Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Robb McKinney ( @Distracted_Dad ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 508th Dad in the Limelight is Robb McKinney. I want to thank Robb for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Robb-McKinney

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I’m a brand new dad of fraternal twin boys and married to my high school sweetheart. After college*, we moved from Orlando, Florida to the Seattle area of Washington on a wing and a prayer; we’d always wanted to come out here and figured being fresh out of school with no kids or mortgage would be an ideal time to just pack up and go. *Author’s note: My degree is NOT in spontaneity.

 

We’ve had some challenges in the7+ years since we got here: job turmoil during the recession, a cancer diagnosis for me, infertility, and some complicated emotional health issues. The good news is that all of these things have been successfully dealt with. In the case of infertility, we had a successful IVF that brought us two beautiful boys.

 

As for the “limelight”, I suppose I stand in it as a dad who has overcome a lot and has a lot more to overcome. I struggle with some emotional health issues, the need to find a new job that allows me to work from home more, and other “inconveniences” that make this whole fatherhood thing more challenging for me than I could ever have imagined

 

2) Tell me about your family

I’m an only child of a single mother from the Midwest; there’s not an awful lot to tell there. I’m married to a gal I met in high school who was willing to do a long distance relationship for a while, put up with my shenanigans, and eventually marry and have a life with me. Hopefully history is kind in judging her.

 

Robb-McKinney

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I already mentioned that I’m dealing with some emotional health issues (is there any way of saying that that doesn’t make me sound totally cray-cray?), but while that’s very real, it’s also long term, so I’ll put a pin in that. The biggest challenge I have really faced since becoming a father was the change to my everyday life. I know that every parent has a major change to their life, but I feel like for me, there was a mental wall that kept me from accepting some of those changes. It STILL keeps me from accepting some of those changes.

 

I work nights, which in my case means I work from the afternoon to 10-11ish at night. My wife works an 8-5 job, which means for most days of the week, she’s asleep when I get home, and I’m asleep when she leaves.

 

This means that for years, I have had the house to myself for hours after I got home, during which I could basically do what I wanted. Other days I was able to just run to the store or sequester myself to get some writing done. When my wife and I had a whole day together, we could just go wherever we wanted with little to no planning. I could come home late from work or leave early. I could watch a horror movie with the volume up, hang out in the hammock with a beer, or get some stuff scratched off my to-do list.

 

I knew that all would change, I really did, but it still managed to blind side me. Being able to pop over to Starbucks for a bit suddenly required planning, and it might not be able to happen at all.

Freedom as a childless adult switched to responsibility as a father of twins with such a level of totality that I’m still adjusting to it 5+ months later.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

At this point, I can only base any advice on about six months of experience, but I’m really smart about cooking hipster food and identifying bird species, so I think I’m pretty well qualified.

Robb-McKinney

If you are about to be a father or are a brand-new father, you will be showered with advice from every direction. Your friends, family, books, blogs, websites, the advice that plays when you run Devo’s 1979 album “Duty Now for the Future”; all of these sources will be providing advice – some good, some bad, some contradictory – until your head can’t hold any more info. Learning what to do when the baby is two months old two months before the baby is born winds up being lost in the ether of having a baby.

The advice you get, whether from personal or professional sources, is always offered with the best of intentions. Just be ready to take it with a thousand grains of salt.

 

Except for this advice. You should totally take this advice.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

In a lot of ways we haven’t, truth be told. As I said, my wife and I work opposing schedules, and although I’ve cut down my workload by a few days a week, our odd sleep schedules can throw off an entire day. While I have picked up some (very) light at-home work, the hunt continues for more gainful employment that still allows me to spend more time at home with the boys without sacrificing too many of life’s pleasures, like a house and electricity.

 

Maybe just as tough has been our child care situation. We have a sitter two days a week when we both have to be out of the home at our jobs, and she’s great. What we don’t have is the network of family members and close (geographically) friends who can help us out with a Sunday afternoon or Friday night off in exchange for the pleasure of spending a few hours with the babies.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I’ve learned that I’m not alone! Although my journey is, of course, unique to me, some dad somewhere out there has had similar experiences. Going into this, I had this preconceived notion that every other dad out there was this heroic character, some Superdad who, from the birth of his child on, slept eight hours, had an immediate work-life balance, knew all the rules to every sport, and could do his high-paying IT job from home when and if he felt like it. Sure, there are probably plenty of those dads, and I mean no disrespect; it’s just that it took me a while to figure out that that was not what was demanded of me. Loving and raising and protecting and teaching can be enough.

 

 

Robb-McKinney

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I can only go as far as (almost) six months, and my point of view is skewed a bit by having twins, but my worst and best experience so far has been the emotional rollercoaster that my life has become. I’ve felt happier and more terrified than ever before in my life. I’ve experienced a whole new kind of love and a new level of frustration and self-doubt. I want help and want to be left alone and respected. I want to be the protector and leader of my kids and surrender to them completely. I never knew I had such an emotional range!

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

I’m in the position of being a new enough parent that all my memories are first-time and fresh, but with such a short time and two babies, I am also in such a fog  sometimes that memories blur together, or they’re there but the attached emotion is faded, if it was ever anything more complex than “Baby cute. Me like.”

 

So for the sake of this question I’m going with two memories:

 

The first was shortly after the boys had begun “social smiling”, in other words smiling that was not (necessarily) succeeded by the passing of gas or a bowel movement. My wife had recently gone back to work, and I was in charge in the mornings. I went into the nursery to start our day, and each baby greeted me with a huge, exuberant smile. I’ll never know if they were happy to see me, their old man, or me, bringer of clean diapers and food, but it was still one of the best feelings of my life.

