Dads in the Limelight – Todd Natenberg

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 559th Dad in the Limelight is Todd Natenberg. I want to thank Todd Natenberg for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Todd Natenberg with all of you.

 

Todd-Natenburg1&2) Tell me about yourself and your family, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Todd Natenberg and I have been super happily married six years to the most beautiful woman, Reena. We have amazing now four year old fraternal twin sons- Ari and Teddy.
Mine is a story of perseverance, endurance, passion and second chances to live a life of fulfillment.
In 2006, after two divorces with no children, I was engaged to be married in Chicago, where I hail from. My then fiancée and I broke up amicably. 24 hours later, my estranged father- who I hadn’t spoken to in 3 years tragically committed suicide. 6 months later I was laid off from a great career as a K-12 district sales manager for the Discovery Channel. In 6 months, I lost a relationship, a home, a job and a father.
My only salvation was I was in endurance training to enter the Ironman Triathlon in Madison Wisconsin. I completed the 141 mile odyssey in an astounding 16 hours, 30 minutes, never giving up in September 2007.
Through a series of unforeseen chance meetings, I returned to journalism after being away from the profession for 15 years. During that time, I enjoyed a stellar career as a star sales rep, sales manager and trainer in telecommunications,highlighted by having owned a sales training company full time for three years. I self published a successful how to book, entitled “I just got a job in sales! Now what?” Endorsed by BrianTracy, Roger Dawson and Tony Parinello. The book was my second after writing The Journey Within: 2 months on Kibbutz, which chronicled my sabbatical volunteering on an Israeli Kibbutz at 30 years old in 2000.
 Todd-Natenburg

A former staff writer for the Chicago Daily Herald, Pulliam Fellowship recipient at The Arizona Republic and University of Missouri-Columbia star journalism graduate, where I also wrote for the Kansas City Star in college, I found myself freelancing for the Chicago Sun Times business section in 2007.

 

I relocated to Kansas City to accept a position as a staff writer for the Kansas City Business Journal to cover telecommunications.

 

In Kansas City I met my wife, a Canadian tenured piano professor at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas just outside metropolitan Kansas City.

 

Today, I have the dream job as a top K-12 account manager for School Specialty, selling furniture, school supplies, art, pe, early childhood, special needs and curriculum to inspire students. I freelance fatherhood columns locally and nationally.

 

I love my sons and being a father more than anything. It was my dream to be the best dad ever, as I did NOT have that myself.

 Todd-Natenburg
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Being the ultimate role model. Everything I do, say and act affects my sons. Every day they want to be “like me.” I am constantly asking myself these two questions in developing their strength, peace, happiness and fulfillment:
  1. Is how I’m acting how I would want them to act?
  2. In terms of nurturing, comfort, protection, and guidance, is what I’m telling them, acting to them, and understanding them what I would have wanted my father to do with me at this particular time in my life?
I tell my sons all the time I love them more than anything, I’m proud of them and that them being born was “rebirth” for me.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
above answer for #1 and #2
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

My dream job enables me to be super dad. I make a great living financially and have freedom to be at all events, take them into school and even pick them up. My wife and I are a true team, we split everything in terms of household duties, individual time with our individual sons and balance our individual strengths: I’m the sports jock coach for all their athletic endeavors, she is the piano intellectual side of the house. She performed at Carnegie Hall last year and is chairperson of the University’s piano department.

 

As part of that, I realize the only way to be the best father is also to take care of myself- physically, spiritually, socially and emotionally. I can only be the best father when I’m at best.

 

I work out every day, have a strong circle of social friends and take time for myself. I try my best to provide Reena the same opportunities to take care of herself. As a very passionate, charismatic, and energetic father and husband, the key to balance is for me to show compassion, support, empathy and understanding for Reena- as well as myself. That makes me not just the best father and husband but Reena the best wife and mother. When all comes together- as it is and continues to – Ari and Teddy are the strongest, most peaceful, happy and most fulfilled.

 

Todd-Natenburg6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Unfortunately, what not to do and how not to be. Beyond my fatherhood writer friends- like you- way too many don’t like being fathers. Or amazingly if they do they find “honor” I’m saying they don’t. Boggles my mind.

 

My dads favorite “joke” in my youth was saying, “I hope you become a father so your sons can do to you (negatively) what you have done to me.”

 

How pathetic! So many fathers I meet today still do that approach. I never complain about my amazing sons publicly. Of course, I’m human with challenges. But that’s for my wife and I to address privately. Every day I hear other fathers – and mothers- say, “Wow twins! I can’t imagine how hard that is.” Every day I retaliate with, “not at all. love into death. It’s the best!” They are always shocked and accuse me of lying about being happy. Very sad state OTHERS sometimes live in.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
See 1-6 answers
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
  • Daily hugs, kisses greetings
  • their minute by minute  development
  • But nothing is greater than when they quote me, accept my guidance and say they want to be like me. They love the movie,l Field of Dreams because I do, they love the Roysls becuse I do, they sit in my home office to “be like me”! Teddy bats left because I taught him to. They always high five hurt people in wheelchairs because I taught  them to. They play in six year old sports leagues- 2 years ahead because I got them involved so young and have coached them to loving the games..
My most memorable experience? Being the father I never had and have always wanted to be.

If you have any questions for Todd Natenberg, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight – Clinical Psychologist & Dad, Steven Hanley

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 558th Dad in the Limelight is Clinical Psychologist & Dad, Steven Hanley. I want to thank Steven Hanley for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Steven Hanley with all of you.

 

Steven-Hanley1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Steven Hanley and I am a father and husband with a wonderful wife, a 5 year old daughter, and a 2 year old son. I works as a Clinical Psychologist, running my own psychotherapy practice near Detroit, Michigan.  I spend my days helping people navigate through emotional pain and live healthier emotional lives.  It is a wonderfully rich and rewarding career.  If I wasn’t doing this I would like to try making documentary films, a career in which I have absolutely no training or experience.

 

I am also an active psychology blogger www.stevenjhanleyphd.com/blog, tweeter (@StevenJHanley), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StevenJHanleyPhD, and overall social media junkie.

