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

Dads in the Limelight Series

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

 

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

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

 

2) Tell me about your family

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

Daniel-Claudio

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

 

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

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

Daniel-Claudio

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

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

 

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

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

 

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

Daniel-Claudio

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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

Dads in the Limelight Series

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

 

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

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

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

 

2) Tell me about your family

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Rich-Bennett

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

My top 5

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

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

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

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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

Dads in the Limelight Series

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

 

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

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

 

2) Tell me about your family

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

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

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

 

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

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Jeremiah-Scot-Heathman

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

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

 

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

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

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

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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

Dads in the Limelight Series

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

 

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

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

 

2) Tell me about your family

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

 

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

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

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Justin Freeman ( @CommercialDaD ) #DadSpotlight

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 549th Dad in the Limelight is Justin Freeman. I want to thank Justin for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Justin-Freeman1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Justin Freeman and I am a full time stay-at-home dad to my five and three year olds.  I also work from home in our family’s private practice.  I am a child actor manager for my five year old son Jackson.  I am a full time cook, maid, shoulder to cry on, short end nurse, referee, punching bag, booger wiper ect…..  I have been a stay at home dad from the beginning. I am an undiagnosed OCD individual and cannot stand my house, life and family being messy, dirty or just untidy which makes for a great combination with being a stay-at-home parent. Besides all that I am disabled and handicapped with a fast progressing form a Degenerative disc disease and I have six herniated discs in my lower back.  My educational background is in Political Science with a minor in US History.  I enjoy playing with my kids watching the news and following all the political headlines. When my second was born I weighed 288lbs and since then I have lost 90lbs helping to relieve the stress on my back.  I work out every day and stay fit in order to keep up with my kids and keep myself in shape and healthy.

As a full time stay at home dad, I am not only in the limelight, but in this house I am the limelight.  I am with my kids all the time while my wife is in the office, so I am the full time parenting parent with help.  Being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I have had many hard jobs in my life.  Every day is a different challenge and personalities change one day to the next.

 

 2) Tell me about your family

I have been with my wife for 21 years and we have been married for 11 years (high school sweet hearts).  My wife is a Speech Language Pathologist.  Together we have a privet practice where she works with children with special needs such as Autism, Aspersers, stuttering and speech delays.  My son is an actor and has been for a little over a year and was recently picked up for an Independent film called “The Growing Up Movie” which is a six year project. My son enjoys piano lessons and the Monster Jam show.  His favorite toys are Monster Trucks, Lego’s and Transformers. My daughter loves Barbie and Hello Kitty and the color pink.  She likes playing the guitar, singing and dancing and will soon join my son in the field of acting as she desires.  We live in Los Angeles and have all our lives.  We have a large family local and enjoy spending a lot of time with all of them.

 

Justin-Freeman3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

The most challenging part of being a father was going from it being just my wife and I one year to being a full time stay-at-home dad then next.  I truly believe that women are hard wired to do this job.  Their compassion and self control in tough situations dealing with children is innate.  As a father’ we know a lot, mostly hunter gatherer innate qualities.  Having to rewire myself over the years has been a daunting task and stressful to say the least.  Being disabled has made it tough keeping up with the kids but staying fit has helped a lot.  Being a parent/stay-at-home parent is very tough.  There are no days off, or any sick days, and you’re always on call.  Your day starts at 5-6am and does not end until around 8-9pm.  The reward being able to stay at home parent is being able to watch my kids grow up and be able to experience all the wonderful things that most working parents do not get which far surpasses anything that is thrown at me.  I know that all the time I get to spend with my kids now will only help and benefit them when their older.

 
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

I would tell all parents to stay firm,  follow through and teach your children respect and manors.  When children are young they need rigidness, a schedule and it needs to be adhered to.  Yes, this can cramp your life style but it will benefit everyone in the long run.   Always remember, no matter what stage you are in with your kids there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but understand that at the end of that tunnel there will be another tunnel waiting.

 
Justin-Freeman5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

My wife and I are sticklers for proper behavior when we are out in public.  We have never fallen short on a threat to leave where ever we are if they do not behave.  We have left restaurants before our order has arrived and had to take it to go because of our children’s behaviors.  We waited until out children were at a proper age (4-2 years old) before we stared date nights.  One of the girls that my wife baby sat is now our baby sitter and she comes one Saturday a month and we go out for a nice dinner and shopping or whatever we want.  Allowing us to get out and get back to our lives prior to children helps to keep us grounded and it is important to have this time with your loved one.