 

More recently, they have started to really notice and interact with each other. Watching them reach out and feel each other, take things away from each other, grab one another’s clothes, and so on, has the feel of a nature documentary but the emotional impact of seeing our sons start to become sentient beings. It’s probably the most I’ve felt like they’re “real” people, and to me it launched the next stage of our lives together.

 

If you have any questions for Robb, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jerry Dugan ( @JerryDugan ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 507th Dad in the Limelight is Jerry Dugan. I want to thank Jerry for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Jerry-Dugan

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

 

My name is Jerry Dugan from the blog, The Real Jerry Dugan. I grew up as an Army BRAT living in countries like Japan and Germany. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. Today, I have a blog, a podcast called “Family Time Q&A”, and have written an eBook called Strength Revisited which is available as a free download from my blog.

 

The title of my blog started as a joke when I was racing against a video/film director from Las Vegas for web presence in 2007. Out of frustration I shouted, “I’m the real Jerry Dugan!” and found the domain name was available.

 

My blogging has mostly focused on sharing the real me as I experience life’s challenges and joys as a husband and father. Having served in a men’s ministry for three years, and working as a community educator for a battered women’s shelter for nearly four years, I have seen there’s a great need for men to recognize the harmful lies about masculinity we’ve been fed, and be the “real” (genuine and authentic) men our families need us to be.

 

2) Tell me about your family

I joined the Army after college even though my dad once told me, “Do whatever you want in life…except join the Army.” It’s one of the few times I’ll say ignoring wisdom pays off, because it was in the Army where I met my wonderful wife, Olivia.

 

Thirteen years later, and we have a teenage son, a pre-teen ballerina daughter, a prissy cat, and a zombie-fighting dog. Together, we run a weekly podcast called “Family Time Q&A” where I sit down with a different family member each week and we ask each other a candid question. The idea behind the podcast is that we demonstrate the way we interact with each other by having a show that is unscripted and unedited. This includes allowing my kids a voice to challenge me when I am being unfair or to explain a decision they did not understand.

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

My job as a father is to help my children become they people they were meant to be, so I have to constantly think about doing what builds them up. The hardest challenge about being a father is adapting to be the father my children need me to be. They are both unique from each other, but they are also unique from me. They have their own different interests, Love Languages, communication styles, etc.

 

I don’t always get this right, and on occasion I’ll yell out of frustration. At that point, I have to decide between the “satisfaction of being in charge,” or getting humble and repairing my relationship with my children.

 

They need to know that my love is unconditional, that I am am a flawed human like anyone else, and I want them to learn how to handle those conflicts in a healthy way. It’s a challenge to do that when I am learning myself. I have to swallow a lot of pride.

Jerry-Dugan

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Be present. Spend time with them doing what they like doing. That may mean hanging up the “machismo” to do a cheer routine, or sing along to Disney tunes, watching hours of Sponge Bob Square Pants, and even not watching Monday Night Football. That time spent with your kids will be worth it in the long run, because they’ll remember those moments you spent with them and repeat it with their own children.

 

Be real with your kids by being authentic and vulnerable with them. Your kids needs to live up to only being themselves, the best versions of themselves they want to be.

 

Having served in the U.S. Army and been a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I realized that at the end of my life none of my achievements, knowledge, or popularity would matter to me. Only one more moment with the people I love would matter most. I’ve seen the funerals of men whose estranged children were not present. We don’t have to have estranged children, but that will require we become humble as men to make that happen.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

My relationship priorities in life follow this order: God, marriage, my children, then everything else.

 

So, by spending time in prayer and meditation, I remind myself how wonderful my wife is. Treating her with respect, love, and priority models healthy relationships for my children while actually keeping my marriage healthy. My children do not worry about us divorcing even though we have had quite a few families fall apart from divorce.

 

I have passed up higher paying jobs because the commute would take more time away from my family. When it comes to scheduling my life, time with my family is more important than time with the guys, clubs, mixers, etc. Knowing our priorities has made it easy for me to say yes to what matters and no to what doesn’t.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

In general, most fathers I have met wish to build their kids up and give them the best they can. Whether we go about it in a way that works, or not, that seems to be the core of what we intend. The fathers who seem to get it right do not try to create tough-guy clones of themselves. Instead, they simply show love to their kids, give encouragement where others would bring down an iron fist of discipline, and they even place their family priorities over their work priorities. Shocker, right?

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

The biggest thing I have learned, and am still learning, is how important it is to stay humble every day. My weakest moments as a father have been when I held onto my pride and asserted my position as an authority figure in the home.

 

No matter what I do, my family is watching. Even the things we think we do behind closed doors or in secret have ways of manifesting in our outward appearances and behaviors.

 

Some of the stories my children have enjoyed and learned from me the most have been the moments I shared my shortcomings with them. My children see me as their hero. They have more respect for me when I share how much of a real human I am.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

 

My children are now both in middle school, and I am still amazed at how they love to cuddle with my wife and I. While they are growing up so quickly, it is in those moments that I am reminded they are also our babies and they love us.

If you have any questions for Jerry, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – G Brandon Cunningham ( @ChrisWi25757871 ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 506th Dad in the Limelight is G Brandon Cunningham. I want to thank Brandon for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
g-brandon-cunningham1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I am 44 years old and recently joined the Pastoral Staff of a growing church in Corpus Christi. They are almost done with a new building and wanted someone with experience to help it grow and reach more people. I have grown a campus for another church to over 500 people and had the experience in building systems and developing leaders.

 

2) Tell me about your family
I am remarried and have 5 children. I have 4 boys ages 20, 20, 17 & 17 and one girl that is 13. Obviously there are step brothers in there. We have two miniature schnauzers and live a very blessed life. I married my bride 8 years ago on the beach in Corpus Christi.