 

2) Tell me about your family

My wife, Kate, is the emotional center of our family. She’s my best friend and we make a great team.  She is bright, inquisitive, and an exceptionally hard worker, both at home and in her career in the publishing industry.

Steven-Hanley 

We’ve been blessed with two wonderful kids, Nora (5) and Owen (2).  The joys and challenges of fatherhood are beyond anything I imagined before having kids.  Nora is a question machine – she is curious about everything.  I love having conversations with her and watching her mind grow.  Owen is full of energy.  He is a doer.  He’s very physical and affectionate.  He loves building block towers almost as much as he loves knocking them down.

 

It has been especially interesting having one girl and one boy.  While there is certainly something to the idea that girls and boys are socialized differently (often in stereotypical ways) I am convinced that there is something innately unique about each of their developments as well.  It has been fun watching the kids interact with each other.  They are very sweet to each other (for the most part) and I hope that continues.

 

Steven-Hanley3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I have two: balance and patience.

 

Everything takes longer with young kids.  Intellectually I knew this, but I didn’t really “know” it experientially until now.  For example, I love grocery shopping with my daughter (my son is still a little too young to enjoy that).  That really is some quality time for us.  But, it means preparing myself for finding the right grocery cart (the one with the steering wheel and kids car attached), stopping for the free donuts at the front of the store, 1 possibly 2 potty breaks (usually when we are furthest away from restroom and just about ready to pay), negotiating over what kind of bread to get, and convincing my daughter that we don’t need an 8 pound bag of sugary princess cereal.  That all takes extra time.  I could do it much more efficiently alone, but it gives my daughter and I time to bond.  It is a challenge to find that kind of time in our already busy schedules, so we make the most of it when we can.

 

“Daddy, you have to be patient,” my daughter often tells me from her car seat as I am driving the kids to school in traffic that isn’t moving.  Out of the mouths of babes.  We can learn a lot from our kids when we listen to them.

 

Steven-Hanley

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Put your cell phones and tablets down!  This is easier said than done and I am guilty of not always following my own advice.  I try though.  It is difficult in such a digitally “connected” world to really connect with our kids.

 

Never (or at least rarely) refuse your kids’ request to build a fort in the living room.  Yeah, it can be a hassle and mess but it is also a great deal of fun. There is a creativity and magic about telling and listening to stories with your kids under a bed sheet stretched between two dining chairs.  Try it!

 

Cut yourself some slack.  You are not going to be a perfect dad.  In fact, that is an unrealistic and impossible expectation.  I aim to be “good enough.”  I don’t think that is setting the bar too low.  Rather, it is setting an example for your kids, one that accepts imperfection as part of life.  It is important to let your kids know when you’ve made a mistake.  Your kids will appreciate that in the long run.

 

Choose your battles.  Carefully.  There is a time and place to set firm rules and boundaries.  But, do you really want to derail the evening by insisting that your daughter not go to bed with her raincoat on?  Not me.  At least, not anymore.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

Steven-HanleyThis is probably the single most challenging aspect of our lives right now.  It is important to find time to check in with your spouse.  Schedule some date nights.  Find a good baby sitter.  All of this might be obvious, but it’s also the easiest to let slide in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  It is a bit of a paradox, but it takes some work and planning to relax and refresh.

 

In the safety instructions you get when you fly, you are told that if the oxygen masks are deployed and you are travelling with kids that you should take a breath first, then help your children.  I like to apply that principle to emotional lives as well.  At times that might require some professional assistance.  One of the coolest parts of my job as a psychologist is that I can help kids that I never meet by helping their parents manage stress and emotional difficulties.  Healthy parents raise healthy kids.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

That our fathering styles are as different as our personalities.  There is no one right way.  There are certainly some wrong ways that many would agree on.  For the most part though, your fathering will (and should) be consistent with your personality.  The best thing you can do for your kids is to live a healthy, genuine life yourself.

 

Steven-Hanley7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I think becoming a father naturally makes you look at your relationship with your own father in a new light.  It has increased my appreciation for the positive examples that my dad and mom have been.  I am beyond lucky in that way.  I know from my work that there are many people who have very strained or non-existent relationships with their fathers.  That can be very sad, but it doesn’t mean you a destined to repeat the same mistakes.  It might take a little work, but dysfunctional patterns can be corrected for future generations.

 

It has been wonderful for our kids to grow up with two sets of loving grandparents nearby.  It has been great for our parents as well.  That truly is a blessing and I feel very fortunate to have that.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

Often the most memorable experiences are the simplest.  I’ve already mentioned a few, like grocery shopping or building a fort.  Here are some others:


Watching a beautiful sunset with my kids on vacation (see picture).  Jumping in the autumn leaves.  Listening my to my daughter teach her imaginary “friends” the same lessons she learned in school that day.  Watching my son try to peel an orange.  It has hard to beat those simple pleasures.  

If you have any questions for Steven Hanley, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight – Radio Announcer, Chris Palliser

Dads in the Limelight Series

Chris-PalliserOur 557th Dad in the Limelight is radio announcer, Chris Palliser. I want to thank Chris Palliser for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Chris Palliser with all of you.

 

