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These men created a support group for fathers. They're changing what it means to be a dad.

These men created a support group for fathers. They're changing what it means to be a dad.
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Clorox

Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider never meant to start a movement. They were just two dads taking care of their kids full-time.

Lance Somerfeld, his wife, Jessica, and their children, Jake and Jade. Photo courtesy of Lance Somerfeld.

The two men met and became friends when they were public school teachers in The Bronx. While they'd already bonded over lesson plans, their love of their work and their students, soon Somerfeld and Schneider were bonding over something else: The fact that they'd become the primary caregivers to their children.


"My wife works in insurance in corporate America," says Somerfeld, who became a stay-at-home dad in 2008. "I had a position where I was teaching, and if I took a childcare leave of absence, I was still able to have a secure job waiting for me when I was ready to go back, which is a luxury and privilege these days."

"We really wanted one of the two of us to be home with our child," he adds. "We really wanted to be present and have one of us be on the front lines those first couple of years."

Schneider, who became a stay-at-home dad three years earlier, had a similar story. He and his wife knew they would have to strike a balance to make their family work. So the couple decided that Schneider would stay at home while his wife continued her career in investment management.

Though Somerfeld and Schneider loved taking care of their kids, they noticed something worrying — there wasn't a lot of support for stay-at-home dads.

Matt Schneider, his wife, Priyanka, and their children, Max and Sam. Photo courtesy of Matt Schneider.

Traditional parental roles have changed a great deal in the past few decades. According to recent Pew research, more and more dads are seeing parenthood as a central part of their identity. They're spending more time with their kids (the number of hours fathers devote to childcare has tripled since 1965), and doing what they can (consciously or not) to bust that old trope that dads are just “babysitters giving mom a day off."

The going, however, has been slow. While trends are moving towards more balanced parenting, there are still relatively few programs and support groups that target fathers. They were able to attend some of the mommy-centric groups, but they definitely felt some hesitation about them being there coming from the moms. And when you're traversing scary new territory as a parent, lacking a truly welcoming group can be very isolating.

In a world where parenting groups are still primarily geared towards women, Somerfeld and Schneider realized that they needed to shift the narrative to be more inclusive; to paint a broader portrait of what it means to be a father in the 21st century.

As primary caregivers, they needed a place where they could share their own experiences and get guidance from other fathers.

So the dads started a meet-up group for other dads. They never imagined how quickly it would catch on.

Photo courtesy of City Dads. Photo by Geg Kessler.

The initial burst of inspiration came from Somerfeld, Schneider recalls. “He was very proactive in recognizing that there must be more dads than the two of us out there that were home. [Also] there must be other guys out there that may not be at-home dads, but are engaged in their kid's life."

So Somerfeld and Schneider posted an invite to all Dads in New York City on Meetup — a website that helps people organize gatherings. The meet-ups were small at first. The dads went to the park, had playdates, and wandered through the Museum of Modern Art with their babies snuggly fastened in carriers and strollers.

Then the group began to grow. Dads were taking their kids to the zoo en masse, meeting up for ball games, and letting their kids make friends as they forged new connections themselves.

The activities were fun for the kids, but the camaraderie the dads shared can't be understated. Soon the dads started planning activities that were just for fathers. They'd meet up for happy hour to talk about their biggest hurdles and accomplishments, exchange tips on how to navigate fatherhood and all that came with it, like essential laundry hacks, and lean on each other for emotional support and guidance.

Today, that group is known as City Dads, and boasts 13,000 members across 37 cities. They've brought New Dad Bootcamps to New York City to help expectant and brand-new dads adjust to their new role (and probably learn more than a few dad jokes). They even have a blog and a podcast, all resources which Somerfeld and Schneider desperately wanted in 2008.

But it's not just about outings and meet-ups: they're giving back to their community, too. Group members regularly get together to donate their time and resources to good causes. For example, City Dads has walked with The Preeclampsia Foundation to help raise awareness, and they've collected and sorted baby clothes for the Good+ Foundation, which fights to help families out of poverty.

Most importantly, members spread the word: It doesn't matter who you are — as long as you identify as a dad, you were welcome.

City Dads is redefining what it means to be a dad. And that's a wonderful thing.

Photo courtesy of City Dads.

The stereotypical image of the American father is now grossly outdated. While many dads work, the idea that fathers are only meant to be tough, stoic breadwinners is one that gets in the way of the truth: that fatherhood is also about being gentle, cooperative, sensitive, and supportive. And that truth is liberating for all parents. It allows for more balance and more equality in relationships.

Groups like City Dads help dads explore their new identities and find their place in the world all while encouraging them to be vulnerable and real. And it's obviously a welcome change, because each year more and more dads join City Dads and make connections that will last them a lifetime.

