Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Richard Katrovas ( @katrovas ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 497th Dad in the Limelight is Richard Katrovas. I want to thank Richard for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Richard-Katrovas1)      Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

RICHARD KATROVAS, author of Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father: A Memoir in Essays

 

I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1953, and spent my first seven years on the roads and highways of America as my father committed petty crimes and was wanted, eventually, in 47 states by the FBI. He was caught in Florida, and my mother and four siblings and I lived for three years in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on welfare. My father was paroled three years later, and continued his criminal ways. He was caught a year later and my family subsequently lived in the projects of Norfolk, Virginia, on welfare. While living in the projects, my mother contracted multiple sclerosis. Relatives adopted a brother and me when I was thirteen, and we moved to Sasebo, Japan, for three years. I earned a second-degree black belt in sho-bu-kan Okinawa-te karate in Sasebo.

 

I received a BA in English from San Diego State University, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I was a Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia. I taught for twenty years at the University of New Orleans, and have taught for the past twelve at Western Michigan University. On a Fulbright Fellowship, I witnessed Prague’s Velvet Revolution in 1989. I founded the Prague Summer Program in 1993, and have directed the PSP ever since. I’m the author of fourteen books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. My poems, stories and essays have appeared in scores of the best literary journals and anthologies. I’ve received numerous grants and awards.

Richard-Katrovas

2) Tell me about your family

I spoke of my original family answering your first question. Regarding the family I’ve made, I have three very bright, big-hearted, pretty, Czech-American daughters. Ema turns twenty-four in August. She’s earning her Masters at the Prague Conservatory of Music, and is beginning her professional career as an opera singer (she recently transitioned from mezzo to soprano). Carnegie Mellon University Press published her translations of the marvelous Czech poet Pavel Srut several years ago. Her translations and original stories have been published in several quite good venues. At fifteen she published a personal essay in Lidove Noveny, the most respected culture magazine in the Czech Republic. Annie, eighteen in November, is finishing high school online, and is probably one of the three or four coolest persons on the planet. Ellie, nine, is extremely bright and loquacious. She’s 5’2”, and Czech doctors predict that she’ll shoot past 6’. Of course I dream of a basketball or volleyball scholarship. She will attend fourth grade in Kalamazoo this year.

 

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

The biggest challenge has been parenting on two continents. The girls have racked up more frequent-flyer miles than most grizzled business mavens.

Richard-Katrovas

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Don’t subcontract the major parenting role to your parenting partner, and don’t ever forget that divorce, or any sort of separation from your partner, does not render her or him any less a partner, someone to whom you owe allegiance and respect.

 

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

Precariously. Though I don’t really perceive an “outside life” relative to parenting. I subsumes, or should, everything.

Raising-Girls-in-BohemiaRichard-Katrovas

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

From my stepfather, a navel officer who was as right-wing as anyone I’ve every known, I’ve learned to engage with and listen to my daughters. He would sit at the diner table and talk to my brother and me for an hour or two almost every night. We disagreed about everything, but he taught me by example to disagree gracefully, and I’ve tried to pass that along to my daughters.

 

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

At the risk of seeming glib, I’ll simply say that everything I know and feel on this subject is in my new book, Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father: A Memoir in Essays
(pub. date: October 14, Three Rooms Press. New York: 2014).

 

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

I’ll refer you to answer # 7!

If you have any questions for Richard, 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 ) – Max Zakharenko ( @proudad9 ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Max-ZakharenkoOur 495th Dad in the Limelight is Max Zakharenko. I want to thank Max 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)

I’m a devoted husband and Dad of 3 girls – that’s the most important thing to know about me.  I just recently turned 30.  I work full time as a Financial Analyst and have begun blogging part time about my Dad experiences at proudad.com – (I have a ton of passion for it – to share my views on fatherhood, marriage and life).

 

 

Max-Zakharenko

2) Tell me about your family

My wife and I have been together for over 12 years (high school sweethearts).  After having our 2 beautiful daughters – we decided to get married which we did last year (1 year wedding anniversary coming up in September).  Our 3rd daughter was born just over a month ago which is when I decided to start my blog.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Our first daughter was a “surprise.”  I wasn’t really ready or know what to expect when starting my journey of fatherhood.  So the biggest challenge of being a Dad has been realizing that you will never have peace and quiet EVER again.  Before kids, I could spend a day lounging around, having some “m time.”  That hasn’t happened in over 5 years now.  Sure, there are times I can spend time alone with friends but NEVER a day with just me on the couch resting.Max-Zakharenko

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

My advice to other fathers is to “be there for your kids.” The most important thing I do is – after I get home from work (early, on time or late), I put my phone and work away.  I don’t pick up the laptop (if at all) until wife and kids go to sleep.  Spend time with them now, because time is something you can never buy back.
Max-Zakharenko

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

This is something with I struggle all the time with – work, being a husband, being a dad, doing chores, spending time w family and friends – how can you balance it all?  I think “we” as parents need to do our best and be conscious of how we spend our days.  After work, I put work aside and spend every evening with the kids (dinner time, play time, bath time, story time, bed time).  And my mentality is I work all week – so the weekends will be spent for kids (zoo time, playground fun, outside time, pool time – whatever I can think off).  I try to make every errand we may have to run into an adventure.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have iMax-Zakharenkonteracted with?

