Our 400th Dad in the Limelight is Eric Coons. I want to thank Eric for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I am the father of two amazing boys. and married to the most beautiful and patient woman in the world. I know this because she puts up with my crap on a daily basis. If you asked her, she would probably tell you that I can be difficult at times. Bullheaded. She would probably use more colorful language, though.
Sometimes people ask me what my life’s passion is. I can’t choose just one thing. I am passionate about being a father, I like to build, I like to invent. Friends call on me to help them with anything from running electrical wiring and unclogging toilets to fixing their cars and getting bats out of their basements. I have recently been introduced to the term multi-passionate which I think describes me perfectly. Or, maybe it’s my cop out for not knowing exactly what I want to be when I grow up
I have just recently started a blog http://thatdarneddad.com where I write about a little bit of everything from fatherhood to cooking, to DIY projects to inventions that almost work and anything else that comes to my mind. I started it as a way to keep my scattered brain just a little bit more organized.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife and I have been married for 13 years this year. We have two boys, Xander is ten and Finnegan is six. We are kind of TV nerds. Both of the boys were named after characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We have rescued two dogs, Zuzu and Skynyrd. Named after my favorite movie and my favorite band.
Xander is my bookworm. Although he does play baseball in the spring, He is much more content playing with Legos in is room, playing video games or reading a book.
Finn is our athlete. He plays football, baseball, basketball and ran in the youth track program this year. This spring he came in fourth in a race against 10 and 12 year-olds. He even ran a 5k with me this summer. Not bad for a six year-old.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
In July of 2011, I lost my job due to a company restructure. That made me a stay at home dad. Something I had not experienced before. I had been a retail manager for 24 years. It was really starting to get old. We had been planing an exit strategy for about a year prior to this, however, we wanted to do it on our terms. I took on all new responsibilities. I cooked, cleaned, and vacuumed. I was the homework helper, the grocery shopper and the kid scrubber. 24 hours a day seven days a week. I don’t know how my wife did it. It was a huge adjustment for me. The biggest upside was getting to spend time with my boys.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Enjoy and cherish every moment with your kids. When my boys were younger, I was out chasing the brass ring. I was working 60 to 80 hours per week because I thought that’s what I needed to do to show them that I cared. I thought that by earning enough money to buy them what they wanted and to give them the biggest and best, that I was doing my job. I was able to look around and see and touch and feel the efforts of my work. What I didn’t see was my boys were growing up. I heard that Finnegan took his first steps through a text. I realized that I was missing out. My advice to other fathers: The kids don’t care what toys they have. They want your time. Give it to them. It will make the difference in who they will become.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
I am in the fortunate position of having the boys in school now. When my wife was home with them, they were just little. I don’t know how she balanced it. But because of the school day, I usually have between 9am and 2pm to be myself and work on what I need to work on while doing house chores and before I need to get dinner ready. I am also fortunate that my wife has her own business. So, if something needs to be taken care of while I have the boys, she can be flexible enough to make the changes in her schedule to accommodate.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I am not alone. When I feel that I should be out working. When I feel like a drain on the family because I am not contributing monetarily. When I feel like throwing my son’s homework on the floor because “That’s not how the teacher showed us”. I am not alone. There are other dads out there dealing with the same issues. It’s good to find those dads. It’s nice to communicate with someone with shared experiences.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far? What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The most memorable experiences have to be the birth of my sons. I remember holding them for the first time in the hospital and just being absolutely floored at how amazing they were. They still do amaze me every day. I look at them and wonder how they got so big. When Xander was born I could hold his head in the palm of my hand and his feet didn’t reach my elbow. Now he’s almost 5 feet tall and over 100 pounds. The time goes too fast. I am looking forward to spending as much time as I can with them. Because before I know it, they will be grown. I don’t want the regret of missing out on them growing up.
If you have any questions for Eric, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!