For this month’s feature where we support other mamas by talking about the awesome things they are doing, I decided to change it up and do something a little different. It is time to support other dads! Yeah Father’s Day and all but these guys are doing their thing and deserve to be recognized too! The Dad Gang is hardcore.
Fathers are more involved in their children’s lives these days and their workplace culture still cultures towards mothers in a lot of these cases. So I wanted to ask these group of dads these two questions this month highlighting this topic a bit.
How do you balance work life and parenting?
How has your life changed since becoming a dad?
Come read what these lucky 13 Punky dads had to say. It’s pretty awesome.
Picayune, Mississippi USA
I started a new job recently so I’m still making adjustments to my work life balance. It’s been a huge change because I had been working from home for the last few years. I never thought I’d ever be the PTA type of parent but I’ve been very involved in our kids’ school’s JROTC and band booster clubs for the last few years. Now I spend more time chaperoning functions and fundraising than going to concerts and playing video games.
Luckily I work for myself so when needed I can be flexible with the hours I work and when I spend time with my family. I’ve been self-employed for 15 years now so even before we had kids my attitude towards self-discipline and work was to just be focused, work hard and basically not to waste any time, and that’s still exactly how I feel now we have kids too.
Apart from having two amazing kids I get to watch grow up and who make me laugh every day not much else has really changed since becoming a dad apart from I go to bed a lot earlier and only drink a fraction of the beer I used to. I still get to draw, listen to music and paint on walls so it’s all good.
Communication and Consistency. Diana has made this really easy for me over the past 16 years. She is amazing, and has this parenting thing dialed in.
I have become a much more responsible person. Having a child that depends on you 110% can be a bit scary at first. But for most of us it comes natural and falls into place. It’s never easy and always a challenge. I’m 16 years into this new life as a Dad. And every day it throws a new challenge at me. Some days are exciting and fun. Others they are painfully hard to handle and control. We do the best we can within our own homes and hearts. At the end of day. I personally believe if I can be a better dad then my own father than my son Zachary’s children will have the best father yet!
Chelmsford, Essex UK
I’m a mortgage consultant by trade, and fit in blogging around that
I became a dad in 2000 and by 2006 we’d had our fourth (and final) child. Life changed dramatically! I went from being a guy in his early 20s, with a West Ham season ticket and very little in the way of outgoings to a dad responsible for a family. Money was tight, and made worse when I was made redundant two months before our first born came along and it feels like it’s been life on a tight budget ever since in all honesty.
It seems almost inevitable in this day and age, but their mum and I split after a few years and I suddenly found myself in the horrible situation of going from living with the kids to living without them. I saw or spoke to them every day, though that is nowhere near the same as having them at home all of the time.
After that I seemed to throw myself in to work, and that’s more or less how it’s been since then. Monday to Friday I work as hard as I can, and Friday through to Sunday is my time to see the kids. If I have free time during the week, then the eldest three are at an age where they want driving to see their friends and I do my best to accommodate that.
Every job I have had has had some kind of flexibility so that if the kids need me, I can generally be there for them. Whether it’s at the drop of a hat when my middle daughter broke her wrist at school aged 9, or it’s a planned trip somewhere.
If I had the chance to change anything, I would much rather have had the “perfect family” life, but that wasn’t meant to be and life has moved in to an extent where things seem well-balanced and I’m happy with that. It’s made a lot easier by the fact that the kids and I seem to have respect for each other, and my ex and I have a very good relationship even to this day.
Michael Fisher but everybody calls me Fish
South Florida, by way of Washington DC
I’m a full-time tattooer, part-time horror writer and cover designer, and all-the-time husband to Azxure and father to three beautiful kidlets.
I was asked to answer two simple questions, yet those questions are not always simple. How do you balance work life and parenting and how has your life changed since becoming a dad?
Balancing work and parenting is very difficult, especially as a tattooer, I work an odd schedule. It usually involves a reduction in sleep. My first alarm in the morning is at 6:15 to wake the boys (and the girl next year) to get ready for school. I wake up and take them pretty much every day, barring severe illness or surgery. If I didn’t, I would only see them on my days off, which so happens to not be their days off from school. On a lucky day, after taking all the kids to school, I can lie back down for a couple hours, but many days, we need to be up and out running errands. Then I have to leave for work at either 11:30 or 12:30, depending on the day. I then will work until at least 9:00, sometimes 10:00, sometimes later. By the time I get home, the kids are already settled down and either asleep or well on their way there. I get to spend time with my lovely wife decompressing from the day before passing out, usually around midnight or 1AM. Then up at 6:15 the next day. It is difficult. I also somehow squeeze in writing in there, primarily waiting for the kids, either in the pickup line, in doctor’s waiting rooms or at Boy Scouts. I would love to be able to have a set writing time every day, but I am already losing the sleep I should be getting. Maybe once I am no longer able to tattoo, I can focus on my writing.