Every Dad is different.  Every Dad has different parenting styles.  You should do what works best for you.

 

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

I want to share that being a father has been the greatest experience of my life.  Life is about my kids and I love that.  I love when they laugh, I love when they get excited to see me, I love family time, I love the adventures we go on.  I love everything about it.  There are always tough times too of course, but I always know that a great moment is just around the corner.

 

 

Max-Zakharenko

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

This is the reason I started a blog – to share my ProuDaD moments.  There are so many, we share great memories on a weekly basis with the kids.  One of the best moments I’ve had was just a few weeks ago – I put my two older daughters to sleep and I told them that Daddy can’t lay next to them until they fall asleep tonight.  I walked out of their bedroom and sat on the couch.  I heard the younger one crying for a while than it stopped.  After about 20 minutes, I walked into the bedroom to check on them to find… the older one in the younger ones bed – both of them holding hands and cuddling – fast asleep.  I shed a few tears as I walked out of the room.

If you have any questions for Max, 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 ) – Secret Father ( @Secret_Father ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 496th Dad in the Limelight is Secret Father. 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)      Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I am 42 years old. I spent a large part of my 20s and 30s working overseas as an aid worker, helping disaster affected communities come to terms with the impact of cyclones, floods, droughts and conflict. In my late 30s, after a long period of living and working in East Africa, I moved to Australia and it was here that I married my wife and had the best honeymoon in the outback. We moved back to the UK in 2008 and have subsequently had two children.

I have worked in some stressful situations in my time as an aid worker, but being a father is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done. I blog about this experience at www.thesecrectfather.wordpress.com because it’s cheaper than therapy. I blog anonymously because I find I can be more honest like this. I feel passionately about the importance of being a good father. There is no job on the planet more important than this.

 

2) Tell me about your family

I have been married since 2008, and have two children – my daughter who is the eldest is 4 and my son is 2. My father died in 2009, a few months before my first child was born. I am so gutted my father never got the chance to meet my children, he was my hero. My mother is still alive but suffered a devastating stroke last November and has been severely paralysed since. I blogged about this experience here. It has been devastating watching my parents get old. It has taught me to live life to the fullest and to take NOTHING for granted.

 

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

Ah man, what a question. I blog a lot about the challenges of being a father, because there are so many. Writing is my therapy. Being a good father is hard. Really hard.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me was understanding, rationalising and then accepting the fact that the moment I became a father I lost a large part of myself. But most importantly (and I learnt this subsequently) that by becoming a father I had also gained a whole new persona, identity, view of the world and respect for life. I wrote about this in the death of me, the birth of us

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Be present, demonstrate humility, apologise frequently, admit mistakes and show how to learn from them, role model warmth and compassion, trust your instincts, stimulate your child’s imagination, amplify the crazy, get down to your child’s level, read books, love your wife / partner, get messy with your kids, be active, dwell on the detail, slow down, smile a lot, relax more, go easy on yourself, keep learning, hold your children tight, look them in the eyes when you tell them you love them, cherish the hugs

Because they grow up so quickly.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

I still haven’t really mastered that yet. It has become a little easier now the kids are a little bit older, but my wife and I largely put our lives on hold for a few years when the kids were first born as we didn’t have family nearby who could help, and we couldn’t afford childcare.

In the early days we fiercely protected an hour a week each to go and do something we loved. My wife did yoga and I played football with friends. These days our balance is a little bit better; my wife and I have enjoyed a few weekends away with friends and each other.

But with both of us in full time jobs, which require a lot of long haul travel, and lots of other stuff going on in our personal / family lives, it all frequently feels like a frantic juggle. Even with our shared electronic calendar (which has been a godsend in this respect) it still feels like we lurch through the days. I still get to the end of most days and give myself a mental high-five for having just survived it.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I have learned some great stuff – one guy I interact with on twitter once memorably said about fatherhood “it feels hard because you want to be a good dad”. That really helped me.

More generally I think I have learnt that there are no right or wrong ways to be a father, and the difference in approaches need to be valued for their diversity (except of course styles which are abusive, negative, aggressive or from a place of hate). I think just being there for your children is a great start. There is a superb expression, something like “the best present you can ever give your child is your presence”.

I genuinely feel that there is a culture shift in modern fatherhood. I think we are moving away from the traditional notion that the mother brings up the child while the father goes to work, and moving to a more diverse place of equity and equality in the parenting roles (although there are also pain points in the blurring of these traditional roles).

