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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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Lukasz Laniecki ( @LukaszLaniecki ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 532nd Dad in the Limelight is Lukasz Laniecki. I want to thank Lukasz for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Lukasz-Laniecki1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

In one short sentence “A former litigation lawyer turned parenting blogger, negotiator and mediator.” In more detail, a guy whose messy relationship with his parents (adoptive parents) resulted in a lawsuit. Yes, I sued my adoptive mother, but guess what, we turned out fine and I feel that it was an experience that enriched us both (on a deeper level – not in a monetary sense). And it has led to my grand awakening as a parent. I’m so grateful for this.

 

But immediately I want to make it clear – I’m not advocating suing your parents. This should always be treated as the last resort. You should also know that we were ultra-lucky that we managed to get out of this mess – I’ve seen the nasty dynamic of a court case a lot in my professional career as a lawyer (friend or family – it doesn’t matter anymore).

 

Even a short version of this single story would be too long for this post so I have to leave it at that, and maybe some of you puzzled.

 
2) Tell me about your family

It’s my wife Anna, our son Richard (still 7 now), me and our dog Winter.

But, we’re not in a vacuum and we’re not solely flesh and bones. And as far as I’m concerned no family is.

We’re still grossly influenced by the parenting styles and behaviors of our parents (just as they were influenced by their parents and so on). So any family is a collective output. We need to be aware of that.

We can undertake to write a completely new chapter with the family we set up, but we are always biased and we need to deal with those biases (things we soaked up when we lived with our parents for so many years).

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

For me it is being in sync with the co-parent.

I can’t tell you how many times the problem was (and still is) not our son’s behavior – something what we need to tackle, but the lack of sync on our (parents’) side. Being on the same page as to many issues we face day in and day out parenting.

Each parent has own methods (even if just a tiny bit different), own vision, own strategy, own tactics, to the greatest extent absorbed as a kid.

 

And children are smart and use it for their advantage. Mom said NO, so I’ll check what Dad’s opinion is. No sync and the child gains advantage.

I like to say that a teacher in school or in kindergarten has a much easier task as far as consistency is concerned. And parents are doomed to struggle a lot with consistency, what makes parenting much more difficult than schooling.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Don’t be afraid to apologize to your kid and always offer a heartfelt apology.
I cannot recall a single time when my father or my mother offered me an apology, let alone a heartfelt one.

 

Believe it or not, but this is one of the few things I’ll probably never forget. I’m 37 years old right now and it still bothers me. It’s not that I feed myself with this grievance – I’d actually prefer to get over it, but because it has to do with instances of injustice (as I saw them) and because they happened a lot, I simply cannot get it out of my head.

Lukasz-Laniecki

Recently I watched a TED Talk by Risa Pierson, in which she made a following comment about offering apologies to children:

“Tell a kid you’re sorry, they’re in shock.”
This statement by a teacher with 40+ years of experience with kids allows me view my parents’ inability to offer me apology as something normal among parents.

Have there been instances when a heartfelt apology would have meant a world of difference to me? Of course.

 

Would I have grown up to be a more confident adult, had I been offered an apology when it was due? I have no doubt about it.

 

Admitting to being wrong or to doing wrong is not an easy thing to do. And adults somehow think they can get away with it when dealing with children.
Children have little power, they won’t argue, often they can’t argue because they can’t express themselves as well as an adult can. Furthermore it arouses the issue of power loss, which makes it even more difficult for a parent to offer an apology to a kid. As a result, some parents can’t even imagine that they could offer apologies to their children.

I’m grateful that at some point in my life I took interest in alternative dispute resolution and negotiation which helped me understand the importance of true, heartfelt apology in interactions with people. It is still something I’m learning because this isn’t an easy thing to master. For an apology to be effective it is not enough to just say “I’m sorry.”(you may want to read more about an effective apology in this article).

 

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

I don’t think this is something you necessarily must balance. Or I should say, at least I don’t understand the concept of “balancing” the two.

You are a parent 24/7, 365 days a year. There is no magic switch. Never once in my 7+ years as a (very engaged) father did I get the feeling that I need time off from my son or that I need to “recharge” or anything of that nature. It’s the same with your job – those for whom their work is a mere necessity or drudgery need to balance, those who live their passion at work don’t understand the concept of “balancing”.

My dos and don’ts.