My life changed by becoming a dad in Y2K, when I was forced to grow the hell up. It the ripe old age of thirty, I was still sleeping in until the sun was hot and staying up until the wee hours of the morning, like many tattooers do. I think it was a bit of rebellion after almost eight years of the rigorous structure of the Navy. Even for much of the first four years of parenthood, I was still able to sleep in, but once school started, that had to end. It actually happened in 2001 when I had to get a day job Monday through Friday but that was less than a year. I have realized that life is not defined by your possessions and I use very little every day. As Fugazi said, “You are not what you own.” I have begun removing the detritus from life and focusing on the important things, or more accurately, the important people.
University lecturer. Current research project includes an academic book all about the planning and administration of 1966 FIFA World Cup, and is due out later this summer.
I have a great wife who is very supportive and has always done a fantastic job with the kids whilst I’m teaching, writing, making music, putting together flat pack furniture etc. I always do my best to spend time each day with the kids and helping out around the house where I can, for example I have lead project manager status for putting out the recycling and dustbin, and being tall I’m usually first-in-line for any opportunities to change a lightbulb. At weekends I almost always try to make sure that family time is my priority. The truth is that the work/life balance is difficult and the pressure of putting enough time into earning money to provide for my family, whilst also giving my wife and the kids the time they deserve, and finding time to peruse a few creative project of my own is not easy, but I like to think I just about get it right most of the time.
In my spare time, I like to play guitar and bass guitar although I haven’t been too active for a while. Had a decent run a few years ago with The Eruptors. Noisy and creative band mixing garage rock, punk, Motorheady type proto-metal influences. We did a few albums on cool indie labels Maniac Squat Records (UK) and Fixing A Hole Records (Japan) and had some songs used as background music on TV shows including a kids skateboard/extreme sports show called RAD which actually won a BAFTA (British Academy Film & TV Award…or something like that) although I’m sure that wasn’t just because of our songs! Our music was even used on the Paralympics Show broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK. Before that I played bass for a couple of years for another band which did very well locally and even got to tour around England a bit as the support act for Trashlight Vision (who were a really good band from the USA formed by Acey Slade the guitarist of Murderdolls, Joan Jet Band, etc). I’ve also played in a covers band, just for fun playing well known rock classics – we did well and got many gigs in pubs and at biker rallies,etc. Achieved some degree of critical acclaim with the music but never able to go full-time with it. I’m still waiting for the positive words I’ve read and heard about my music to translate into financial security and early retirement, but not holding my breath! These days my involvement with the music scene is mainly through writing for blogs and I’ve been fortunate to write some features/interviews which have proven popular, and led to me being asked to contribute the sleeve notes for the CD reissue of the ‘Thunderstick’ back-catalogue. But my earlier point about not being as actively involved with music is mainly because I haven’t had the time, but I will pick it up again in future, but probably not before the World Cup book is in print.
Tampa, Florida USA
Rehabilitation Supervisor/Counselor, Musician, Urban Farmer
My wife Lisa and I are first time parents to a 6 month old boy named Lucas. Thankfully once I clock out at work, I am done. So no overtime or work emails after hours. This is not always the case for my wife though as she does freelance graphic design and her 9-5 is a bit demanding. Currently my wife works from home but we have either of our moms or a nanny there while she works as it would be too much on her without. Lucas goes to daycare in a few weeks. Thankfully we have a lot of support!
Additionally, we are very high interest people, in that we both work full time and have activities we are dedicated to outside of work. Some of those passions (like working on our house/farm, hiking, camping, being with friends and family or planning for a massive Halloween party) overlap but other things do not. It seems that allowing each other the time and space to pursue our personal hobbies or interests while the other takes over the parenting is how we get it done. We are still learning how to do this. Everything is a negotiation. Some activities are already carved out. Exercise is very important to both of us so we alternate days for example. However, we do seem to work out a little less than we used to pre-baby. Above all, we try to put an emphasis on meta-communication, in essence having an honest discussion about how we are communicating. The days can pile up and before you know it resentments or frustrations can too if you are not being respectful or feeling respected. Ultimately, I think that the easy answer in terms of what has changed since I have become a dad relates to budgeting time differently or a shift in priorities and while that’s true, I think a more honest answer has more to do with gaining a new respect for my wife and all of the plates she has to spin. (I can be one of those plates!)
We tried for six years before Lucas showed up. During that time people would say things like, “Oh man! Get ready! Everything changes, but in a good way!” I guess that’s somewhat true but would probably have been more so the case if we had Lucas when I was younger, more self-centered and if we didn’t have to try so hard to get him here. Infertility has put what it means to be a parent into perspective for us. It’s cliche, but my family really is the only thing that TRULY matters to me. My wife and I have always been close but continue to watch our relationship evolve. So while I maintain all of the interests I used to with some limits, now I get to introduce them to my son and my wife gets to do the same. Seems like a good deal to me! Thanks for reading, fellow punky parents!
