Dads in the Limelight – Mike Holtz of TheDADsignal

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 542nd Dad in the Limelight is Mike Holtz of TheDADsignal. I want to thank Mike Holtz for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Mike Holtz with all of you.

 

Mike-Holtz1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
Hi, my name is Mike Holtz and I’m a Dad and Husband. I just started a Youtube channel called TheDADsignal where my insane and sweet 5 year old daughter and I share our love for the things we share. Everything from Superheroes and movies to food & really bad jokes. (The last one is mainly my fault….totally my fault.) I have ran a Youtube channel about movies called WeWatchedAMovie for the past 3 years & amidst my A.D.D. fueled rampage of a life I also work as a Customer Logistics Coordinator.
2) Tell me about your family
I have been with my Wife Katie for seven years. Five years and three months ago we were blessed with our Daughter Memphis. She is the single most individual human being I’ve ever known & can’t even put her shoes on the right feet yet. (Seriously, with a 50/50 chance you’d imagine it’d  happen JUST once in a while. No dice.) She’s hilarious, cool, never shuts up and could melt the heart of a monster. I can honestly say I find it pretty easy to be a Dad. Mainly because her Mom, much like my own leaves nothing to be desired. She is everything for her that you could imagine a Mom to be. We are still deciding on whether or not to have more kids, or maybe adopt.
Mike-Holtz
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
We went through a hard time financially a few years ago and it hit my pride hard. Nothing crazy, just not an optimal situation. I became so obsessed with success in the name of my family that I stopped spending time with my family. I became hell bent on it and couldn’t understand why nobody “got it”. I was doing this for them because I loved them. I felt as if I had to forge a future out of blood, sweat and time. Precious time that I wish I could get back. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where in order to take care of our families we have to make sacrifices. But for me the biggest challenge was learning that being a Dad means doing both. To take on the world during your own damn time, because what’s truly important is that she has you there to play “My Little Pony” on hers.
Mike-Holtz4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Be a kid again through your kid. Granted, I’m very lucky because my Daughter happens to adore all the same things I do and I also happen to be a giant man-child. I showed her the things I loved as a kid and some things I (as a huge geek) still love today. Some of them she adopted as her own (Everything Batman) and some of them she wanted nothing to do with (She hates Superman). But we have all been in or seen that parent moment of “If I hear the name Dora again I will SET MYSELF ON FIRE!!!!!” But it doesn’t have to be that way! Go through some old school shows you loved as a kid on Netflix or dig out the old “Goosebumps” books. They’ll love learning about it and connecting with you. Even if you are into something really boring like…I don’t know…Nascar. Get some really cool  race car toys and build a track with them or take them go cart racing. You don’t have to be tied down to whatever terrible super-marketed kid fad there is at the moment. (DISCLAIMER: There is no total escape. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be Diego, man.)
Mike-Holtz5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
 We have an awesome support system that allows us plenty of time for social lives as well. My daughter is really close with both sets of her Grandparents and even goes to my own Mothers Daycare. Again, very lucky.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with? 
That everybody is different and has opposing opinions and techniques. But a Dad who loves, cares and is there for their kids is un-mistakable. Even if they make mistakes.
Mike-Holtz7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It is the most fleeting and tender thing in the world. I struggle a bit with A.D.D. which makes it a constant battle to not just blaze through the day. To stop and force my self to appreciate and be present in any moment is hard. It hurts sometimes to realize all the moments I was thinking of the next thing when I should have stopped and just appreciated my kid, that day, doing something totally normal. Every day she’s one day closer to being too big for me to hold in my arms and I just want to say, because I personally need the reminder…..stop and take it in. There was a guy alone in a Grocery store that saw her one day and told me “My little girl is in her twenties now. Appreciate every second you have her because it goes by quick and you WILL regret every moment you didn’t.”
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I was so paranoid that something was going to go wrong that when she finally entered this world and let out that cry…..I have never been that emotional and relieved in my entire life. The first time she smiled at me even though they said babies couldn’t smile at her age. We were alone early in the morning and the light coming into our tiny house seemed brighter than ever and she looked me dead in the eyes and smiled. I don’t think I had ever been that at peace before in my life. The first time she was old enough to go see a movie with us. She held the popcorn (Half as big as she was) and snuggled between us. I truly realized that I had a little girl and a best friend…… I could go on for a while. Those just come to mind. That was definitely the easiest to answer of pretty much any question ever. Thank you so much for having me!

If you have any questions for Mike Holtz, 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 – Author and Blogger Jason Zandri

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 541st Dad in the Limelight is Author and Blogger Jason Zandri. I want to thank Jason for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Jason Zandri with all of you.