I don’t make promises to my son which I know can be hard to keep. I prioritize and always remind myself that for example my son’s first day in school is a once-in-a-lifetime event and my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join. This allows me to say NO to many things that only “pretend” to be a high priority on my list. In fact the majority of them are not that important. Sadly many fathers get fooled that way – they soon find out (when it’s already too late) that this super important meeting wouldn’t make or break their career or company. Or if it really was that important, it could have been rescheduled.

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

The father that I have interacted the most with was of course my father. And knowing that he could have been a much, much better role model for me I also learned something. Not from him directly, but from my interaction with him. I learned that we all have a choice as parents (fathers). We can either blame the circumstances and offer multiple excuses as to why we are poor at parenting (which is equal to doing nothing about it) or we can become self-aware parents, stop blaming the circumstances, forget the excuses and strive to become world class parents (the choice). My dad was pleased with offering excuses all his life and had other people (my mom, for example) who would offer excuses for him.

 

Don’t let that happen to you. Make the choice.

 

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

This one will be short. Striving to be a world class father doesn’t mean you are not allowed to make mistakes. We all make them. It’s inevitable. So make them, but also own them. Your child needs to learn how repair the damage and apologize. You can model it – what you do after you’d mishandled a situation matters a lot. This links to the advice I gave you earlier (Q#4).

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

My son’s birth and the first week of his life. For the first 4 days he needed to stay in the incubator and we also had a tough call as to whether we will allow a blood transfusion. As if this was not enough, my parents turned their backs on me and I had no support from them whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it was happening but sadly it was.

 

Another most memorable experience happened when my mom and I escaped the dynamic of a court case and ended the court battle and my son (3 at that time) could meet his second grandmother for the first time in his life. Suddenly our family was bigger. From the very first moment they met they adore each other.

 

If you have any questions for Lukasz, 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 – Jonathan Criswell of the Lets Play Three Blog

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 526th Dad in the Limelight is Jonathan Criswell of the Lets Play Three Blog: www.letsplaythree.blogspot.com. I want to thank Jonathan Criswell for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Jonathan-Criswell

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge):
I’m Jonathan Criswell, and I am 39 years old and live in Middletown, DE. (Am I the first Limelight Dad from Delaware?) By day I’m an Investment Accounting Relationship Manager, by night I help raise three kids and just started documenting that fun over at my site, www.letsplaythree.blogspot.com.
But mostly I try to stay out of the limelight. I don’t try to “go viral” by writing posts that make me out to be a superhero, split the world in half and force everyone to take a side, or declare that a harmless parenting trend or innocuous phrase MUST. STOP. NOW. I’d rather make five people happy than 99 people happy and one person unhappy. (I guess I don’t belong on the Internet at all, really!) But I try to be a good dad, and since this is the Year of the Dad, I’ll take my .0001% share of the limelight.
2)  Tell me about your family:
My wife Michelle and I have three kids, ages 7, 5 and 2. A daughter and then two sons. Michelle is a Kindergarten teacher and has a degree in Early Childhood Education, so the kids right now are pretty much in her wheelhouse. When they become teenagers, she says she’s turning them over to me, so that’s when things will get interesting.
My family is my life. Nothing comes close and nothing comes in between. We have lots of fun together, goofing around and laughing. And teaching.
Jonathan-Criswell3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father? 
The single biggest challenge I face every day is balancing work with life, which I’ll detail more below. Everything else is a tie for second, like finding shoes, untwisting car seat straps, and making sure we have enough peanut butter. Sometimes it takes us 15 minutes to get from the house to the car, so there are abundant “opportunities for improvement” as they say in Corporate America.
I know many couples who had trouble changing their lifestyles after having a child, but my wife and I were homebodies anyway, so the home life doesn’t bother us in the least.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
My advice to all parents is, if you’re fortunate enough to have a supporting spouse or partner, to make sure you take care of them, too. Show your kids how much you love your partner. Treat him or her with respect. Your kids are watching that closely.
After that, kids generally don’t have any more of a clue than you do, so try anything. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If those don’t work, try something else. If they do work, they may not work tomorrow. One size does not fit all when it comes to kids. They’re complete wild cards, and that’s just part of the experience.
Some general rules I’ve learned…Kids never go on hunger strikes, so if they don’t eat, wait a day or two..eventually they will. Make sure you attend your child’s well visits to the doctor. Many police stations offer free car seat installation, if you’re like me and afraid of your own DIY installation skills.
Jonathan-Criswell
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
Not sure we’ll ever achieve perfect balance between parenthood and outside life…and that’s fine, it’s part of the ongoing process. If we ever achieve balance, it will last for exactly one millisecond before going off-kilter again. On my worst days, I’ll get berated by a client at work and come home just in time to see my youngest poop in the bathtub. On those days, I’ve achieved perfect balance in the sense I feel I’ve failed at everything equally!
There’s no doubt I’ve left some money on the table at work by prioritizing family over office and not working corporate-friendly 16-hour days. The true balance comes in not over-prioritizing family to the point that there’s no money left on the table. There will be times I have to be away for work, so I try to make the most of the time I’m with the kids.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I never really solicit specific advice from other people on anything, but I’ve indirectly learned from other dads to relish all the moments, good and bad, and to not let folks diminish your role just because you’re not your child’s mother. That said, it really doesn’t bother me when people playfully portray Dads as joking, sometimes fumbling fools, because I’m the biggest doofus out there. (As 8,000 crookedly worn diapers out there will attest.) But sometimes it goes too far, and you have to say enough is enough. Dads are people, too, and <newsflash> most of us are good parents!
Jonathan-Criswell
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Whatever you’re going through as a father, chances are someone else has gone through it or is experiencing it now. Sometimes it’s just good seeing you’re not alone. That’s what I set out to do on my site, not change the world, but show dads and moms that they’re not alone, that at least one other person out there has been there. Sometimes that’s all you need to hear…if it happened to someone else, maybe I’m not so bad a person for feeding my kids hot dogs 3 days last week after all.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The “firsts” are always big…first steps, first words, etc. And our Day Care center is great about not telling us about them unless we ask, so we don’t feel like we’re watching our kids’ lives on tape delay. Of course the birth stories are always fun (says the Dad) because people are anxious to hear about it.
Also, being able to teach kids the ways of the world is incredibly satisfying…you can impart your own wisdom and shape minds, hopefully for the better. Everything you value, your kids will value, at least early on. My wife and I have been able to transfer a sense of family to our kids that — we can only hope– will help guide them in the future.