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Being a step dad is very hard work. You are not replacing anyone since they are still in the picture so you have to find your own place in the family. You start by loving their mom and showing patience with their relationship with their dad. Then you have to balance the fact you are working hard to connect with these two boys when you have 3 children you brought into the marriage. It is situation you win at sometimes and lose at big time other times. The key is consistency. You have to apply the same rules and consequences to all the kids and never refer to them as yours and hers. Also never say anything negative about the dad even if it is true because they will resent you for it.

 g-brandon-cunningham

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Probably answered that in the previous question but since I am a pastor I will keep going. Best advice I received and give is to love their mother. You have to show love to their mother even if it is your ex and you are “justified” in your words or anger. You also have to show love and grace to their father in the step parent area. Most important is whether you are divorced, remarried or still married, love their mom more than them. If you show them that your wife means more than them they will go find a wife like that and not over value their kids.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
We have all heard about Pastor’s kids and believe me that can be very true. Two of mine went off the rails and got involved in drugs because I was too focused on the church and growing my career. I had to take 2 years off from full time ministry to refocus on the family. In order to do that I had to ask them what they wanted from me. I had to ask what I did wrong and how to fix it. I asked my kids and my wife but I also asked mentors that were further along than me. I surrounded myself with men I could trust and would guide me. I also restarted something I used to do which we call a day alone. Because we had so many kids a day all to themselves with us was huge.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I learned most of us get it wrong. We try to get them to like us when we should be trying to get them to like themselves. Kids have friends but they need a dad that guides them and cares enough to let them fail sometimes. I learned most kids just want a dad to teach them not do it for them.

 

g-brandon-cunningham

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I think going to church and prayer is a good thing but they have to see you act it out in your everyday life. They need to see you extend grace to those that don’t deserve it and not be something different on Monday than you claim to be on Sunday. Kids want dad to be real and not a hypocrite. Raising teenagers and young adults is harder than babies but also very rewarding. I wouldn’t trade my worst day because it is still a thrill to see them succeed.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
My 17 year old son telling me he wanted to pay for his own gas because that is what a man does in life. He pays his own way. Now I have had a lot and we do still pay for his gas because that is something we do so they focus on grades. It was just a big moment to see your son claiming his manhood and taking responsibility for his life.
If you have any questions for Brandon, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Chris Williams ( @ChrisWi25757871 ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 505th Dad in the Limelight is Chris Williams. 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.

Chris-williams1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I’m a director of animated movies and a dad with a 6 year old girl and 4 year old boy — it’s his birthday as I write this.  I was born in Missouri but grew up in Canada — in Kitchener, Ontario.  I was offered a job at Disney Animation Studios 20 years ago and I’ve been living in Los Angeles ever since.  I met my wife here in LA even though we grew up just half an hour from each other in Canada.
I’ve worked as a storyboard artist on Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Frozen, and wrote and storyboarded on The Emperor’s New Groove.  I directed Bolt and I’m currently directing Big Hero 6 with Don Hall.  This job is a dream come true and I try not to take it for granted or lose sight of how lucky I am.
Chris-williams2) Tell me about your family.
My wife Astrid grew up in Ancaster, Ontario and has worked as an assistant editor but now takes care of our two beautiful monsters.
Our girl is named Harper and she’s just gone into first grade.  She’s wild and fun and confident.  Our boy is Charlie.  He’s 4 and he’s a sweet little guy, except when he’s not.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The biggest challenge for me as a dad is balancing time.  Finding time for everything is tough and I know it’s something most dads deal with.  My job demands that I work long hours and the schedule is out of my control, so when I’m home I want to be there for them.  I want to indulge all of their whims and be very present.  It means that ultimately I have very little time for myself so I try to make the most of it.  There’s very little down time, but that’s just the way it goes, I guess.  My kids are amazing and certainly worth whatever sacrifices I’ve made.
Chris-williams
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
As far as advice for other Dad’s, that’s a tough one — I feel like I’m still figuring it out.  Maybe one day I’ll look back and consider myself an expert, but now I’m not sure I feel qualified.  If you’re a new dad, prepare to have your priorities turned completely upside down.  Your first thought, in any given situation, won’t be ‘what’s best for me?’ — it’ll be ‘what’s best for my kids?’
And hold off on the sweets did as long as you can, cause once they get a taste for it, there’s no going back.
Also, if you say something, mean it.  Don’t let them think they can change your mind once you’ve told them a rule. Inconsistency is stressful for you and confusing for them.
Chris-williams5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Balancing parenthood and outside life is the hardest thing.  You never feel like you’re doing enough.  That’s not really an answer is it?
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned that most parents have  similar experiences.  The sacrifices and the rewards are similar.  It’s nice to know you’re not alone.
Chris-williams7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I guess I’d suggest trying to keep your cool as much as you can.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.  And stay off those cell phones when you’re around them.  I know it’s tempting but kids shouldn’t think that little box has more to offer than they do.  And get as much sleep as you can.  A good night sleep changes everything.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
As I think back on all the memories, I’m smiling thinking about their accomplishments.  The swim lessons where they learned to put their heads under water, letting go of Harper when she was learning to ride her bike.  It’s little things like that.  Harper’s crazy ideas and Charlie’s laugh make me so happy.

