Patriarchal Pangs

The instant my twins were born, I regularly received well intentioned child-rearing and parenthood advice - despite the fact that I rarely asked for it. What’s interesting is I’d receive counsel from complete strangers and many folks who didn’t even have children. 

Read my full post on Medium. Click on "Patriarchal Pangs" above or on "Source" below. And if you're feelin' it - do give a "Clap!" Enjoy!




Pop Dance Project at Crunch Fitness (Bowery) in NYC, May 2018

“Why do you dance?” It’s a question repeatedly raised in “Leap” - a favorite film of my three year old twin girls. In the movie, an orphan girl escapes a village orphanage, runs away to Paris and sneaks her way into the top Ballet Academy to make her dancer dreams come true. I can totally relate.

Crunch Gym is my Ballet Academy. In 1995, I’d sneak in to the location on Lafayette Street pretending to be a fitness instructor once my student membership ran out. I’d give a tough looking “Was-Sup” chin raise salutation to the half asleep Front Desk worker and enter through the side exit like I’d observed my favorite teachers do.  And then I rush to secure my spot in the super packed dance classes. Amidst the throngs of gym-goers, I’d immerse myself in the surround sound beats of hip-hop, pop and R&B and eat up the new dance routine. It was such a high to feel that synchronicity of movement with an entire room.

Even once I became a lawyer (and could finally afford the membership), I was still a sneaker. I’d have to ask my legal secretary to cover for me, so I go make it to a Crunch dance class. Sneaking in the gym room (inevitably late from the office) and carving out a space for myself was part of my regular ritual.  I’d cast off my perma press suit and Century 21 tie for oversized pajama pants I'd find from a Calvin Klein outlet store.  I desperately wanted to look cool without trying to look like I was trying to look cool - so a disheveled vibe was what I went for.  Plus, the XL sized clothing also hid the fact that I was pretty self-conscious about my body.  Inside this popular NYC gym, everyone seemed to have some kind of flair or bulging muscle group. I had what I still called my “baby fat.” The other amazing thing about the oversized clothes I wore was they FLOWED when I danced.  And I'd loved seeing the continuation of the movement I created in the fabric.  Or that really, Malin created.

Ah . . . Malin. She’s once of the first dance/fitness teachers I ever studied with and every time I took her dance classes, I thought I was in the presence of a goddess.  She was my Tersichore – the Muse of Dance. And here I was, my nerdy mythology loving self, in the back room of a crowded gym studio, dancing – with her and dancing her insanely complicated and yet accessible choreography! This elfin-like woman commanded us to flow, groove and shake to music in ways that empowered me. And she’s the reason I ended becoming an instructor at Crunch and just celebrated my 20 year anniversary with the Company a few years ago.

Hitting 20 years, I started to ask “Why am I still here?” “What do I still want to accomplish?” and “What do I want my legacy to be?” It’s prompted a great deal of introspective dialogue and a coming back to basics and the purpose of why I do anything. I still teach one dance class a week. And it is work! The playlist, the choreography, the figuring out how to break it all down, the keeping it fresh and relevant and a great work out - all these factors make it the kind of class I can’t just waltz in and bang out. It takes time. And time that I seem to have less of since without design, I’ve come in to the position of directing the Crunch Group Fitness Department. Couple that with the actual design of becoming a parent of those twin girls I mentioned and there are definitely moments when I question why am I still teaching a dance class? Why do I dance? 

My answer is still the same - it’s in my heart and I love it. And I now watch my daughters dance and they are so free, uninhibited and joyful. And I get it! That’s how we all start out - just loving it - the freedom of movement and the simple pleasure of feeling the beat or rhythm or lyrics of a song. It is joy personified.  And as an instructor - I have the privilege of sharing that joy with others and challenging them to let go of all inhibitions and shake what their mama gave them. 

