Our 258th Dad in the Limelight is Zach Rosenberg. I want to thank Zach for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
I am Co-Founder of 8BitDad.com, which aims to be a site for all parents to read about fatherhood issues, humorous original articles, and recaps of important dad news – all bathed in our fatherly opinions. I’ve been a writer for more than 10 years now, writing mainly video game reviews for websites and magazines. Also, most people don’t know this, but I invented the blog in 1992. Well, maybe not invented, but I’ve been blogging since then.
I’ve got a beautiful wife and three year old son, and we live in Thousand Oaks, California. We’re not far from where we both grew up: I went to an all-boys high school in the area, and she went to the all-girls “sister school”. We knew all of each others’ friends, but never had met each other until after college. We’ve still got all of our parents around (mine are divorced, so I have two sets of grandparents for my son to enjoy).
The largest challenge is putting things into perspective. At every moment from your child’s birth, you think that it’s the worst and the best phase. When your baby’s born, you think it can’t get worse because you’re not sleeping, but you think it can’t get better because you’re on that baby high. Then, when your baby’s on real food – you think it’s the worst because they start getting picky with food, but it’s the best because you don’t have to use formula. Then, when they start crawling, you think it’s the worst because they’re all of the sudden able to get under and around things – but it’s the best because they’re now physical. Then, they start walking, talking, running, and getting a personality – and well, you know the deal. So it’s hard to put things in perspective and say “this isn’t the worst or best – it’s just another phase.” Right now, my three year old son is talking back and not listening – so I think it’s the worst phase, but it’s also been the best because he’s really sweet and is starting to tell jokes, play catch, and all sorts of other cute stuff. But, looking at things in the worst/best model just swings the pendulum of life too far, too often. So, perspective helps you say “this is great, and I can’t wait to see what else happens,” or “his attitude is bad, but at least he’s healthy.”
My advice is always to go with your gut. We’re sold on this idea in parenting that the mom’s got an intuition but dad doesn’t, simply because the baby didn’t come out of us. But dads are intimately linked with their children – and it’s proven biologically! New fathers get an increase in Oxytocin and Prolactin just like moms – and those hormones help bond dads with the new baby. So follow your gut, dads! I mean, make informed decisions…but remember, it’s your kid, not the internet’s!
Balancing being a father and writing about fatherhood is tough sometimes. I’m always wary to make sure that I’m spending more time being a father than talking about being a father. While I’m writing, if my son comes over to me and asks me to watch TV with him or play blocks with him, I drop everything and do it, if possible. This kills productivity with my writing sometimes, but the most productive thing I can be is a father – so in the long run, it’s a win-win.
I’ve learned that there’s a million ways to raise a kid, but we’re all headed toward the same goal. As dad bloggers, we go around and around over smaller points and practices of fatherhood, but we’re all trying to make our kids the best we can. Some of them will turn out to be athletes, some will turn out to be musicians, some will be computer programmers. But we’re all looking for our kids to be happy, healthy and ultimately, good fathers themselves.
Just remember, when you’re holding your new baby and freaking out, that there are kids born all over the world – and a lot of them are in worse conditions than you. And you know what? The kids turn out fine. So – when you’re arguing with your spouse over whether to keep the heat in your home at 70 degrees or 74 degrees – it just doesn’t matter. When you’re stressing out about your kid not walking at the same time as the other kids in his parent-and-me group, it just doesn’t matter. As long as you’re a good person (subject to an evaluation by a jury of your peers), you just do what you need to do and the baby will turn out alright. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a little research when you’re unsure about something – it just means that when you’re freaked out over something minor, relax. If nothing’s broken or bleeding, you’re fine. And sometimes, even when they’re bleeding, it’s okay too! Just keep the pediatrician in your phonebook though….just in case.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I can’t even single things out – because it’s all been memorable. I love my kid’s personality, and I’ve loved watching it come to life. I remember day-to-day things more than the milestones.
The first time my kid walked? Who knows! But I remember when my son asked a waiter “Can you do me a solid? Can you bring me a spoon?” That kind of stuff is classic. No one ever says “man, it was great when your kid started walking,” but everyone at the table remembers when he asked the waiter to do him a solid!
If you have any questions for Zach, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!