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
First off, thanks to Chris for asking me to be apart of this great informative site and thanks to you for taking the time to read my story. What a ride this Dad things is! I am a radio announcer for top 40 radio station 94.5 Virgin Radio in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As well as the on-field host for the Pro BC Lions football team (CFL) http://bclions.com/chris-palliser.  That’s what pays the bills the rest of the time just a chill family man who loves to laugh, entertain, socialize, talk and be a volunteer big brother!
Chris-Palliser2) Tell me about your family
I am a husband to my beautiful wife Heather and father to two girls, Anna and Audreysoon to be born, like in 2 weeks or less, baby #2! So was it harder for you to go from 0 kids to 1 or 1 to 2?? I’m really hoping you say 0 to 1! haha
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Wow, there have been a tonne…to narrow it down…  “rolling with it” in the first 5 months, i had a real hard time letting go of the previous normal if that makes sense. In the beginning, because of outside influences, I seemed to fight everything. I was always like “Anna shouldn’t be getting up in the night this much, Anna shouldn’t be eating this much, Anna shouldn’t be crying this much”. I always tried to change or Chris-Palliser“fix” it to make it easier on my wife and I. It was around the 6 month mark I as the “Frozen” Anna said…Let it Go. I accepted that parenting was difficult, I and my marriage would be much happier going along for the ride rather then fighting every turn. I still need to be reminded once in awhile, but changing my outlook on parenting has made my life a lot easier!
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Chris-PalliserSince I am a talker, I speak to A LOT of people about the challenges or parenting and in doing so I receive A LOT of advice. I know everyone is trying to be helpful but sometimes…wow something my wife always tells me just made sense! Sometimes I just want people to listen! So just listen to your friend who’s a new dad, be supportive. For Heather – Don’t expect me to change honey I will try and listen more but let’s not aim too high 😉 – Anyways my advice to other fathers is this. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. If you want to know something that I did, something that worked for me, ask away I love to talk! But sometimes too much advice can make you think “this isn’t right I gotta fix this cause joe blow said…” and that can cause some anxiety issues…refer back to question 3 haha…oh and don’t view your kids through a camera lens or on a phone screen, be in the moment, create true memories! I know everyone says this but it’s so true time goes by so fast and when kids show up time triples in speed, they are like warp drive engines or something! So pause and enjoy it.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Balance is a bitch haha… Husband duty/Dad duty/ Work Duty/ Volunteer duty…and somewhere in there fitting in “Me time”. That is the first thing to go, Heather tells me to take more but I have a difficult time putting myself before all my other responsibilities….and really there seems to be no good time for me to take me time. We are so busy. I want to make sure my wife and the kid, soon to be kids are set and don’t need anything before I take off for a squash game. This would fall under another “challenge” for me. I think a huge part of it is the fact that our family is so young, it requires a lot of our time right now and we don’t have any family living closer than 4 hours away so it’s just Heather and myself. PS. we are an unbelievable team!
Chris-Palliser6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Roll with it. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Hug your kids whenever you can and say I love you.  MAKE TIME for your kids. I have my dad to thank for a lot of the “how to be a dad” lessons. I am very lucky to have had the childhood I did. My Dad worked hard but when he came home, no matter how tired he was, he always made time for my sister and I. Making time for those who are important to you can go a long way. I like to think I’m passing that lesson onto my little brother and of course, as my kids grow I want them to be able to say, “dad always made time for us”
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I am loving the camaraderie that comes with being a dad! The conversations I get to have with other dads, the jokes, the level of understanding. When it hits 10 pm on a Friday night and I say “sorry boys I gotta go” the other dad says “Thanks for coming out man great to see you, say hi to the family for me!” Not to throw my non dad friends under the bus, they are cool too haha but there is a certain level of understanding that only other dads get, It’s the coolest.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Everyday with Anna creates the most memorable experiences and it all started with the first one. Watching her come into this world via her beautiful, incredible, strong, brave and selfless mother. I will never forget that night, it was magic and I can’t wait to experience it again in a few weeks!

 

If you have any questions for Chris Palliser, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Dan Poore ( @dwpoore ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 556th Dad in the Limelight is Dan Poore. I want to thank Dan for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Dan-Poore1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Dan Poore and I had my first kid last year. It has truly been an adventure learning how to care for a brand new human. I started my blog, That Poore Baby, to document the process and to have a written history that I can share with him when he’s older. It has been a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experience thus far and I look forward to a fantastic future.
2) Tell me about your family
Around 7 years ago, my wife and I lived in New Jersey and we were stuck in jobs that we didn’t really care for. We also realized that we’d never get anywhere because housing was really expensive and the cost of living was high. We did a lot of research and ultimately decided to move to Austin, Texas. We moved here without jobs, friends or any idea of what we wanted to do. It was very challenging but we both went back to school, worked some crappy jobs and eventually found our way. Today we have careers that we like, own a home and now, have a family.
Dan-Poore
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Learning, and remembering to use, patience. Caring for a new and undeveloped person plays tricks with your mind. It’s very easy to get to the point where you think that the baby is purposely doing something to mess with you. For instance, looking like they’re sleeping and then crying the second you walk away. Or pooping the second after you get them changed and dressed for the day.
Dan-Poore4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Jump in and experience every aspect. This is a great time to be a dad because all the preconceived notions are being erased. Parenting is no longer divided into mom duties and dad duties. Feed them, change them, interact with them, teach them, get down on the floor and be silly with them.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
We’re still trying to figure this out. My wife is a nurse and works nights three shifts a week, which means she sleeps during the day. She had to go back to work when the baby was 6 weeks old, so I had to learn very quickly how to be the primary caregiver when she’s away. I also went from working part time in the house / part time out of the house to a regular full time job. A few months ago we hired a part time nanny and we try to schedule at least one date night a month.
Dan-Poore
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I am in a dad blogger group on Facebook and it has been a fantastic experience. It might sound trivial, but reading about someone going through the same thing that you are makes the hard times easier. We also stay in touch with our birth centering group. We used a birthing center and a midwife and part of their package is forming a group of first time parents who are are due in the same month. During the pregnancy, you meet up in a class designed to prepare you for the birthing process.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
There will be good times, bad times and going half mad times. You will never sleep like you slept before you had a child. Your free time will no longer be yours. Everyday will get shorter and the day will always end before you finish doing everything that needed to be done. Your entire life is changed forever and through the exhaustion, you come to a realization: You are more complete than you’ve ever been and you are truly happy.
 Dan-Poore
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
There is something amazing every step of the way. Seeing your wife’s belly grow and grasping that there’s a baby in there. The surrealness of the birth and seeing your baby for the first time. That long first night when you’re afraid to close your eyes because you think that if you stop watching, then something bad will happen. The first time they look you in the eyes. The first time they roll over. That first step. That first hug. That first time they light up when you get home and you swear that they say “dada.”