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

I have learned that everyone parents differently.  What works for one child might not work for another.  I have seen good parenting and I have seen bad parenting but that is based on my own opinion. Every parent has advice and some of the advice you may get will work for you and some won’t.  You have to remember there is no parenting101 and a lot of what you do is based on action and impulse traits deep inside that you have inherited from your parents.  One thing I have learned is that if you love your kids more than yourself, if you protect, teach, interact and let your kids know you will always be there for them, you’re on the right track.  But stand firm!

 
Justin-Freeman7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Privacy goes out the window.  You become intimate with the more disgusting things in life like dirty diapers, hanging boogers and the all challenge question of what to do when you child is going to throw up and you have nothing to catch it in.  You will quickly find out the reason why your hands shape in to a cup.  Always keep an emergency bag with cloths, wipes, formula, diapers, binky, medicine and anything else of important in your car at all times, you never know when you will need it.

 

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

Too many too count.  There is nothing greater then raising a child or children.  Where should I start?  The first time I held them in my arms.  When they start to smile, crawl, walk and talk.  The chubbiness that comes with a newborn and the smell is intoxicating.  Christmas and birthday’s are wonderful.  All the new experiences that they get to have and you get to witness.  When you come home and they run up to you and give you a big hug or when they say “I love you”. Children do get hurt but when they run over to you and cry on your shoulder because that is the only thing that will sooth them, it is a wonderful feeling.  Teaching your children to read, write, math, geography and all the other educational aspects that you as a parent find important.  To me watching a child grow up is a sad emotional experience as stages come and go never to return.  Being a stay-at-home dad has helped me to collect and store countless memories that make me smile and think to myself how fortunate the past five years of my life have been.  Being able to experience what I have experienced knowing that there are millions of parents out there that will never get or have the opportunity to do what I do and see what I see and love, like nothing else is in one word it’s priceless!

 

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 – Author and Artist Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 548th Dad in the Limelight is Author and Artist Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach. I want to thank Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach with all of you.

 

Robert-Max-Tell-Stelmach1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
As a child in the early 50s, I struggled in school, failed grade 2 and 3, and was told I would never graduate from high school let alone university. But at the age of 14, I dreamed I was a writer. That dream changed my life, and I proved the nay-sayers wrong by graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre. Over the past few years, many of my songs have received honorable mention in international competitions. I have won one first prize, and last November was honored with a Distinguished Author and Artist Award for 40 years of inspiring young people to the wonders of language and music.
2) Tell me about your family
I have two wonderful children, a son and a daughter, who always surprise me and make me proud.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I’ve always had high hopes for my children, and it has often been difficult not to steer them in the right direction. But it has always helped to remember that what is or what was right for me is not right for them. As Dylan said, “The times, they are a changing”.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
More than anything, love your children. That doesn’t mean pampering them and giving them everything they want. It means spending time with them. Read them stories. Sing them songs. Tell them about your life and family. As adults, we are expected to act like adults, but it is also important for both our children and ourselves to let the kid inside out once in a while to play.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Our family broke up many years ago, but I do my best to make sure that they know that I am always there for them. For seven years when they were young, I never dated. And although, for a number of years, I toured in Asia 1-3 months a year, all the time I was home, my kids spent every weekend with me. And while I was away, I wrote to them regularly.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
No matter what, family come first.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
The part, a father plays in the lives of his children, is in constant change, and it is important to not take those changes personally, especially when your children are in their teens.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had, thus far, as a parent?
Every year something memorable happens in the lives of my children, things that touches my heart deeply. Sometimes, it’s only as simple as a hug, yes; even my son still hugs me. Sometimes, it’s a personal moment or special achievement one of them shares with me. It’s all good.

If you have any questions for Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach, 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 – Father & Social Media Manager, Jeff Esposito

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 547th Dad in the Limelight is father & social media manager, Jeff Esposito. I want to thank Jeff Esposito for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Jeff Esposito with all of you.