 

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

Up until very recently I have been very active in the limelight in numerous ways. I had been running multiple blogs. One that was technology based which I let slide over a year ago in favor of my civic based ones. There were five in total at their height and all locally representing my hometown of Wallingford, CT population 47,000. The largest and the longest running (at over five years and 100,000 unique page views) was Wallingford Politico http://wallingfordpolitico.blogspot.com/

The others included the segmented topics of Walling ford news and information, Wallingford public schools, Wallingford political topics, one on town issues, and the Wallingford Fireworks (a little more detail on that below).

In addition to keeping people informed and trying to engage them in their own community by way of the blogs, I ran for office and was a Wallingford Town Councilor for one term. After that term, I ran for the office of Mayor of Wallingford. For the past five years and during the course of all the above events I have run a nonprofit (on top of my day job – commuting five hours each day to New York City where I work as a systems engineer for Bloomberg LP) to fund the Independence Day fireworks celebration as the event was cancelled in 2010 – http://wallingfordfireworks.blogspot.com/

I have backed off most of the blogs in favor of community groups on Facebook supporting of many Wallingford topics. I admin about seven of them with over 10,000 users spread across the groups. The two largest are Wallingford News and Information https://www.facebook.com/groups/590933164260285/ and Wallingford CT Community Forum https://www.facebook.com/groups/WallingfordCTCommunityForum/

I recently finished my first novel, a work of fiction titled “Another Sunset” http://www.zandri.net/anothersunset.htm and I am busy promoting it independently through social networking as well as through the Rave Reviews Book Club.

While doing all of this – I had four kids. J

 

2) Tell me about your family

Andrew is my oldest; he will be eleven by the end of the summer of 2015. He likes to play on his XBOX and watch funny videos on his Kindle. He is in the fifth grade and plays the saxophone.

Angela is my only daughter. She turns nine at the start of the year and is in third grade. She likes to read and plays the piano. She also likes Disney princess movies. (Belle is her favorite).

Adam is my third oldest. He will be seven in 2015 and is currently in first grade. He likes NASCAR, the color green and likes Green Lantern. He likes to play games on my old smart phone.

Alex is my littlest boy. He will be six this fall and started Kindergarten this year. He likes to dress up in superhero costumes (Superman, Flash, and Captain America – Cap is his favorite).

We recently got a puppy (aptly named Belle) which the kids flew with back from Poland where they go each summer to see family. They spend the entire ten weeks of summer vacation there with their mother.

 

Jason-Zandri3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
No matter how much time I hope to dedicate to something there’s never enough. Thank God I don’t need much sleep. There’s also that nagging guilt that I should give up personal [THING] in favor of something with the kids.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
You are the only person that you need to make happy with the amount of time you spend with your kids. No one else has the right to say “you need to spend more time or do more things” – only you. You are the only barometer.

Yes, they deserve your time and attention. Eventually they will need less and less of it and the argument goes that is when you can pick things back up for yourself but that is not entirely accurate. No one works for twenty years then starts to take vacations when the kids are grown. I am not suggesting that for every episode of Spongebob Squarepants you’re “forced” to watch (we all know that secretly we enjoy it from time to time) that you should have an equal amount of “me” time.

If you can’t “recover and recharge” then you cannot be the kind of Dad your kids need you to be or the kind of Dad you want to be.

 

Jason-Zandri5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
It’s like drinking from a fire hose if you’re doing it “right”; it may seem like a rollercoaster ride that is never going to end but isn’t that more exciting than the Ferris Wheel which just goes around?

In my earlier days, when the little ones were truly little I did a lot of the things that I listed in the “Tell me about yourself” section mainly because I could get my fill of watching the babies fall asleep in the jumper-roo and then were really oblivious to my being there or not.

Now that there are more requests to throw the ball and don the superhero cape you have to say yes so the times for watching a football game or joining “the boys for a beer” becomes fewer and farther between. Those days are still important to schedule (for example – once a quarter) but there will be more of them down the road once the kids are teenagers and “hate” you.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
That there is no right or wrong way to do or handle something. The saying “your mileage may vary” comes to mind as something that worked for me and my kids won’t work for someone else. At the end of the day, you try to go with your own gut and your own sense of right and wrong.

 

Jason-Zandri7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Do the things you want with your kids even if you think they are too young to remember it. They might surprise you with what they remember. Even if they don’t remember, you will.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Each summer I put my kids on a plane to Poland with their mother. It started with just Andrew in 2005 and then as each child was born they all had their turns joining the annual excursion. Every year going to get them at JFK in New York is its own memorable experience to see them once again after nine to twelve weeks of not seeing them. The most memorable event was this past year in 2014 when I dressed in full Captain America uniform (shield and all) and got them at the gate.