To my fellow dance teachers out there - I encourage you to take from other teachers and collaborate with those that inspire you. I have a new muse in the form of one Jamie Drye. This beautiful soul is so passionate about dance and yet is so chill about it - which makes you enjoy the dance all the more. I am do frickin’ blessed to co-choreograph with him regularly and not just because he shares in the burden of creativity but because he pushes and inspires me to evolve, innovate and yet not overthink it. He keeps it FUN.

To my nervous about dance friends out there - I encourage you to remember how you danced as a toddler or kid and tap into what that felt like. And if it put a smile on your face and a shake in your bootie - don’t think - just dance. Go to a class. And workout tip - if the room is crowded - don’t stand in the back. Go to the second row and be on the side where you can feel the energy of the teacher, see them at all times and yet avoid the Front Row Mafia or veteran members who often can be territorial on their spot or position in class.




Aurora Barbie.jpg

Disney stores are the devil. If you walk in with your kid, fair warning! You will not leave without purchasing an unnecessary child-friendly item featuring an iconic Disney character.  Heaven help us parents still trying to figure out how to explain that every item on a shelf is NOT up for grabs and NOT instantly home-bound by the mere touching of little hands. God give me strength to resist our twins’ repeated cries of “Mine!”

So what did we cave in and purchase? We bought our girls their first “Barbie”-esque dolls.  Yes, they’ve had plush dolls, plastic baby dolls you can pretend to bottle feed and miniature figurine dolls. But this was their first dolls where the shape was of a female with an insanely tiny waist accented by large (compared to that waist) breasts and a long mane of hair for days.  Granted - one doll was actually Rapunzel, so you know, the hair was a must. But GEEZ MAN! They are growing up so fast! ARGH!!!!

I mean not really. Look, I understand that time is moving at the exact same pace as it was before we had kids. But having children can really make you MORE aware of the passing of time. I see how basically every day from their birth to I dunno, their 30th birthday, is (or is gonna be) a milestone to us. It seems like they are changing every day or week right now and IT JUST NEEDS TO SLOW DOWN!!!! WE’RE NOT READY!!!!

There, I said it. I let it out. And now I’m okay. The truth is our girls are growing up at the pace that they want to and basically - they want to go fast. Take riding scooters for instance. They want to be speed demons. They want to do tricks, balance on one leg, pass each other up and dramatically stop for a “Hurrah” of their awesome velocity. And I love that they just go for it - everyday. Picking up speed, learning new tricks and laughing all the way. 

One of our daughters was obsessed with The Little Mermaid. At the Disney Store, there were two versions of Ariel - one as a Mermaid - sporting fins and a bikini top. The other was of Ariel, sans fins, but with human legs and a big ole white wedding dress. Which one did she want? Yup! The Wedding Dress Ariel. At which point I said to myself “Hell No.” We are not growing up that fast. And I quickly diverted her attention to Aurora (AKA Sleeping Beauty) who flaunts an all pink gown. And as pink is my girl’s signature color, we were in that one instance able to slow down time, just a little bit.

PS. Feel free to share your family shopping excursion or ordinary moment gone extraordinary with us at For us parents, sharing is daring when we share our truths and it can help us try new ideas out in our family lives. As always, we look forward to connecting with you!



The Tutu Choosers

Our twins now know they are girls. And in contrast to that - they know they’re Parental Force (me and the hubby) are boys. They’ve always loved to share their discoveries and with verbal communication now in the territory of non-stop chatterboxes, declarative statements are the new norm in our household. For example, just the other night Hope announced (unsolicited) “I am a Girl! You are a Boy!” And my better half didn’t skip a beat. He retorted: “No, I am the girl and you are a boy.” And a mini-debate started as my other daughter, Makena zoomed around giggling. 