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!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jason Moles ( @TheJasonMoles ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 504th Dad in the Limelight is Jason Moles. I want to thank Jason for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Jason-Moles

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I usually tell guys I’m a trophy husband and the dad their kids wish they were. Today will be no different. (laughing) I’m a happily married father of three. I’m a freelance writer who, when not building forts or attending tea parties, can usually be found at Starbucks or asleep at his desk at his real job.
I’m in the limelight as an advocate for involved fathers whose sarcasm is as affable as the stories he shares on his blog. After becoming a father, I realized I had to do things differently than what I viewed as “normal” parenting. I sought out the wisdom of those who’ve gone before me and started sharing what I learned with anyone who would listen. Over time, I parlayed my unsolicited advice giving into a decent side gig.
2) Tell me about your family.
Where to start? I married my high school sweetheart shortly after she graduated and we’ve been going strong ever since. Most people are shocked to learn that we’re a home schooling family. Living out our faith as Christians is paramount to us. I teach Bible class every morning to our three kids (all under 9) and my wife takes over when I leave for work. We enjoy being silly and laughing – no matter who’s watching. If I’m ever too old to be silly in the middle of the busiest aisle, I don’t deserve to live (laughing). We dabble in art, CrossFit, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when the weather forces us indoors. When it doesn’t, we enjoy our time at the park or on the beach during the day and sitting by the campfire at night making S’mores.
Jason-Moles3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Trying to do right by my kids without actually having ever been taught how to be a dad. While my adolescence wasn’t necessarily akin to Shawn Hunter’s from ‘Boy Meets World,’ it certainly wasn’t like the Taylor boys from ‘Home Improvement’ either. Absent parents left me feeling inadequate as parent – even more so as a father. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources that I’ve utilized in my rags to riches story. It’s a constant battle, though, and the reason why I have a section in my library devoted to parenting – especially when it comes to being a good father.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Be intentional. Nothing truly great ever happens by chance. If you want to raise healthy, loving kids, you need to be intentional about your involvement in their day-to-day life.Children spell ‘love’ T-I-M-E and as the sands slip through the hourglass, dad, do your best to shower your kids with it.

Oh, and don’t be scared to make mistakes. Just be sure to ask for forgiveness when it happens. The impact that will have on all involved will be profound.
Jason-Moles
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

I haven’t. Nor do I want to. No matter where I go or what I do, I’m still someone’s husband and I’m still someone’s daddy. Maybe it’s just my personality, but I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. I’m not convinced you can be truly great at more than one thing. Since I’m going to be a dad for the rest of my life, that is what I will strive to be until I’ve breathed my last breath. Sure, my wife and I still go out on dates, but we find our happiness being with our kids. With only 24 hours in a given day, I’m not sure there’s anything worth adding to my calendar.

Jason-Moles6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

The power of not only my words, but also the tone of my voice and the expression on my face. Sometimes the things we say communicate a completely different message than what we intend. Something said in jest, can have major impacts down the road if not understood properly. This is especially important to remember as I raise my son and daughters. I don’t ever want something I’ve said to be the cause of their pain.

 

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Being rejected by my son was possibly the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure as a father. They say that it’s something all dads experience, that it’s normal. An unavoidable part of life. Something to be worked though and learned from. They may be right, but that does nothing to lessen the sting of rejection. It didn’t last for more than a couple of days, but his refusal to give me a hug or utter more than a few words exacted an intolerable toll on me.
Jason-Moles
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Admittedly, I have a terrible memory. Much to the displeasure of my lovely wife, first steps are lost on me if she’s not there to remind me. I’m not much better with first words either. But I’ll never forget the excitement of and joy of feeding the giraffes at the zoo, going down the water slides at Great Wolf Lodge, or teaching my son to pee outdoors.

If you have any questions for Jason, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jock Mcmillan ( @jockMcM ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 503rd Dad in the Limelight is Jock Mcmillan. I want to thank Jock for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you. Jock-Mcmillan

 

1)      Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved to England as a boy but still cherish my Scottish roots. I am the father of five fine sons and grandfather to six bonny wee grandkids aged from 1 to 5 years who I am lucky enough to see on a very regular basis.

 

We have lived together as a family for the last 40 odd years, most of it in our crumbling but lovely 16th century stone farmhouse in the county of Shropshire near the Welsh border in a small isolated upland rural community with a church, a pub and many fine friends. Some of my sons have been born in this house and all have lived together as a great bunch of brothers until moving off to start their own independent lives and all are regular visitors home. I was determined that they should not be uprooted as I was and we have been fortunate, almost uniquely these days, in providing stability and continuity where my sons know almost everyone in the parish and their children can now climb the same trees and walk the same fields as they did.

 

I have been a criminal lawyer all my working life and have spent the last four decades knocking around the courts and meeting young dads who just don’t know what to do with their kids – especially their sons. That stems mostly from the lack of parenting they received themselves. I have seen countless clients smacked out of their faces on drugs, waiting at court with their girlfriend and baby and realized that these babies are blighted too if their parents don’t know what they should be doing with them.

 

I wondered why I did not really struggle and why my sons have taken taken to it so well? The answer was simple. I had a great dad myself and that just absorbing the example of good parenting I was given has been the factor that has helped me most.

 

That is when I sat down to write “The Good Dad Guide” – a 30 minute guide to parenting for fathers and mothers. It is available worldwide as a paperback from Amazon and independents and as an ebook from Kobo and Kindle for about the price of a pint. If it helps one dad or mum to be a better parent, it’ll have been worth the effort. I suppose writing the book has attracted attention and being interviewed by the BBC has put me in the limelight, if albeit, faintly!

 

2) Tell me about your family

My wife and I have five sons, Charlie, Lex, John, Ben and Tom and I now have six grandchildren – with more to come, no doubt!