If you have any questions for Jonathan Criswell, 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 – Tom Briggs

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 525th Dad in the Limelight is advocate of spiritual/physical/emotional health and wholeness and balance Tom Briggs. I want to thank Tom Briggs for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with Tom Briggs and now sharing him with all of you.

Tom-Briggs

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

My name is Tom Briggs and I was born and raised in Oregon. I’m 33 and a big advocate of spiritual/physical/emotional health and wholeness and balance. In addition to being a dad, I’m a black belt, runner, outdoor enthusiast, scuba diver, fan of Jesus and travel/adventure-seeker.

For pay, I wrangle words at Caffelli, an integrated branding agency.

 

2) Tell me about your family
My wife and I have been married 8 years and have a 11-month old. My wife and I are both Oregon natives and supremely fortunate to both sets of grandparents close by. My mom passed away from cancer at age 54 and my dad remarried a woman 13 years younger with 5 kids, so we’re now a blended family thing, which has been a whole other learning experience.

 

Untitled-1

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Dying to self. I always saw myself as the self-sacrificing type, but wiping a butt at 3 am, endless cleaning of breast pump parts and the whole “responsibility for keeping another human being alive” thing has disavowed me of this notion.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

  • Practice presence—for yourself, for other half and for your kids. I haven’t perfected this, but what progress I have made has paid BIG dividends.
  • Stay emotionally connected to your partner—avoid getting pulled into the “it’s all about the kids” vortex. We remind ourselves in 18 years we want to have some semblance of a relationship to come back to when the house is empty.
  • Exercise. New discoveries every day reveal how critical this is for body and mind.
  • Embrace the suck. I learned this principle from ex Navy seal Mark Devine, and it has served me well.
  • Supplement well. Good-quality B vitamins and multivitamin supplements will help keep energy up and are far more sustainable than caffeine.
  • Drink water.
  • Manage your spirituality—whatever this means for you. Attend Sunday services, meditate, get into nature. Whatever you do, tend the garden of the soul.
  • Get your genetic profile from 23 & Me (https://www.23andme.com). Genetics loads the gun, but behaviors pull the trigger. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t do can keep you on this earth and enjoying the grandkids longer. If your kids are old enough to spit in a test tube, run it for them too. Consider it a great lesson in genetics.

