Our 366th Dad in the Limelight is Carter Gaddis. I want to thank Carter for being a part of the Dads in the Limelight series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
Thank you for inviting me to part of the series. I actually used to have a job that exposed my writing to hundreds of thousands of readers every day – newspaper reporter. Specifically, I was a sportswriter. Over the years, I covered the Buccaneers, the Lightning and, mostly, the Tampa Bay Rays.
I got caught in the great purge of newspaper employees in the late 2000s, and now I work in Internet marketing. That pays the bills, but most of the enjoyment I get from writing these days comes from my blog, DadScribe.
It launched in February 2012, and I’ve enjoyed becoming a part of the nationwide (even international) community of parent bloggers. I was grateful to be asked to read from my blog at the most recent Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston, and I was blown away to be asked to join the great writers at DadCentric not long after that.
2) Tell me about your family
We live near Tampa, Florida, where my wife and I both work full-time and our boys are both in elementary school. Living where we do, theme parks are big for us. We’ve been a Busch Gardens family for most of the past seven years, but the boys are just the right age now to really enjoy Walt Disney World, so we splurged on seasonal passes and we make the drive to Central Florida far more often than is probably healthy. It’s been great so far, though.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The most difficult challenges came in 2008. That year, our younger son was born and had to spend 10 days in the NICU with jaundice issues. A week after he came home, I was laid off from my newspaper job of 16 years. Three months later, I suffered 100 percent blockage of my right coronary artery and had to have a stint inserted. So, that year was tough on all of us. There were times when I could barely breathe, let alone be the father and husband I wanted to be. We got through it, and now those rough times are just memories.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I have pretty strong opinions on most things, but I don’t hand out much parenting advice. That’s because I know how much I dislike it when someone offers me unsolicited parenting wisdom. However, one thing I would tell any new dad (if asked) is to remember to breathe.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
My wife and I have a great partnership. Her strengths complement mine, and we have adjusted our work schedules to meet the practical needs of our boys. That really is a simple luxury we never take for granted – the ability to work together to handle the practicalities of parenthood. We also make sure our schedules are flexible enough to adjust to the occasional bumps in the road, like a sick day at home or a school event that takes place during work hours.
I will say this: One reason I asked off the baseball beat at my old newspaper in 2005 was there was no way I would be able to be the father and life partner I wanted to be with the demands of a baseball writer’s schedule. I’ve never regretted that decision one bit, even though working as a general assignment reporter (as opposed to being assigned to a particular beat) left me more vulnerable to a layoff in 2008. I still don’t know how other baseball writer parents handle being away from their families so much. I just know I wasn’t cut out for that. Here’s something I wrote about it http://dadscribe.com/2013/02/
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ll focus on the parent blogging community for this one. Even though I have “in real life” friends in the neighborhood who are great, my Internet “family” has taught me how powerful the bond can be when you get together with a group of passionate, like-minded people whose focus is being the best dad or mom possible. I would not have thought I could have such deep, meaningful friendships based almost entirely online. I met many of the dads and moms I interact with online in Houston, and I’ve met up in person with a couple of dad bloggers and mom bloggers from Tampa. For the most part, though, my interactions have been through Facebook and Twitter, and I consider so many of these folks true friends. I did not know that was possible, and it seems like the relationships get stronger every day. I very much look forward to the next time we can all be together at a conference or meetup.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I’ve found that every day is a learning experience. Every time I think I have something figured out, life throws me a curveball and I have to adjust. Again. Keeps it interesting, though.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I don’t think these are all that unusual, really. The big moments, sure. Disney World, vacations to Cape Cod, trips to North Carolina to visit family. But the most memorable times for us so far have been the quiet moments at home that bloom suddenly into spontaneous, shining events. Like, when one of the boys holds an impromptu magic show, or comes downstairs wrapped in toilet paper, pretending to be a mummy. My wife and I have developed a silent signal when those moments happen – we look directly into each other’s eyes and smile, because we know we’ll remember this forever.
If you have any questions for Carter, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!