However I still meet the occasional father, who continues to spend his days at work and his evening and weekends with his mates, and it surprises me.  But I am wise enough to know not to judge, because I can’t possibly understand the dynamics and priorities of other families.

 

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

Nothing could prepare me, nor could I ever be ready, to be a father. But I am glad I made the choice to become a father.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

The memorable experiences are often in the minutia of life. I have blogged about a beautiful moment I shared with my daughter whilst camping and a perfect cuddle, also with my daughter

If you have any questions for him, 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 ) – Tim Olson ( @Timo2funky ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 493rd Dad in the Limelight is Tim Olson. I want to thank Tim for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Tim-Olson1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Tim Olson but my friends call me “Timo” (Tim-oh).  I’ve been married to a beautiful woman named Lori for 18 years and we have three kids.  Two boys, Brad age 16, Alex age 14, and our daughter Hannah is 12.  We live in Fargo where we own a small business.  I am almost finished with my first book and hope to release it this winter.  In the book I tell my story about growing up being bullied and lonely.  I describe what it was like growing up with a father who suffered from mental illness and how my parents divorce and both of their deaths by the time I was twenty-four effected me.  People who have heard my story tell me they have been moved by it so I hope my book will help others who feel that their life isn’t worth living and that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. I also have several other projects in the works so check out my website www.timolson.info or follow me on https://www.facebook.com/timo.olson or https://twitter.com/Timo2funky.

2) Tell me about your family

Lori and I met when she came to work for the fast food place I managed.  We married in ’96 and had Brad in ’97.  Neither of us has much for family so we have had to rely on each other a lot.  By default we became a very close family.  Our kids, even as teenagers, love being with us.  We sometimes think, get out, be with your friends, but they are very happy to hang out with Mom and Dadon Friday night.  Movie nights are important family time.  We have a popcorn machine with real movie theater butter and we all sit together on our sectional.  We watch a movie almost every Friday night.

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

Not having a good role model growing up.  My Dad’s mental illness made him see the world differently and he wasn’t involved with us much at all.  He did his thing and never cared about anything that we had an interest in.  Unfortunately we tend to repeat those same behaviors even if we dislike them ourselves.  I have to make sure I take an interest in the things that are important to my kids, even if I don’t understand it myself.  Like Pokémon.

Tim-Olson

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

It’s been said a million times but it’s true, they grow up so fast.  Our oldest Brad just started working and is about to start his senior year of high school.  When the heck did that happen?  You will never look back and say I played with them too much.  Talk to them while you play they won’t even know they are learning.  Do things that are special to them.  When Brad was three we went to a monster truck show.  He loved it and now it has become a tradition.  Alex, Brad and I go every year watch the show and stuff our faces.  Do we care about the monster trucks anymore?  No not really, but we love the guy time.

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

I don’t know that I have.  I work more than I would like to.  I just need to remind myself every once in a while that I cannot take on another project or I need to let something slide for a while and just be more present at home.  A good strong wife who can tell you that you need to be more present is also a help.  My wife Lori lets me know when I have been spending too much time working and not enough time with her or the kids.  I sometimes want to defend myself by saying, “Hey, I’m trying to provide for us here.” but I know she is right and I try to listen and get back in the game.

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

That we are all scared on the inside.  We are afraid of letting our families down.  We want nothing but the best for our families and when something goes wrong we feel like a failure.  We are very self critical and our ego can be crushed easily.  I think most men need to hear how good of a job they are really doing.

Tim-Olson

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

That it has been the hardest but most rewarding thing in my life.  My kids make me proud everyday.

 

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

I would say the day I became a Dad, but that seems like a easy answer so here are two.  Taking my kids to Disneyland.  It’s a place Lori and I could only imagine going to as a kid and to know we were able to make that happen for our kids was unbelievable.  The other is a cute story about my daughter.  When she was a lot smaller I looked at her and asked her if she was Daddy’s girl and her reply was priceless.  She said “Daddy, your not a girl!”

If you have any questions for Tim, 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 ) – Benjamin Mullen ( @dadonthemic ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 494th Dad in the Limelight is Benjamin Mullen. I want to thank Benjamin for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