For my part, I just smiled as I did our house chores. I recalled how we decided within a month of their birth that we were not going to impose stereotypical notions of what a girl was on our daughters. We asked (to the dismay of some of our chosen godparents and relatives) that we didn’t want automatic gifts of pink, bows, tutus, and tiaras. And the greatest compliment we received at our preschool evaluation with their teachers was that they can keep up with all the boys in the classroom.  Our daughters diversely play with cars, dolls, kitchen accoutrements, and Legos. They also now at three years old are definite in their taste of loving tutus. And because they figured it out and decided without our prodding - we love it.

Quite consistently, they will ask us to do ballet. They will run and grab their tutus and ask me to put on a special song ranging from Taylor Swift to Tchaikowsky to the Frozen Soundtrack. And then we dance. We dance it out as a family. We stumble, plié, carry each other around, twirl and laugh. I’m convinced that as humans we are all disposed to love dancing, to love moving with complete freedom. I think somewhere along the line we lose that love and replace it with self consciousness and fear and inhibition. Ordinary moments in our house in the evening are put to song and dance. And even if I’m dead tired by bedtime, if they ask for a song, I gotta do it. Anything to keep the music in their hearts alive and always free.

I hope that every single one of us finds the extraordinary ability to just shake your booty on a whim. To put on your song of choice and go there - go there to that dance floor that is always yours. May you always dance - with or without your kids. And may you always challenge the limits of what it means to be a boy, a girl, a child and an adult.

Cheers - Marc 

PS. Feel free to share your dance moves/ordinary moment gone extraordinary with us at For us parents, sharing is daring when we share our truths and it can help us try new ideas out in our family lives. As always, we look forward to connecting with you!



The Clean Team

We were stuck in our NYC apartment for 8 full days. And by stuck, I mean we chose (mostly because it was FREEZING outside and partially out of laziness) to stay inside during our now 3 year old twin girls’ Christmas vacation. Now this was never the plan. It wasn’t our intention to lounge around in PJs everyday. We had sitter support because we still had to go to work.  We even put out feelers for playdates and dreams of say, visiting that huge Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, or maybe going to the Children’s Museum of Art all the way cross-town because man did the girls really dig that last time we went out there when it was 65 degrees. 

But alas, no go. Good intentions. Great dreams. But we stayed indoors. And you know what we did with that big stretch of a weekend leading up to New Year’s Eve (when we were thankfully invited to our neighbor’s house for a party)? 

WE CLEANED!  I mean, we tore up the closet that we’d thrown every unused toy, tool, vase and knick knack in. We tried on clothes that were stuck in the nether regions of drawers and backs of closets. I made LABELS! AND extra attached them to the bins with the good Scotch tape for super support to stay on all of 2018! 

And at some point, amid the mess of all closet items spread out in our room, I FELT our family of four completely in sync. And I paused. And I smiled - on my face and in my heart. My husband was on a mission to fix all power cords, TV wires and computer connections so they weren’t being showcased so prominently. Hope was testing out old toy figures we found. Makena was “helping me” sort the junk, I mean, treasures we found. And we were together. Like really together. 

And cleaning, reorganizing and labeling (can you tell I’m into labels - that’s another article), became an extraordinary family moment.  As parents, we all know that our lives are filled with these tasks, chores, challenges and if we’re not paying attention - ordinary moments. But we choose and make these moments. Here’s to the extraordinary moments we will all choose in this New Year.

Cheers - Marc

PS. Feel free to share your ordinary moment gone extraordinary with us at For us parents, sharing is daring when we share our truths and it can help us try new ideas out in our family lives. Looking forward to connecting with you!


The Beautician

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The Beautician


My better half LOVES beauty. Things not pretty make his face contort. And as fairly new parents of twins - things in our home are not always looking cute. Crayon markings can appear on non-traditional canvases, shelf decor can be thrown to the floor and toys can overtake every nook and cranny in our home. Fortunately, my husband's love of all things beautiful keeps our home in a state of constant evolution. It even, to my surprise, pushes our relationship to new heights as well.