If you have any questions for Dan, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Ben Robison ( @intrepid_dad ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 555th Dad in the Limelight is Ben Robison. I want to thank Ben for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Ben-Robison1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
First and foremost, I’m a husband and a father.  My wife and I have 5 kids ranging from 8-years-old all the way down to 8 weeks.  Second, I’ve got a day job that fills my 8am-5pm hours with work, and occasionally takes me away from home for a few days at a time.  Finally, I’m building a busines on the side as a writer in what little time I can squeeze out of the day, which is usually not more than 60 minutes.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife goes by Ladycakes online.  I made up online names for each of my kids and always refer to them by those names (more about how those names were derived here).  My oldest is my daughter, Ada, who’s 8 years old and the rest are boys.  Bryce is 6 1/2.  Ian is about to turn 5.  Blake is 2 1/2.  Sebastian (Bash) just hit 6 weeks.
Ada is a mini-clone of Ladycakes in appearance and attitude.  Bryce said he wants you to know that he plays soccer.  We are waiting to take delivery of Ian’s 5th pair of glasses because they don’t last long.  Blake has been hospitalized more times than he is years old (blood pressure and oxygen level drops, RSV, and most recently a seizure).  And Bash just spends his time eating, sleeping, and pooping.
Ben-Robison
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I could go two ways with this.  One challenge has been working on my own character as I see some of my negative attributes reflected in my children and recognize that I need to fix them in myself before I can expect my kids to overcome them.
The other has been recognizing that each of my kids is different.  Some of the skills you learn as a parent transfer from one kid to the next, but some have to be learned anew for each kid.  A reward that delights one kid has no impact on the next, etc.  That was something I hadn’t expected and sort of hoped that by #5 it’d all be old hat, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
As I mentioned, I feel like some of my kid’s mannerisms and behaviors are many times a reflection of my own, something that became very clear when Ada made a joking/sassy remark in response to Bryce which was the exact thing that I’ve said on multiple occasions.  My advice would be that if you want to see your kids develop or avoid a specific behavior, you need to talk to them about it, but more importantly you need to model it.  It starts with you and will flow from there.  I think a lot of parents either don’t recognize this or aren’t willing to admit it.
Ben-Robison
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Ruthless prioritization.  I work to support my family.  As soon as work is over, it’s family time until after the kids are in bed.  Family time includes dinner and chores and other boring household stuff, but it also includes one-on-one time with the kids with no screens, homework, games, and the whole bath/bed routine.  Only before they wake up and after they’re in bed can I take the time to work on my side business.  That means slow progress on the side business, but that’s OK.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
When I was growing up, my dad worked 12 hour shifts at an oil refinery to support us.  Sometimes that was day shift and sometimes it was night.  I never appreciated that until I worked a construction job at age 21, and suddenly gained an appreciation for what he had done for us for all those years.  I learned that hard work is important and often underappreciated.
Ben-Robison
More broadly, I think there’s something you can learn from most dads around you.  Many are models of patience, many are models of fun.  Some teach me that I should be more spontaneous, others that I should be more cheerful.  I believe if we’re honest with ourselves, there’s no shortage of things we can do to be better dads, and role models for one attribute or another are not too hard to find.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
My job allows my wife to stay at home to take care of our family, but that doesn’t lessen my need to be involved.  I’ve learned that I still need to be a full partner with her in taking care of our kids.  And I’ve learned that her needs (for social interaction, for escape, for quiet time) are even greater because she stays at home.  If I want to think of myself as a successful dad, I need to be both a good dad and a good husband.
Being a dad is both the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Holding each of my kids for the first time is pretty memorable.  Beyond that, as I look back, the moments that stand out are the moments when kids are laughing hysterically about something or the moments of pure terror when somebody’s safety or well-being is threatened.  But all of that comes from a deep love.  Things that evoke that emotion are the things that come to mind.  All the frustration, sleeplessness, etc. fades with time and it’s the good stuff that you hang on to.

If you have any questions for Ben, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Will Stroet ( @willkidsmusic ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 554th Dad in the Limelight is Will Stroet. I want to thank Will for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Will-Stroet1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I’m a father to two beautiful daughters. Professionally I’m a full-time Children’s Musician who tours across Canada performing my English and French music in Schools, Theatres and Festivals www.willmusic.ca. I also have a series that runs three days a week on Kids’ CBC TV called Will’s Jams that features my music www.willsjams.ca. I run my business with my wife Kim who manages everything from bookings to grants to publicity etc. I’m a former elementary school teacher who found his passion and went for it.
2) Tell me about your family

My wife Kim and I have two daughters; Ella who is 4 years old and June who is 7 months old. They are both great kids who keep us busy and also provide me with inspiration for my work. We all live in a multi-generational duplex home in Vancouver, BC. Myself, Kim, Ella and June live in the upstairs suite and my parents live in the downstairs suite. It is an arrangement that works extremely well for us. When I’m away on tour Kim has help from my parents with the kids, and when my parents are traveling we keep an eye on their place. It also helps us maintain a more affordable lifestyle in this incredibly expensive city of Vancouver!


3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Last year my older daughter had hip surgery because she had hip dysplasia. Her hip socket was not forming properly and so there were all kinds of potential consequences that could arise from this as she continued to grow. The surgery was stressful, but nothing compared to the 7 weeks post-surgery that she had to spend in a body cast. We had a 3.5 year old who overnight was no longer able to do anything for herself. It was very frustrating for her and physically, mentally and emotionally challenging for My wife (who was pregnant and myself).
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?Find time to spend with your kids. Also, find common interests so that you can create lasting memories while also helping them to grow and learn. My older daughter is starting piano lessons and is taking to it with a lot of enthusiasm. Spending time with her and our piano is starting to become a special time for both of us.5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

Trying to find balance in my life is definitely a big challenge, but I’m sure that is true of most parents. I love my family and I love my work but it can be very difficult to devote the attention they both deserve. When I’m home I try to dedicate specific days to spending with the kids every week. These daddy daughter days become a time when I can unplug from work and really be present with my kids. When you run your own business unplugging can be hard to do.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

My own dad has been an incredible role model for me in fatherhood, and having him so close by is a real blessing. He is very even tempered, patient and has a very positive outlook on life. He is also very gracious and giving of his time. All of these qualities I think are very important as a father.
Will-Stroet
I also love seeing fathers at my concerts who are not afraid to get up with their kids to dance and have a good time. There are always some and it’s always clear to see how much their kids love spending time and having fun with them.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Being a father definitely changes your life in many ways. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Being a dad is my favourite part of who I am. I look forward to watching my girls grow and I hope I am always able to be there for them when they need me. There are always challenges, but in my opinion they are outnumbered by the joys.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I really love how my life as a Father and as a Children’s Entertainer intersect. I really enjoy seeing my family at my shows dancing and participating. It only happens at local shows but it is a lot of fun. This won’t last forever so I try to enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts. Who knows, maybe someday my girls will be in the band.