To this day I still cannot say if they screamed louder or I did.
If you have any questions for Jason Zandri, 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 – Mike Kresch, President of Kresch and Partners

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 540th Dad in the Limelight is Mike Kresch, President of Kresch and Partners. I want to thank Mike Kresch for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Mike Kresch with all of you.

 

Mike-Kresch1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

First and foremost I’m a husband/father. Second, I’m the President of an up-and-coming Marketing Services and Solutions company, President of Kresch and Partners  based out of Millburn, NJ. And finally, I’m an aspiring writer, about %80 done with my debut novel – and struggling to finish.

 

I’m a passionate New York sports fan (Giants, Knicks, Mets, Rangers) who is easily distracted by ESPN, sports talk radio.

 
2) Tell me about your family

My wife Stephanie is my hero. She juggles work, childcare, and an intense workout regimen like a champion, and rarely misses a beat.

 

I have two children: Sam, age 11, and Ruby, age 8.  I love everything about them, and cherish the time I get to spend with them.

 

And last, but not least, we have three pets: our dog Lacey (2) and our cats Chelsea and Murray (both 10).  I’ll leave it at this – thanks to them, there’s really never a dull moment at the Kresch household.

 

Mike-Kresch3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Even though I’m not a competitive person, I have this innate tendency to attempt to mold my kids into a “better” version of who I was as their age, which is a completely ridiculous inclination. I have to remind myself to let them be true to themselves, and grow into the people that they are meant to be, vs. what I might think they should be.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Three things to live by:

  • Appreciate the here and now! When you’re with your kids, don’t let your mind wander off to tomorrow’s meeting, or any other peripheral issue. There’s always time later to stress over something.

 

  • Don’t be afraid or too proud to apologize to your kids when you make a mistake, accidentally hurt their feelings.

 

  • Never forget to kiss your child good night. Ideally, it’s the last thing they experience before falling asleep.

 

Mike-Kresch5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

I now work very close to home, which enables me to have more meals with the kids. If I work on the weekends, I try to slot it in around times where the kids are otherwise occupied.  I’m home often enough so that the kids get their fair share of time with me, but away enough so that my presence isn’t always taken for granted.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that there’s no set formula for being a good father. Over the years I’ve interacted with all different types, with philosophies that couldn’t be more divergent. My takeaway is that successful fatherhood can be found in many different approaches. I think it’s up to us individually to find out what works best within our own little fiefdoms, and apply it in a way that comes naturally. And in doing so, making sure not to pass judgment on other styles that might be different from our own.

 
Mike-Kresch7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

It (fatherhood) has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. I consistently work at becoming better at it.  I think that’s the key: it’s like anything else, once you are complacent, and don’t work hard at something, your skills erode.  I am always open to suggestion, willing to put my ego aside if it helps me be a better father.

 

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

Family vacations have been amazing, and spontaneous bouts of laughter at the dinner table are priceless. The day I brought our dog Lacey home was as memorable a single day as I can remember, and an incredibly happy one at that.

 
If you have any questions for Mike Kresch, 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 – Steven Phillips of Geek Cast Radio

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 539th Dad in the Limelight is Steven Phillips of the GeekCast Radio Network. I want to thank Steven Phillips for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Steven Phillips with all of you.

 

Steven-Phillips1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Steven Phillips and I am a proud father, a husband, a podcaster and a geek all my life.

 

I am currently trying to get into the voice acting industry while also going to college.

 

I am one of the creators of the GeekCast Radio Network which is a geek media network dedicated to giving our opinions while reviewing products, services and various media forms. We take you back down memory lane reminiscing on the past, while taking care in the present and future of all things geek.

 

I have an intense love of media, animation, film, gaming, comics and television amongst my many other hobbies I’ve self taught over the years, basically anything Geek culture.

 

In my limelight I somehow juggle all of these things along with a normal day job. I love spending time with my wife and son (soon to be 2 sons). I am a juggler in life but a person who flourishes in the company of my family.
2) Tell me about your family

In high school I met my wife during my senior year and we’ve been together now for over eleven years now, being married over five years. She is truly my best friend and a great mother.

 

We have three pets, 2 cats and a dog who also are basically our kids.

 

My son, Eian is just over 2 years old now and he is the best thing to ever happen to me. He is a whirlwind of energy and smiles. My son is a talker and is very curious of the world.

 

This coming May we will be welcoming our 2nd son which will further our family’s growth.
Steven-Phillips3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

One of the biggest challenges I am finding with being a father is patience. At times I tend to get quite frustrated as does my wife with our little bundle of joy. As a baby he had colic, at a up to the time he turned 1 year old he didn’t sleep through the night ever and now he’s to the I don’t want to sleep stage.

 

As I watch him grow I try to remember his little mind is processing and assimilating information to all degrees. I want to guide him but I also want him to learn on his own as well.

 

My son is currently at the, everything is disgusting for food stage. So everything to do with eating unless he’s suggested it is a battle of wills.