benjamin-mullen

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I live just outside of Philadelphia with my wife and our 1 year old. With my good friend and neighbor, I started the Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast, a podcast about the adventures of being Dad. We talk all about our experiences and interview fellow Dad Bloggers/Podcasters. A few months later I launched my blog “Dad on the Mic” and it’s been like a dream from there. Soon I’ll be officially launching my own production company which will sponsor and host many Parenting (and some non-Parenting) related Podcasts as well as short films, and fund raising events for charities like C.H.O.P.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife, Carissa, and I have been together 5 years, and she is a wonderful supporter and partner in all that I do. She currently works in Project Management for a Pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania. Our daughter was born in August 2013, and is the most wonderful baby named Emma. Our most recent “family hobby” is going to the Zoo and feeding the giraffes!
benjamin-mullen
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
My biggest challenge came when I lost my job a few months ago. I had intense feelings that I had failed my family and was having trouble re-arranging my day to focus on other responsibilities. But thankfully I was able to be a Stay At Home Dad for a while, and spent a lot of time working with my Daughter on developmental things and bonding time as well as being able to develop my blog and production company further. I was able to adapt to the change, and I think I’ve done a pretty swell job of it.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
My advise is that there is no such thing as being OVER prepared. If your getting ready for your day, or a trip or something, and an item pops into your head that sounds ridiculous but you have this feeling that you should bring it….BRING IT. You never know what challenges you’ll face on a daily basis, so you’re better off to have everything you can possibly have with you.
benjamin-mullen5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
One of the things I have realized as a parent is that although it may seem difficult, you can still have a social life while you have a kid. Sure there are certain places you can’t go (i.e. bars/smokey restaurants) but the only difference between how you used to go, and how you go now, is that you have an extra bag and a little one with you. We can still go to the park, our favorite restaurant, the art museum, etc, we just have some extra stuff to carry, and a bit more of a schedule to keep too. The other thing, that you may or may not agree on, is that you’ll be able to re-discover fun things because of your child. You’ll find new value in places you used to go to as a kid, like the Zoo, museums, and playgrounds.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
If i’ve learned anything from other Dad’s, it’s to shake that feeling of being judged. If you find yourself in that situation where your child is screaming in a restaurant, or covers you in puke in a public place, don’t worry about it. The experience you’re having isn’t about those people, it’s about you and your child. If they are annoyed, that’s their problem. Being a parent and being there for every little part of the development of this little human (even the difficult parts) is possibly THE greatest gift this life affords us. So take pride in being a parent, and shake off those ideas that people are judging you, cause the only thing that matters is your little one.
benjamin-mullen
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
There are times where I have become frustrated with my child, and you’ll have them too. But always remember to take a deep breath and think of the light side to the situation. For example: You’re little one throws up everywhere. The downside is you have to clean it up, but the bright side is that puking is part of the process of getting better, so now you know that little immune system is doing what it’s supposed to and the little one’s body is adapting to the world just the way it’s supposed to. There are gonna be lots of growing pains, but always remember to be thankful the growing is happening.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The most memorable thing for me is my little one’s smile. No matter what type of day i’ve had, no matter how bad it may get, that little smile makes it all worth it. Seeing her happy, playing with her and making her laugh washes away all the stress and frustration that may have gathered through the day (even if she’s the cause!)

 

If you have any questions for Benjamin, 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 ) – Brian Rutter ( @theburbman ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 492nd Dad in the Limelight is Brian Rutter. I want to thank Brian for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

brian-rutter1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I am a married, 53-year old father of two girls (ages 20 and 13) living in the leafy suburbs of Connecticut. I have a marketing consultancy business and get to work out of my home office, which makes me a true Work-at-Home Dad. I started my blog to offer observations from a suburban man’s perspective – what is like for us dealing with the ups and downs of being a breadwinner and sandwich maker in the trenches of suburbia. 

 

2) Tell me about your family

I have been married to the same woman (can you imagine?) for 26+ years. I have one daughter who is a junior in private college (hence, I work 24/7). I also have a 13-year old daughter, which means I am constantly responding to her needs and desires. I also have a very cute female cockapoo so you see I am surrounded and ruled by the other (better?) sex (which is fine since I really like all the women in my house very much).

 

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

I think the biggest challenge is knowing when to let go. I am a bit overprotective (it took us ten years of infertility to have these great girls) and so I’m never sure when to let them make more and more decisions for themselves.brian-rutter I think that is the hardest part of parenting… wanting to protect and shield them while also letting them find their own way. It is a constant battle and I’m constantly thinking that I am doing it wrong. But they have turned out great so maybe I am doing a better job than I think.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

I think there are two main things you have to do. One is that you and your spouse need to be on the same page. You don’t have to agree about everything but you have to have a similar approach and view of what you want for your child. A house divided will disable your child for decades. My parents did not have a happy marriage and we were able to play them against each other. If you disagree with your spouse, do it when you are alone and can come to an agreed-to position. Kids like the synergy, the togetherness of parents.

Second, I would say don’t have a game plan the kids have to follow. We all have dreams and visions for our kids. We want the world for them. But you need to accept them for who they are. They are wired a certain way since birth. If they are shy and insecure, don’t push them into being an overachiever. They will achieve in their own time. If they have an alpha personality, let them roar and then help them find times to decompress and relax. Someone once said to me that I had children who were good people. That was the greatest compliment a parent could ask for!

