Our 224th Dad in the Limelight is Chris Read. I want to thank Chris 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)
Hi everybody, my name is Chris Read and I guess I would consider myself a “Jack” or “Chris” of many trades. I am a father to two wonderful children first and foremost, Lucas – 4 and Julia – 2, but in my spare time I also have a full time job with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where I am a non televised version of a CSI. I am also a lead singer of a band called Sloppy Joe’s Revenge. Don’t look us up yet though, we are in the middle of a name change and are still fighting over the possibilities, LOL.
Aside from that, I am the President of a charity called The Gil Read Memorial Foundation. The foundation is named after my father, who left my life too early, and is geared towards providing funding for kids who can’t afford to take part in sports. My father was an amazing man and gave so much time to helping kids develop in sports, that it just made a lot of sense to do this and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to date.
I’m not tall, I don’t know how to fix a car or build a deck. I am not a perfect father but I try to be the best I can be. If the toilet seat is left up, it was most likely me and I watch a lot of reality television. I guess those would be some flaws of mine. I’m not sure there is enough space to do a full list.
Oh yeah, I guess I’m a blogger and writer now too! I started Canadian Dad about a month ago and have loved every minute of it. I am currently working on a children’s book based on a character my son made up and I have some fun ideas for videos in the near future.
2) Tell me about your family
My family originated at a karaoke bar. That’s where I met my wife Kristine of course. From the moment she heard me sing that first Backstreet Boys song, she was hooked! The rest is history.
After 7 years of dating, I decided it was time to get married (I know, I know, I’m a jerk). I think I made up for the lapse in judgement with an excellent proposal but that’s a story for another time. Pretty soon after we got married, we had 2 kids in less than 2 years and that brings us to today.
My children are my reason for being. As mentioned above, I have a 4 year old son and a 2 year old daughter and I love every freckle on them. Fun story about my daughter, my father’s side of the family hadn’t produce a female spawn in over 85 years before Julia came along. Crazy right? 4 brothers (Dad plus uncles) had 2 boys each and finally I am the one who broke the curse.
It’s a blessing and a curse as it were because not only do I not have my dad to consult, but none of my family know anything about raising girls. It’s made for some interesting moments.
My son is a curious fellow. He likes hockey one day and hates it the next. Same thing with soccer, tv shows, toys, food and games. He is hilariously funny, just like his dad, and he loves his sister, which makes Mom and Dad proud.
My daughter, obviously like most daughters from what I can tell, is also a Diva. At 2 years old, she controls not only her parents and brother but also her entire group of day care children. It’s fascinating and petrifying at the same time. I’m lucky to have found an incredible group of Dad bloggers to help along the way.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Aside from the obvious answer of not knowing anything about how to raise a daughter, I think my biggest challenge so far, has been trying to raise kids without having my father around to help out. I mentioned that my father had left us too early but left out that he passed away on the same day that my wife and I found out we were pregnant. I couldn’t have written a better or worse script if I had tried.
I went through a very dark time and essentially missed the first year of my son’s life because I was suffering from a pretty severe depression.
I don’t know what snapped me out of it. It certainly wasn’t the pills or the therapy. I think it was my son and the realization that I don’t want to be a Dad who lets his kids down. I want to be a man that he can look up to, much like my father was to me. Ever since that day, I have done my best to be the best dad I can be and I think I’m doing an okay job of it.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I think the biggest pieces of advice I can give are as follows:
- Be Around. We all have things that we loved to do before having kids. For me, it was singing and playing sports. I still do those things but I am a Dad first and a singer and athlete second now. Kids love their Daddies and need them to be around to teach them everything. Literally, I mean everything, they don’t know how to do anything. Make time to be there for them and create a hobby schedule around that.
- It’s Okay To Be Goofy. I see a lot of Dad’s who don’t like to play goofy games with their kids. Almost as if they are embarrassed of what other people think. Don’t be embarrassed! Kids are goofy by nature, let them be goofy and show them that you can be that way too. They’ll love it! All you have to do is look at any of our family’s Halloween pictures to see that I have fully embraced my goofy side.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help. We’re not perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. If you get to a place where you don’t have all the answers, which you will, don’t be afraid to ask questions to other Dads. You might be surprised to find that you are not alone out there.
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.
In short, I’m still figuring it out. My wife runs a home day care and I work shift work. Not like days and evenings work either, I’m talking 24/7, which makes for a crazy life schedule. Add on singing, sports and my wife and kid’s activities and we are all over the map.
We try to plan everything well in advance and I give all the credit to my wife, who is an absolute planning genius. I wouldn’t be able to find pants to wear without her, so you could imagine what my kids would be wearing.
We do the best we can with what we have to work with but we’re far from perfect.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned a lot from other Dads. I only started blogging about a month ago but I’m already making great connections and have learned that there are others just like me, who find humour in the same silly things our kids do.
I’ve also learned from Dads that aren’t so involved in their kid’s lives. They make me realize the importance of being there for my kids and making sure they know that Daddy can be fun on top of being the Daddy who enforces the rules.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
There is no experience I’ve had in my life that is greater than having kids. It is rewarding, frustrating, humbling, exciting and devastating all in one tiny package.
I’m reminded every single day when I come home from work, when my kids run to the door yelling “Daddy, Daddy!!!” and throw themselves at me with running hugs. In that instant, there is nothing else. No stress, no anger, no tired. Nothing but love.
Enjoy every minute of it, they grow up very quickly.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
All of it. The ups and the downs. The ability to heal a wound with a single kiss. Snuggling a sick kid, even though you know it’s going to make you sick but not caring because it makes them feel better. The first time they say I love you without being provoked. The first time they win a race on Wii MarioKart and run to give you a hug and a high five.
There are so many moments and every one of them has been special in its own way. I am truly blessed with what I’ve been given and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Thanks to Dad Of Divas for giving me this opportunity. It has been fun and even enlightening to take part and it’s nice to be in such good company.
Chris from Canadian Dad
If you have any questions for Chris, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!