I don’t recall how long I’ve been following Jason, but it’s been awhile now. Blogs like his is one of the reasons why I haven’t given up doing Chats with Mums and Dads. It’s great to discover new ones, especially one this good and definitely worth sharing One Good Dad to the whole of blogosphere, if not the world. Read and find out why:
Right off the bat, let me state I am answering these questions on extremely little sleep. My wife is preparing for trial right now (she’s an attorney), which means she has long hours at work, during which I take care of everything at home. Along with the tiredness, I have a bad cold and a shoulder injury. One more thing, to my own fault, I went to a Muse concert last night, which has added to my exhausted state. So I might nod off, babble incoherently, or break out into Uprising. Anyway, let’s get into the questions:
Tell us something about yourself and your little ones:
I moved to New York City along with my wife 14 years ago with a huge dream in mind – to be an actor in NYC. My wife also was enrolled in law school. Because I needed a flexible schedule for auditioning, I picked up one retail job after another. After 2 years of living in the Big Apple, my wife gave me some news that changed our world. We were going to be parents. Our son was born between her second and third year of law school and I jumped all in into the world of Fatherhood. The only thing was, I was clueless about kids. I had never been around babies and kids. In fact, I abhorred boogers, snot, and the other bodily functions that accompany children. A new dream of becoming a great dad grew in my heart, and as my wife’s stomach grew, I impatiently awaited his arrival. Once he arrived, my old world disappeared and a new, wide-open one began. When my wife graduated law school, we decided that since she had the more promising career, I would stay home with the kids. We have added 3 more kids to our family since number one arrived and I love this role I play every day.
My blog initially was meant to be an acting and playwriting marketing tool, which is why I chose the URL, TheJasonGreene.com. Every time I wrote though, only stories about being a stay-at-home dad poured onto the screen. After about a year of blogging, I added the URL, OneGoodDad.com, with the tag line, “One of Many.” My blog originally covered my life, but it has grown to include travel, social issues, and whatever else is keeping me from getting a good night’s rest. As if I needed more reasons.
What were your little ones birth stories like?
Like I said, we have 4 kids and each birth was a different story. For number one, I couldn’t believe I was a part of this huge, historical moment. At least it felt that way to me. Other babies’ cries filled the hallways and sounds of mothers yelling echoed from one room to the next, but my mind relayed to me that our little family was the only one to go through such a momentous occasion. We were prepared for labor and delivery, but I was not ready to see my wife in so much pain. Watching my son come into the world wasn’t a problem for me. Witnessing my wife painfully become a mother was. And she did it three more times!
Kids 3 and 4 shared similar birthing stories. Number 3 however made me feel like I was a pro at the delivery scene. At one point I even joked to the doctor, “I’ve got this.” Also, my jokes during all 4 labors were not always welcome.
My second child had a different birth story. My daughter arrived prematurely and her lungs weren’t strong enough for her to breathe on her own. She stayed in the NICU for 8 days, while my wife slept on a cot in the hospital and pumped because she couldn’t breast feed with all the tubes and wires that flowed into and out of our baby’s body. It was also hard for me to run back and forth from the house to the hospital while taking care of the little one at home. It was a tough time, but she made it through. All of us did.
What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?
Learning in the moment helped me to become a better parent, so I’m glad I understood so little about parenting. I wouldn’t change what I did and didn’t know before holding my child for the first time. I was certain my sleeping patterns would suck, so I wasn’t shocked about walking through life with blood shot eyes.
How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?
Since I’m a stay-at-home dad and a dad blogger, my kids are my job. But at the same time, I do need time for myself to write or simply take a break. We have great neighbors who help me and are available to watch my kids almost any time I need time off. And my kids love them like family, so that makes things easier. We started homeschooling last year, so I’m still trying to figure the balance out. Finding time to write blog posts and sponsored content is increasingly difficult. I’ll need to get back to you on this question after mastering time. It’s doubtful that’ll happen.
How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?
It’s funny, because child-free time with my wife is sporadic. We’ll go through months where we go out monthly, then for whatever reason, our date nights are spent watching Jessica Jones on Netflix after the kids are asleep. My oldest son is at an age where he can babysit the other two kids for a short period of time with help from our neighbors. That short period of time is enough for my wife and I to grab a bite to eat or a beer at the local bar. My wife and I realized we are happier when date nights are regularly scheduled.
Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?
My three older kids and I went into Manhattan one morning to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way home, my daughter looked by a tree and found a $20 bill. She picked it up and we looked to see if anyone was searching for dropped cash. Nobody claimed it so she pocketed the money. As we climbed down the stairs to the subway, my daughter daydreamed about all the things she would buy with the money. She brought up buying a doll, or candy, or putting it towards money she earned to buy something even bigger. While on the subway, a man with a deformed arm walked through the door. He cried out that he had no money and no home and needed money to buy something to eat. Without hesitation, my daughter reached into her pocket and handed the man the $20. The man thanked her for her sweetness and walked away, as tears of pride welled up inside my own eyes. My daughter looked up at me and said, “I did nothing for that money and he did nothing for his arm.” At that moment not only did a burst of love explode from my heart, but I realized that I’m doing okay at this parenting thing.
What is it about fatherhood you love about?
I love being a dad. It is the reason I was placed on this earth. I have the possibility to make the world a better place by raising great kids. And I can help change the face of manhood. I love my kids and to be around them as much as I do is a privilege. To watch them grow from diapers to iPads is really cool. I get to be a first-hand witness in watching someone grow up and leap from one stage to the next.
Photo credit here (same with featured image).
If there were anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?
The biggest problem in my daily life is the lack of privacy. I can’t tell you when the last time was I had an uninterrupted bathroom break. Within seconds of walking to the toilet, an impatient knock occurs or small fingers slide under the door. On occasion, I can even see an eye peering through the keyhole. I am so conditioned to locking the bathroom door that I even lock the door when I am staying in a hotel alone.
If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home-dad would you take it?
I have been a stay-at-home dad for over 10 years now and I’ve seen a huge leap in society’s belief that fathers are as capable parents as mothers. You see less and less commercials portraying the bumbling dad stereotype. The increase in the number of stay-at-home dads had a hand in changing the image. I’m proud to be a part of this new face of manhood.
I used to hate the looks I would receive at a party when meeting someone and mentioning I was an at-home dad. Sometimes the looks would be one of sympathy, and other times they would discredit my status of manliness. I don’t care about the looks anymore. The most important thing to me is how I’m doing as a dad and a husband.
Best advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?
I have a quote from Jim Higley from BobbleheadDad.com. While at a Dad 2.o Summit, he said, “Be the parent that your kids need you to be.” I changed “parent” to “dad.” Each kid is different and requires a different way of parenting. There are plenty of great parenting books out there, but the best way to learn how to be a parent is to jump right in. Learn by watching and raising your children. Each one of my kids needs a different way of parenting. So, like Jim said, I try to be the dad they need me to be.
If you could give yourself advice before become a dad, what would it be?
If I were going to jump in a time machine and give advice to myself about becoming a dad, I would actually focus more of my advice on being a husband. I liked learning to be a dad on the fly and it helped me become a better father. The advice I would give myself would be to go out with my wife more before the kids come. To enjoy one another’s company more and share more memories. Once children come into the picture, the dynamics of the marriage change. Much of the discussion between my wife and I center around our children. In the years leading up to the birth of our children, I wish had we focused on strengthening our bond together and less on ourselves.
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Thank you so much Jason!
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