 

brian-rutter5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

Almost 20 years ago, I made a decision to work at home and be more involved in my child’s life. I could still be professionally successful but I would get off the “executive track” so I could be more involved in my personal life. Best decision I have made. But because I work at home, I need to have outside interests. I am involved in charities (home shelter, synagogue), have a weekly tennis game with the same four guys, go out with friends, go to the gym, etc. I also spend time with my wife though I think she gets the least of my attention because of the kids and work (and now the blog). Kids need to understand parents have their own needs, desires, fears, wants, etc. They can dominate most of your life but they can’t take over your whole life. They will respect you more if they see you are active and involved outside the home.

 

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

I think you learn a lot of things. I think you can see other perspectives, both good and bad. You can learn so much from people who have older children who have been through the things you haven’t experienced yet. My own father, who is a great father, has taught me a lot though I am a very different father than him. He says he learned a lot from me since he came from a different generation, who wasn’t around or involved as much in their children’s day-to-day lives. I think I have learned not to be so hard on myself and to let things move organically instead of trying to micromanage everything. Good male friends can help you take a breathe when you need it most.

 

brian-rutter7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Enjoy every moment. You can sweat the small stuff (which I do) but don’t always let the kids see all the perspiration. Just take in the moment, take action and stop second guessing yourself (sometimes easier said than done). If you have raised your children with good values, empathy, humor, belief in their own abilities and love, they will turn out to be pretty good adults. They don’t have to rule the world; just let them own their own lives. They need to thrive when you are no longer here to protect and nurture them.

 

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

There have been so many – birthdays, graduations, vacations, etc. I think the two memorable moments for me are as follows. My older daughter was born three months premature and it took almost 100+ days for us to take her home from the hospital. The day we left the hospital and put her in her car seat, I thought my heart would break into a million pieces. I never felt so much joy ever. And now she is 20 and off to Italy next year to study. Healthy and happy… it is what you dream of from the moment they are born.

And my other memorable moment was when I took my other daughter home from the hospital. We had lost a child right before her and went to gestational surrogacy to have this baby. When we put her in the car, in a snow and ice storm, to drive eight hours home, the weather meant nothing to me. Our family was complete and not a single thing could ever change that. And it has only gotten better (not always easy, but better) since that day.

 

If you have any questions for Brian, 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!

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Micah Landers ( @cartoonlanders ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 491st Dad in the Limelight is Micah Landers. I want to thank Micah for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

MicahLanders
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My name is Micah Landers. I love fiction and storytelling, dabble with a lot of writing projects (including a children’s book I self-published called Wandlung), and blog about everything from philosophy to permaculture to poetry to comic books to family life at MLanders.com
2) Tell me about your family
My wife and I have two preschool age daughters and a brand new baby boy! My girls are 15 months apart and best friends. They’re 100% opposites in personality and demeanor, which is both fascinating and joyful to observe and engaging to navigate as a parent.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Myself. I’ve been eager to be a father since I was a kid myself, but actually living out patience and engagement can be really difficult. It is sobering to realize how easily I can act out emotionally when I’m exhausted or defeated. Often parenting is more about disciplining myself than my kids. That’s especially true in an age with so many distractions. We are currently weighing some pretty drastic lifestyle changes with the goal of living fully in the moment with the people surrounding us. We might need to ditch the iPhones.
MicahLanders
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Intentionally teaching discipline to your kids is definitely important, but the overarching goal should alway be to build into a relationship with each of them. A parent’s role as a disciplinarian can only exist healthfully for less than two decades, but a patient father who is eager to know you is probably the greatest blessing you could have for a lifetime. My 75+ plan for my family relationships is that they can confide in and trust me regardless of the confusion or joy or hurt or celebration they are going through at any stage of life. I want to be the person my kids think of then they need advice or a shoulder to cry on or a co-celebrator, whether they are 5, 16, 22, or 45 years old.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I don’t really want to have an outside life. In fact, I’m eager to have less of an outside life. I don’t mean that I don’t want to take time away from my wife and kids. I think it’s important for all of us to have multiple levels of intimate friendship and relationships, especially with those in peer roles. But I want my work and relationships to be connected to my family. I want my kids to be aware of and even participate in my daily work, my personal interests and projects, and my adult friendships. That’s actually another aspect of what I’m hoping for in our evolving lifestyle choices. To live in a way that engages us in more similar daily activities.
MicahLanders
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Wow. Where do I begin? My parents split up when I was about 10 or 11 and then got remarried to one another when I was in college. Even though things were rough growing up, my dad was always extremely engaging, supportive, and excited to be a part of our lives. While life was confusing, I never had to doubt the value of a father.
In my early 20’s I found myself surrounded by fathers in their early 30’s who were engaging with their kids in amazing ways. Asking frank questions and relating honest opinions can foster a shocking level or critical thinking and personal responsibility in children at a really young age. Being surrounded by dads who are humble enough to constantly learn about themselves from parenting their kids is also irreplaceable.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Children are resilient. It seems easy for people to think that they will screw up kids if they are responsible to raise them. The truth is that kids believe you’re a great parent even if you suck for at least about a decade, so there is an extreme learning curve if you’re willing to be a humble learner and sacrifice for others. I find that most people who make excuses about parenting are either really scared because they take it really so seriously or they’ve already decided that sacrificing for others 24/7 is not something they’re interested in.
If you’re afraid to screw up, realize that being open and upfront with your kids when you fail automatically makes you a great parent. If you’re not interested in sacrifice, just stop being selfish. People need you.
MicahLanders
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I think the best experiences are actually atmospheres that are created rather than individual experiences. Our living room holds the residue of a thousand songs accompanied by a thousand vigorous dance parties. Silent spaces, lying on the couch with a napping child on a drizzly afternoon. Recognizing the beauty in the personalities of each child, the ways that they are each born ready to relate to the world differently. Seeing a child paint or put together a puzzle, my own surprise and delight in recognizing their superior creativity and impressive thinking skills.