Being stay-at-home dads gave Somerfeld and Schneider a whole new perspective on life. Getting to share in the big and small moments with their kids is something they wouldn't trade for the world.

"It's the daily, small, wondrous moments that I get to be a part of every single day," says Somerfeld. "The major milestones, are beautiful, but what's lovely is the day in and day out. Jokes that I get to be a part of with my kids, the laughs and sometimes the cries that I get to go through with them, the failures of falls, of stitches, that I'm there to give them a kiss or a hug when they need it."

"That's the most beautiful part of parenting for me. That's something that keeps me plugging away. It keeps me in my role everyday."

Clorox is committed to providing a gentle yet powerful clean, which is why they've partnered with Upworthy to promote those same traits in people, actions and ideas. Cleaning up and strength are important aspects of many of our social good stories. Check out the rest in the campaign to read more.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Science

Americans see gardening changes as 'plant hardiness zones' shift across half the U.S.

Here's a quick tool to find out if your zone has changed due to warmer temperatures.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash, Map by USDA-ARS and Oregon State University (Public Domain)

The USDA has issued a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Millions of American households have a garden of some sort, whether they grow vegetables, fruits flowers or other plants. Gardening has always been a popular hobby, but more Americans turned to tending plants during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for both stress relief and to grow their own food so they could make less trips to the store. For many people, it's a seasonal ritual that's therapeutic and rewarding.

But a shift is occurring in the gardening world. Now, due to rising temperature data, half the country find themselves in a different "plant hardiness zone"—the zones that indicate what plants work well in an area and when to plant them. Gardeners rely on knowing their hardiness zone to determine what to plant and when, but they haven't been updated since 2012.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its Plant Hardiness Zone Map in late 2023, months before people in most of the country start planning their planting. We saw the 10 hottest summers ever recorded in 174 years of climate data between 2014 and 2023, but hardiness zones are actually determined by the coldest winter temperatures each year. Winters are warming at an even faster pace than summers, according to nonpartisan research and communications group Climate Central, but that may or may not be the entire reason behind the zone changes.

The USDA acknowledges that some of the zone shifts could be due to climate change but cautions against using them as hard evidence for it since factors such as improved data collection also contribute to changes in the map.

people planting flowers

Gardening can be a solo or community endeavor.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

"Temperature updates to plant hardiness zones are not necessarily reflective of global climate change because of the highly variable nature of the extreme minimum temperature of the year, as well as the use of increasingly sophisticated mapping methods and the inclusion of data from more weather stations," the USDA wrote in November 2023. "Consequently, map developers involved in the project cautioned against attributing temperature updates made to some zones as reliable and accurate indicators of global climate change (which is usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over long time periods)."

At the same time, Chris Daly, director of the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University that developed the map with the USDA, told NPR, "Over the long run, we will expect to see a slow shifting northward of zones as climate change takes hold."

As an example of zone shifting, Dallas, Texas, was classified as Zone 8a in 2012, when data showed the coldest winter temperature in the city was between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit on average. In 2023, with data showing the coldest winter temps falling between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's been shifted to Zone 8b.

Some zone shifts resulted in moving to an entirely new zone number, such as Seattle shifting from Zone 8b to Zone 9a. The overall trend was for zones to be pushed northward, but not all areas saw a shift. NPR has a helpful tool here in which you can enter your zip code, see what zone your city was previously in, what zone it's in now, and the temperature changes that caused the shift.

The bottom line is if you have a gardening book with a hardiness zones map printed before 2024, it's time for an updated map. Or check online to see what zone you fall in now to give your garden the best chance of thriving this year.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

checking your car might be easier than you think.

Buying a used car is often the more sustainable and financially sound choice, but it does have its inherent risks. Even purchasing from a dealership doesn’t guarantee quality, or safety. NBC News previously reported that some “certified” pre-owned vehicles which had passed auto retailer AutoNation’s “precise inspection process” had unresolved recalls.

Bottom line: you don’t truly know how well the vehicle was taken care of. However, there are certain precautions we can take to ensure our investment is a wise one.

A man who goes by “Jackson The Mekanic” recently posted a now-viral video explaining the “three musts” that you need to check before pulling the trigger on a car purchase. Great news—all these things are easy to check, even without mechanic supervision.


1. Oil Level

"First, you pull out the dipstick," Jackson explains as he shows where to find it under the hood.

“It's very important to wipe it with a rag first, then re-insert the dipstick back in." After you pull it out again, you want to make sure the oil makes it to the “full” line. Also, make sure the car is off when you check.