 

A lot of patience is definitely my issue.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

My biggest advice is to definitely stay on the same page with your wife. I find when the front is united between the two of you, it tends to feel less burdensome on each individual. This can make things easier for you to go through the day and really know what direction to help your child the best if you can talk with each other when not in a bind with the children.

 

One of the other things again is patience. I can’t stress that enough as it is key to surviving some of the battles your child will put you through. It makes it easier to take it in good humor later if you can refrain from getting frustrated.

 

Another key element I feel is to listen. Yes we all have a bundle of information to give our children, but so do our parents and our children themselves. I say that in we may need guidance despite not wanting it at times from our parents. It can if nothing else give another perspective than what you may think of.

 

As far as the children are concerned, they’re excited little people who are thrilled to tell you about everything. So let them do it, and join in the conversation. When I pickup or drop-off my son at my mom’s while we work, we talk all the time. It usually is helpful even to help ease the issues we may have gotten stressed about throughout our day.
Steven-Phillips5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

I am constantly trying to grow as a person and to further my career goals even if it doesn’t necessarily mesh with my overall goals in life. I do want to get into voice acting and turn my media network into a full time job, but to do that I’d have to sacrifice in areas my family needs to grow.

 

I’d like to be able to have that time with my children before it’s too late and I’ve missed everything. As a child I missed out on a lot because my parents were divorced. I had to grow up and help with my brothers and I really not a lot of people to look up to. My dad was always working and busy and I rarely saw him. Time is the one thing we don’t get enough of and I want to be there for them as much as I can.

 

So for me this has made me want to prevent that on my family. I want to be there with my son and wife to grow that future he can look back on fondly saying we may not have had much but we had each other. I want to see a payoff in my children from being there to being their parent, their teacher and their friend.

 

Not saying that I don’t need me time, which I do often when my wife and son go to bed. I spend quiet time with my wife after my son goes to bed. I then get me time after my wife goes to sleep where I tend to do my gaming, podcasting, blogging, voices, etc.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I have learned that simply being there is really what it’s all about. Being that one male figure they look up to and admire. This job of being the father is what gives us a renewed purpose in life to be the mentor in someone’s life that isn’t as experienced as you are. The role of a teacher and a parent which will help grow a well balanced person.
Steven-Phillips

 

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

I’ve really enjoyed being a dad. While things in life get tough at times, being a dad is never boring. It can be tiresome at times, but definitely not boring. I can have the worst day in the world and seeing my son greeting me at the door when I get home yelling, “Daddy!” just melts all that away.

 

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

I have really enjoyed the watching Eian grow. He has been awesome to watch. Now it’s funny because I watch cartoons again getting to live through him and his era of television. I review a lot of the same content so it is killing two birds with one stone so to speak. I also get the opportunity to screen what he watches to see if I think it’s suitable for him yet if at all.

 

There are so many great experiences watching a child grow. That toothless smile, then the moment they have some teeth to a full mouth of them. There’s watching them learn to crawl, walk, talk, and run. I really enjoy the hugs of my son and his little conversations. I never had someone willing to listen to me at times when I was a kid so to me this let’s use both get our voices heard.

 

Again there are just too many great experiences to try to mention. Soon I will have a 2nd son and it all starts over with new experiences with him as well as with Eian. I just love being a Dad.
If you have any questions for Steven Phillips, 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 – Matthew Barron of the The Young, Driven Father Guide

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 538th Dad in the Limelight is Matthew Barron of the The Young, Driven Father Guide. I want to thank Matthew Barron for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Matthew Barron with all of you.

 

Matthew-Barron1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My name is Matt Barron.  I am 29, about to be 30 in January (woohoo!).  My passion is to help young, married fathers by providing them structure during the early years of fatherhood & marriage.  My wife and I had our first son shortly after being married and I remember vividly how quickly our lives changed in those first couple years of marriage.  Marriage, a baby, and three apartment/condo/house moves within a few years will make any father start to lose some hair!  That’s why I created The Young, Driven Father Guide.  It’s a video course that helps young, married fathers set up a system to continually refine themselves as fathers AND husbands during a hectic time in their lives.  I wish I would have found and used this course when I was going through those crazy years.  I love being with my family, listening to music (currently addicted to www.focusatwill.com), exercising, eating healthy and trading stocks.
 
2) Tell me about your family
 
My wife and I met after college, through friends, in Dallas, TX.  She went to TCU, majored in advertising and I went to SMU where I majored in engineering and mathematics.  We were engaged after 6 months and were married shortly after.  Erin is an extremely patient, thoughtful, ridiculously good relationship builder.  Our first son, Knox, is currently three years old and loves anything with wheels. Knox is a goofy but reserved kid.  He loves riding his bike, watching Paw Patrol, and playing Wii.  Our second son, Lane, is currently one year old.  He is the serious one.  A bit more like me.  He loves any type of ball, pestering his brother, and any sort of Baby Einstein puppet video.  He’s a tough one to get to smile but when you get him going, he has an infectious giggle that will make anyone smile.