 

Tom-Briggs5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
I haven’t. Working toward this balance. As the son of a workaholic, I know my strengths and weaknesses. Technology fasts seem to work wonders.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
My dad taught me plenty about fatherhood, both in his successes and struggles. A solo entrepreneur since I was 6, he poured plenty of time into his business during some formative years. Looking back, this showed me the distinction between physical presence and emotional presence. That said, before this, he was in sales and travelling 5 days out of 7, so entrepreneurship was probably the better option. Lesson I learned was that there will always be hard choices to make.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
There’s nothing like this journey. I’ve seen my family grow so much over the past year. I’m a self-improvement/self-actualization geek, so this has been really enjoyable. Wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Seeing my firstborn son being pulled from my wife was really incredible. Our goal was a natural birth, but ended up with as an epidural and C-section. Seeing my angry, purple, wrinkled son being extracted from my wife was something that fundamentally changed me.

 

Thanks for the opportunity to share. Best of luck on your own fatherhood journeys. If you want to connect, you can find me at @pdxwrite.

 

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

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 – Dean O’Loughlin of Life With The Tag Team Terrorists

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 524th Dad in the Limelight is Dean O’Loughlin. I want to thank Dean O’Loughlin of Life With The Tag Team Terrorists for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Dean-O'Loughlin1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I was born in 1964, 10 weeks after JFK was shot. Apparently the shock of the American President’s assassination gave my Mom quite a turn and she had to lie down for a couple of days for fear of losing me.  When I did arrive I was warmly received as the only boy in a brood of 5, at least I was by my Mother. My Dad on the other hand was probably too engrossed in Ironside to notice. I often refer to him as the man who put the ‘Pa’ into ‘apathy’. Maybe his indifference is what prompted me to be such an enthusiastic Father. Maybe he gave me something after all.

 

I decided early on that I wanted to be a singer. I was entertaining ladies in the local laundrette with Tom Jones covers at 4 years old and continued on a similar path right up until our first baby was born. During the years I had only a little success but a lot of pleasure from music.

 

I have a small construction and interior design business that has been more or less on hold these past few years. I was a late Dad, not successfully seed-sowing until I was 45. We hadn’t spent any real effort trying to get pregnant and we didn’t have a plan. We decided on a whim to stop using contraction and the stork showed up and kicked the door in pretty soon after.

 

I came third on the UK version of Big Brother 2 in 2001.

 

I write a blog called Life With The Tag Team Terrorists to save on psychiatry fees.

 

2) Tell me about your family.

My wife works for a big airline. Before the kids we used to jet around the world, stay in posh hotels, drink, laugh, see amazing things, meet amazing people….(can you tell I miss it?) She has always been the one with the proper job and the wise head as far as money is concerned so when it came to working out who would stay at home with the kids it was an easy decision.

 

Our daughter, or Kid 1 as she is affectionately known, was born in 2009. To say she’s high maintenance would be a ridiculous understatement. She is strong-willed, super smart, manipulative, funny and charming. We know it’s tough being her parents right now but we also know that ultimately we won’t worry when she finally leaves home and goes out into the world. I say we won’t worry, we may worry about the rest of the world but not about her. (That is patently untrue, but you get the idea.) Kid 2 is two and a half years her junior. He’s a lot more laid back. (which is not difficult) Once he has a car in one hand and something sweet and edible in the other he is content. We have noticed however that just before his third birthday testosterone seems to have showed up to share in the celebrations. He can’t punch enough things. Everything and everyone is a legitimate target it seems from cuddly toys to my thighs. We all forgive him as the rest of the time he is a sweetie. He comes up and hugs you and says I love you completely unprompted. He’s a real looker too so again we think he’ll be fine once he flies the coop. But hey, what do we know?

 

In short we are lucky as Hell to have two beautiful, healthy kids and we know it.

 

Dean-O'Loughlin

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

I had always imagined giving up music would be the toughest part about parenthood but in the end it was a cinch. I imagine that it came easy because I have spent so much of my adult life following that dream. I gave it a proper shot, unfettered by responsibility. It took centre stage for decades so when the time came to let go of it I found my grip loosened willingly.

