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Brian Sullivan, Stay-at-Home Dad, with Saoirse

“My style is a mix of over-the-hill hipster and midlife crisis.”

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What are you guys doing today?
We dropped off my other daughter, Ïte, who’s 9, at her school, which is P.S. 41, and then walked over here. I’m the primary caretaker. Bleecker Street Park is the perfect place to while away the morning.

Your daughters have such unusual names.
Well, I’ve got a lot of Irish literature. Saoirse is an Irish name that roughly translates to “freedom.” We like the sound of it, Sur-sha, but she may kill us for the spelling one day.

How would you describe your look?
My wife is in the fashion business, but my style is a mix of over-the-hill hipster and midlife crisis.

Does Saoirse pick out her own outfits?
She’s only 3, but she insists on dressing herself. I only force the issue if it’s about comfort, but even then we try to let her do what she wants. If she wants to wear a dress in nippy weather, we put pants on underneath.

Do you enjoy being a stay-at-home dad?
We went back and forth for a while—I worked in museums and Kelley, my wife, was at home—but I’ve done the lion’s share. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. I have a huge amount of respect for people who take the chance of not having a career. I’m an artist, and I teach sculpture at SVA in the evenings, but even if I had a high-paying job, I would feel ill at ease getting a nanny.

Are you friends with other caretaker dads?
When I first started, I felt like I was getting lots of stares from nannies and mothers alike. Now I walk down our block in Brooklyn and there’s five guys pushing a stroller, so I’m no longer the odd man out.

Any plans for Father’s Day?
We’re going to celebrate early because Kelley has an intensive bookmaking class that weekend. We’re thinking about doing a children’s book together. I’m going to be pampered—get breakfast in bed and just lay around. I like to read. I’m a fairly big collector of books—I might not have as many if I actually had time to read them.


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