If you have any questions for Micah, 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 ) – Christopher Streeter ( @daddy_camo ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 490th Dad in the Limelight is Christopher Streeter. I want to thank Christopher for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

Christopher-Streeter

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My names Christopher Streeter from Brighton in the United Kingdom. I am currently a stay at home dad, stay at home carer and stay at home worker;
Running my own charity clothing brand called Saints and Soldiers Apparel currently involved in projects and promotion of The Juara turtle Sanctuary, Help for Heroes and the African wildlife foundation.
I run my own Blog under the name Daddycamo – Diary of a tattooed dad.
I am also the Head of research and marketing for a gas safety innovation company by the name of Gasfuse and to top it as off I started my own graphics and photography company by the name of CSGraphics and Photography dealing with fashion photography and 3D after affect graphics.
But most of all I’m a heavily tattooed father. Husband to a heavily tattooed wife.
It just shows, how tattoos don’t make a man any different.
Christopher-Streeter2) Tell me about your family
My family is quite large if I’m honest, but immediately revolves around my wife Kerry and my newborn daughter Daisy-Ella. Who are the lifeline I hold on to most dearest. I also have a great family in my sisters, Katie (who had a daughter by the name of Isla) who has been here through it all to give me great advice and Sophie who is the career minded of us all, who gives a kick up the backside from time to time. Then there’s my mother Jacqueline who lives near by who I can admittedly say has filled the gap as my father also.
And then there’s my father, Paul who lives in Austin Texas with his wife, the world record freehold diver Tanya Streeter and my half sister Tilly.
It’s a cool family who add so many different elements to the table.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I found it hard, even in the pregnancy, to hold down a job or even to look for something that gives me a bit of leg room. The hardest part has been to start my own businesses and get my name out there. I want to be able to provide for my family but also to be there in the hard times at a beckoned call and be there for my wife.
Yet most of all, the hardest part for me was the labour. It was a very hard labour and emotionally draining. I have never been so proud and in awe as I was of my wife. She has been an absolute inspiration in my life and has helped me realise what type of man I can really be.
I can see a future and it’s all going to work out.
Christopher-Streeter
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Everything is going to change and be much harder. Try to find a routine with your family and child that suits you. We were given a lot of advice and as much as it was great we only used a small percentage as everyone was different.
Also try to find some time, even 5 mins to sit down and connect with your partner.. It makes the world of difference.
Your partner is going through the same thing as you. Even with that last grasp whimper of energy, make that effort and make them feel special. They have just given you the best gift you will ever receive.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
To be honest they’ve Intertwined with one another. Friends have changed, life has changed. The balance has been trying to find those small moments for me and my partner more than anything else. I’m a firm believer that once you are in a family, a family is for life not just for Christmas. So I will be here till the end. Apart from this I do find time to sit down and play a game or two on my Xbox and chat to my friends from time to time about what’s going on but always having Daisy-Ella firmly in my arms.
Christopher-Streeter
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I was not alone. Even in the first few weeks I felt as if the world had dumped everything on my shoulders and I was the only one dealing with it all. This is not true at all. I have met some great guys at my antenatal class to help me through everything as we are in the same position here in Brighton.. I’ve also found solace with the great guys at dadbloggers, they have been a massive help these last few weeks and have really inspired me. All of the guys there are bloggers and some of them have really inspired me when reading what they have been through.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Not be be crude, but suck In your gut and get ready for the ride… There will be an abundance of poop, pee and projectile vomit nearly every day. Just be ready for it. Funny thing is I prepared too much to the point of having a custom face mask made in Sweden and custom fitted surgical gloves.. I am a clean freak. I can’t say that anymore, I sucked it up and got on with it.. I feel proud that I’ve done so.
Christopher-Streeter8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
A low was probably changing Daisy-Ella a couple days back late afternoon where she periodically peed all over me and vomited in my mouth. I had a job to do so soldiered on.
I have 1 main high, it was Daisy-Ella having her first bath and was the most memorable moment of my life. Being a bit of a water baby myself, I was proud to see how excited and happy she was to be in the tub in the water.
Just waiting till the 6 week nod to take her for her first swimming lessons :)

