I’m repeating a few posts for my own good. Even though, in every case, families have grown and aged, I hope you enjoy this interview.
TW: I have a beautiful wife (Kristi) of almost 8 years. I have two wonderful children, Kayla and BJ. Kayla will be 4 and BJ is 2.
FF: How has fatherhood changed you?
TW: Fatherhood has given me a greater understanding of how God loves and disciplines His people. I love and care for my kids, even though they don’t always appreciate it. I still feed them and clean up their bodily waste, even when they protest cleaning up their toys. Fatherhood has given me a greater appreciation for and understanding of how my parents raised me.
FF: What mistakes have you made as a dad? Name at least one and talk about what it meant to you.
TW: Since my children are at home with mommy all day, they are always screaming for mommy. When I come home from work, I enjoy brief celebrity status, then all attention switches back to mommy. So, at times, it was easy to distance myself emotionally, given that they didn’t seem to need me for anything. They are young and that’s usually how it works, but I would sometimes allow the pain of that to become an excuse to just let Kristi bear the burden of meeting their needs, instead of taking initiative. This was a big mistake that I used to make. I have progressed beyond that, and even forced them to come talk to me about something. I’m pretty confident that many fathers deal with this same issue.
FF: What’s the most helpful advice you heard when you were becoming a father or advice you’ve gained since you’ve been a father?
TW: My dad always taught me how important it is for Kristi and I to be in agreement and to keep our love for each other strong. When children come into the picture, it’s easy to put all the focus on them and neglect each other.
FF: How do you attend to your relationship with your wife outside of your being parents, and has parenting changed your marriage?
TW: Kristi and I always try to maintain some sort of a date night, even if we are just at home. Now that we are living in the city, we have greater access to babysitters. This has allowed us to go out more frequently than ever. Of course, parenting has changed our marriage. It’s forced us to be more creative and intentional with our time together. It’s something that we always need to balance.
FF: What are some of the things you’ve struggled with as a father? What are some of the things that have given you the most joy?
TW: As for struggles, I mentioned one earlier. That’s been the main one. It’s very discouraging when they choose to get attitudes and disobey. What gives me the most joy is to watch their personalities develop as they mimic what Kristi and I do and say. I love watching them as they play and converse with each other.
TW: Adding a second child presented new excitement and new challenges. Having two feels very different because these are two little human beings with very different personalities, issues, joys, needs, etc. It’s definitely more work. They both require individual attention in different ways. Different things make them upset or frustrated. So as we teach them, they are also teaching us.
FF: What surprises are there along the way for parents? What do you wish you were told to expect?
TW: Children have extremely different personalities. It’s also interesting to see them do and say things that remind you of yourself, or other family members. I wish there was an entire book in the Bible or at least a few chapters that were completely dedicated to raising children and what to expect. When we experience the challenges of parenting, I jokingly say to Kristi, “The Bible doesn’t say anything about this.” I love the word of God, I just wish that God would have put a lot more content regarding the “spiritual gift of parenting.”
FF: What is one recent memory you made with your child?
TW: We are currently potty-training BJ. One moment, we are congratulating him on going pee pee in the toilet. The next moment, we are reminding him that we go pee pee in the toilet, just after he has an “uh oh” moment. Sometimes we’ll ask him if he needs to go pee pee, and he will say “no”. The next minute, what does he do? He pees in his underwear. It’s been a fun and challenging experience. We’ve only been at this for the past 2 weeks. I think he’s getting it, slowly but surely.