If you have any questions for Will, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Daniel Claudio ( @papiologyblog ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 553rd Dad in the Limelight is Daniel Claudio. I want to thank Daniel for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

papiology1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Daniel Claudio.  I am a Mexi-Rican who grew up in the inner cities of Chicago and Milwaukee.  I’m an introverted-yet-confident bear of a dude who likes his head bald and his chin hairy.  I have absolutely no sense of fashion unless sweatshirts and jeans become the next big thing (again).  I would definitely not say that I am in any limelight, but I do have a new blog who’s following is still small, but growing quickly.  I recently became a stay-at-home-dad and have always had a penchant for writing.  My wife suggested to me that I start a blog and after some hemming and hawing, Papiology.com was born.  Its a very frank, often sarcastic, and always earnest account of my journey as a father.  If you could ask my wife to sum me up in one word, she would probably say ”…incredibly handsome and the smartest person I know, I can’t live without him, he is everything I ever hoped a husband would be.”  If you asked my kid, he would probably just stare at you and poop his pants.

 

2) Tell me about your family

Asking a Hispanic to tell you about their family is like opening a snake-in-a-can.  We tend to be very close with our extended family and so telling you about what I would call “my family” could easily turn into a multi-volume ancestry-chronicle.  I think you’re asking about my immediate folks though, so I’ll stick to that (although my 3rd cousin-once-removed-Enrique, on my mother’s side is going to be very angry that I didn’t include him).  My wife Leecia is a cute little paralegal who left Tennessee to come try a relationship with me in Milwaukee.  She soon realized the mistake she had made, but we were married by then and she was stuck, so now I’m just what she gets.  We met at an internship when I was 20 and she was 16.  She was in love but I was a grown-up looking at a teenage Leecia, so we went our separate ways as good friends.  Ten years later, we reconnect on Facebook and I’m suddenly talking to a woman that looks very little like the girl I once knew.  I totally trick her into thinking I’m awesome and she moves to Milwaukee.  A year or so later, we’re married on the front porch of her family’s farm (its WAY less country-music-song-ish than it sounds…sort of) and less than two months after that, we’re standing in the 6-by-6 bathroom of our one-bedroom apartment, staring at a positive pregnancy test, wondering why there isn’t some sort of licensing process for getting pregnant.

Daniel-Claudio

Shia is our 6 month boy.  He is both a delight and a constant source of extreme stress.  It’s like having the most amazingly beautiful Vietnam war cooing at you from the floor of your kitchen while you make a bottle and wonder, again, why there isn’t some sort of check and balance on who gets to have babies.  He smiles constantly, almost like his life is nothing but sleeping, playing, and getting fed whenever he opens his little mouth.  He almost never actually cries, unless its 1:30am, 3:30am, and 7:00am, but he totally stops as soon as he’s been fed, changed, and rocked back to sleep, so…like almost never.  He has more personality than I think a 6 month should be allowed to have and he is constantly surrounded by mostly-stable people who love him immensely.  He’s a huge friggin’ kid, slender but wearing 12 month clothes at 6 months of age.  He has a raspy, deep voice that is going to be a gift to listen to when he stops speaking gibberish and learns to communicate like a human.

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

The constancy.  I have always had a place to escape to.  As a proud introvert, I love people…but only for short periods of time.  Extroverts get their energy from interaction and relationships.  Introverts get recharged by having alone time and periods of quiet contemplation.  We’re a dramatic lot, but it’s what we need.  My biggest challenge about being a parent has simply been the fact that I am NEVER alone.  Gone are the days when I could throw on an over-sized hoodie and go alone to a movie where I could sit in the dark and enjoy blissful anonymity.  Gone are the days when I could. like, close a door and….excrete without being interrupted.  Even a simple trip to the store now comes laden with inevitable and interminable interactions because no one can resist talking to (or at) a cute baby and his no-longer-scary-looking dad.  There is a sweet-spot right at about 8pm when the baby is down for the night and my wife is dead tired that I can enjoy a couple hours of solitude but even that feels like an hour of yard-time given to a prisoner in the hole.  I get to stare at the sky, but only through the fence and barbed wire.  Taking care of a kid is a never-ending, 24-7 job, especially for a stay-at-home parent.  Its a low-but-constant level of stress that never goes away as phantom cries and bumps in the night make you stupidly believe your child is dying.  If I could afford it, I would hire an expensive and well-vetted nanny to take my boy for 3 hours a day, when I could just disappear into some deep pocket of a public library and inhale the precious scent of solitude for a few, precious, minutes.

Daniel-Claudio

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

When you find yourself adrift in the middle of the ocean, float, don’t swim.  Life can be like an ocean.  Sometimes its calm and glassy, other times its horrific and overwhelmingly angry in its size and incredible strength.  I love to swim.  I’m not anything near an Olympic athlete, but I’m a better swimmer than most.  I can swim for miles without stopping and I enjoy it.  The ocean though, I could never swim that.  Its too big, too vast, too unpredictable to even consider trying to work my way across it.  Life is like that.  It’s too big, too vast, and it’s waves are too overwhelming to try and fight your way against it.  What I’ve found, however, is that life, like the ocean, offers currents beneath the surface that will almost always carry you to land if you can stay calm and keep your head above the water for long enough.  Swimming against the storm is a sure way to sink to the bottom but floating wherever life decides to take you will usually get you back to solid ground.  Don’t worry so much.  Be happy.  A life full of accomplishment at the expense of Joy is a life wasted.  Strive for what you want but don’t make it the point of existing.  Learn to enjoy what you have now.  Stop and listen to your kid breath in his sleep.  Stare at your wife as she walks out of a room.  Taste what you eat like it’s the first time you’ve had it.  Love where you are and learn to be content with slow, gentle floating.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

I consider them one in the same.  As a parent, I no longer have a life outside my family.  My kid and my wife, like my arms and legs are just a part of who I am and a part of my life everywhere I go.  Even my very sparse moments of solitude are only enjoyed when I am first sure that my family taken care of and safe.  I often read about people’s desire to “have a life” along with being a parent and it confuses me.  I dont want a life apart from my son.  I dont want a life apart from my wife.  I dont even believe its possible to have that, lol.  As a family we are one unit and if I haven’t learned to integrate them into all aspects of my life, then I have failed somewhere along the way.  Do I want some alone time sometimes, yes, of course.  Do I dichotomize that time as another life alongside my life at home?  No.

