Our 252nd Dad in the Limelight is Professional Speaker Nate Riggs. I want to thank Nate 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)
First and foremost, I’m a pretty passionate blended family dad and husband. Professionally, consult with mid-sized and large companies, as well as marketing agencies on content marketing and social business design. Currently, I lead content marketing activities for Karcher Group, an Ohio based digital marketing agency. We’re about 50 people and growing and have been around for 14 years. On the side, I like running, swimming, cycling, playing pool being a dad.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife Sarah and I actually met through our two sons when they were just about 2 years old. Kaden is my genetic son and Jacob is my wife’s genetic son. About 10 months ago we had Max, who we like to call ‘our common denominator’, making us a genuine his, hers and ours type of a family. When we tell people that we get along great with my son’s mom and stepfather, they’re usually surprised to hear that. I we like being a family that challenges their perception of divorce and remarriage.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Most definitely and without a doubt, building a relationship with my adopted son, Jacob while balancing that time with my genetic kids. Having ‘together’ time with all three of them is pretty easy, but making sure to break away for time to focus on each individually can be stressful sometimes. It takes a lot of work.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Same advice one of my mentors told me years ago that still rings in my head.
When you come home from work, or traveling or whatever it is you do during the day, always make sure that the first thing you do when you enter the house is to find your children and immediately participate in what they are doing. Looking at the mail can wait. Getting ready for the next day can wait. It’s the short time where you kids are still excited to see you that can be the most valuable to strengthening the relationship between fathers and their kids.
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.
By nature, the idea of balance is tough. Balance is rooted in the conflict between to competing objectives. Each of those objectives can be necessary and important.
I’m fortunate to be in a career where I have the advantage of a flexible schedule. While I travel a lot, I try not to be gone for more than 2-3 days at one time. It’s not always possible, but when I can I leave the conference early or choose the red eye direct flight to save a travel day. When I’m at home, I often take a few hours break during the day so I can enjoy summer with my kids. Getting up at 5AM consistently and having a stay at home mom as a wife helps reduce the pressure immensely.
Still, I think the better choice that seeking balance is to seek ‘congruency’. Congruency is different (and better) because by finding congruency you remove the friction that’s cause by the competing objectives of work and family. My family and I have some side projects in the works that will eventually help us to bring work and family life closer together.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Lots … but not until I was about 28 years old. At that age, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have to make every mistake for myself and started tapping the experience around me. I have different role model fathers I look to to hear their stories on how everything from how they found their own balance and congruency to business travel tips to financial advice. I’m lucky to have a good personal board of advisors.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Listen to you kids. I think for most dads, it’s something we tell ourselves we do well but don’t always anti up to that thought. Really listening and letting your kids know you are actively listening maintain trust more effectively than anything else. On the flip side, not listening will eventually condition your children to never even attempt to tell you anything.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The firsts are always big. First steps, first words, first day of school — all of the little things that are new and exciting for you kids. It’s also those moments when you have one of them all to yourself and they tell you they love you or that they will miss you without being prompted. Those moments are amazing.
If you have any questions for Nate, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!