I’m relatively new to the exciting world of Dad Blogging, though have been writing blogs for years. One of the first things that I discovered about the community is how supportive it is. All the fathers are willing to help, support, and occasionally vent in a safe space full of like-minded and equally compassioned men.
To get more of an insight into what made them tick, I asked four of these leading-men how they find balance, work with brands, and if they have any advice to share.
The Four Fathers I spoke to are leading the way in Dad Blogging. Casey, Jim, Chris Read and Mat York are vocal on parenting issues, finding companies that understand the role of a father, while being advocates for their peers.
Meet Casey Palmer, a thirty-something Canadian Dad from Toronto, ON looking to raise his multiracial family of four in an urban environment that never quits. Writing on parenting, racial identity, tech and more, he’s out to prove that well-crafted words really CAN change the world!
Find Casey on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube
Say hi to Jim Lin. He’s an SVP Creative Director for Ketchum Digital as well as a dad blogger who has given up counting the kids, animals and stray neighbors in his house. To the outside world, his blog, BusyDadBlog.com, is a repository of lighthearted parenting adventures; to Jim, it is a roadmap that helps him piece together where he’s been the past few days, when he suddenly wakes up drooling and disoriented in the office.
Join Jim on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr
This is Chris Read, aka The Canadian Dad. Chris is a husband and the father to two amazing children. He is also the voice behind the blog, Canadian Dad, where he writes about his experiences as a father. In his spare time, he is a flailing weekend rock star who is prone to breaking out into fits of dance. Chris is also the co-founder of the Gil Read Memorial Foundation, named in memory of his father, whose goal is to provide funding for children who can’t afford to compete in organized sport.
Follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Mat York is the creator of That Dad Mat, a multi-platform positive parenting community. Mat is 3 kids deep into fatherhood and has a genuine passion for guiding parents through the early stages of their children’s lives. He lives to foster healthy, happy families to parent the ways that come naturally to them through positive education, engaging online chats, and honest light-hearted speaking events.
See what Mat is up to on Facebook and Instagram.
So, to the questions. Thanks to the four Dads who took the time out of their incredibly busy work & family schedule to sit down and to write me back.
First up, how do you juggle work and family time?
Casey: Funny enough, I was just thinking about that this morning on the way out to work. As a Dad Blogger, I’m a Dad first and a blogger second. Same goes for my day job—I make the time to get things done, yes, but I’ll drop everything if my family needs me.
It’s something I’ve needed to consider deeply over the years—I’ve turned down career opportunities because they’d take too much time away from the kids, and press trips because leaving Sarah to look after our two spirited
boys for days just seemed unfair. I’m sure my thoughts and approaches will evolve as the boys grow older, but my parents sacrificed their time with us
so we wouldn’t have to do the same with our
children, and I’m trying not to take that for granted.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a Dad?
Jim: I have learned that I actually won’t let my kids eat whatever they want and stay up all night and watch all of the movies, like I promised myself I would do when I was 10 and grounded for something or other.
Chris: There isn’t enough time for me to fully answer this one because I have learned so much. I think the most important thing I have learned about myself is that when things get really hard, I am able to rise to the occasion and get through the storm. I wasn’t always that way and it took having kids to truly see the strength I can possess.
Mat: I don’t that I necessarily learned about myself as much things I’ve learned to do better. Becoming a father has taught me kindness and compassion I previously lacked. I have learned from my kids and their love of the world. Everything thing they see and do is for the first time, and experiencing that joy with them has shown me a new outlook on life.
Is there anything you wish you’d known beforehand?
Mat: I wish I could’ve known that it was possible to love my wife even more. She’s always been my best friend, lover, and confidant. But seeing her as a mother opened up a whole new place in my heart. I never understood how people stayed married so long and why people bothered having kids. But after, it totally makes sense. The respect and admiration I have for her after having kids will carry us through almost anything I believe.
Chris: Honestly, not really. For the same reason I don’t watch movie trailers, I think there’s something fun about the adventure of parenting that is better left as a surprise.
What do you think about brands aiming their marketing toward moms instead of dads or both parents?
Casey: Can we really point the finger at brands on this? Brands do what makes good business sense to sell products and services—what really needs to happen is seeing our social perception of parenting evolve to show it’s more than just the matriarchs raising our children at home. Stats show that 81% of men participate in housework and related activities as of 2010. They show men contributing an average of 13 minutes per day on child care activities for children aged 12 and under. (And considering an unemployment of 8.1% at the time, yes—that’s very likely on top of those jobs we work to bring our share of the income home.)
Moms and Dads alike are working very hard to raise their kids in 2017—it’s time that message get across to everyone.
Why did you become a Dad Blogger?
Casey: Though I’m a Dad first and blogger second, I was a blogger long before I was a Dad.
I started sharing online back in 2002 (!) simply because I loved telling stories. Since those early days on LiveJournal, I’ve written upward of 3,000 pieces of blog content, and probably still have thousands more stored up inside me. Dad Blogging just happened because I was a blogger who became a Dad, a situation I find is fairly unique across the numerous bloggers I’ve met over the years.
But it’s definitely changed me—I actually thought I’d need to scrap the blog once I became a Dad, but what it did instead was bolster my writing resolve further and give me a reason to keep writing this content!
I’ll just have to wait and see whether it’s as valuable for my kids as I hope it’ll be a good 20 years from now.
What have you found particularly hard during your intro into fatherhood?
Jim: Being a good example. You don’t realize all the bad things you say or do when you don’t have an audience of sponges with really good hearing.
Chris: I am a classic helicopter parent. I see a potentially dangerous situation (ie, kids running down a flight of stairs) and I immediately start to panic on the inside, which eventually flies out of my mouth in the form of warnings to slow down. I’m working on it though and even got the kids a trampoline for the backyard. Baby steps.
Mat: Patience. Patience is something I have always struggled with and the need for it is only amplified one you become a dad. Not just patience with your children or your wife. Patience with the world, with your family, and with your friends. They will not always understand the choices you make and there may be things outside your control that affect your parenting. It all takes patience.
Do you have any words of advice for new dads?
Jim: I give this one all the time but it really is the most practical advice ever in the history of parenting: hoard all of the free napkins. Grab them at every opportunity and stuff them into your glove box, your work bag, your pockets, your jacket, cupboards, closets, floorboards, wherever. You always want a napkin within arm’s reach at all times.
Casey: I’ve had to scold, discipline, or ignore my toddler at times to get him in line, and he still cuddles with me at night while I read him bedtime stories.
If climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
was my ultimate measure of what I can accomplish physically, raising two boys into who I hope will be capable and promising adults is definitely the ultimate measure of what I can do on the mental and emotional sides.
You’ll want to explode. You’ll want to cry. There’ll be times you’re grinning from ear to ear. But if you take it all a day at a time and make the most of it from the time you wake up ’til you go down to sleep, I swear you’ll wonder where all the time’s gone!
Chris: Be present. Read bedtime stories. Sing songs. Have dance-offs. Watch their sports practices. Encourage them to do things that scare them. Be goofy with your kids and absolutely enjoy the ride that is fatherhood.
Mat: Here’s where it gets real. Your wife just pushed a watermelon out of a bagel, or worse had to have a child cut out of her. You should be at her beg and call, she shouldn’t lift a finger for as long as you can possibly help it. Own your role as equal parent with every late night feeding, super dirty diaper, and spit up covered shirt.
But in a serious note, don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling or unsure, chances are she is too.