 

As for what was the biggest challenge, I think the hardest thing has been living in a routine. I have always rallied against conformity and schedules so when I realised there was absolutely NO alternative for getting, and keeping your shit together, every single day of every single month it felt like being hit with wet leather. The school run, mealtimes, bedtimes, it just goes on and on without let up or alternative.

 

I may secretly despise this relentless cycle but whenever we go away on holiday or visiting and all the security of our finely tuned routine is missing I realise how vital it is to my sanity. It somehow feels like starting from scratch again. Now, after finding it so difficult to gear my life around times and sequence and patterns of behaviour, I must confess to embracing our routines like well-worn, sturdy crutches.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

The advice I’d give to other Dads is simple: Give in to It and Get into It. The only times I’ve found parenthood unbearable is when I have been trying to do something else while trying to be a Dad at the same time. Trying to watch football while watching the kids, or have a beer, or a telephone conversation or a holiday or a different life. Accept your fate and commit to it. Embrace it. You have to make separate time for yourself instead of nibbling into the time you should be spending being a proper Dad. Time for yourself is going to be a fraction of what it was before but you’ll be surprised how sweet that can make it. Oh, and you might find it best to hang out with other Dads so that you don’t make your non-Dad friends HATE YOU. There is nothing more boring than talking about some else’s kid’s when you don’t have any, and talk about them you will.

 

Conversely you’ll find that a good old moan about your beloved offspring with another Dad is like magical medicine.

 

Dean-O'Loughlin

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

Did I answer that in the previous question? Am I jumping the gun? Maybe. Like I say it’s all about making time for yourself. That way, when you return to the role of Dad, you can give it your all. I play football for an hour a week, every week, without fail. I think I may have gone insane without it by now. You need to escape, and regularly, to refresh and reboot.  I don’t know what it’s like being a Dad who works and sees his kids in the evenings and weekends but I wouldn’t exchange the opportunity  I’ve had to share this part of my kid’s lives for anything.  Even with all the madness.

 

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

What I’ve learnt from other Dad’s is that we’re all going through the same highs and lows. The experience of Fatherhood seems to have a few common themes. I know that I still have something way down inside inside telling me to run, be free, get out there, succeed, conquer, explore. You can see it for what it is ; instinct, genetics, a throw back to a time when the chimp in all of us was calling the shots. (Think 2001 : A Space Odyssey pre-monolith sequence.)  This may be contentious but I don’t know that men are endowed with the right amounts of patience or compassion you need to make being a stay at home parent easy. That’s a generalisation I know but that’s my perception of it and it’s shared by a lot of my mates. Don’t get me wrong I know that being a stay at home Dad is completely do-able, and with great success, I just think it takes more application, more conscious thinking, more white boards, more lists. I treat my own Project Dad the same way I would any other supremely complicated, all consuming project I might be have been asked to do, like organising Glastonbury or planning the allied invasion of Normandy.

 

Dean-O'Loughlin7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

It’s a huge ask to try and sum up the last 5 years of parenthood but if I had to the opening line of A Tale Of Two Cities comes close :

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .

 

That is all. I’m not going to try and polish Dickens.

 

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

We had a tricky couple of births with our two which I guess will always be the most memorable times for one reason or another but there was a real joy the day after I became a Dad for the first time. An hour after Kid 1 was born I walked into a shop to buy my wife some flowers and beamed at the florist behind the counter like a valium soaked imbecile and said We just had a baby in a gormless, detached way. I floated around for the next 24 hours on a real natural high. It felt great. There were a few hiccups, like emptying a birthing pool but on the whole it was a unique lovely day.

 

The best thing about being a parent is that you get drip fed little bits of loveliness here and there, when you least expect them. Every night I go in and check on the kids as they sleep. They are so perfect and peaceful and innocent and beautiful it makes my heart soar every time. There is nothing I have experienced in my lifetime that comes close.

Our Thanks to Dean O’Loughlin for taking the time to provide the Dad of Divas audience this interview.

