Our 470th Dad in the Limelight is CJ Antonucci. I want to thank CJ 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)
My name is CJ Antonucci, I am 35 years old and have been writing/blogging for only a few months. I work in the construction industry helping people get back on their feet after a catastrophic loss. I also own and manage several commercial real estate properties. I am unsure as to how I am in the limelight, honestly I try and avoid it at all costs. I like to keep to myself when it comes to sharing my thoughts and opinions about personal things especially parenting, but once I became a parent and had an opportunity to share my insight it became something I began to take seriously and use my inexperience, or in many cases, lack of, and write about it in the hopes that it would help other fathers out there who are just starting out see that they were not alone in their struggles both physically and more importantly emotionally. Writing for my friend’s site Life Of Dad has given me the outlet I needed to vent without being harshly judged for what I say. Writing for me, even though I am not a full time stay at home father or “SAHD Blogger” has become therapeutic and allowed me to meet other dads who are just like me. Working their butts off to give their kids a great life whether its at a job or home in the trenches.
2) Tell me about your family
I have been with the same wonderful woman for over 16 years, married for half of them. We met in college and never looked back (she was the one who picked me up at a party). We just recently had our first child, our 2 year old daughter and she had changed our lives forever. I grew up one of 4 boys so having a daughter is both scary as hell and rewarding all at the same time. My brother had a daughter that I helped take care of a lot because he was in the military so that experience helped me realize I was ready and able to be a father. It is the reason I have a child today.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The largest challenge has to be balancing it all. Balancing the work, the relationship with my wife, the time I want to spend with my daughter and still being a strong father/man for our family. Being a parent, whether it’s a mom or a dad takes a strength that you don’t know you have until you need it. It was hard for me to transition from a SAHD to a working father because of the bond that I had created with my daughter. It took weeks and months of being depressed about being at work instead of with her where I felt I needed to be more. Time has a way of helping with all of that as well as the knowledge that by going to work and providing a good life for my family is just as, if not more important in some ways.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
“Be there” Work will be there the rest of your life, so will yard work and there will be time to drink beer with your friends. I personally feel that the early years that you dedicate the time and energy to your child/children will pay you back 100000x later in life, or at least I hope it does. I think a lot of us grew up as “latch key kids” and we didn’t have the time with our parents we maybe wanted. I know when I used to teach HS I could see it in my students. Time, my friends, is one thing that we can never get back no matter how rich we are. Spend time with your family it’s a wonderful investment.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I would be lying to you if I told you I had a solid hold on it. I think what has worked for me and my family is trying to incorporate it as much as possible. We attend family friendly functions and we bring our daughter with us to as many things as possible. I mean my wife and I enjoy a date night every so often or a guys night and vice a versa, but outside of keeping work to a 8-5 and then spending the rest of the time working on the family. It’s still a work in progress…. Sorry no sage advice on this one, its whatever works for you.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I think what I have learned is that it’s ok to still be a big kid, albeit a responsible one, but it’s ok to still do fun stuff with your kids. I think I have more fun now as a dad than I did when I was a kid. Maybe it’s the fact that we can still relate to our kids with using technology to bridge any divide. I have also learned that we all want the best for our kids and that being scared or unsure of something is normal. It’s a good feeling having a support network like the ones that are out there.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I would like to think that all my experiences as a father have made me a better man. Every day I look at this little girl that needs so much from me and my wife and I know that I have to be there for her to make sure that she is taken care of. I think about all the little things that she does that makes my heart swell and can’t imagine my life without her. It makes me mad to think I waited as long as I did to have her. One last thing about this question, I believe that being a father has helped to put things in perspective and allowed me to better prioritize my life so I can be the parent/father I need to be.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
It has to be watching her grow and how smart she is already. I swear to you that she can pretty much operate an I phone/I pad better than some adults. It is amazing to see the wheels turning in her little head. I hope that she grows up knowing that she is as smart as she is beautiful. Watching her learn to do new things, say new words and grow as a little person fills me with a pride that just cannot be explained.
If you have any questions for CJ, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!