Sales Negotiator & Entrepreneur
This is a tough one for me as I’m out of the house at the day job all day then at night I work on our businesses. One of our rules is that we always eat together as a family and there is a no phones/no work rule at mealtimes. We try to do as much work as we can once the kids go down to sleep in the evenings so that we can spend more time with them doing the fun stuff when they’re awake and at the weekends. Mostly I just think it is important to savour every precious moment I get with them, whether it is telling a bedtime story or changing their nappy because one day it will be the last time you do it for them and you won’t even realise until after it has happened.
Life will never be the same again once you become a dad, you become a role model, a super hero, a technical repairs engineer and head police officer all in one go. Having the kids was the best thing that ever happened to me, they keep me grounded and remind me to relax and play more, life doesn’t always have to be so serious. I definitely think that children teach us as much as we teach them, as long as our eyes and minds are open to them.
Wess Apshaga-Meaux (“Wess the Destroyer” in roller derby circles).
Marietta, Ohio USA
By day I am a salesman for a Telecommunications company. By night, I am a fire performer.
I try to keep work life and my real life as separate as possible. For me, work is just a way to pay bills. When that is taken care of, real life can happen. I have the luxury of choosing my shift (kind of). I work 11-8, so I am able to see the daughter in the morning before school, and see her off to bed at night. While it’s a bummer to not see her more during the week, I try to make up for it on weekends by hanging out with her. Whether we are binge watching Daredevil, roller skating, or hiking. Hitting up the comic book store, or practicing archery, we always make time for our “Daddy-Daughter-Date-Days.”
As a parent, I feel like I have to now think about the future more. Nihilism and chaos can’t *always* reign supreme. It is the best though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Duty Manager at Emirates Spinnaker Tower
I was very lucky in that my manager was completely understanding that Laura and myself were based in Southsea without any family close to us, we sat down and spoke about what we could do and managed to get me working a rota that allowed me to work less days but same amount of hours.
This now means that I get to spend three whole days a week with my son Dexter, something which I love! On the negative of this it does mean our time as a family is restricted as myself and Laura only have one day off together every 2 weeks, which is hard but we both understand this is what we have to do for our family at the moment.
Since becoming a Dad I’m a lot less stressed, my life is full of love and whilst parenthood is tiring and hard work, it is certainly the most rewarding experience.
Ever since Jude went back to work part time and Nellie started nursery we decided that as Jude works a full day on Monday I’d not work and it’d be a day for me and Nellie to go adventuring, which Nellie quickly decided to call Daddy Day.
It’s great fun to get up in the morning and wave Jude off to work and then let Nellie decide the plan for the day. “I want to see a castle” “I want to go on a train to see the countryside” “It’s too rainy here, let’s go to Manchester it doesn’t rain there” – Incredibly on that day we did, and it was a gorgeous sunny day in Manchester! I know every parent thinks their child grows up too fast, and starting school is an exciting time, but I’m really going to miss our Daddy days when she starts in September.
I am currently a stay at home Dad and have been for the last 3 months. After my younger brother died suddenly at Christmas aged 24 I felt that I needed to spend some time with my family. I never truly realised how much I missed during the day whilst being in work. It’s a cliché but they do change so quickly. Leaving Leafy has always been a real struggle for me and in work I would be constantly waiting for photo and video updates from my wife who is a stay at home mother. One thing that has always helped when working was baby wearing. It allowed me to bond with my daughter and wearing her in the evenings would help to heal my broken heart from missing her during the day. It also gave my wife a much needed break and helped Leafy settle to sleep. So was good for all the family. I still wear her now when she needs help to get back to sleep or take her for walk at nap time. She cuddles me and wraps her arms around me and gently taps her hands on my back. These moments will always be special to me.
My daughter is the most amazing and beautiful beast and Leafy’s sleeping habits mean that me and her almost always get to hang out and have breakfast together and spend at least an hour or so playing every morning. I used to love my sleep but now coffee is my friend and I actually love to share my breakfast. Even now I’m not leaving to go work I cherish this important Daddy and daughter time with just me and her.
I am very lucky as a parent, my employer has a really supportive and empowering approach to work life balance, and we are actively encouraged to do flexible working. Consequently since Feb 2016 I work slightly changed hours to get a morning a week off with my girls. Which is really special! We get to go to baby gym or parent and toddler groups, which I would have previously only ever heard about, or seen photos of!
Life has changed irrevocably since becoming a parent, but in a good way. Since finding out at the 20 week scan in 2011 that our first daughter Maeve had some challenges, I learned to ensure that I was included in all the discussion and hugs and compassion shown (quite frequently) only to Becca my wife by health professionals. I feel lucky however that I have never felt embarrassed to show emotion publicly regarding my children, particularly when we lost Maeve aged 18 months. You might think that is odd, but society still seemingly expects men to be stoic, which is so unfair and backward.
One thing I have totally regained, is my inner child, my desire to jump about with Rosa, enjoy her and not give a damn what people think!