 

I deeply loved my own father and he had a great relationship with his. My father died thirty-odd years ago when my sons were then aged one and two. I was devastated, not just for my loss, but because my sons would be deprived of his love and input into their lives. I then made a conscious resolution that I would try to pass on all that he had given me. It seems to have worked. My eldest son is at the moment a very happy stay at home dad looking after his two beautiful daughters whilst his wife is the breadwinner. My next son is an architect who lives in Finland with his son, daughter and wife. Two, and soon to be three, of my other sons run their own firm as traditional  stonemasons here in Shropshire. We have become an international family with bilingual grandchildren with my sons’ spouses coming from Finland, India and Spain as well as England. My wife is an amazing gardener and mother and cook and still finds time to help out in my office. She has somehow survived as the only female in a household of 7 men where even our cats and dogs were male! We are a happy functioning family and life is good.

 

Jock-Mcmillan 3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I suppose it was the day my wife and I came back to our holiday hotel in Greece after a stroll along the bay leaving the children in the care of their grandparents. A holidaymaker came up to me and asked if I was Mr McMillan. I said I was and he told me that my son had been drowned. I asked which one? He didn’t know and I realised it didn’t matter. There followed a frantic few hours whilst enquiries were made of the hospital, news eventually came that he was not in fact dead but on life support and a nightmare taxi ride to Corfu hospital wondering if he would survive, and if he did, whether or not he would have brain damage. It was every parents worst nightmare. When we got to the hospital he was being treated and in an oxygen tent. He recognised us, I cuddled him and asked him what was 7 plus 4? He said 11 and that was it. Relief. I spent 4 days sleeping on his bed with him and he was released to go with me back to his mum and brothers. Next year we took him to the same hotel and he swam in the same pool, just to lay any ghosts. From that time on whenever we were on a beach or swimming pool I would stand and watch and count heads, 1,2,3,4,5 over and over again.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

This is not a plug for my book, but it contains 40 pages of advice,but that is mostly on the peripheral stuff that makes life easy. All a father really needs to know is that he has a duty to provide his child with love and consistency. How he does that will vary in a million ways as all our circumstances are different. If love and consistency are at the core of a dad’s interaction with his child he will not go far wrong.

Jock-Mcmillan

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

I have a busy life as a trial lawyer, I am also a sailor and a folk musician and a keen supporter of my local,The Royal Oak.

 

A dad is given the greatest gift in raising a child. It is a gift that imposes a duty  that takes priority over everything else. You should give your children unstinting love, cherishing and attention. Reality does get in the way however. We have to earn a living. We are allowed outside interests and a social life. You just need to be aware of what you should be doing, and if you miss out sometimes, recognise that and do your best to rectify it. Childhood is a series of days that follow days and one day you will wake up and realise your son is eighteen. Did you get it right when you had the chance? Just bear that in mind as you set out on fatherhood. They only have one childhood and now is the time for you to get it right.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I have seen many excellent caring fathers, but it was the love and care of my own father that was my greatest influence. When you get that handed down on a plate, it comes naturally when it is your turn.

 

On the other hand, I have interacted with thousands of fathers who had no clue as how to bring up their children – through no fault of their own. As a defence lawyer I have read thousands of background reports on young offenders. I could count on the fingers of these two hands the number of times I have read something like ” Joe comes from a stable family background, had a happy childhood and was an excellent student at school and it is a surprise that he has gone off the rails.”  I have however read thousands and thousands of reports that say something like ” Bob was born to a 15 year old mother who was then kicked out of her home, lived with the father who beat her up. He went to prison and  another man moved in who also abused her. Bob’s earliest memories are of crying himself to sleep as his mother screamed. He remembers going to the bathroom and seeing blood and a clump of her hair on the floor. Another man moved in who locked Bob in the bedroom whilst he and mum smoked crack. He was sexually abused by that man and then taken into care. He was in 12 children’s homes and when he left, could not get a job, struggled to read and write and now steals to buy the heroin he takes to blank out his memories” (Bob’s story is true. Others are infinitely worse.)

 

So what have I learned from fathers I have interacted with?I have learned that some fathers, because of their own lack of a proper role model, completely screw up their children’s lives and no amount of input from teachers or probation officers can sort it out. We have to start with the deprived fathers who did not have a chance themselves and break this vicious circle of hopelessness. That is why I wrote the book. Jock-Mcmillan

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

It is the greatest gift, it brings great responsibilities and demands that you see that there is more to life than self. It’s reward is the love of your child and as time moves on, of your grandchild, and a glowing satisfaction in seeing a new generation that will contribute to the good of your family and society in general.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

I of course remember the birth of Charlie my eldest. Jane was helping me build a wardrobe and thought the baby was overdue so jumped off a chair to speed things up! Then there was Lex’s birth, at home in our cottage. The midwife was a local farmer’s wife and she was late arriving as they had a cow calving. I saw her car pull up just as he started to be born. I shouted to her and tried to push him back. It didn’t work and when she eventually bustled up to the bedroom, I had delivered him and he was sitting on the bed! She sent me off with a flea in my ear to boil kettles of water! Then there was Johnny, born in this house who’s first act was to pee in the midwife’s eye, but in the nicest possible way! Then Benjy the most beautiful blonde child and the last child to be born in our village, and finally Tom who came so quickly that I drove at 80 miles an hour for the 15 miles to the hospital with headlights flashing and my hand on the horn and he was delivered in the reception booth!

 

Perhaps one of my fondest memories was when I walked back from the Royal Oak one night with Roy a farmer friend who came in for a quick Scotch on the way home. I went to check on the kids who had a penchant for deserting their own bedrooms and sleeping in a pile with their brothers in one bed, one sucking his thumb (or possibly his brother’s) and another holding a brother’s ear. Roy came up and said ” Johnny Mac they’re like pigs in a ruck”. If you have ever seen a litter of snuggling piglets snoozing in a warm pile of little bodies, you will know what he meant. That is the memory of brotherhood and family life that I will always treasure. Chaos, but all happy, secure and content.