If you have any questions for Christopher, 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 ) – Robert Graves ( @The_Scared_Dad ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 489th Dad in the Limelight is Robert Graves. I want to thank Robert for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Robert-Graves1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge). 
My name is Robert Graves, and i picked up the kinda obviously nickname “Gravey” while serving in the Marine Corps.  Yes, I served 10 years in the Marine Corps, and even though I had no desire to be in the military in my youth, it was the best thing hat ever happened to me.  I joined Sept. 9th 2000, during a time of peace, and one year later, forced into the time of war.  The Marines wee my family… are my family, and they helped raise me, mature me, and give me the courage and strength to be the man I am today.  I was born in Alabama, and raised everywhere else… that’s how I explain it to people.  My parents were never married, so I’d bounce back and forth to wherever the new house was.  Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York… lets just say I’ve had more “friends” than a child could remember.  Now I work for a contractor building landing systems for airports worldwide.  As grand as it sounds to travel for work, the job gets old, and the road gets long.
Currently I just finished my Bachelors and have decided that this road has taken me as far as I needed it to, and now I’m on the road to become a High School guidance counselor, so I’m in my Master’s program for that as of now.
I believe I’m in the limelight because I would like www.thescareddad.com to be a vessel for my voice as well as other fathers who can’t find the words to speak.  My experiences in life are vast, and I want nothing more than to transfer those into becoming a role model for others around me, especially my son.
2) Tell me about your family: 

I married my best friend.  I truly did.  We knew each other in high school and never dated.  I was a senior she was a freshman, but I was friends with her sister and we kept touch seldomly via myspace and such.  Once I’d gotten out of the military my new life started and we’d ran into each other.  We sat in a tree.  We were K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First came love.  Then came marriage… then we made a baby on wedding night and there’s a baby in the baby carriage.  That’s right… Baby Boy.  Our first child, and the first boy in the family.  She comes from a family of 3 girls, and her mom had 2 sisters.  I have no siblings, so everyone thought we were having a girl.  Not to mention I work with radiation, and there’s a “myth” (although the favors are on the myth) that people in my job have a much higher chance of having girls cause of x-y chromosome mutalation and science stuff…  Needless to say, this last Mother’s Day, baby Jake graced us with his presence.

Robert-Graves3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father? 
I would say that the largest challenge I’ve had being a father so far, is self-internalization.  We have to make some pretty big decisions as human beings when it comes to ourselves, let alone when it comes to being the head of a household.  I briefly spoke on it before, but I travel for a living, and I can’t complain about the pay.  It’s literally gotten us to where we are today—debt-free-homeowners… well minus the mortgage and car payment.  But that’s pretty good compared to where we were.  But the thing is, I wasn’t raised in a traditional home.  I was in a separated household without two parents, and I lacked something huge.
Stability.
Well as my wife and I zoomed through the pregnancy, I had some serious choices to make, because I knew I didn’t want to miss my son growing up.  And these choices, although very rational in my mind, can really put us in a bad spot.  See I’ve decided to go back to school and leave a very well paid job doing something I am good at but feel like a robot doing, not to mention takes me out of the country for months at a time (and job security), to take a chance to start over new in a profession that I have to prove myself in all over again, and not even be guaranteed a job right away.  The work is hard, the pay is low, but it’s something I love and it keeps me home.
Making that decision has been the hardest thing to do as a parent so far.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
This one is simple… A Happy Wife, is a Happy Life.  But in all seriousness, I know there’s some men out there doing this all by themselves, and I commend you.  So here’s my advice to ALL father’s married and not… Remember always… There are little eyes watching and little ears listening.  Children are sponges and absorb whatever you put out there.  It’s our jobs to make sure they’re soaking in the right stuff.
Robert-Graves5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Fortunately, my wife has two sisters.  That’s two auntie’s available most times.  Then there’s a grandma and a grandpa that we haven’t really asked of much from… so they’re on standby.  But realistically, if I could, I would take Jake everywhere.  We already go to the beach and the park, hiking, and shopping.  I want jake to be like “My little Buddy… wherever I go, he’s gonna go.”  It also really helps that my friends that I grew up with all have kids as well, so we can just meet up and call it a playdate.  As for other stuff like clubbing or parties, that kinda dwindled down once we became home owners.
I have to remember that even though we can leave Jake with a relative, we probably shouldn’t unless we have to.  My wife turns 30 next year and our 1 year anniversary is this August, so in my mind I thought I’d plan nice getaway’s for both times, leave Jake with family and enjoy ourselves.  But the parent in me decided that he’ll come with us and we’ll do it how we’re supposed to for at least one of the trips.  He’s our responsibility… he’s our son.
So that’s how I look at “outside life.”
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with? 
Oh man.  This is a loaded question.  the easiest way to put it is, I learn how to be a father from my experiences with other fathers.  I learn what works, and what doesn’t.  I learn what I’d like to incorporate or emulate, and I discard anything that makes me uncomfortable.  We learn from our mistakes, but we definitely learn from other people’s mistakes.
One of the most recent things that I’ve had to encounter and pull from, is how children can change marriage, and how hard it is when roles change.  When mom’s become dad’s and vice versa.  I know a lot of SAHD’s would hate me saying that, but just accept the gender stereotype for the example.  My home is traditional in the sense that my wife is home with the kid and I’m away at work.  But from this family’s dynamic, I learned that I need to be present and make myself available when I’m around, because my wife does more than I can imagine even if to me from the outside looking in, wouldn’t be able to tell.
Robert-Graves
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Kinda piggy-backing off the biggest challenge question, there’s things that I’ve searched inside to be a better person and asked myself if I need to do this.  For instance drinking.  I’ve been drinking socially and in my own right as an adult since the age of non-adulthood.  I don’t have an problem drinking, but I have been in troubles and fights because of drinking, so one day… for my son… I decided to stop drinking.  Just like that.  Sometimes we need to make big decisions, because it’s not about us anymore.  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I was drunk and–I dunno, slipped, busted my head and went into a coma to wake up and find out that I missed 14 years of my kids life, just cause I wanted to have a little wet fun.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent? 
My most memorable moment(s) were the times my son and I have had that skin-to-skin time after he was born and still to this day.  He’s still very young, so there’s not much going on.  He’s a pretty boring baby, although my wife would argue against that.  But when that baby just relaxes on daddy’s chest… *gasp*  haha.

