Our 265th Dad in the Limelight is Martin Weckerlein. I want to thank Martin for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
My name is Martin, and I grew up in Germany until the age of 23 when I married my wife, Julie, who is an American. We met in Nuremberg in 1999 when she was a foreign exchange student there. After my schooling in Germany, I was a tank commander in the German Army (Bundeswehr) for a few years. Then, my wife and I married in 2002, and lived in Italy for three years, where I played American-style football for the Italian-Austrian league. After that, we moved to Washington D.C. in 2005, and I was a banker there for six years until earlier this year, when I became a full-time stay-at-home dad to our three children.
2) Tell me about your family
We have three children: two girls ages 9 and almost 4, and our little son, who just turned one. My wife does social media work for the government while I stay home full-time and care for the children. Since 2001, my wife and I have maintained a popular, award-winning family web site called “Julie and Martin” which we use to document our lives for our friends and family around the world (you can also find their site on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The biggest challenge for me is to find activities throughout the day that is going to appeal to all three of the kids. Their ages and interests are so different, and they all have so much energy. But all three of them really enjoy being outdoors, so we burn a lot of energy at the park or with bike rides around our town. Another challenge is trying to keep up with everyone’s schedules: my wife and her work schedule, my daughter’s school schedule, all the appointments and activities. It gets a little crazy trying to keep up with everything.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Find a way to keep track of everything, and embrace modern technology! The only way for me to keep our lives organized without forgetting too much is to have a calendar with reminders. My iPhone is a great way for me to do it. It allows me to stop watching the clock like a hawk to make sure I leave on time to pick up my oldest from school and I can play with the other two until my phone tells me to move on to the next scheduled activity.
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.
It is really great having our family blog, and I enjoy it when we hear from our readers who connect with the things we share. Fortunately, the blog doesn’t require a lot of time, so it is not a huge disruption for us to maintain it. Of course, finding a balance to everything is perhaps the biggest challenge for my wife and me. It is very easy for the two of us to get caught up in everything, and sometimes we forget to just sit down and have a conversation with each other. It’s hard, but we try to find time every now and then to get a babysitter and to sneak away for some time alone with each other, to reconnect as a couple.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I am really close to my father-in-law, Larry. He’s always had a really great sense of humor. He is a true family guy, and he values spending time and creating memories with his family. He’s taught me that it’s okay to slow down, and enjoy these moments with my kids because the time goes so fast. He’s also always encouraged his daughters to go out and see the world, and all three of them have accomplished a lot. I see how my wife and her sisters really respect their father, and I want my kids to have the same relationship with me when I’m older. He is a great example and I’ve learned a lot from him.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It is really great being with the kids as a stay-at-home parent. Before we had children, we decided that we wanted at least one parent to be home during the first two years of our kid’s life, and we’ve been able to do that with all three children. First, I was a stay-at-home in Italy with our oldest. Then, shortly after our second daughter arrived, my wife’s enlistment with the Air Force ended and she stayed home for a few years. Now, our son is here and fortunately, we are in a comfortable place where my wife has a great job and I can stay home. I love it because I can experience all these moments I would have missed if I continued to work full-time. I’m there as my son learns to crawl and walk, and I appreciate that when my oldest daughter comes home from school, I am there waiting for her. I am there building castles with our sofa cushions with my second daughter after lunch. I feel really engaged with my kids, and while it is really the hardest job in the world, it’s the job I enjoy the most.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The births of my children are the most memorable experiences. Every single arrival was unique. I was so overjoyed about the arrival of this new, beautiful baby, and so filled with love for my family. My children are growing up to be really awesome people, and I am so proud of them.
If you have any questions for Martin, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!