Let's talk examples. Scuff mark on our white wall? He Speedy Gonzalez' his paint supplies to eliminate it. Uneven frame hung in one of our rooms? Not on his watch. My man is so good, he can walk into our apartment and SENSE when one of his houseplants has a leaf turning brown. He's that good.  Imperfections drive him nuts. I, of course, am the opposite.  Prior to meeting him, these things did not matter to me. A scuff mark? Showed character. The off center frame? Showed my quirky side. And what plants?  I wouldn't even attempt to keep a cactus alive in my past apartments. Meanwhile, my husband can spot these, let’s call them “uglies”, a mile away. Then, like a true beautician, he sets out on an intensely focused beauty treatment mission...every single time. 

At our wedding, I declared in my vows that there were a bazillion reasons we were together and why we work as a couple. I learn something almost everyday from my man. A huge lesson I get from him is to a) pay attention enough to spot the uglies, b) take the time to make them pretty and c) enjoy the beauty that is around me. As superficial as it may seem, these are lessons I need reminding of and to practice on a regular basis. You see, I go big picture. I like to jump in and do things, cross things off my lists, attack my goals, carpe diem and all that go-go-go energy - so much so that I often forget to enjoy the beauty of each moment. One of the bazillion gifts I get from my husband (and my not even two year old twins) is to make me savor the simplest of moments. To look at the thriving plant in our living room and admire it’s beauty - the shape of its leaves, the twisting of its branches, the way the sunlight frames it in our window - is a gift. I now have moments when I notice and appreciate these everyday types of beauty. And it is inspiring. 

It’s infectious too. It goes beyond our home.  The other day I was at one of our Crunch gyms and I was hustling off to my next instructor meeting and there it was - about 25 pilates mats absurdly stacked in misshapen ways. First off, normally I don’t notice because I’m on a mission to get to my next task. Secondly, I often think it’s not a big deal. Or I'll think "Oh! Someone else will do it! It will fix itself." But my hubby’s Beautician Voice popped in my head - “Yuck! That’s ugly!” And I had to fix them. When I was done, I took a moment to admire the symmetry of the mats. And it felt good to see them perfectly stacked up and ready to present themselves to the next person who wanted to enjoy a mat. 

Taking the extra step has carried over to my acting too. Last month, I was filming a scene from “Superstore” when I noticed a clock that I could artfully add to the backdrop.  It would take time, make me have to reset the camera, force me to fix the lighting, yadda-yadda . . . But I did it.  Instinctively I knew it would subtly add a sense of realism to the "employee break room" that the scene was set in.  So I stopped the in my head debate and made it happen. And as tiny as that was, my acting group and Coach totally noticed that detail because it provided a moment of truth, and in acting, well - truth is total beauty.         

Life gets busy. Our day-to-day's can get messy. But what I've learned from my husband is that there is beauty all around us - we just have to take a moment to notice. And if what we notice is something not cute, not pretty, or straight up ugly - we have the power to make things beautiful. Fight the uglies... Be the Beautician... And enjoy what's around you. LiveLifeLarge - Marc

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The Grabber

Since my daughter Makena was born, she's been a Grabber. I’m not kidding. As a newborn weighing in less than 5lbs. - when she wanted the bottle, she'd literally thrust her arms out and take it. On the flip side, when she didn't want it - look out - it was NOT happening. She’d curl her lips and turn away. Today, 22 months later - she’s got that exact same “I know exactly what I want so don’t bother trying to convince me otherwise” energy.

Her twin sister, Hope is the opposite of course. She'll take things in stride and is very steady with her actions (hence my last article calling her "The Repeater). At the moment, their dual/duel approaches to life are working out because when Makena sees something in Hope's hand and takes it, 9 out of 10 times, Hope will lightly acknowledge it and move on to something else. On occasion, Hope and I will look at each other and shrug, “The Grabber strikes again!” and we’ll go play with something else.