If you have any questions for Robert, 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 ) – Devon Bandison ( @nowlegacy ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 488th Dad in the Limelight is Devon Bandison. I want to thank Devon for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Devon-Bandison1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge). 

My name is Devon Bandison, and I am a father of 3 wonderful young people that inspire me everyday! I have dedicated my career developing programs focused on fatherhood, at risk(hope) youth and professional development. I have a blog called NowLegacy.com which discusses everything from fatherhood to personal/professional development.  I am a professional speaker, executive coach and agent of change that helps leaders and fathers become the best version of themselves at work and with their children.

Devon-Bandison

2) Tell me about your family: 
I have a 17 year old daughter (going into her senior year of High School), a twelve year old son (an avid basketball player), and a 4 year old son (who is filled with awesomeness)
 Devon-Bandison
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father? 
Not sure I would label them challenges. But each day I am faced with a new opportunity to try be a power of example and instill values like love, honesty, integrity, purpose, service, family and friendship in my children.
 Devon-Bandison

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
To understand the gift of love and being present. Not just physically present, but allowing yourself to be present and connected to your children socially and emotionally. I think one of the best things I can do as a father is believe in my children, encourage them to dream and support their goals in life. Also, it is important for fathers to take the time to look at how they were fathered growing up. Often times, the fathers I work with are amazed at how much their upbringing impacts the way they parent (both positively and negatively). Once you understand this, you can make the necessary changes.
Devon-Bandison
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
This is a continuous area of evaluation and adjustment.  I don’t believe that these necessarily have to be competing priorities. You can spend the time necessary to be successful as a father and in your career with the right tools, motivation and perspective.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with? 
That they want to be great fathers but often times don’t want to share their fears about being a good father.  Most men I work with have been conditioned not to show vulnerability or ask for help.  I think blogs like Dadsofivas and others that provide resources and a community for fathers is important.
 Devon-Bandison

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far? 
It can be difficult at times but there is nothing more rewarding and soul satisfying. It is my responsibility to show my children that no matter what life presents, the choice to be happy, caring and giving is up to you. One of my favorite fatherhood quotes “Fatherhood, a son’s first hero; a daughters first love.”
Devon-Bandison8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent? 
There has been so many memorable experiences over the years and too many to fit in this interview, but here are a few:
  1. Watching my 4 year old son be born pre-mature (3 pds, 12 ounces), and growing into the happy health, (and big) child he is today.  
  2. Going on college tours with my 16 year old daughter and seeing her develop into such a beautiful, respectful and caring person
  3. Watching my 12 year old son step up and be determined to be the best big brother in the world. The way he treats his brother is the most unbelievable thing to watch.  He shows love, empathy, and patience that often teaches me a thing or two. 
In addition to that, the other memorable experiences come when my daughter tells me that guys are going to have a tough time when she dates because of the example I show her. The time we spend laughing and talking about life are priceless.
When me and my 12 year old recently went to the NBA Draft and he turned to me and said “Dad, this was the greatest day of my life”
When my 4 year old tells me “Daddy I love you”
I am a lucky man and proud father!

If you have any questions for Devon, 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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