If you have any questions for Dean OLoughlin, 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 ) – Justin Meyer ( @dadontheloose ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 523rd Dad in the Limelight is Justin Meyer. I want to thank Justin Meyer from Dad on the Loose for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Justin-Dad-on-the-loose

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

My name is Justin. I’m a father, a writer, and an attorney living on Long Island, NY. In my spare time, I read, listen to music, and cheer for the Islanders, Jets, and Mets. Lately, I have been addicted to Temple Run 2, for which I blame my daughter and niece.
I kind of thrust myself into the limelight, because I decided to start a dad-blog – http://www.dadontheloose.com – and twitter feed (@dadontheloose) as a place for me to write a lot of the stories that my own family didn’t care to hear me tell (since they’d all been there). It’s a way for me to write more light-hearted things, and have some fun.
2) Tell me about your family
I am married, and have two children – 5 years, and 2.5 months. Our niece lives with us as well; she’s 15.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Getting through law school (while working nights), and passing the bar, with an infant/toddler and a wife who has to travel for work. Even though she would take our daughter with her a lot of the time, I had to be very flexible and manage schedules. We also had to find day care that was flexible and willing to work with us.
 Justin-Dad-on-the-loose
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Talk to your children. My daughter and I used to share a 30 minute commute to school & work, and we would talk about all sorts of things – from the planets, to staying health. We would play games, sing songs, and listen to music. Because my daughter also shares my sense of humor, we share jokes. Being able to talk to her now means, I hope, that she’ll feel that she can talk to me later.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
I’m not sure that I have. Because of my work schedule, sometimes I work late at night, and miss bedtime. I call home when I know it’s going to be a late night, and say hi. We just moved, so I live closer to the office now; I can pop home if I want/need to. I also try to make sure that I have some time free on the weekends, and a couple of nights a week. Dinner is important to me – that’s time to sit down and catch up.
Justin-Dad-on-the-loose
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Well, I work with my father, so I have learned a lot from him. He’s taught me a lot about passing knowledge on to the next generation, and how to be a father.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Never discount your child’s interest in just spending time with you. My daughter will sit and watch me write, sometimes. If I am doing chores around the house, I make her my helper and she happily hands me tools and parts. She loves to help out, learn, and be included. It’s important to make sure you do that. It’s also important that every child feels special. I make sure that I am finding time to do things with my niece – just the two of us. It gives us time to connect, and do things that she’s interested in.
 Justin-Dad-on-the-loose
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
This is a tough one. I’ve had so many wonderful moments. From recent memory, I would pick watching my daughter meet her new brother, sitting in the hospital and holding him. But I still remember my daughter’s first steps in our old kitchen. My daughter was about 2 when I took the Florida bar, and my wife had to leave for work, so the day after the test was over, it was just my daughter and me in downtown Tampa. We went out for tapas to celebrate me being finished. She sat in her seat with a menu and we discussed what we would order. I remember getting some amused looks from passers-by. Of course, I still get a thrill just from listening to her read to me, so I’m pretty easy in that regard.

If you have any questions for Justin, 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 ) – Nathan Clayton ( @FunDadBlog ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 522nd Dad in the Limelight is Nathan Clayton. I want to thank Nathan for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Nathan-Deleon1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