 

Jeff-Esposito1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Hmmm about me. Well for starters, my name is Jeff Esposito and I manage social media globally for a global company. We’ve been doing social media since 2007 and have won some awards and recognition along the way, so doing that has increased some visibility. The only real limelight that I care about though is the one that my two kids shine on me. I am a 33-year old father of two who is originally from New Jersey and is now transplanted in the frigid tundra that is New England (a suburb of Boston to be exact). My career path was in the sports world in college and in my first two jobs out of college. However after a chance meeting of a cute lady on a cruise and some long-distance dating, well I wound up trading in that lifestyle to be closer to the woman I would wind up marring and making her a momma. You can also find me on my website!

 

2) Tell me about your family.

We are the typical atomic family minus the dog. We had a cat, but he died over the summer – our son is still asking about him and has started telling us he misses him over the holidays. My wife works in the finance department of a really well known college in Cambridge. We had our first child, Noah (AKA Megatron) in 2011 and our daughter, Brooke, was born in 2013. Since my wife and I both work, we really try to spend as much time together as a family as we can. Some of our favorite places include parks, zoos and aquariums. Legoland was a hit too, but not sure that is a regular place to hang out.

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

I think that there have been three major challenges in regards to being a father. The first is to have patience (read: A LOT). By nature and genetics, I am pretty high strung, mean and really lack patience. So starting to harness that was something that I really had to work on and continue to work on. It might sound stupid, but the 1,2,3 method that folks have been using for years really helped. The second bucket is on work-life balance. I am very lucky that I work for a company that values family. This has become invaluable as we have went from 1 to 2 children. With having an employer and boss that values people and their families, it really makes sending that email at 4:30 in the morning that, “hey X is throwing up and we have been up all night, I will be periodically checking emails and do work from home today,” very easy and allows you to focus on what is really important. With all that said, work-life is something that I have struggled with and continue to work on. I have had to force myself to stop checking work emails on the three nights a week that I leave early. Sure I check them when my wife gets home during dinner prep, but I needed to stop once we got home so that I could give the kids my full attention. Sure we all love the Paw Patrol or Sesame Street babysitter, but that isn’t parenting. One thing that I proactively had to give up as well was my professional blogging. I work in the social media space, which is a pretty vocal echo chamber that encourages participation and thoughts from folks. It was a good professional outlet that led to some speaking gigs and freebies, but giving it up was a must. We only have one chance to help shape a future and see all the firsts of our children. Plus my day job is what will define my life and will not be scrawled on the stone above my cold dead body in the future. The final and most challenging is technology. I work in technology and could probably be classified as a nerd. While I have some concerns, mostly over screen time, I also want to make sure that my kids aren’t scared of tech and that they embrace it. I need to be better though in terms of how much I let them use it, hell my 16-month old can swipe on a Kindle Fire or iPad to what she wants. We are also in an age where personal privacy and internet sharing are moving in opposite directions. When we had our son, I was super-concerned with the issue of who could see and share images of him. After a while of fighting, I just wore down a bit. When it comes to the photos I share, I make sure that we put as private a filter as we can and have all tagging/sharing of those photos to needing approval. Does it bother me still when I see people who have never seen/met my kids commenting on pics of them get me mad? Yes, but I also get that some of these people are friends of relatives, so I only say something when something gets inappropriate.

Jeff-Esposito

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

You get one chance to do this… don’t fuck it up. Yes it might sound blunt and not safe for ears of kids, but I mean it. If you are man enough to get a female pregnant and bring a life into this world, be man enough to be there. I had a non-traditional upbringing. My mother had me at the end of high school – biological dad in and out of the picture – a first stepfather who got divorced and then a good guy come in and be around still. With that said, I saw first hand how that fucked with the lives of four young boys in different ways. So it is unacceptable. Embrace being a dad and have fun doing it. A kid is not a pet or a hobby; be there and make an impression – a positive one. These lil folks are sponges and idolize their dads – make the best of that. It is the best gift you can receive; yes it is better than that XBox.

 

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

Wait there is a balance? I all honesty, I am figuring this one out as I go. Parenting is my job, so if the family schedule interferes or conflicts with social activities – skip the beers with the boys. We live far away from my family and when we head back to Jersey, it is about seeing the family – parents, siblings, brothers. If time permits you see friends. The real friend that you have is your partner and you need to make sure that you have each other’s backs. Can you make time for each of you to have free time and a break? Yes. Friends are still needed, but with two kids under four, it takes a bit of a backseat.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Everyone has a different experience. You can swap horror stories, but really take advantage of being a parent and loving being there for your kids.

