Our 261st Dad in the Limelight is Edward Staples. I want to thank Edward for being a part of this 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)
My name is Edward Staples, Jr. and I’m a Life Sales Rep at Western and Southern Financial Group in Cincinnati, where I was also born. I’m also the proud, loving dad of two great 4 year old twin boys; Michael and William, affectionately referred to as “WiMi”. I just recently returned to the work-force full-time after being laid-off in late 2008 when my sons were only 5 months old. During the majority of that time I spent raising my boys, giving them the love, nurturing, and care I thought they deserved. At the encouragement of many friends and other parents I started a blog– FatherEd. It’s a blog that serves as a place to record my time and experiences with my sons but also share with other parents my thoughts, and insights on parenting, fatherhood, and twins.
2) Tell me about your family
My family consists of my two 4 yr. old boys, Michael and William. Their mom and I live separately but co-parent. One interesting tidbit about the boys is that they are part Zimbabwean , as their mom is from Zimbabwe.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The largest challenge for me was during my three years before returning to work. It was exhausting trying to actively seek employment, be a dad and to some degree a mom. Those three years were not without their challenges, we had our ups and downs. But no matter how stressed or frustrated I got at times , I had to always keep on my game-face and not let the boys know. I always tried to make them think or feel things were better than they actually were. During every prayer… [We] always asked for strength, courage, and determination. That is what helped me navigate through a very challenging time.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
My advice to other fathers would be to cherish every moment. Don’t take it for granted that it will happen again or you will have another opportunity. Also, teachable moments go both ways… parenting is a learning experience for you as well. Don’t get too caught up in archaic stereotypes…. step outside the box. Patience is so key, as much as I try to instill the concept or idea of patience in my boys….. I have to make sure I’m living by that code as well. Remember, you can never tell you kids you love them too much. And it sounds cliché’ but parenting is a marathon, not a sprint so pace yourself.
These moments are over for the most part….. but I remember each of the 400+ times of us rocking in this chair. Will never forget.
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.
Three 1/2 months into my job , is the first time in 3 years I’ve found myself seriously challenged with trying to find a good balance with parenthood and “outside life”. I made sure before I started my job I made it clear that my family would always be first, and also to the best of my ability tried to articulate to the boys what it meant me going back to work and how our time together would change significantly but still that they were, and always would be my number one priority. I’m still in the stage where I’m trying to figure it all out. I work a pretty heavy schedule but try to make as much time for the boys as possible, even if it means dropping by on the way home to give them a bath and get them ready for bed or going out for an ice-cream or to the park for a couple hours. I do have have a certain space blocked off on my calendar this is pretty much reserved for them weekly. Only in extreme cases do I book during that time. I am working hard to be successful , but at the same time I can’t forget reason why I’m working so hard…. my two boys.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Interestingly enough , what I’ve learned from other fathers is set your own standards. What works for another may not work for you. I have the benefit of coming from a family where two-parent households with a strong father figure is common-place, so I have had a dad, uncles, and grand-fathers to set a great example and also continue to give advice. I will often seek advice or insights from fathers of older boys when it comes to issues like sports. Its always good to hear from someone who’s already been there….done that.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I am having the time of my life. I love fatherhood. Didn’t necessarily pan out the way I expected it but I’ve tried to make the most of it. I now know that parenting or fatherhood is not without it’s challenges but it’s also full of its rewards. Being a dad/father is a serious charge, a responsibility and not a task. I often hear people refer to parenting as a “job” [It’s] not…. You get to clock out or retire from a job. Parenting goes even beyond 18 yrs… The gov’t just keeps you on the hook for 18 yrs. Make the most of it.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I guess I’m torn between two particular. That would be the first moment I first held them in my arms for the first time. It was so surreal…. I didn’t cry but I remember praying and saying “Thank you God… I’m a dad now” I promised right there to God and those boys I would do all to be the best father I could be. The second would be when the three of us attended our first baseball game together in 2011. Anyone who knows anything about Cincinnati , knows baseball is a big deal around here, and to be able to experience that with your sons just makes it all that much better. It was the beginning of what I hope to be a long-standing tradition.
If you have any questions for Edward, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!