Our 871st Dad in the Limelight is Sanderson Dean, otherwise known as Stark Raving Dad. I want to thank Sanderson Dean for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Sanderson Dean with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My name is Sanderson Dean. I’m the author of a humor book called “STARK RAVING DAD” which comes out May 7th, 2019. Of course, my “real” job is writing advertising for movies and tv shows in the entertainment industry. I work at home, so I’ve been on the front-lines for most of our family baby battles. By this point, I’m a consummate pro at plunging toilets, and I also make a mean PB&J in seconds flat.
2) Tell me about your family
I have two boys, now in their tweens. They’re my pride and joy, as well as my source of constant aggravation. Luckily, I have an awesome, understanding wife who puts up with me and serves as a calming influence for our household. She works too – so we’re constantly doing a balancing act to stay organized (and sane). For the record, our kitchen is rarely clean.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The biggest challenge of fatherhood for me, has been dealing with the daily frustrations. These little beings that I love so much, still have minds of their own. They don’t pick up their socks, they don’t eat their vegetables (or anything healthy), they smear peanut butter on door knobs, and they never, ever flush the toilet. This, of course, comes after years of never sleeping, constantly spilling drinks, and leaving out Legos for Dad to step on. Over the years, I’ve worked very hard not to scream and yell. But it was my wife who came up with the idea of doing “something more constructive with my angst”. I started to write poems… yup poems. And that’s how “STARK RAVING DAD” came about. It’s years of fatherly angst channeled into funny poems. Now when I’m plunging toilets, I’m thinking of rhymes – rather than why my kid tried to flush another Q-tip.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I think my best advice for fathers is to try and enjoy every moment. If you spend two hours trying to force your kid to eat green beans, all you do is end up resenting each other. Plus, no one likes cold green beans, and you’ve lost two hours. I’m realizing the kids grow up really fast(seriously, my kids are already tweens!) And frankly, fighting over green beans isn’t going to make any memories. However, having ice cream on the porch is. (but only if they eat their green beans!!)
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
This feels like a trick question. I’m not sure we ever balanced parenthood and our outside life. However, over the years, we’ve learned to carve out little moments for ourselves. I guess you could call them sanity breaks. My wife likes to go to Pottery Barn. I like to play soccer. And usually when we return, we’re refreshed enough to handle the chaos and our spouse’s spiteful “what took you so long??” (Sadly, I get this response whenever I use the rest room too.)
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I have a friend who’s a father of five. Yeah, five kids! I have no idea how he does it. But he’s always very calm. So, I’ve tried to model him and take things as they come. Honestly, with five kids, you can’t be on top of everything – but you can be there when you need to be. This has helped me to be less “helicopter parent” and to take things more in stride. Additionally, I can tell you another thing I’ve learned… I’m never having five kids! That’s crazy.
Hug more, yell less. Honestly, that’s easier to say than to actually do, but I truly believe that’s a big secret. Trying to find more empathy. If you haven’t guessed, I used to do a lot of yelling – but over time, I realized that didn’t work. Now, in my attempts to be a “centered” dad, I try to follow this quote – “Go with the flow, but keep your plunger handy.” It definitely works a lot better than “yell a lot, and hope they listen.”
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
There are so many awesome experiences it’s hard to pick the most memorable. I highly recommend taking as many trips and “adventures” as you can. They always result in some amazing moments together. One of the coolest was when we went to Hawaii. While snorkeling with my oldest son, we came across some sea turtles. I was pulling him along by hand, and when I paused to show the turtles to him. He turned to look at me. Sharing that astonished, wide-eyed joy – framed in his swim mask, I have to say… it was just magical!
If you have any questions for Sanderson Dean, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!