 

Like I said before, I do want to get away sometimes and thats pretty hard to do when your kid is so young.  I suspect that as my boy (and future kids) get older, I will have plenty of time to do what I want to do.  For now, I’m happy to float along in the adventure that is being a dad for a while.

Daniel-Claudio

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Everything.  Everything I know about being a good and terrible father comes from my interactions with those around me.  But here’s a better spin to your question:  What have I learned from interacting with other stay-at-home-dads?  So much….

  1. We can be a whiny lot. Staying at home alone, all day, with infants tends to degrade your sense of cave-man-ness.  You wash dishes and change diapers.  You watch kid-shows and take naps when you can.  We never get to destroy shit anymore.  We never get to flex and be strong.  We never get to lift heavy crap in front of swoony girls and we let ourselves get whiny.  We start moping about the dumbest things and we lose the hearty, thick skin that once deflected yo-mamma jokes and let us laugh when people tried to belittle us.  If we’re going to make stay-at-home fatherhood respectable, we gotta do it like men.  I’m not a man because someone says I am.  I’m a man because I sweat testosterone and chew on steel cable for fun.  I’m a man because I simply am and I challenge anyone to tell me I look girly doing anything.  A real man can make an apron look like a Kevlar thigh-shield. A real man can change a diaper while also looking like he’s winning a street-rod, quarter-mile suicide-heat.  We are men because we just are and when we come up against people who belittle us, show them what men do, rather than fulfill their ridiculous ideas by mopily whining about people not understanding how hard it is to be a stay-at-home-dad. :(
  2. When it comes to parenthood, “deer in the headlights” is an apt analogy, no matter who you are. I’ve worked as a pediatric medical assistant for about 15 years.  I’ve coached parents on topics ranging from breast feeding and what to expect during labor, to developmental milestones and what to do about constipation.  I have an excellent familial support system.  A stable family that helps whenever needed, on both sides of our marriage.  I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I was about as prepared as one can ever be for having a baby and yet…having a kid has felt like staring into the headlights of a 87′ Chevy while innocently trying to cross the road.  We all feel that way.  Its a terrifying experience.  Its outside the bounds of anything we have ever done and it never, ever, feels comfy the first time.
  3. Having kids and specifically being a stay-at-home-dad gives men who have absolutely NOTHING in common so much mutual ground upon which to bond that we forget how different we are. Were I to have met some of these men before I had kids, I would have turned around and walked out.  Now, I’m just happy to be talking to another adult.  I gladly deal with the idiosyncrasies of another dude’s personality simply because he is also someone who understands my plight and looks just as shocked that no one properly expressed to us what having a kid really meant.  When my son is 16, I’m gonna sit him down.  I’ll hand him the keys to his own car.  I’ll punch him in the stomach, hard.  While he’s still struggling to breath I’ll walk him outside to where his brand new sporty convertible is glinting the sunlight and I’ll say “Now you know that feeling of being terrifically happy and in terrible pain at the same time.  That’s what having kids is like.  You’re welcome.”

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Everything that’s on my blog lol.  I write my blog because I’ve found that not only is is a great outlet for me to vent about my daddy-issues but also because I get so much feedback from people who are in agreement with me.  It’s comforting to have so many others express gratitude and understanding, especially since I tend not to sugar-coat my thoughts.  If you want to hear more of my silly, self-important rants about why babies are inherently suicidal, you’ll have to check out my blog.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

My kid is only 6 months, so I haven’t had much time to gather the big memories.  He has yet to say an actual word and hasn’t even learned to walk yet.  He’s still on a steady diet of liquids and can’t control his bladder.  The best times, though, have been the little stuff.  Listening to him coo alone in his crib early in the morning.  Finding just the right spot to tickle that makes him belly-laugh.  Having him fall asleep on my chest.  Watching him smile at my voice even while he’s sleeping.  It’s what makes the war worth fighting.  It’s what makes me not care that I forget to brush my teeth and spend a huge chunk of my income on powder formula and leak-guard diapers.  It’s the shiny convertible part of being a dad and I’m looking forward to many more years of discovering new and awesome ways my kid finds to trick me into loving him.

If you have any questions for Daniel, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Rich Bennett ( @ColoradoRich ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 552nd Dad in the Limelight is Rich Bennett. I want to thank Rich for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Rich-Bennett 1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I am passionate about ‘doing family’ well. A lot of us come from a place of brokenness when it comes to family. As a child of divorce, and seeing the long-term consequences it can have on a family, I am committed to not repeating that cycle – and helping other dads do the same.

As part of that commitment, I am a regular contributor to a blog for dads called Dad Matters. For two years, my fellow writers and I have endeavored to encourage dads on their journey, regardless of their age, stage or life situation.

 

2) Tell me about your family

My wife and I celebrated twenty years of marriage last year by taking our whole family on a cruise. When I asked her where she wanted to go, she pointed out that it wouldn’t be long before our 15-year old son and 12-year old daughter would be heading off to college, so she wanted to create a memory we’d all enjoy. She’s smart like that.

Living in Colorado, we enjoy most all of what the mountains have to offer: camping, skiing, hiking and biking as a family.

 

Rich-Bennett 3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

There are so many. Keeping your cool when you feel like your kids have disrespected you. Asking for their forgiveness when you’ve clearly blown it.

Early in my fatherhood journey, I had to come to terms with the reality that my interests and passions are often not the same as my son’s. I was really into sports. I loved going to sporting events … watching sports on TV … and collecting baseball cards. If it was sports-related, I was generally all about it. My son has lots of interests, but really can take or leave the sports scene.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?Rich-Bennett

Be intentional. Good parenting, and being a good spouse, doesn’t just happen. You don’t just wake up one day, and you’re a spectacular home builder … a concert-level pianist … or an accomplished business professional. You have to seek out ways to improve. Talk to other dads. Seek the wisdom of those who’ve been there. Read good books, blogs or websites.