For starters, my name is Nathan and I’m a proud father of 3 beautiful girls. Now, I was born with Tricuspid Atresia and due to health issues have recently become a stay at home dad. I never knew how boring it can be just sitting around while everyone is either at work or at school. After about a month of pure boredom I decided to create a blog about how I like to spend time with my children. FunDadBlog.com has been my creative outlet for the last month or so and I’m amazed at all the support I’ve been receiving. I like to show that being “Dad” is the most fun I’ve ever had.
Nathan-Deleon
2) Tell me about your family
I have 4 amazing ladies in my home. Elizabeth, my wife, is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She has taken on the responsibilities of being the bread winner without complaining that I can no longer work. She’s also the brains behind the blog. I couldn’t do anything without her support.
Aubrey, 8, is wise beyond her years. She understands things that I’m still learning about and it’s truly amazing. She is a very gifted little girl.
Hayden, 6, is our little comedian. I have so many funny stories about this girl, it’s hard to describe her in a few sentences. She’s crazy, funny, and just a little bit evil. 😀
Sophia, 4, is our little princess. This is the cuddliest person in the world. She just loves on you and makes you want to hold her for hours. Her nickname is Sopapilla because she is so sweet and fluffy.
Nathan-Deleon
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The hardest thing I deal with on a daily basis is discipline. I love having fun with my kids and enjoy the play time we have. When I have to put my foot down and get them to do their homework or take a nap, that’s hard. They know I like to have fun and try to push that. We’ve got a pretty good balance going now and I think it’s working pretty well.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I heard somewhere that 90% of being a Dad is just being there. That is the most insightful piece of advice that I’ve ever read. If you can just take the time out of your day and spend it with your kids… you’ll be golden. Getting that extra 10% is where the fun kicks in. Just be there when they need you and they’ll return the favor.
Nathan-Deleon
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
When you’re a parent, there is no “outside life”. My wife and I have always had at least one night a month to go out and be adults. Most of the time we end up just talking about the kids. I’m not saying that once you’re a parent everything is all about your kids. You just realize you’re so attached to them that being away is harder than you expect. The biggest obstacle is putting your children aside so you have that time with just Mommy. It really doesn’t even matter what you do, it’s unhealthy to never get that alone time as a couple.
Nathan-Deleon
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I haven’t really interacted with any fathers my age, I started to early I guess. Everything that I’ve learned as a father, I learned from my Dad. He worked long hours as a police officer but always found the time to play GoldenEye or watch some football with me. I remember him riding his motorcycle nearly 400 miles round trip in the rain while I was in the hospital just because I forgot a stuffed animal. That’s the only influence I’ve ever needed.
Nathan-Deleon
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
If you’re a new dad or an expecting dad. Take the time to enjoy every moment. Being a father is the most exciting thing in the world. I never liked children until I had one of my own. It’s crazy how much they can change your lives if you let them. LET THEM. You won’t regret it.
Nathan-Deleon
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
It’s the little things in life that make me tick. Helping the girls with homework, watching them grow. It’s all just so memorable. The day they were born was cool and all but the memories we’ve made in this short time are way more special. I’m just trying not to miss a beat.

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

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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Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb – Family Movie Night! @MuseumMovies

night-at-the-museum

To celebrate the release of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD,  think about hosting a Family Movie Night this weekend! To make the night even more fun-filled we have created activity sheets, discussion guides, and games all available at  http://www.nightatthemuseummovie.com

About the Movie

In NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, Ben Stiller leads an all-star comedy cast, including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson and Ricky Gervais, for one final, fun-filled Night at the Museum. This time, Larry Daley (Stiller) and his heroic friends embark on their greatest adventure yet as they travel to London in order to save the magic that brings the museum exhibits to life!

Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jim Joseph ( @OutAndAboutDad ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 521st Dad in the Limelight is Jim Joseph. I want to thank Jim for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Jim-Joseph1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Jim Joseph here, aka @OutAndAboutDad, aka @JimJosephExp.  While my work as a marketer, professor, blogger, and three-time author has put me in the limelight, it’s my role as Dad that has brought me the greatest reward.

 

2) Tell me about your family

I am a somewhat new empty nester with a daughter (21) and a son (19) who are both in college.  My partner and I have been together for over fifteen years.   The kids are starting their own journeys as we open a new chapter in ours.  Along the way we added a French Bulldog named Sophie to our family.  She brought us so much joy through the years, especially when the kids were growing up.  I couldn’t be prouder of all my kids!

 

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

I was a full-time Dad, divorced Dad, single Dad, and gay Dad back at a time when it wasn’t cool or accepted to be any of the above.  There were no support groups, no hashtags, no Daddy Bloggers, and in fact there were no role models of any kind.  I felt out there on my own, raising my kids before Dads were ever in the limelight.  I’m actually writing a book about it now, which will be out in Spring 2015 … just in time for Father’s Day!

 

Jim-Joseph

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Just live in the moment and relish every stage because the childhood years rush by in a flash.  Oh, and save for college, if your children as so inclined.  The best is yet to come … adult children are an amazing part of life.

 

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

It’s been a journey for sure, and I don’t think there’s any such thing as finding a balance.  I’ve had to make hard choices throughout my life as priorities have evolved while the kids have grown and while I’ve managed my career.  I wouldn’t say it’s a balancing act, I’d say it’s a game of shuffling responsibilities as time management and priorities change through the years.

 

 

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

Paternal instincts are just as strong and just as deep as maternal ones.  Loving and taking care of a child is the same no matter where it comes from.

Jim-Joseph

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

I’ve learned to not take it all so seriously and to laugh even at the toughest points.   “This too shall pass,” both in good times and bad.

 

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

My proudest moment was moving my kids into college.  It’s the moment I’d been working toward, and when I finally got there it felt just as good as I’d imagined.  Probably better.  No other feeling like it in the world.  Their success is a far greater achievement than anything I will ever do in my life.