 

You can contact me on twitter @jockMcM and follow a link in my tweets to my ebook and paperback and also one of the BBC interviews.

 

If you have any questions for Jock, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Chris Pegula ( @thediaperdude ) #dadchat #giveaway

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 502nd Dad in the Limelight is Chris Pegula. 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.

Chris-Pegula

  1. Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
    I’m a dad of 3 children (Kai -15, Juliette – 13 and Cole -10.)  I grew up in Pa and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Acting.  After moving to LA to pursue my career my wife and I had our first child – Kai.  One day while pregnant, my wife came home with a dozen flowery diaper bags.  She was so excited to show me and my first reaction was “Where’s mine?”   She said “Take your pick.”  I responded “There’s no way in hell I will be caught wearing one of those!”  That’s when the idea for Diaper Dude was born (cool, hip diaper bags for dads.)  I launched the brand a few years after that and am now entering into our 11th year.  Time flies.  I also just wrote a book called From Dude to Dad: The Diaper Dude Guide to Pregnancy.  Essentially it is a guide for dads entering the pregnancy stage.  The book gives tips and information on pregnancy and what dads can do to be the best partner they can during this new journey.  It’s available on Amazon as well as all major book stores.
  2. Tell me about your family
    My family is a blast.  My beautiful wife is also a graduate of NYU.   She is an actress and singer/songwriter as well as an MFT intern on the way to getting her license this year.  My children are spirited, creative types.  My oldest loves baseball, my daughter love singing and acting and my youngest is the next Steve Jobs :-).Chris-Pegula
  3. What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father? 
    I think the hardest challenge for me being a dad is being able to be in 3 different places at one time.  It’s impossible so there is always someone who will be disappointed.  I am a very involved dad and when it comes to showing up for my kids, I am there front and center.  It’s when my wife and I need to split up to be in 2 places at the same time that I feel bummed that I am missing out. Finding alone time with each child can have it’s challenges as well.   It’s also challenging to find alone time with my wife at home.  That’s why we choose to make 2 date nights a week minimum.  We value our relationship and need that alone, bonding time.  Everyone needs to find that time with their partner.  It’s a must.
  4. What advice would you give to other fathers?
    Having a strong foundation with your partner is so important when you become a parent.  I have witnessed so many friends go through break ups years after their children were born because they never found the time to work on their relationship.  I think it’s important to keep that in mind and make that a priority.  It all goes by so fast too.  It’s hard to believe that when you are in the thick of it, but trust me, I thought I’d never see the day my kids would become teenagers and now I wish I had those toddler days back.  Well…sort ofJ  Also keep in mind that when you become a dad you don’t need to lose your identity.  I talk more about that as well as keeping a strong foundation in my book From Dude To Dad.   Check it out for more info.Chris-Pegula
  5. How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
    This is probably the most challenging aspect of being a parent, husband and an entrepreneur.  Prioritizing what’s important helped me to balance these 3.  First and foremost comes family.  After all having children is what inspired me to start my company Diaper Dude.  Work is definitely a huge part of my life but I make it a point to never sacrifice family time for work.  Like the saying goes “slow and steady wins the race.”  I have a lifetime to spend building my company but my kids are only around for a limited time before they begin their journey into adulthood.  I would hate to look back and say “If only I spent more time with my kids.”  Happily I can say that is not the case.
  6. What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
    I think the main theme from other fathers I’ve interacted with is the fear of the unknown and fear of losing your identity once you become a parent.  I too felt the same way when I became a dad 3 times over.  At first it’s how is my life going to change?  For the second it’s Can I manage another kid on top of the first?  For the third it was Will I ever get to see my wife alone?  These are all common fears guys (and possibly even moms) experience.  It’s actually somewhat reassuring knowing you’re not the only one feeling this way.  Part of the reason I wrote my book was to let other dads know that it’s ok to have these feelings.  It’s better to acknowledge and get in touch with your fears so you can be more available once you actually become a dad.Chris-Pegula
  7. What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
    Once I became a dad I realized that being in control is virtually impossible.  You always need to be flexible and open.  This may sound weird but imagine yourself as water – filling in the spaces that are open.  I’ve learned as a dad I need to be flexible.  This is hard to adjust to if you are a control freak.  Going with the flow will make parenting much more easy and enjoyable.
  8. What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
    I would have to say that the birth of my children has been a moment I will never forget.  Each child’s birth was so moving I never imagined experiencing so much love in one moment.  The only other time I could think of was when I got married.  My family has been a gift I will always appreciate and I am thankful for the lessons learned as a parent, husband and individual.  I love my job as a writer and business owner but nothing is as rewarding as the job of being a dad.

Giveaway

Chris was great enough to let us run a giveaway for any Bag on his site diaperdude.com- How would you like to win this for yourself or for your family? All you need to do is fill out the below form to be entered.  The contest will run for two weeks and will end on January 18, 2015.

Winner must be a resident of the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners are chosen at random, if you want all your chances counted, make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!

Winner has 48 hours to contact me or another name will be chosen.

 

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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!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jasun Williams ( @DaddyDoinRight ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Jasun-WilliamsOur 501st Dad in the Limelight is Jasun Williams. I want to thank Jasun 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 Jasun Williams and I Iive in Wilmington, NC. I battled many things in my life but overcame them and am proud to say I have God in my life. I am an outgoing, funny, confident, individual that loves and appreciates life. I’ve been a Stay at Home Dad for just a little over 5 years now and have loved every second of it. I’m a sports enthusiast and that may be putting it lightly.