@mekanic_jackson

3 simple checks

♬ original sound - Jackson The Mekanic
2. Coolant Level

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is a liquid that keeps a car's engine from overheating by transferring heat and preventing it from freezing or boiling. In the comments Jackson says that this is an important thing to check because low levels can indicate a leak.

To check coolant levels, Jackson says "There's two ways you can do this, you can check it directly from the radiator, or you can check it from the overflow tank."

To check from the radiator, you’ll need to lift open the cap, but keep in mind that you’ll need to wait until after the engine has cooled down to do so.

If the car is low on coolant, Jackson recommends you simply add a little water.

3. Brake Fluid Level

Jackson might have saved the most important for last.

"What you're looking [for] here is for color and for the level, so we can see this color looks nice and new, and is also topped up to the max,” he says while pointing to a full brake fluid tank.

For many of us, car upkeep can be overwhelming. But it’s a necessary skill, at least if you don’t rely on public transportation to get you everywhere you need to be. And certain aspects aren’t all that difficult to understand once we really pop open the hood and see what’s inside. And expert explanations like the ones Jackson offers certainly help.

If you’re looking for more of his advice—like how to replace a car battery, which cars to avoid to save money and diagnosing engine noises —follow Jackson on TikTok.

Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.


The volunteer slowly entered the kennel with the terrified dog, crouching on his knees for an easy escape if needed. But the dog attempted to essentially become invisible by avoiding eye contact and staying curled in a tiny ball. It seemed like it was going to take a long time for this nervous pup to warm up.

Before long, he's offered a treat. Success! The brown dog takes the treat, and as minutes pass you can see his body slowly relax, eventually coming to sit directly next to Kanaka for pets. In the few minutes of the video, you see such an amazing transformation that proves this little guy just needed some love.

"It was so cute when he started wagging his tail. You could tell his whole demeanor just changed, and he was happy. Just a few kind words and a little attention. That’s all animals need. Well, besides food. Lol," one commenter says.

"That moment when he starts to realize he's actually safe. That gradual tail wag, and the ears perking, the eyes lighting up. You don't have to be an expert to show an animal love and respect," another writes.

"After that first treat his entire demeanor changed. He went from not trusting you to thinking you may be kind and he could feel less stressed. That was really amazing to see," someone gushes.

This sweet scared dog just needed human connection by someone taking the time to sit with him to know he was safe. Once he was sure the shelter was a safe place, the dog even welcomed those who came to visit him after seeing the video.

"I went to the shelter today to visit 'Bear'! Everyone would be thrilled to hear that he seems very happy and energetic! He has a little red squeaky bone toy that he loves. He licked my hand immediately and rubbed his head on my legs and arms, eager for affection. What a sweetheart," a commenter writes.

Thanks to Kanaka's sweet gesture, the dog, now named Shadow Moon, was adopted and is now living his best life with his new human dad and husky brother. You can follow Shadow Moon's journey on his Instagram page.


This article originally appeared on 12.1.23

Science

Artist creates amazing inflatable shower curtain to help save water

If you take long showers you’re in for a rude awakening.

Image via elisabethbuecher.com

Singing in the shower.

Are you the type of person who is always waiting on someone in the shower, or are you the one holding everyone up with your epic shower songs? Either way, Elisabeth Buecher has the perfect shower curtain for you. The London-based artist created an inflatable shower curtain that fills soft spikes with air if the shower is on too long. After four minutes of running water, a sensor on the tap triggers an inflator for the spikes, and the bather is immediately reminded that it's time to get out.

Buecher created the installation to raise awareness about water conservation.


"They aim at provoking a debate around water issues and making people more aware of their consumption," the artist said on her website.

Check out the steps from peaceful showering to an alarming wake-up call below.

bathroom, saving water, room design

Getting the hair wet.

Image via elisabethbuecher.com

artist, environmentalist, going green

My other chosen career.

Image via elisabethbuecher.com

Inflatable shower curtain in dramatic action.

Image via elisabethbuecher.com

protection, responsibility, guardianship

The shower curtain has won.

Image via elisabethbuecher.com


This article originally appeared on 09.23.17


Asexuality is often misunderstood.

In general, it's believed to be the absence of any romantic interest, but asexual identity actually means that a person is not sexually attracted to anyone. Romantic feelings and the strength of those feelings can vary from person to person.

Currently, about 1% of adults have no interest in sex, though some experts believe that number could be higher. For a long time, information on asexuality was limited, but researchers recently have found information that gives us more knowledge about asexuality.

Being asexual can be tough, though — just ask the artists from Empathize This.

To demonstrate, they put together a comic on asexuality, defining it as a sexual orientation, not a dysfunction:


This article originally appeared on 5.16.16