Dads in the Limelight -Author and Beyond the Rhetoric blog owner, Michael Kwan
Our 647th Dad in the Limelight is author and Beyond the Rhetoric blog owner, Michael Kwan. I want to thank Michael Kwan for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Michael Kwan with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I’m Michael Kwan, born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve been a self-employed professional freelance writer for just over ten years now. That’s the same length of time that my blog, Beyond the Rhetoric, has been around, though I’ve been writing and publishing on the Internet since 1999. Readers might know me from my work on sites like MEGATechNews, John Chow dot Com, Blogging Tips, LoveToKnow and 365 Days of Dining. I also have a book, Beyond the Margins, which explores a series of tips for people who are interested in freelancing and how to break into the business.
Before I became a dad, I liked to play a lot of tennis and Street Fighter, though both have very much fallen to wayside since. I hope that when my daughter is a little older, we can partake in some racket play and hadoukens together.
2) Tell me about your family
I live in the Vancouver area with my wife (who was my high school sweetheart) and our year-and-a-half-old daughter Adalynn. My wife works outside of the home, typically in the afternoons and evenings, while I’m the work-at-home dad. This arrangement means that I am able to stay home with our girl and we can save on childcare costs. It’s not necessarily easy, but we make it work.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
You mean beyond the incessant insomnia? All kidding aside, apart from the necessity to adapt constantly to new circumstances and learn new things, the biggest challenge for me has been time management. As mentioned above, I work from home and I’ve had a hard time fitting “work” into my “home” schedule and responsibilities. More often than not, I get the majority of my work done during the “third shift” after the little one has already gone to bed, but I’m never able to focus fully on my work. I always have to keep an eye and ear open in case she wakes up. This sense of divided attention has been a struggle.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
In many ways, this is also advice I would give to myself. Be present. I’m not talking about just being physically there. I’m also talking about giving your kids your full and undivided attention. Don’t go reaching for your smartphone to skim through Facebook when you should be playing and learning with your child. Don’t worry about checking your work email. No one is going to look back, on their death bed, and wished they had spent more time in the office. They will, however, regret that they weren’t there for their children more. Don’t be that guy.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
What I am finding is that it is less about balance and more about integration, which is also a lesson I have taken to heart as a freelance writer. The line between “work” and “play” is blurred. What I do “for fun” these days oftentimes involves my child, like going out to eat at a new restaurant or playing at the park. My parenthood has come to define part of my outside life, just as my parenthood now occupies an increasingly large space on my blog. I was already a small business, travel and food writer. Now, I’m also a dad blogger.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Everyone is different. We all have our struggles and difficulties, despite what the “Facebook version” of ourselves may lead you to believe. It’s not that life as a dad gets any easier as the kids get older. You’re just presented with new challenges and you’re better prepared to roll with the punches when you do.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Becoming a father has been one of the most profound life changes I have ever experienced, far more than getting my first job, getting married, or buying our first home. It’s all encompassing. And being a dad to my daughter has made me much more cognizant of gender inequality, gender stereotypes and gender issues. I endeavor to be the change I want to see in this world. Dads are equal parents and my little girl doesn’t have to be a little princess.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
There are so many and she’s barely a year and a half old. I was there when she first started crawling, I was able to witness her first steps, and it positively melted my heart when she started calling me “baba.” I recognize I lead a privileged existence, working from home, and I look forward to being around when she reaches all sorts of other milestones.
If you have any questions for Michael Kwan, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!