And cut yourself a break. You’re going to blow it. It’s OK. We all do. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, do something about it. Commit to change, and get better. Talk to your spouse, or other dads, when you need ideas on how to navigate certain situations.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

I have to be careful about managing my tendency to work late to stay on top of things. If you struggle with that like I do at times, check out Andy Stanley’s book Choosing to Cheat, where he talks about cheating the less important things. Hint: it’s not your family.

Another thing … if you’re married, don’t stop dating your wife. Perhaps the best thing you can do for your kids is to have a healthy marriage. Plan one date a month. And keep chatter about the kids to a minimum when you are out on your date.

 

Rich-Bennett

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Most of us fathers struggle with a lot of the same things – and then we can struggle to talk candidly about that. It’s not really a winning combination. But once you are willing to talk about that inspire, challenge, and confuse you as a dad – and ask for ideas and advice — it opens the door to the reality that we all need help. Talking with other dads candidly is a great place to start.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I love being a dad. I truly do. Most of us struggle with selfishness. If getting married doesn’t begin to whittle away at your selfish tendencies, having kids can chip off big chunks off the reality that it’s not all about you.

 

Rich-Bennett 8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

My top 5

  • The day they are born. There’s nothing like it.
  • Vacations together.
  • Serving the community together as a family.
  • Reading with your kids. My 12-year old daughter and I still read virtually every day. It’s our daily special time. I read aloud with my son for more than a decade, and sometimes he still lets me.
  • Watching them become their own little, quirky, quality, God-honoring people. Just like us, they don’t always ‘get it right.’ But when they do, it’s cool to see.

If you have any questions for Rich, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – J. Scot Heathman ( @jscotheathman ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 551st Dad in the Limelight is Scot Heathman. I want to thank Scot for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my reader’s knowledge)

My name is Jeremiah “Scot” Heathman, I go by my middle name and yes there’s only one “T” in Scot. I am a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force having served nearly 18 years. I’ve also been a pilot for many of those years flying the KC-135 Stratotanker which is essentially a 55 year old flying gas can that can air refuel other aircraft. I’ve also flown the C-17 Globemaster III which is like flying a massive house that’s able to airlift tanks, boats, patients and Martian Spacecraft. The latter is true, as I’ve airlifted two: the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Phoenix Mars Lander. This all sounds a bit militaristic so when people ask me what I do I simply say I’m a Servant-Leader for some amazing Airmen and that I’m an expert at passing gas and delivering hope.

 

2) Tell me about your family

I grew up in Rochester, MN. Upon graduating from John Marshall High School I earned an ROTC Scholarship to the Illinois Institute of Technology, from which I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and received my commission into the USAF.

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

After graduating college, I attended pilot training in Southwest Texas (Del Rio) and went on to fly the KC-135 at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA. That’s where I met my wife. Well….not really. Our meeting was a game of chance. Literally, I met her while at a casino in North Lake Tahoe [I was attending a wedding and she was on vacation]. We spoke for a few minutes, exchanged contact information and then she went back to Boston and I went back to Spokane. We had no clue that a near 2,800-mile relationship would work out so well. We were engaged the Summer of 2001 with plans to marry over Thanksgiving that year. Little did we know the events on September 11th, 2001 would be the driving reason we decided to accelerate our vows. Both of our worlds were suddenly thrust into a direction neither of us could’ve imagined. As I sat alert on the days following 9-11, I wondered if I would ever see her again. We made plans for her to fly out to Spokane during the last week of September and were married on 27th. After our courthouse wedding, she flew back to Boston. We would spend the entire first year of our marriage apart as I deployed to several locations in the Middle East.

 

Eventually, I moved her from Boston to Spokane so we could start a family. And that’s exactly what we did. In the summer of 2004, I moved the three of us from Spokane to Charleston AFB, SC. That wasn’t a typo….the three of us moved as Mary was pregnant with our soon to be little boy, Joshua.

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

Joshua was born in October 2004. He is, in the immortal words of Data’s father from Goonies, “my greatest invention.”

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

At age 3, our son was diagnosed with Autism. I will never forget the day I found out. I was actually living on base for the week sitting an Alert Tour. My wife called to tell me the diagnosis. We knew something was up and he did several unusual things as a child and we decided to get him screened. Upon hearing the words, my life turned upside down. I was confused, angry, and sad. The news also left me with a sinking feeling that too may unknowns still lie ahead. In typical Type-A fashion, I initially thought I could fix this, but deep down I knew there was no fix. I sat in the alert dorm and just stared off into nothing for the next several hours and finally settled in on the thought that I had no control over this. I sat there a until I couldn’t sit in that room any longer. So I went to the local bookstore and started reading books on Autism. Today, we are now 7 years into our Autism journey. I know a lot more than I did that day. But we’ve spent thousands of dollars on trips to his specialist in Kansas City and all the necessities he requires for his special dietary needs. We’ve also experienced countless hours of stress and anxiety, as each day is a challenge for Joshua. The greatest stress is not knowing how I will handle it.

 

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

I know I’ve painted a picture of doom and gloom here, but Joshua and his Autism is a gift. I know I am capable of being there for him and our family, but I don’t always execute that plan properly. I’m not the patient one nor do I handle the stress that well. My wife is truly the rock through all of this, but I know I can do better. I must continue to educate myself, practice a little patience, find constructive means to manage the stress. More importantly, I should never stop fighting for that little guy. As a father, you need to play an important role in your child’s life and realize when you’re not. You need to be the protector, the mentor, the playmate, the father and the listener. We all make mistakes, but we can always make ourselves better if we’re willing to identify our faults and make the effort to remove them from our lives. It’s never too late to improve yourself….this is my best advice on your fatherhood journey.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

