Our 525th Dad in the Limelight is advocate of spiritual/physical/emotional health and wholeness and balance Tom Briggs. I want to thank Tom Briggs for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with Tom Briggs 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 Tom Briggs and I was born and raised in Oregon. I’m 33 and a big advocate of spiritual/physical/emotional health and wholeness and balance. In addition to being a dad, I’m a black belt, runner, outdoor enthusiast, scuba diver, fan of Jesus and travel/adventure-seeker.
For pay, I wrangle words at Caffelli, an integrated branding agency.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife and I have been married 8 years and have a 11-month old. My wife and I are both Oregon natives and supremely fortunate to both sets of grandparents close by. My mom passed away from cancer at age 54 and my dad remarried a woman 13 years younger with 5 kids, so we’re now a blended family thing, which has been a whole other learning experience.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Dying to self. I always saw myself as the self-sacrificing type, but wiping a butt at 3 am, endless cleaning of breast pump parts and the whole “responsibility for keeping another human being alive” thing has disavowed me of this notion.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
- Practice presence—for yourself, for other half and for your kids. I haven’t perfected this, but what progress I have made has paid BIG dividends.
- Stay emotionally connected to your partner—avoid getting pulled into the “it’s all about the kids” vortex. We remind ourselves in 18 years we want to have some semblance of a relationship to come back to when the house is empty.
- Exercise. New discoveries every day reveal how critical this is for body and mind.
- Embrace the suck. I learned this principle from ex Navy seal Mark Devine, and it has served me well.
- Supplement well. Good-quality B vitamins and multivitamin supplements will help keep energy up and are far more sustainable than caffeine.
- Drink water.
- Manage your spirituality—whatever this means for you. Attend Sunday services, meditate, get into nature. Whatever you do, tend the garden of the soul.
- Get your genetic profile from 23 & Me (https://www.23andme.com). Genetics loads the gun, but behaviors pull the trigger. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t do can keep you on this earth and enjoying the grandkids longer. If your kids are old enough to spit in a test tube, run it for them too. Consider it a great lesson in genetics.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I haven’t. Working toward this balance. As the son of a workaholic, I know my strengths and weaknesses. Technology fasts seem to work wonders.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
My dad taught me plenty about fatherhood, both in his successes and struggles. A solo entrepreneur since I was 6, he poured plenty of time into his business during some formative years. Looking back, this showed me the distinction between physical presence and emotional presence. That said, before this, he was in sales and travelling 5 days out of 7, so entrepreneurship was probably the better option. Lesson I learned was that there will always be hard choices to make.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
There’s nothing like this journey. I’ve seen my family grow so much over the past year. I’m a self-improvement/self-actualization geek, so this has been really enjoyable. Wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Seeing my firstborn son being pulled from my wife was really incredible. Our goal was a natural birth, but ended up with as an epidural and C-section. Seeing my angry, purple, wrinkled son being extracted from my wife was something that fundamentally changed me.
Thanks for the opportunity to share. Best of luck on your own fatherhood journeys. If you want to connect, you can find me at @pdxwrite.
If you have any questions for Tom Briggs, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!