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I’m type A.  I make, refine, reorganize to-do lists.  I crave being productive and sticking to my schedule.  As we all know, as fathers, your schedule doesn’t mean squat.  Things happen and you have to adapt to the situation and make the best of it.  This has been the hardest, yet most rewarding challenge I have faced.  I’ve had to grow as a person and become more patient.  By learning to be flexible and changing my plans as the day unfolds, I have discovered new things, spent precious moments with my family, and overall lowered my stress level.  It’s ok if it always doesn’t go to your plan.

Matthew-Barron4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
 
Reach out to other fathers, books, blogs and other resources for help.  The worst thing you can do is close yourself off, think you know everything, and never grow.  Every person, specifically fathers, can help you in some way or another.  You’ll be surprised when you gain wisdom from some of the most unlikely sources.

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
 
My wife and I continually try to integrate the two.  I bring my kids to work to meet my co-workers.  I talk about them.  I ask other fathers about their families.  We want our children to experience life with us, as a unit.  I’ll laugh down the road when I have two rebellious teenagers .  My wife works part-time from home and is a master of balancing career and family life.  I work full-time and do about a 70/30 home/office split.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
 
The best thing I’ve learned from other fathers is that nobody has it all together.  That sounds negative but it releases you, well me anyway, that I’m doing a pretty good job being a father and husband.  I’m a pretty competitive person and so I want to be the best but I fall short all the time.  The thing is, it’s ok!  You learn from it, enjoy the company of others and try again.  That’s what parenthood and marriage is about to me.

Matthew-Barron7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
 
It’s too easy to get distracted these days, so I continually fight the urge to be on my phone, watch TV, be on the computer etc when my kids are awake.  BE PRESENT! Make technology bring your family together, not the other way around.  Watch a video with your kids, play a game together, listen to music together; don’t be a Facebook and Twitter hermit.

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
 
For Knox, one of my favorite memories, was watching him walk into his first day of preschool with his backpack on.  It was an instant reality check that reminded me how much he had grown up.
Lane ignored me for the first 6 months of his life.  He wouldn’t let me hold him, feed him, etc.  Now he’s my little buddy.  As simple as it seems, one of the most memorable experiences with Lane is getting him to fall asleep on my chest right before I put him down in his crib.  You are reminded about how precious and innocent they are.  You are also reminded how important your role is in their life.

If you have any questions for Matthew Barron, 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 – Ben Wakeling of the blog, Goodbye Pert Breasts

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 537th Dad in the Limelight is Ben Wakeling of the blog, Goodbye Pert Breasts. I want to thank Ben Wakeling for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Ben Wakeling with all of you.

 

Ben-Wakeling1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I am a dad of three exhausting children – two boys and a girl who already has me wrapped around her little finger despite only being two. I wouldn’t say I was in the limelight as such, but most people know me from my blog, Goodbye Pert Breasts (goodbyepertbreasts.com) as well as a couple of books I’ve self-published. I’ve always loved writing, right from when I was a child, and blogging is a great way to assemble my thoughts in some kind of order – as well as making people laugh with what I write!
2) Tell me about your family
I’ve been married to my wife for almost nine years, and we have three kids: Isaac, who is the eldest at 7, and is already far cleverer than I am; Noah, who is 4 and never seems to run out of energy; and Jemima, who is 2 and already manages to beat both of her brothers in an argument.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
For me, it’s been the lack of spare time and ‘freedom’. Whereas before having kids I could just go to the pub in the evenings, I now find every minute taken up with looking after the kids, or other kid-related activities. I sound like I’m whinging, but I’m not – being a dad is hard work, but there’s never a dull moment!
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Just roll with the punches. There’s so much pressure on fathers (and parents in general) to get their children into routines, be the perfect parent, and so on. You get good days, and bad days, days when you get involved with your children and days when all you feel like you’ve done is tell them off. Don’t sweat it: just be the best you can be, and recognise that you’re only human.
Ben-Wakeling5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
I’m fortunate in that I have a day job, which means I can leave the house and have grown-up conversations with grown-up people. The evenings and weekends are spent playing with my kids. I have a lot of admiration and respect for stay-at-home parents – there’s no way I could do it, I’d be far too stressed!
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I run a local antenatal class for dads, and it’s great to see them open up and ask questions in front of other fathers that they may be hesitant to voice in front of their partners for fear of looking ‘stupid’. As far as what I’ve learned goes, it’s that nowadays dads are really keen to get involved in their child’s development and upbringing. It wasn’t that long ago that we weren’t even allowed in the delivery suite!
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It’s an old adage, but time really does go ridiculously fast when you’re a parent. It seems like yesterday that I would lie on the settee with Jemima on my chest when she was a baby – now, she’s almost three and is bombing around the house leaving devastation and chaos in her wake! Enjoy every minute with your kids, because before you know it they’ll be too old for cuddles.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
It’s difficult to pick just one or two memorable experiences – every day brings a little moment which amazes me or makes me laugh. All three kids are so different in their personalities that they’re always doing something to keep me entertained!

