Our 437th Dad in the Limelight is Nathan VanStory. I want to thank Nathan 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 Nathan VanStory but I mostly am known on the internet as “PunkDad” because of my blog over at punkdad.com I am in the limelight because on my blog I speak from a voice of parenting in poverty. I star discussions about what it is like to be a parent while having a mental illness and being part of the “working poor”, receiving state aid in the form of food stamps and health insurance for my son. I also have a large following of young and teen parents that can empathize with the situation but are too afraid to speak about it due to the social stigma that comes with government assistance and mental illness.
2) Tell me about your family.
I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan with my 2 year old son Liam and his mother Catrina who I have been in a relationship with for 5 years. I work as a retail manager and she takes care of our child at home currently.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The largest challenge for me is not feeling like I am the best father to my son. I suffer from schizophrenia with panic and anxiety disorders which at times causes me to feel impending doom, not sleep well due to auditory hallucinations, and fear my family is in danger majority of the day. All of this along with trying to live paycheck to paycheck to keep my family taken care of
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I make it a point on my blog when asked for advice to first say that I have NO idea what I am doing or talking about. I started by having a child when I wasn’t prepared and now have stayed unprepared as he grows. The only advice I can offer is to make friends with other fathers in your real life or on the internet via sites like this one. You will learn a ton and be able to vent about anything child related to a person that has been or is in that situation.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
Outside life for me is when I am able to make some time to play outside with Liam on a day off. The days I am at work are the most that I am able to have another life besides parenting. I try to make time with my significant other to do things like play bingo and have a night of dinner and movies, but I always tend to drag the good time down with worries of if my child is well and happy.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I think I have learned from blogging fathers more than any other group of parents I have interacted with. Fathers that blog tend to put their heart on the line more, be blunt, tell me when I am wrong and also validate my concerns more than others I have had contact with. I don’t know what about blogging makes us more vocal of our concerns and triumphs but I think it encourages others to share their experiences and seek help when they need it.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I share everything on my blog www.punkdad.com, from what I am doing at work with signage to how my kid pooped in the tub. Everything I know, don’t know, have learned and messed up is on my blog for the world to see. Not only does this help me cope with things that I go through by keeping my mind occupied , it also may help just 1 person to get through a rough day themselves.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
My son 2 nights ago came to lay in bed with me and said “love you daddy” while wrapping his arms around my neck for the first time unprovoked. This changed my entire week to where it was the only thing I have been thinking about.
If you have any questions for Nathan, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!