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

1. Man babies can pee and poop a lot 2. Learning to nap is vital 3. Sleep is overrated and you can get by with 6 hours or so a day 3. Don’t be afraid to take your kids on field trips for parents. This includes breweries and restaurants. If people stare at you or give you looks for being there with a kid, ignore them. We had a family unhappy that my son was singing at a 99 restaurant (Massachusetts chain restaurant) and make some comments when he sang happy birthday with the wait staff singing to a birthday patron. I looked at him, smiled and ordered a desert for my son and a beer making sure to ask the waitress if she ever saw an old man douchey enough to look down on toddlers despite sitting with his own kid. She dropped her jaw – I waved at him.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

My first father’s day was the most special day for me. Next to that was introducing my children in the hospital. One experience that I will never forget was the ear tube surgery. Painful to go through as a parent and feeling vulnerable, but at the same time it was great for our son.

 

If you have any questions for Jeff Esposito, 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 – Husband, Father & Small Business Advocate, Todd Lyden

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 546th Dad in the Limelight is Husband, Father & Small Business Advocate, Todd Lyden. I want to thank Todd Lyden for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Todd Lyden with all of you.

 

Todd-Lyden1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

As my Twitter bio will tell you: I am a father, husband, small business advocate (ie I help the state to help entrepreneurs and small business owners), an Iphone enthusiast, early adopter (of apps), social media user (and abuser), rural developer and a roadie/soundguy for my wife’s hobby band. So far, I feel in the limelight being asked to talk about myself as a father as it is my favorite job. Looking through all the other featured fathers makes me realize: I should write a book!
2) Tell me about your family
I met my wife thirteen years ago and she had two children from a previous marriage. We married a year later and then had our youngest almost a year after that. My family consists of: Jennifer (the wife), Amanda (the eldest, in high school), Josh (the boy, in middle school), and Erica (the youngest, in elementary school). We also have dogs and cats and have had other animals in our lives.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Being a step-father and having a full-grown family almost over night. Most of my advice as a father comes from this experience. Just like my professional life, I am not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I went to a step-father I knew well at the time and asked for HIS advice.
Todd-Lyden4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
The same advice I got from my friend, the step-father. Realize that whether they are step-children or natural, your children may not always love you or like you, but they need to respect you. You and your wife have to CHOOSE to make it work over time, but you will HAVE TO be a parent. Step relations are always assumed to be strained, but natural relationships can be just as strained over time. You will always be a parent, and while the job never technically ends, you will not always have the same “parental overlord” relationship you have with your kids while they are in your care. So focus on making sure you and your partner are together and working. Odds are good if that works, the parent thing will work.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
By prioritizing. The old adage of “if Mama ain’t happy…” is really true. While we are partners in the sense that we only have each other, she is very much in charge of what needs to happen with the kids with my agreement. This isn’t to say I don’t have say, but I definitely defer when need be.
Todd-Lyden6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
My own father was a fantastic husband and father. Sadly, he passed when I was 14, but the example I saw really set the stage for my own development as a father and something I hope to pass on to my kids. Remember that you have to set the example you want them to emulate and don’t be surprised when you don’t like some of the things you see coming back at you. There is a lot of instruction out there on what NOT to do when you visit Walmart or a mall.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Remind yourself that you only REALLY get to influence these people for a short time. That you can only make decisions based on what you know, when you know it- which means, you get to be imperfect. Kids will let you down and  it is OK for you to let them down as long as you learn from it. Eventually, these are going to be full-blown adults that you might not like what they do and how they do it, but again as long as you respect them it should work out.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The realizations of my own imperfections showing up in my kids, but also seeing the glimmers of brilliance that I had something to do with. It’s that amazing moment when you see the baby you had to change their diapers and still see the adult they are becoming at the same time. Thankfully, I’ve helped breed some adventurers and we love to explore the world together- just hope they keep wanting to as they grow up!

If you have any questions for Todd Lyden, 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 – CEO, Podcaster & Blogger, Craig Powell

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 545th Dad in the Limelight is Craig Powell, CEO of 5BlockRadius.com and Printimidate.com, host of The Perfected Geek podcast. I want to thank Craig Powell for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Craig Powell with all of you.