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 – Dad & Writer at DadBlogUK, John Adams

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 536th Dad in the Limelight is Stay at Home Dad & Writer at DadBlogUK , John Adams. I want to thank John Adams for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing John Adams with all of you.

 

john-adams1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Stictly speaking I am a stay at home dad. I run the household and do the majority of the childcare for our two daughters while my wife works full time (Helen is aged five and Elizabeth is two). Just over two years ago I started blogging at Dad Blog UK about my experiences as a man that fulfills this role. I hesitate to say I’m in the limelight, but my blogging experiences have taken me to some very unexpected places! I’ve interviewed senior politicians, met celebrities and taken part in all manner of academic research and policy discussions.

The blog has grown in size and readership. It’s been great fun and I absolutely love it and as opposed to being a stay at home dad, I think these days I’m a “blog at home dad“.

Originally I was a journalist and had also worked in public relations and communications.

 

2) Tell me about your family
I am married to Gill, who works full time in management. Our eldest daughter, Helen, is aged five and in her second year at school (in much of the UK kids start at the age of four but the first year is essentially kindergarten). Our youngest daughter is Elizabeth. She is two and attends nursery part time. The idea is that I do housework while she is childcare but in reality, I write the blog and housework gets ignored!
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The largest challenge was balancing work and family life when I worked full time. It made me miserable and played a huge part in my decision to give up employment and stay at home to run the household and look after the children. Although this was never the intention, my blog is a commercial venture and I make money from it, plus freelance writing. It makes for a busy life, but I can fit these activities around my family commitments.
john-adams

My wife and children on a recent trip to the pantomime, a traditional British theatrical performance put on for children at Christmas time

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Oh wow, where do I start? Although this is a radical thought for some people, do not be afraid of becoming the main carer for your children if that would suit your family. I know many men consider it but never go through with it because they worry how they will be perceived. My second piece of advice would be don’t care what anybody else thinks. I can think of nothing more masculine than caring for and looking after your family.For more down to Earth advice, simply enjoy time with your children. They grow up so terrifyingly fast that every second counts. Oh, and start saving now for those college fees.

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
As mentioned above, these days I work as a blogger and freelance writer. I am able to fit this around the children and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. My blog is my createion. People read it and comment on it and it creates discussion and debate.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I am yet to meet a bad dad or a dad that lives up to the ‘Homer Simpson’ stereotype. Sure I’ve met dads who should and could be more invovled with their children (…I’ve met a few mums this applies to also) but the overwhelming majority of dads want to do the right thing and are committed to their families.
Put very simply, I’ve learned that the majority of dads are trying and want to do the best for their families.
john-adams

My meeting with Nick Clegg (left), Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

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

First of all, never judge another parent if their child misbehaves. I see parents do this sometimes and it’s dangerous ground; someone else’s kid might be naughty today, tomorrow it could be yours!
Another thing I’d say is that life changes massively when a child starts school. It has a massive impact on family life so prepare for it. School hours are limiting. It’s not like a childcare facility where you can pay for additional hours.
Also, listen to your children and do the activities they want to. In the past I have been guilty of second guessing what the children have wnated ot do and got it wrong.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Being present at the birth for both children would come top of the list. My eldest’s first day at school would also be another moment I’ll never forget. Needless to say, my wife and I were both present and unsure what to expect and she just walked into the classroom without looking over her shoulder! I also clearly remember both children starting to crawl and walk.

If you have any questions for John Adams, 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 – Renze Kramer founder and owner of an online toyshop – Babeltots

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 535th Dad in the Limelight is Renze Kramer, founder and owner of an online toyshop – Babeltots. I want to thank Renze Kramer for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Renze Kramer with all of you.

 

Renze-Kramer1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Renze Kramer. I am married, father of boy/girl twins and we live in Bracknell, England.

I am the founder and owner of an online toyshop – Babeltots – that specialises in foreign language speaking toys.

 

2) Tell me about your family

My family is very European. I am Dutch, my wife is Austrian and our 5 y/o twins have both nationalities but are born in London, England – they only ever lived in this country. We have been raising our twins trilingual and I can truly say that this has been successful … they fluently ignore us in all three languages .

