An Interview with Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
I'm a stay at home dad to two really damn funny (and good looking) kids. Penny is 8 and Simon is 5. They're best friends who crack each other up and stick up for each other. They also drive each other nuts. Simon is starting to test the boundaries of being a little brother and all that that entails; Penny is not a fan. My wife is an amazing mom and makes more money than I ever could. She's awesome and puts up with my crap, which is definitely awesome. And we have a dog! Her name is Mallomar and she is as adorable and insane as my kids. I write about all of them on my blog, Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad.
What are the best characteristics from each of your children?
Penny is smart, funny and brave. So much braver than I ever was. I started running obstacle course races, like Spartan and Tough Mudder, when she was little to show her that I could do anything. I'd like to think that my pretend courage helped instill the real deal in her.
Simon is also smart and funny, but not particularly brave. He can, however, be the sweetest, most affectionate kid on the planet. He hugs all his friends and tells them he loves them. Other parents look forward to seeing him because he hugs them more than their own kids do. And his embrace is warm and all-encompassing. It's amazing.
How do you and your wife approach raising a family?
We practice "kangaroo" parenting. I'm just kidding, I don't think that's a thing (though, really, who knows?). We're mostly just trying our best, trying to give our awesome kids the tools to become awesome adults.
What made you decide to become a stay-at-home dad?
It was sort of a perfect storm. As is probably the case with a lot of men who stay home, I was out of work when we had the baby. But I'm not sure how much that would have mattered. I never defined myself by the job I had, until that job was raising kids. Allie, on the other hand, loves the work she does. She never saw herself as a stay at home mom. In college, when we were just dating, I even joked that I could take care of the kids if she took care of the bills. Guess it wasn't really a joke.
What is your day like?
I'm usually in the car for at least 3 or 4 hours a day, dropping off, picking up and running errands. I try to get a little writing in and do some social media for my blog. My housecleaning skills could definitely use some work, but I try to keep the place reasonably reasonable. Especially when my wife gets home late, both because I have more time and because I know it's more relaxing coming home to relative order than complete chaos. When the weather's nice, the kids and I usually bike, scooter and skate around the block with Mallomar, who loves chasing them and being part of the action. When it's crappy out, we might play a board or card game, or my kids love some old school Mario Brothers on the Nintendo NES. They're way better than me already (my mom didn't let me play video games...not that I still hold that grudge!).
What have you learned from your parents that directly impacts how you raise your children?
I learned that different parents parent differently. My mom was hands on with laser focus; my dad generally less so. The love from both, however, was always obvious, not only for my brothers and me but also for each other. If my kids know nothing else, they know that Allie and I love them and that we love each other.
What other aspects of your life do you find being a father has changed you?
Becoming a father made me become a better man. I saw the look in my baby girl's eyes and wanted it to always be there. I wanted to be Superman to her, and then to Simon, for as long as possible. I got more into fitness (though I have to admit I've been slacking recently) and took on various physical challenges I wouldn't have dreamed of before having kids. Being a parent also means being part of something bigger than yourself. Since becoming a father, I've thought more about how we, as individuals, treat each other, and how that simple idea is reflected in unnecessarily controversial issues, like feminism and equality, in all its forms.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
One of my friends started a blog and I guess it got me seriously considering it. One day, when Penny was around 3, she saw a balloon high in a tree and told my wife and me that she wanted it. When Allie asked her how she planned on getting the balloon from all the way up there, she answered "daddy can," with a strongly implied "duh, obviously!" She thought I could do anything. I knew I wanted to prove her right. I also knew I had a story to tell.
What have your children taught you about yourself?
I know I will never be the father or man I want to be, but that's okay. My children are a work in progress and so am I.
Dave of Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad supports Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood was founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams. For 100 years PP has indiscriminately provided women with the care, education, and activism they need.
Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, information, and outreach to nearly 5 million women, men, and adolescents worldwide in a single year.