 

 

Craig-Powell1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Entrepreneur, Husband, Father, Blogger, Geek, Top 7% Social Media Expert. I wear many hats. I divide my time between Chicago and my home state of Kansas. I am a Sales Consultant in the Printing Industry as well as being involved in several other business ventures including the CEO of 5BlockRadius.com and Printimidate.com, host of The Perfected Geek podcast, and directing several of other web properties that I have developed. I love developing business ideas, projects, and getting my hands dirty in the marketing and selling process of businesses. In my spare time (what is that?) I love watching movies (sci-fi, comic book, fantasy, historical drama), TV, reading, singing, writing, and spending time with my beautiful wife. I can be found on several social media channels and constantly working on far too many projects at once.

 

 

2) Tell me about your family

I have been with my wife since 2003.  When we got together she already had 5 kids from a previous marriage.  After helping raise my step-kids for a few years, we decided to have children together.  We now have 4 beautiful daughters to bring our grand total to 9 children. We have quite the age range…here is a quick breakdown: Morgan (21), Andrew (20), Eathan (20), Emily (17), Landun (15), Chloe (7), Ella (6), Hadley (4), and Harper (4).  For those of you playing along at home that is correct – 2 sets of identical twins. In addition to our children we now have 8 grandchildren from the older kids. And we are still in our 30s!

 

 

Craig-Powell3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Patience. I thought this would be a hard one to answer but if I am honest with myself then that is what it is. Generally I can be a patient person but when you add the stresses of 4 or more kids screaming and running around then patience can definitely run thin. The challenge is to not let your cool get away from you and just take a few breaths. Later on you might not remember why you got so mad in the first place but if you blow your top and really unload on your kids…they will definitely remember it.

 

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

It doesn’t matter how many awesome gifts you can buy or cool vacations you can take your kids on. Time is the most important thing you can give to your children – especially daughters. Taking even just 2 minutes and kissing your daughter goodbye before you leave for work and telling her she is beautiful could mean the difference between her having self-confidence later in life or thinking she is worthless and ignored. Yet we rush around like 2 minutes is just another throw-away event.

 

 

Craig-Powell5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

This has always been a challenge for me as I am very much an overachiever in my professional life. For the first 10 years of my professional & parenting life, I had a job that had a 1+ hour commute each way. Additionally, I was on call and had to respond to issues and even travel. This sometimes proved to pull me away from my family. There were many times that just being present was a challenge. Going to school functions or just being there at dinnertime has been hard sometimes. Over the last year I have transitioned to working from a home office.  This has been great for my schedule because it means I can be very involved with even little things like taking the kids to/from school.  Additionally. I am able to balance my workload to the evenings after they go to bed to help with that. Spending a few minutes in the morning with them as well as sitting down to dinner as a family has so much of an impact on them. Work will always be there, but they will not always be those sweet little girls that want to sit by their daddy while they eat.

 

 

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

I have attended some meetups for our local “Watch DOGS” program thru the grade school.  This has introduced me to other fathers who share experiences with each other. The most important thing I always take from these interactions is special ways to stay connected with your children. One of my favorite ideas I want to start in 2015 is have a jar that I can stick little notes into thru the year.  Anytime one of the kids says something sweet or funny I can write it down.  It will be fun to relive those moments later when we otherwise would have forgot about them.

 

 

Craig-Powell7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I became an instant father when I got together with my wife. It was scary. Then when we decided to have children together it was also scary. You never think you are ready and even when you think things will go a certain way, something will surprise you.  Yet in the grand scheme of your life, the times you have during the early formative years of your children’s lives will go by so quick. Enjoy all the moments they say your name over and over again to get your attention just so they can say they love you. Let them put makeup on your face or want you to help play with their dolls. They are precious memories that make life worth living and I can guarantee you will cherish them for the rest of your life.

 

 

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

There are not really singular events that I count as memorable experiences but just the culmination of thousands of little things along the way. Playing together outside, going on vacation, tucking them into bed, singing a song. All of these things add up to create a collage of wonderful memories that I would not trade for anything.
If you have any questions for Craig Powell, 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 – PegCityNerd Rob Blaich

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 544th Dad in the Limelight is PegCityNerd Rob Blaich. I want to thank Rob Blaich for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Rob Blaich with all of you.