This is a tough subject for me….especially being in the Air Force for nearly 18 years. I’ve been pulled in many different directions and it’s easy to say my family has sacrificed just as much as I to support my career. But even through the deployments, late nights and finishing the work days at home, I’ve learned that I have to exploit every means to show my family just how much I love them. I’m far from perfect in balancing my life, but what I can do is spend those unpredictable moments with them enjoying life. Here are some things I do: find a project that Joshua and I can work on together. Play Mario Kart and get my butt kicked on a fairly routine basis. Leave some notes of encouragement on the counter as I leave to go to work or on the road. Just being ‘Present’ is a big step in balancing parenthood and an outside life. When I’m not ‘Present’ that’s when things seem to fall apart for me and those around me. I’m still learning to better balance my home life.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Just have fun! Laugh, smile, relax and be goofy! It’s not all about discipline for the sake of disciplining. Let the small things roll off your back and don’t take it out on your little one’s who are looking to you for comfort. I learned that lesson from my wife. Your children shouldn’t fear you, but know that they can count on you. Walking on eggshells throughout life is no way to live. It’s the worst way to live! Perhaps the most important piece of advice I’ve received was to “take care of yourself first.” If you’re not doing this how can you expect to take care of the one’s who rely on you?

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

You are never too old, too stubborn, or too set in your ways to learn something to make yourself a better father. We should take solace in those humbling moments that come our way. These are the life lessons we need…even when we don’t want them. I’ve learned never to stop looking for help and support. I can’t be expected to know all the ins and outs on how to best support a child with Autism but I should never stop trying. His personal experiences are different than other children on the Autism Spectrum. They are as unique as you and I and deserve intense study and understanding. Don’t be afraid to show and talk about your emotions with your little ones. They are very smart and often just want to understand what is stressing you out. My son is incredibly empathetic which is not a common trait among Autistic children. He takes great pride in supporting my wife and I when we are sad, tired, sick and stressed. He wants to feel like he can support his family despite all of his social challenges. Give your kids the opportunity to show they can play a critical role in the family.

 

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

My most memorable moment was watching my son at a Tae Kwan Do tournament. He was literally kicking butt in every event….took four Gold medals and was on his way to a fifth and final medal. When he entered his last event [board breaking], he didn’t do all that well…and he knew it. There were five children in his belt class competing and he clearly finished last based on my assessment. During the judges decision Joshua was awarded a Silver Medal. I was confused, my wife was confused and even Joshua was confused. He walked away from the judges table but stopped and went right up to his Master. He told her that there must be a mistake and that he didn’t deserve this medal. It turned out the judges made a mistake. There were two Joshuas in group and they announced the scores for the wrong Joshua. They corrected the problem and awarded the other Joshua Second Place. Our Joshua finished dead last. Our son took off his medal off and gave it back with a smile on his face. Instead, he earned a participation ribbon. At the end of the tournament, the Master thanked everyone for attending but had one more presentation to make. She picked up a medal and asked that our son come forward. Because he stepped forward and told the judges and Master he didn’t feel he deserved his medal and that there must have been an error, Joshua was awarded a Gold Medal for his Act of Integrity. My wife and I were instantly overwhelmed with tears. How could a young boy with Autism, with all his social challenges and behavior struggles in life pull off such a selfless act? Perhaps we as parents have done something right for him and taught him some of life’s most important lessons. As I said earlier, his Autism is not a burden…it is a gift. And one that keeps me humble and wanting to be a better father each and every day!
If you have any questions for Scot, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – James Tebbs ( @NewDadBigDaddy ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 550th Dad in the Limelight is James Tebbs. I want to thank James for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

James-Tebbs 1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Hi, I’m Jim ‘aka Big Daddy on the Twitter-sphere’. I started blogging as a result of my daughter being born, an idea that was also birthed by my partner, so I can’t take the credit for it. I work by day at a demanding top London design agency, and by night, take to the stage in a lively rock band \m/. Coupling this with a busy home life, a blog called New Dads to maintain and a beautiful daughter to entertain, you have my reason for being in the limelight.

 

2) Tell me about your family

I’m recently 40 which scared the, ahem…, out of me to be honest. I mean, I’ll be 59 years old when my daughter is 20…! Fortunately, i’ve always looked after myself health and fitness as much as possible, and with my partner being a fitness and ballet instructor, you can see how we’ll benefit. We all three live in a lovely home in South East London, and are very comfortable with our lives.

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Certainly in the 2 years that I’ve been a dad, I have noticed how different the same situations can be depending on my daughters age, and on many occasions, how challenging it can be to come to a resolution. I would also add that trying to maintain the same lifestyle before I was a parent, by refusing to accept the extent of how dramatically my life was to change was my initial failing. I have however, taken my foot off the gas a little, to make best out of everything, for my family, and for myself.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Get involved. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home dad to be involved, and you WILL regret not having done so as your son or daughter grows up very quickly. Time certainly does fly, there’s no getting away from it, and it’s easy to miss those little moments that are important for no other reason than their involving your baby.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

This is a tough one. Both myself and partner work, so it’s a joint effort in looking after our daughter, and deal with the nursery drop-off and collection. But I do get a good healthy dose of daddy / daughter time over the weekends which is great. Especially so with the time spent teaching her to swim, and seeing the progress each week is phenomenal. Highly recommend it.

 

James-Tebbs6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

There is no one magic method for all, and something that worked before, may well have a shelf life. I was horrified when a (female) friend asked to hold my daughter at her sons birthday party, and then proceeded to play the roughest version of ‘horsey, horsey…’ I have ever witnessed! My daughter however,  loved it, so that showed me that my initial ‘kid gloves’ approach wasn’t necessarily the best method to follow all the time. Nothing wrong with a bit of rough and tumble.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I would say that patience is essential. Babies, and indeed toddlers don’t care if you haven’t slept properly for months on end. They just know that they want something, or don’t want something that from their perspective you are trying to force upon them. Keep your cool as your reaction will shape their personalities.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

The birth will forever be a vivid memory, hehe, and not least for my hitting the deck unceremoniously on account of a thick winter jumper and a very hot delivery suite not coupling very well. I would also have to say when she first uttered her version of ‘Daddy’, and her describing an elephant by lifting her arm like a trunk, and bringing a trombone-like sound to a magnificent crescendo. Little things like that are just pure heart-warming magic.
If you have any questions for James, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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New to the Divadom?
Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader
Questions?Drop me a line at [email protected]

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