I’ve never seen myself as a person that was in the limelight. I know that my friends and family have looked up to me in a way because of how I’ve changed my life around and have dedicated myself to my family. So for being in the limelight I’m not sure I am but I do know that when people find out what I do they respect me and appreciate me for it. A little over a month ago I created a facebook page called “daddy DOIN’ right” to blog, and just have fun with. Letting people in on how I broke the barrier with my past to become the husband, father, & person I am today.

2) Tell me about your family

I am married to the love  of my life for almost 5 years now and we have two gorgeous, funny, & smart daughters (ages 5 1/2 & 2). These ladies in my life are everything to me and I enjoy every second of it. My wife is a CMA(nurse) at Wilmington Health and works full time and sometimes insane hours but that’s what she does. My oldest daughter (Kayleigh) has just started kindergarten and she loves it so much. That has given me the one on one time with my youngest designee (Maraya) that I really haven’t had and am truly enjoying the time with her. My family is amazing and I adore all three of them very much.Jasun-Williams

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father? 

My largest challenge with being a father has probably been spreading myself to both girls. Giving them equal attention and making sure they both know that I love them equally. They are so similar but yet so different and what may have worked with my oldest daughter just may not work with my youngest daughter. Understanding that and making sure that I remember that has been a challenge at times. My oldest daughter was potty trained 2 months before she turned 2 years old and it only took a week to accomplish this impressive feat. My youngest daughter has been more of a battle, so at times it gets frustrating because what I did with Kayleigh hasn’t worked with Maraya. So I’ve realized that she may not be ready for that yet. That is the challenge. Finally realizing that just because one child accomplished something at a fast pace doesn’t mean the other one will. But they have been on the same pace age wise for every accomplishment in their young lives.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

The advice I would give other fathers would be that it’s not about quality time but instead quantity time. For me being a stay at home dad I deliver both to my girls. I am lucky enough to have that opportunity. ‘Quality Time’ is nice and fun but ‘Quantity Time’ is remembered in the long run and my girls will know I was always there. Quality & Quantity are both good and hopefully you can deliver both at the same time. To be able to spend as much time with my girls as I have is a blessing and if I was a working father I would miss a lot but would still deliver that quantity of time as well as quality.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

Honestly, there really isn’t much of an outside life. If my girls are with me then obviously we will go places like the park, mall, and other fun places for them to enjoy. I usually get into conversations with other parents  but usually nothing more than that. As for myself I haven’t had much of a social life outside of things involving my girls. But over the last 2 years I’ve  really gotten involved with our church. Volunteering, serving, doing things to help others and have made friends in doing so. But because of the stay at home role I live I’m limited to what I can really do outside of designee the house. Sometimes it can get lonely without having that bond with other guys but I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything. If it’s not something with the church then it’s obviously something with the girls.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with? 

The biggest thing I’ve learned from other father’s is to have patience and not explode when your children make you upset, and yes there will be times when they do. It’s a marathon and not a sprint, we are the foundation for how our kids will look at the world and act in life, so just maintain your composure in a manner that helps everyone resolve the issue calmly and effectively. There are times when my temper comes out but I’ve been working on it and I think I’ve been doing a good job lately of not yelling or instantly getting into angry dad mode. Nobody likes that mode and it doesn’t help anything. Not immediately jumping into angry mode has helped me and I keep my composure a lot better which helps me understand the situations I may face and Heels me explain things in a more rational manner to my girls. I have friends that are fathers and they have really influenced me on how I raise my kids. But being patient and staying composed would be the biggest things I’ve learned.

 Jasun-Williams

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Some other experiences I would share would have to be watching how my two girls adore each other. I soak up every second they are together because they have so much fun together even being almost 4 years apart. Being able to witness my oldest daughter change her baby sisters diaper when she was a baby and then watching her feed her with a glowing smile are two of the most beautiful experiences I’ve witnessed in my life. Being a father is the greatest blessing and I am so thankful to be able to have this opportunity. Good days, bad days it doesn’t matter seeing them makes everything better.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent? 

My most memorable experiences besides watching my baby girls come into this world would be when they started to walk. My oldest daughter Kayleigh, started walking Father’s face, and status2009 at 8 months and 17 days old. Very early for any child. She had been so close to putting those steps together for weeks but just couldn’t do it. But on that day she let go of the couch she was clinging to and took steps all by herself. Then she fell down and got right back up and started walking again and hasn’t looked back since. My youngest daughter Maraya started walking at 8 months and 24 days. So, both of my girls started very young and haven’t looked back since. Maraya started standing on her own without help of anything at exactly 6 months old but just couldn’t put together steps and just kept trying for the next 2 months of her young life until one day in March 2013 she got those steps to come together. Those two memories will forever be etched into my brain because of the excitement and fulfillment expressed on their face.

If you have any questions for Jasun, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Zach Eisenberg ( @thenkidshappend ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 500th Dad in the Limelight is Zack Eisenberg at the Then Kids Happened Blog. I want to thank him for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

  1. Then-Kids-HappenedTell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

    I’m a 40 year-old father blogger of three kids. None of those facts were to be my intended bio in life, but like our children, sometimes life gives you gifts or challenges and you have to Dad-up. Or at least humiliate yourself publicly while attempting to embrace them. My blog is Thenkidshappened.com. It and my biological offspring are always battling for my attention. Neither get as much as they deserve. But if you try sometimes you just mind find…you know the song.

    I was an actor and writer for as long as I could hold on to that title. Eventually my dream life in Hollywood was forced to take a back-seat for my family which wasn’t going to be a dream in Hollywood. Not without dream income. When my wife got a job out of LaLa Land I only agreed to go if I didn’t end up being just a father of three.