 

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

As a father, there are new and different challenges around every corner and these challenges change with the growing of the children.

For me personally, the were two rather large challenges – a mental and a practical one.

The mental one at the beginning all had to do with our decision for me to become the Stay-at-home-dad (SAHD). This decision was rather straight-forward as I just graduated a Master’s degree and with a background in finance with the global credit crisis in full swing. Besides, my wife has a PhD and works for an oil company in a technical function. Throughout my professional career, I had always enjoyed the social interactions with colleagues, associates, clients. As a SAHD, this was now predominantly replaced by ‘baby-speak’ and most of my social interactions were somewhat limited to evenings and weekends.

The practical challenge was that we lived in London when the twins were born, we did not have a car (other than the one my wife used to get to and from work) and you have to find a way to get about in a big city with a small-size mini for a twin-pram.

 

Renze-Kramer

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Being a father is THE most challenging thing I have ever experienced in my life. My twins can drive me up the wall the one moment and, 5 seconds later, they come up with a fantastic one-liner that will have me in tears from laughter. I am by no means an expert in parenting but I have tried to be as consistent with my twins as I can. We try to be role-models for them and work very hard to give them the best possible start in life.

How difficult it is at times, try and stay calm and take it one step at the time.

 

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

My balance has been slightly lost these last few years. A few house-moves etc. has taken me a bit further away from some very good friends making it very difficult to meet up in the evenings. My twins are now going to junior school so I have a bit more time to ‘build up’ a more social calendar.

 

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

Hahaha, this is an interesting one. My own father was away a lot while I was growing up and he is still constantly surprised that I am still coping with everything while remaining relatively sane. I had more in common with my mum and … with a lot of mums these days. With most dads, a lot of the conversations are about football (soccer) and careers – or in my case my own company.

I do find a lot of support on an internet forum where all the members are dads of twins with conversations ranging from questions to nice banter to take some pressure off.

Renze-Kramer

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

My life before children was all about me and my personal satisfaction. The twins have made me realise that being a parent is, by far, the most rewarding ‘job’ and the satisfaction of seeing them grow up from baby to toddler to ‘little person’ is 1000x greater … only to be topped by a ‘twin bear-hug’ and a ‘love-you-daddy’.

 

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

I am sure that if you take ALL the people that have participated in your “Dads in the Limelight”, the most heard experience is no doubt the birth of the (first) children and … I am no exception. It was a day I will never forget and THE day that my life changed forever. The twins were born 6 weeks (!!) early and had to stay in hospital for 2 weeks. When they were allowed to come home with us for the very first time, we could place both children on ONE cushion. We still have that cushion but it no longer fits one and is now used for pillow-fights J

These last 5 years have been a roller-coaster ride but … I can’t wait for what is to follow.

 

If you have any questions for Renze Kramer, 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 – Ohio State Sales Director for American Family Insurance, Regan Fackrell

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 534th Dad in the Limelight is Regan Fackrell. I want to thank Regan Fackrell for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Regan Fackrell with all of you.

Regan-Fackrell

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

My name is Regan Fackrell and I am the Ohio State Sales Director for American Family Insurance, live in Columbus, OH, and have graduate and undergraduate degrees in Accounting from Brigham Young University. As the Sales Director, I manage a team of 8 managers, 168 Agents, and ~$200M in revenue for American Family Insurance. I’ve been in Insurance for 8 years; but, started my career as an Accountant. I left my career in Accounting and opened an agency in Salt lake City, UT.

 

Outside of work and family, I enjoy CrossFit, mountain biking, reading, and movies.

 

 

Regan-Fackrell2) Tell me about your family

My wife, Andrea, and I have been married for 13 years. We met while in school together at Brigham Young University. She’s from Salt Lake City and I’m from Houston, TX. We have four children: Riley (10), Sunny (8), Elle (6), Emery (3), and the dog, Sweetie. Our oldest and youngest are boys and the two in the middle are girls. Andrea comes from a large, traditional family of 6 children, and I grew up in a blended family with 8 children. Frou kids feels like the new six, and we know we are done bearing children; however, adoption is an option we have been exploring.

 

Regan-Fackrell3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I am challenged with being in the moments of my kids’ lives. As the lone breadwinner, I feel the financial pressures associated with providing; however, my 60-hour work weeks can leave me exhausted. So, when I am home with the family, I want to have more energy, be more patient, and spend quality time with the kids. There are many instances where I recount the interactions with family as being preoccupied with stress or adult decisions. Those moments come and go and usually only after they have passed do I reflect on how special they were or could have been.
Regan-Fackrell4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

a.)    Designate one night a week as family night. Turn everything off and spend time with each other.

b.)    Eat at least one meal together where technology is banned

c.)    Make your home a safe environment. That means no yelling, vulgar language, and only use words to lift each other up.

d.)   Calendar your kids’ activities or else work will consume your calendar. This could be lunch at the school, field trips, or kids concerts

e.)    Be affectionate with your kids. Hug and kiss, and tell them you love them.