 

If you have any questions for Jim, 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 ) – Andy Holloman ( @AndyHolloman ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 520th Dad in the Limelight is Andy Holloman. I want to thank Andy for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Andy-Holloman

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
50 yr old Dad of three  (16 yo girl,  boys age 14, 11)   Happily married for 21 yrs to psychologist Dr. Margot Holloman.  Love being a dad and I am so proud of my children and the adults they are becoming.    Have been living in the Raleigh/Durham NC area since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.
I am an Amazon BestSelling Fiction writer as a hobby with two novels published.  Genre –  Men’s adventure  (or, as my wife sees it, the men in my stories are  “Men Behaving Badly)    Starting writing in 2003 and first novel published in 2011  (Title – Shades of Gray) and had a second When His Dreams Take Flight (2013).   Truly enjoy the story crafting process.
For work, I’m in the Real Estate Industry (mortgage lending) and occasionally buy/ repair / and resale single family homes.
Avid Tennis player.  Love the Beaches and Mountains here in North Carolina.
2) Tell me about your family
I’m quite lucky to have 3 healthy, happy children and a wife who still tolerates all my shortcomings even after being married for 21 years.  Our family enjoys doing things together like camping, playing soccer, tennis, and watching films.  My wife and I especially enjoy documentaries.  My oldest is my only daughter and  she is a big soccer player as well as our social butterfly.  She is a Junior in High School and has recently started driving.  My second is my superstar scientist wanna be who’s in eighth grade.  Video games are his life and he loves to talk about BIG topics like science, religion, God, world politics, films, and computers.  My third child is the actor of the family, constantly entertaining and wowing us with his dramatic flair (especially when it comes to comedy).  He is a fifth grader and dreading the move to middle school.  His preference is to stay young and light-hearted.  Oh how I so wish he could.
 Andy-Holloman
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Learning to be patient.  I struggle with wanting immediate results and rarely does a father have the chance to witness quick results in their children.  Their time under my care is so brief and so important that I worry about how they will turn out rather than enjoying the ride.  Fortunately, my wife is quite knowledgeable and well-read regarding all things “parenting” so I blessed to have her by my side.  Being the Dad in any family is akin to herding cats and one must always anticipate that things never turn out the way you expect them to.  I struggle (still) on how to deal with the unexpected.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Trust your instincts as you help your children grow into adults.  Listen carefully to what they are saying AND doing.  Show them with your actions that you are there for them now and for always.  Provide them with the security to know that you will always be there for them AND be willing to let them fumble around and make mistakes.  Young people HAVE to know that mistakes are normal and that overcoming them is the answer.  Their brief time on this earth (thus far) just doesn’t allow them to understand that hard times will pass.  What they are facing in the way of difficulties today will not last forever.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
I rarely had an outside life when my children were smaller.  All of our activities revolved around the family and just keeping things together.  Socially, we spent time with the parents of my childrens’ friends, which is fine, but it is important to have activities and social connections outside of the family.  I wish that I had pursued more hobbies outside the family (as well as played more tennis!) .
Now that my children are older, I can see the future ahead where they will have their own lives and not be dependent on my for daily guidance.  So I am doing better with expanding my social connections (and playing more tennis!).  My wife is doing the same by expanding some volunteer efforts that she has always wanted to do as well as growing her private psychology practice in a new and exciting direction.
Andy-Holloman
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
How important it is to be gentle and kind.  I was quite fortunate to have participated in the YMCA Guides/Princess Program here in the Raleigh/Durham area (the largest in the nation) and this organization was founded to help Dads do more with their children.  It also exposed me to dozens of other Dads that I got to know very well.  They taught me the importance of patience and kindness and the truly the only gift that we as Dads MUST give to our children is our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It all goes by so very, very quickly.  Be engaged, even when you’re struggling with work issues, financial matters, spousal disagreements, etc.  The one thing that no father should have to experience is a life time of regret that they weren’t truly present for their children.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
As I mentioned above, being a part of the YMCA program for Dad’s and their kids has given me dozens of memorable experiences with all three of my children.  It is a strong bond between myself and all three of them.  Outings with this group were always conducted with the sole focus being on the children and thus these experiences stay with me always as some of the very best times that I have had with my kids.

If you have any questions for Andy, 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?
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