Welcome to Portraits of Fatherhood: We’re telling the story of today’s dads.
There is no better place to witness the changing roles of men and women in the larger culture than through the lens of parenthood. But rather than speculate on what and how contemporary fathers do what they do, we’d like to bring you portraits of the dads themselves. In their own words. Would you like to be interviewed for this feature? See the end of the post for details.
NAME Joe Rawlinson
HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Austin, Texas
ON THE WEB www.dadsguidetotwins.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Four
WORK Self employed, work-from home.
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY? How have you, or you and your partner (if you’re partnered), arranged your life/schedule to provide the daily care for your kid(s)?
I left my day job a little over a year ago to pursue my dream of working for myself. While it has been fun to help other fathers of twins via DadsGuideToTwins.com, it has created some challenges on the home front. Working from home full time created a new dynamic in our household that took some time to figure out. In the past I went off to work and was gone all day. The separation between work and family time was very clear. The kids associated me being home with playtime. Now, however, I was home all day but still had to get work done.
We’ve settled into an arrangement where I’ll put on my noise canceling headphones and work in our bedroom (my unofficial “office”) with the door closed while my wife cares for the kids. In the late afternoons, my wife teaches piano lessons so I take off my work-at-home dad hat and put on my stay-at-home dad hat. I’ll run the kids to activities, help with errands, do household chores, prepare dinner, etc.
Typically, whichever parent is not working will be the on-duty parent at that time of day. Dinner time and early evening is family time most nights. So I’ll catch up on work or schedule podcast interviews after the kids go to bed.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
A few years ago, my sons played baseball with a local youth league. Their enthusiasm varied but they completed the season just fine. The next year when baseball came around we discussed the opportunity of playing again. I told them that they could play baseball but that would mean we couldn’t go camping in the Spring as we’d always have games on Saturdays. My boys chose camping over baseball that year. So what was the big parenting fail? We never went camping. Oops. I still regret that bad trade.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
My wife potty trained our first son. When the time came to potty train our second son, my wife was reluctant to put herself through that torture again. I stepped up and did that dirty work with our son this time. I spent a full day working with him on the logistics of using the potty and by the end of the day he was “trained.” Of course we had to keep reinforcing what he had learned but I claimed victory. I had potty trained our son!
We’re looking for a few good dads.
IF you’d like to be interviewed for this feature, please write to Lisa Duggan at: [email protected]
Please write “Portraits of Fatherhood” in the subject line.