    After a few years, I couldn’t resist connecting with some audience. I made a pact with myself if I survived last summer at home with the kids then I would blog about it. I’ve been featured a few times by some reputable blogs and find, just like at home, moms find my misery hilarious. It’s hard to neglect my blog that gives me purpose for the things that give me purpose, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And my kids squeak loudly.

     

  2. Tell me about your familyI have three wonderful kids and a very patient wife. I need to remind myself of that everyday. My perfect precocious angel daughter is 12 and the reason why we thought we should have more. Then there are the two boys 6 and 8 who are the reason I now try to encourage more vasectomies on my blog. My blog’s motto is “1 and done, you can still have fun.” Of course I love them but, man, boys close in age are a daily, no hourly, challenge to my sanity.
  3. Then-Kids-HappenedWhat has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

    It’s easily the same challenge I struggle with every minute; to back-off, calm down and remember they’re only kids. They’re incapable of picking up their garbage or close a door or stop whining or any of the things that drive me crazy every minute that I’m wishing I wasn’t in charge.

  4. What advice would you give to other fathers?
    Accept that they’re kids and embrace it. Oh, how I wish I could do this. Discovering life is what it’s all about and I can’t stop doing it for them. I’m like Nemo’s Dad far too much. Give them room. They will figure it out without you standing over them. Probably. Hopefully? And as a child of divorce, try to get on the same page with your wife even if she’s from Venus or whatever planet that book says.
  5. How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
    Outside life? What’s that? I have a job and so does my wife that forces us to turn off phones and trust that our kids are in good hands. Whether it’s the other parent, school, or our part-time nanny, you’re forced to trust they are okay without you. All cares go away. The alternative is you constantly worry and then micro-manage from afar. I’ve found we’re all better when trust and distance is imposed. It’s tempting to make that healthy distance the norm rather than sometimes. But, like Mr. Miagi said, “must have balance.”. Me and the wife have opposite schedules but when one gets too involved with work, the kids get confused and lose balance also. It’s easy to rely on the other and answer a job that pays you to be there. Yet I’ve found the kids thrive when both parents are involved. And are on the same page.
  6. Then-Kids-HappenedWhat have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
    Just like you’d never confirm a woman’s insecurities thay they look fat, never confirm to another Dad how much of a jerk you think their kid may be. Haha. But seriously, we all would rather be hanging out with other grown-ups but do our fatherly duty. And our kids are better for it. We console each other by talking about sports, politics or things that are not our fatherly duty.
  7. What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
    It’s the worst job I’ve ever signed up for, but gives me the most purpose. I know it sucks sometimes and is often unrewarded, but that’s the job and your pay is love minus all your wages. Plus the world needs another me. And who better than me to train another me? Whenever I get the one day away, it’s like losing an appendage. I need them as much as they need me. Put that on a Hallmark card.
  8. What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
    Since summer break has turned my brain into mush, I’ll go with the most recent, since I can’t remember what I made them for lunch. It was probably dinosaur chicken nuggets with a side of something healthy they didn’t touch.But the most memorable that I can actually remember was few months ago. My only plan for summer was to get all of my bundles of burden on the local swim team. The boys who were new to competitive swimming, failed the try-outs. I became that parent who emailed the coaches and politely demanded a second chance. I got in the pool and trained with them for a week and showed them all of my favorite inspirational movies. They blew the coaches away the following week and I got that rare validation of my purpose as their father.Also, we had an amazing road-trip my wife planned driving up the West coast which validated that the wife is always right and sometimes a week with your family is not a living hell. It can even be fun, beautiful, and take you many places you never dreamed you would go to.

    *Thanks for making me write this. It beats that house project I was supposed to knock out this weekend.

 

If you have any questions for Zack Eisenberg, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jon Vaughn ( @FullTimeDaddy ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Jon-VaughnOur 499th Dad in the Limelight is Jon Vaughn. I want to thank Jon 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 Jon Vaughn. As of this moment, I am 32 years old. I am the CEO of Olive Us, LLC, and founded GenesisCCM.com – a free child custody manager. I write a blog in my spare time at FullTimeDaddy.com, and have fun on Facebook at the Full-Time Daddy page.
2) Tell me about your family
My little family consists of Genesis & Olive, my daughters. The rest of my family is scattered across the U.S.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
My biggest challenge in being a father was during a time I had no money. I felt like I was failing my children, even making excuses that I couldn’t pick them up because I was “busy.” I wasn’t busy, I was flat broke, and as a result of being broke with children, I’ve found new ways to do things with my daughters that costs almost nothing, like playing hide-n-seek inside Target on extremely hot summer days, or learning a new song on guitar so my daughter can sing it.
Jon-Vaughn
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
The best advice I could give to other fathers is this:  Encourage the relationship your child has with their mom. Never get in the way of their relationship.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
In parenthood, I don’t think there is ever a complete balance achieved. There are those that say, “As long as my children are happy, I am happy,” but I don’t believe those words. I think that so long as I am happy, the side effect is that my children become happy. My own happiness will spill onto my children.
Jon-Vaughn
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned that we (fathers) all come from different stories, childhoods, and experiences; I believe sharing this information is beneficial to men – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I remember when I first was awarded custody of my infant daughter, Genesis; I was roughly 21 years old. Everyone was like my mother-in-law (even though I didn’t have one), telling me what, when, where, how to be a parent. One day, I had enough, and when this uninvited advice was received, I’d politely say, “You know, I think a huge part of being a parent is learning along the way instead of knowing what is best.”
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
My most memorable experience was potty training my oldest. She was caught standing on the stool in front of the toilet, telling day care that she “wants to pee like daddy.”
Jon-Vaughn
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