 

1rob-blaich) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My name is Rob Blaich and I’m a new media designer at St-Boniface Hospital Research. There I create content for scientists to either help promote their work, or use as teaching aids. This entails posters, pamphlets, illustrations, logos, and the centre’s website.
Online, I’m very active in social media, sharing content I find of personal interest; Usually quite nerdy or geeky stuff. Hence my most commonly used online handle, PegCityNerd.
If I’m not doing anything on a mobile device, at work editing a video, or simply being a parent at home, I’ll be found with a controller in hand playing video games. Destiny is the current choice for my past time.

2) Tell me about your family
My wife and I have been married for 8 years now, but we’ve been together as an item for 14! We met through mutual friends through the sport compact car scene here in Winnipeg. I used to be a “motor head” and had a vehicle done up for car shows.
I have two daughters, ages 5 and 2.
The oldest is in dance and swimming. She loves to sing, dance, watch My Little Pony, and play with her little sister.
My youngest is a going concern, but provides a contagious smile that lights up a room. She’s walking and learning how to talk and sing. Her recent accomplishment is being able to go (slide) down the stairs, safely on her tummy!
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
 
Patience.
Kids will test you. Life will test you. I’m one to likes to keep life under control, but the reality is, having children will make you feel like you’ve lost some control. That’s not a bad thing, it is just a change.
My boss and close friend, also a father of two, told me a funny, yet accurate statement.
“When babies are born, their heads are empty.”
They just don’t know any better until you teach them otherwise. Sometimes, we can’t know to teach them something is wrong until after the wrong thing has been done.
It’s easy to lose your cool when you go to use the bathroom, only to find a full wad of toilet paper within the bowl of the toilet. I know I lost my patience and certainly raised my voice at my eldest. In retrospect, she simply didn’t know it was bad, or how it would effect the functionality of the toilet. Had I been patience and kept this in mind, I could have taught her it wasn’t okay in a much calmer matter.
This is a mentality I try to keep with me, and especially remember with my younger daughter. It isn’t easy though.
 
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Be patient.
There’s a theme here. I may not always be able to “practice what I preach”, but I feel I am qualified enough to say this much.
Your children look to you for guidance, support, and safety. They will always do something that isn’t safe, wise, moral, etc. Unless they are repeated doing something you’ve corrected them on before, keep your cool and be patient.
The same goes when they’re older. I recall my own father being frustrated with me when helping with math homework. He’s a wiz with numbers. Me? Not so much. I’d rarely get the help I truly needed because he wasn’t patient enough with me to understand something and would walk away because the deed was done.
Show your children the most patience you possibly can. It’ll be worth it, trust me.

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
The balance with parenthood and the outside life hasn’t been overly difficult to accomplish. Many of our friends had children at the same as us. Although we see each other less often, the understanding of our busy schedules is mutually there.
The friends who either were not married or had kids of their own are either seen less, or not at all. It was by no choice of our own. Life just happens this way sometimes.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
The question here is, what haven’t I learned from other fathers? Since I learned my wife was pregnant with our first, I’ve soaked up as much advice from other fathers as much as humanly possible!
My boss, whom I mentioned earlier, has been one in particular I’ve paid a lot of attention too when it comes to parenting. He has his kids in all kinds of extra curricular activities, and he is always taking part in what they do. Hands on. Keeping your kids busy outside of school is a good way to keep them out of trouble. Boredom can be bad thing. His kids are never bored, and at the ages of around 16 and 19 now, I know they’ve turned out to be pretty spectacular!

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Pay attention to your children. Soak up what they say and do – even the little things. Document what you can. With a camera in our pocket, there’s little reason why you can’t snap a photo or take a short movie. They’ll appreciate it as adults.
Teach them. You don’t have to be a teacher to do this. Just share what you know. Start with the simple things like the alphabet and number and grow from there.

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
 
The birth of each my children easily qualify as the most memorable experiences. Perhaps that will change as they get older and accomplish more in life.
That said, my five year old daughter’s first dance recital was pretty dang awesome! Seeing her on stage in her costume and twirling like a ballerina certainly made my eyes water.

If you have any questions for Rob Blaich, 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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