Our 331st Dad in the Limelight is Marc Block. I want to thank Marc 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)
The name of my blog is Divided Dad. By that I mean I am a have multiple roles: part-time single parent, full-time employee, and sometime boyfriend. We all play different roles in our lives, so I don’t think I’m special, but it means I can relate to your readers’ issues, concerns, fears, joys and challenges, whether you are a single, married, divorced or something in between. I work in the social media space for a company that does a lot of work in the blog space, which is how I came to be a blogger myself. I recognize better than most brands how important the “dad” is in today’s marketplace. I value the connection with the writers of the blogs I follow, as well as the readers of my (nascent) blog. My job with a social media agency puts me on both sides of the equation, so to speak. I am a blogger, but my job is also to work with brands to connect them with, and activate, influential bloggers around their brands. I think I have a unique perspective.
2) Tell me about your family
I am “forty-something” and I have two children who are 12 and almost 9. I am divorced and have joint custody of my kids, which really means nothing, because I believe I’m a dad 24/7, whether they are with me or not. I certainly never stop thinking about them and never know when the phone will ring or a text will come through from their mom asking for help when they are not physically with me. My ex and I were totally committed from the start to put our differences aside for the benefit of the kids. This has meant always being available to each other, living close to each other, accommodating each other’s schedules, and being true co-parents. So far, it’s working.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
By far, it’s being divorced and what that has meant in terms of managing the work/life balance. Even a simple thing like a business dinner can require juggling the schedule. My ex is there as backup when things come up that are just insurmountable, but I can’t over-play that card. I have never taken a job that I felt would compromise my ability to be the dad I want to be. The other challenge is the need to play the different roles required to be a father to a girl and a boy. You almost need to be two different people, because they have such different needs. And nobody gave me a manual for either!
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
It’s really simple. Make “being there” a priority. I can guarantee you, nobody ever said on their deathbed “I with I had spent more time away from home and less time with my kids.”
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.
I think this “balance” is the proverbial $64,000 question for dads today who want to play a major parental role, or are forced to because they are in a two-income household, or even for stay-at-home dads who want a life beyond their role as primary caregiver. I make every effort not to put myself in a position where I have to choose between being a great dad and serving a corporate overlord, or sacrificing my relationship with my kids in any way to accommodate someone I am dating. I make clear that my kids come first. That might sound dramatic, but I’m not my father’s version of a father. Has this hindered my career? Maybe…I’ll never know. I just know I’m doing what feels natural to me.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned we are all dealing with the same issues and it’s amazing that so many dads want to be such a part of their kids’ lives. The difference between my generation and the prior generation is exponential, not incremental. I think my generation is the tipping point of male involvement in parenting. And marketers are finally beginning to catch on, which makes it an interesting time for me, as a dad, dad blogger and marketer.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I think it’s easy as a single dad to just try to get through this part of my life. Instead, I want to be a conscientious father. This means reflecting on how I parent rather than just “getting through it” – even though often it feels like just getting through it is an accomplishment! Being a blogger plays an important role in this “conscientious” thing I referred to. Sitting down to write a post forces me to reflect on what I’m doing as a dad. I can’t share my thoughts with others if I haven’t processed them first myself. Also, I know my children won’t fully appreciate everything I have done for them or given them or taught them until they are much older, so most of our “work” results in delayed gratification from that perspective. But I get plenty of joy out of the day-to-day experiences, which is important, too.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Hands down, the most memorable two moments were the births of my two children. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. For the first one, the doctor was late because it was snowing in NYC, so it was just the nurse and me until my daughter was already crowning. When the nurse told me to grab my wife’s leg and pull it to the side I thought she was joking. Seeing that little hairy head emerge was just incredible. Making another human being is the single most incredible thing we can do as humans and why men will always worship women. Beyond that I really do try to enjoy the every day experiences, because those are the ones that just slip away.
If you have any questions for Marc, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!