Our 407th Dad in the Limelight is Jonathan Liu. I want to thank Jonathan for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
Sorry it’s taken me a while! This time of year we’re always swamped. 🙂
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
Most of the time if people have heard of me it’s because I write for GeekDad.com, where I write about board games, books, apps, and being a stay-at-home dad. But once upon a time I was known (around Portland, anyway) as an Etch-a-Sketch artist.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife is a family doctor, and we’ve got three daughters: 10, 7, and almost 8 months. I’ve been staying at home with them for a decade now, and it looks like I’ll be doing this for at least another 18 years.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I think the hardest part has been finding other dads to hang out with in person—I tend to be more of a homebody, which is great for being the at-home parent but not so great for socializing. I know there are great dad groups out there, but keeping my family on schedule means that I don’t always have time for myself. My “me time” usually takes place after everyone else is in bed.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Sometimes my parenting mantra is “It’s not that hard.” Say it to your kids, say it to yourself. But maybe don’t say it to your spouse.
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’m still working on that. My blogging is something I do from home, so it’s easy to find some time throughout the day and after my kids are in bed to write. I do cover some events from time to time, but most of what I write about is stuff I’m doing at home anyway: playing board games, reading books. Since the older kids are in school, I try to do things like grocery shopping, laundry, and writing when they’re out, so I can be available for homework and things when they get home.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
That I’m probably too strict with my kids. I’m no tiger mom, but I don’t give my kids a lot of screen time and they have a pretty early bedtime compared to some of their friends. I’m trying to be more laid back with my kids.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Before my first daughter I’d never changed a diaper before. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I worried that I might go crazy being a full-time dad, even though it was by choice. But things fell into place, and now I can’t imaginenot staying home with them.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I love when my kids surprise me with things they can do. My oldest daughter beat me at Dominion the first time we played. She has also taken up roller derby this year and it’s been a lot of fun to watch her skating skills improve. For the longest time my second daughter wasn’t interested in reading—she just wanted somebody to read to her—but then I’d catch her sitting quietly by herself poring over books. And when she started writing, she decided it would be really fun to leave notes for everyone. I have one she put in a little handmade envelope that just says “Hmmph.” The third one is still tiny, so her skill set is kind of limited, but I was delighted when she started playing peekaboo herself. Mostly, though, I don’t think of the specific moments as much: I look back on the last ten years as one big rolled-up experience. It’s not all perfect, but on the whole it’s been wonderful.
If you have any questions for Jonathan, 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!
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