures by Member

Member: Chow, Olivia

Member. Status. Constituency Name. Constituency Size. Number of Electors.

Chow, Olivia. Active. Trinity—Spadina. 26 km². 101,020

Category

Member’s Budgets ($)

Resources Provided by the House ($)

Travel Points

Total ($)

Reg.

Spec.

U.S.A.

1-Employees’ salaries and service contracts
241,328.49 – 241,328.49

2-Travel

Member
2,191.93 46,090.29 39.50 10.00 – 48,282.22

Designated traveller


Dependants


Employees
3,109.33 2,494.24 4.00 – – 5,603.57

Member’s accommodation and per diem expenses
7,240.65 – 7,240.65

Member’s secondary residence expenses
12,000.00 – 12,000.00

3-Hospitality and events
3,870.58 – 3,870.58

4-Advertising
3,296.96 – 3,296.96

5-Printing

Householders
– 28,835.50 28,835.50

Ten percenters
– 19,898.77 19,898.77

Other printing-related expenses
7,536.58 – 7,536.58

6-Offices

Constituency office leases, insurance and utilities
41,962.70 – 41,962.70

Furniture, furnishing and equipment purchases
505.00 3,457.65 3,962.65

Equipment rentals
2,403.41 – 2,403.41

Informatics and telecommunication equipment purchases
2,092.37 1,726.10 3,818.47

Telecommunication services
7,330.26 6,998.71 14,328.97

Repairs and maintenance
498.14 – 498.14

Postage and courier services
4,704.87 – 4,704.87

Materials and supplies
4,622.22 3,708.66 8,330.88

Training
348.04 – 348.04

Total Amount Spent: $458,251.45.
345,041.53 113,209.92 43.50 10.00 – $458,251.45

That is $458,251.45 in one year. One riding.

Take a deep breath and think again… Please.

STATUS:
Active – Member throughout fiscal year; DE – Deceased; NR – Not re-elected; NE – Newly elected; NSR – Not seeking re-election; RS – Resigned; NEB – Newly elected in by-election

Canadian Living Likes The Urban Daddy too…


Father’s Day is a great time to check out some of the great Daddy bloggers on the Internet, especially the – ahem – Canadian ones.

I was thrilled when I received word from David Eddie who writes for Canadian Living saying he wanted to add my blog, The Urban Daddy, to his article titled; Daddy Blogs You Should Be Reading.

David, in case you were not already aware, has blogged under “Mack Daddy” and has written and published (is this not one in the same) a few parenting books;

  • Damage Control: How to Tip-Toe Away From the Smoking Wreckage of Your Latest Screw-Up With a Minimum of Harm to Your Reputation (2010)
  • Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, (2003)
  • Chump Change (1999)

You can see more of David’s work, here.

Here is what David wrote; “Moms have ruled the blogosphere, but daddy bloggers are throwing their ball caps in the ring. Here are the daddy blogs you should be reading.

While women are naturals at communicating and forming communities, it’s tougher for us guys. I was a stay-at-home dad for many years—I even had a blog called Mack Daddy, which quixotically tried to make being an SAHD seem cool—and I know that, as a dad, you can feel isolated, like you’re the only guy in the world going through what you’re going through. Reading some other dude’s blog is one of the best cures. Dad bloggers offer a unique window into what men think about their lives in the wake of having children.

Maybe in some utopian future when we’re all riding around in hovercars, we will speak only of “parent bloggers,” making no distinction between male and female. Until then, dad blogs add a spicy flavour to the blogosphere. A flavour kind of like…barbecue.

Here are some of my go-to sites that let me know I’m not alone:

The Urban Daddy is the blog for products and practical tips, especially for things to do when your kids are driving you up the wall. Warren Orlans, the Toronto father behind the blog, says he’s “not your typical daddy,” and I’m not quite sure what he means by that. (What’s typical these days?) But, like me, he has a three-kid, two-career household. Also like me, he and his wife have the odds stacked against them: three to two. He’s very good on the topic of “juggling”—which is especially useful for readers who live in urban jungles. Don’t kid yourself: It is a jungle out there, and Urban Daddy is a great guide to avoiding the bear traps, vipers’ nests and poison darts.”

Please go read the entire article, here.

Local Event: chickaDEE and the Toronto Zoo, June 21st, 2014.


Suddenly, this Urban Daddy feels very old!

Upon receiving a tip that OWLkids and the Toronto Zoo are partnering to celebrate 35 years of chickaDEE magazine on June 21st, my mind started recalling the release of chickaDEE at the ripe old age of, ahem, 7-years-old.chickaDEE Magazine 35th Anniversary issue

Needless to say, I’m old, but I LOVED OWL as a kid, and loved chickaDEE too. My kids love OWL and chickaDEE as my middle child is the ripe old age of, ahem, 7-years-old.

So as a result, we have cleared our calendar on the 21st to ensure that we can attend this event (we already have the family seasons pass to the zoo).

This event is an excellent addition to The Urban Daddy’s event listings because it is an educational activity that the whole family will enjoy, while seeing a major Toronto attraction in the Toronto Zoo.

EVENT: chickaDEE Magazine Zoo Puzzle Search

DATE: Saturday, June 21, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

VENUE: Toronto Zoo
361A Old Finch Ave.
Scarborough, ON
M1B 5K7

EVENT DESCRIPTION:

Kid explorers and their families are invited to join Owlkids, publishers of chickaDEE Magazine, for a fun-filled day of discovery at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, June 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Come out to follow the clues and search the Zoo for four puzzle pieces that will reveal a special picture. Collect all four and win a prize!

For more information visit the Toronto Zoo website, here.

 

See you at the zoo!