 

 

Regan-Fackrell5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

I found some successful professionals describe success and being a good parent as not being able to coexist. I disagree. It is about priorities and making time for both. For instance, I get into the office around 6:30am every day and am home by 6:30pm most nights. We always choose to live within 20 minutes of my office, so commuting is a nonfactor. This has allowed me to maintain a heavy work load while spending ample time with the family. My wife, who is a great partner, is a tremendous help too. I could not do this without her, and she couldn’t do it without me. We trust each other and our priorities are aligned.
Regan-Fackrell

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

There are some amazing fathers in my community, workplace, and extended family. Some of the lessons learned from these great men include:

  • Take a sincere interest in your children and be present at the critical moments in their lives
  • Don’t hand-off the parenting to your spouse. Be an active and equal partner in all things related to your children.
  • One-on-one time with each child is so important, and if you can play in their space, they will communicate more openly.
  • Lead by example. Be the kind of person you expect your children to become.

 

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

Being a father is such an honor and privilege, and I am much more aware of my faults. While I want my children to become great people, more importantly, I want them to know I love them unconditionally.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

My most memorable experiences include:

a.)    Birth of my children

b.)    Vacations

c.)    Holidays- especially Christmas

d.)   The failures we have experienced as a family- wrecked cars, failed businesses, and broken relationships

 

Memories with the family are the most priceless and bring me the most joy. Sometimes it can be just sitting around a campfire talking.
If you have any questions for Regan Fackrell, 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 ) – Vincent O’Keefe ( @VincentAOKeefe ) #dadspotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 533rd Dad in the Limelight is Vincent O’Keefe. I want to thank Vincent for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Vincent-O’Keefe1) Tell me about yourself (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers’ knowledge)

I am a parenting writer and veteran stay-at-home father with a Ph.D. in American literature. My writing has appeared in The New York Times “Motherlode” blog, The Huffington Post, The Shriver Report, and Time Ideas, among other venues. I have also been featured at CNN Parents and I’m seeking an agent for a humorous memoir about gender and parenting titled Been There, Wiped That. Before having children, I taught at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

 

2) Tell me about your family

My wife and I have been together for 25 years and we have two daughters, ages fourteen and eleven. We also have a Yorkshire Terrier who resembles Brad Pitt (according to my wife only).

 

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

The two largest challenges have been colic (during my first few months as an at-home dad) and cooking (every day since then). Our colicky firstborn cried for many, many hours every day for several months during her first year. Because my wife worked long hours, I often endured these miserable marathons alone. The chapter of my memoir about colic is currently titled “Take This Onesie and Shove It.”

Vincent-O’Keefe

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Strive to be flexible. Try to fully understand the psychology of both breadwinning and caregiving, because parenthood is a long road. It also helps to find community either locally or on-line, especially with other fathers during these times of increasing complexity of gender roles (or lack thereof). Oh, and if you have a daughter, consider enrolling in some type of hair styling class.

 

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

I urge all parents to find ways to care for themselves along the way. Schedule date nights and actually go out. Schedule time with friends and actually go out. Treat a good sitter like gold. If you’re an at-home parent, keep a toe or two in your professional field. If you’re a working parent, keep a toe or two in your local Early Childhood PTA or school/parent organization. Use calendars and lists to stay on track. Keep in mind that while you are nurturing your children you are also modeling adulthood for them.

 

Vincent-O’Keefe6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I interact with both stay-at-home and working fathers, and nearly all of them have taught me that men care deeply about their children. In my experience, most fathers are trying their best to do a high-quality job—whether as the breadwinner, the caregiver, or a combination of the two. (Granted, I have not confirmed this impression with their wives.) I have also learned to always appreciate that I had the luxury of choosing at-home parenthood. I am keenly aware that many parents struggle with scheduling issues more than me.

 

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

First, always cherish your children. (Visit www.vincentokeefe.com for my free report titled “10 Ways to Cherish Your Children.”) Second, try to take the high road and the long view whenever possible. Doing so teaches children to do the same as they age. I’ve been amazed at how many problems that seemed insurmountable when our children were little—e.g. urinating right next to the toilet rather than in it—became near-forgotten episodes in later years.

 

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

I love sharing humorous stories from my own childhood with my daughters—especially stories involving my own childhood fears, failures, and false moves. Children usually enjoy and learn much from visions of their parents’ vulnerability. (My daughters love hearing about my braces with head gear as a child, for example.) Laughing through such emotional journeys across time remind me of why I wanted to have kids in the first place.

If you have any questions for Vincent, 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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