I sometimes joke around that Makena is like those little old Asian ladies in Chinatown. You know, the ones who when they see one last ripe mango at the stall or one last empty seat on the subway, they will push, stomp, and shove anyone in their way to get what they want. They will snatch up that mango! And once in hand, I swear each time I've witnessed it, there's always this sly smirk of indifference that pops up on their face and screams “Ha, Ha Sucker!”  This unfortunately is not behavior limited to this world. I see it in the gym arena too, especially when I teach a packed class. The "claiming" of the spot, the marking of the territory, the seizing of a last 5 lb. dumbbell - there's a sense of "MINE" that comes out and it's aggressive, almost mean, and it is most definitely ungracious. 

So this is of course, wrong - right? Well, yeah it is but let me add this caveat: we should always be gracious and inclusive but we should honor what we truly want and desire. Let me go back to our twins.

Sharing is actually a concept we're drilling home with the girls. But I started thinking - Makena is, by nature, a Grabber. She's a go-getter and she's naturally aggressive when she sees something she wants. And as a Father to a girl, I want my daughters to maintain some of that go-get-em chutzpah, or cajones that is fostered in us dudes. So while we'll talk about being "gentle", "sweet", "kind" and all the sharing stuff that does make sense - I will also be making sure she maintains some of the Grabber energy in her life. At the same time, we will also be making sure she does so with a sincere smile and with empathic thoughts to folks she takes that last mango or dumbbell from. 

I think, act and share a lot about Living Life Large. My daughters are a constant reminder to me that this is about taking a hold of our lives - grabbing if you will, and going for what we want with all our might. At 22 months, Makena grabs with a sense of clarity that is frankly, inspiring. The trick now is to live The Grabber Life with as much love and joy as possible. And maybe share a mango or two along the way. Cheers - Marc


The Repeater


The Repeater

The more we do anything, the better we are going to get at it.

"Is she retarded?" That was the comment that playfully popped out of my husband’s mouth as we watched our at the time one year old walk up and down a set of 3 carpeted steps over and over and over again. Picture this: our vacation in Maui. Our cool new condo rental.  Beaches, sunshine, pools. There was so much to explore! But what one of our twins was fixated on was those three little steps!  Up. And Down. Up. And Down. She explored them with ease -  her tiny but meaty legs completing one full cycle of the up and down movement in seconds. She completed the task and did it well. Thus, it was our instincts to think, “Well, now what? What’s next?”

But for her it wasn’t about completing the task. It was about repeating the task. And she did it with such gusto and focus, as if her life depended on it. This seemingly mundane task also entertained her. I watched her for about 10 minutes and then couldn’t take it. I had to pick her up and show her something new, something different to distract her because I suddenly had this idea that it was not a good idea that I let her keep doing it. Over and over. Up and down. I now see in that moment, I was the retarded one.

Cut to today - months later - at a near 21 months, I watch her repeat this puzzle game. Same system. She’s the Repeater. She'd complete the puzzle and unlike her get ‘er done Papa (my husband is "Daddy”) - who likes to do something, check it off and move on - she would do the puzzle again. Back to One. Go again. And yet again.

But it suddenly hit me: this girl knows what's up. It's her way of processing and man! It's a good way! Because while she honestly is just acting on her natural instincts - with no agenda - she is getting better and reinforcing the smart logic that the more you do anything - the better you get at it. So simple a concept: The more we do anything, the better we are going to get at it. 

I’m in the fitness industry. I teach Group Fitness classes and I see a lot of folks hesitate to try a new class. When I invite them to try the latest fitness discovery we’ve got going on - I’ll hear this: “Uh, I dunno if I’ll be any good at it.”  And well, yeah - since it’s your first time - you just might not be. But so what?  If you’re open to the possibilities - you might like it enough that you’ll do it enough and if that happens - you will get good at it. Be a Repeater in all activities that matter to you. Try new things without giving any energy to the idea that you might suck at it. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is we stay open to the possibilities of life and have faith that the more we do it, the better we get.  Live Love Large - Marc