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 Mark Holden
HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Columbus, OH
ON THE WEB daddymindtricks.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
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 have to admit that I kind of made a lifestyle choice early in life that has paid dividends over and over again. In high school I took Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses and was faced with a dilemma … go to parties or stay home and study. However, I’m not one who’s known to miss out socially and I also don’t like failing either, so I needed a third option. That came in the form of cutting out sleep. I typically go to bed at 4am and wake up at 8am every day. Thank goodness naps were never a part of the formula since being a workathomedad doesn’t afford me that option. Because of this schedule we have time to spend together as a family, my wife and I have time to spend together when our son goes to sleep, and I can get all the video gaming and work I need completed after everyone has passed out. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Being a father has unfortunately given me too many “worst” moments than I can count but if I have to choose one that can at least make me laugh it’s the time when my wife told me I was dropping our son Edger (not Edgar) off at our friend Sarah’s house for babysitting. I got him dressed, packed, and out the door in a hurry so I wouldn’t be late to an appointment. I knocked on Sarah’s door and when she opened it he looked in and started to cry because he didn’t know some of the people who were in his line of sight and since he had never been left there before he was apprehensive. Sarah had a confused look on her face but I knew it had to be because this was out of character for Edger as he loves everyone and is never afraid of anyone. Since I was in a hurry I didn’t have time to coddle anyone, so I suggested that Sarah take him to see their dog in the kitchen and that while she did that I would leave his bag on the table and duck out (knowing full well he’d warm up to everyone and in no time they’d be his best friends).
She agreed with the plan and everything went without a hitch until I called my wife to let her know Edger was dropped off safe and sound and that I was just pulling in to a particular gas station to fill up and that I would see her soon. “Why would you have backtracked to go to that particular gas station?” she asked. I said, “What are you talking about? It’s on the way.” And that’s when it hit me. I dropped him off at the wrong Sarah’s. All I could think about, as I drove Fast and Furious style back to her house, was why did she just take him and not ask what the hell was going on. Who just goes along with something like that? Either the most amazing person or the most creepiest and I can attest it is the former in this case. Sarah explained that she just assumed her husband told me I could drop Edger off and that her husband must have forgotten to tell her (she obviously wouldn’t put that past him which cracks me up but then again concerns me). Apparently all is well that ends well but that is definitely not my proudest parenting moment.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Being a father has also given me too many “best” moments than I can count but if I have to choose one that always makes me smile it’s right when my son, Edger (again, not Edgar), was born…and not for the cheesy, “magical” reason that one might think. I chose this moment because right before he was delivered the doctor seemed concerned about something, which scared the shit out of us newbie parents, but what had happened was that when the doctor was trying to clear his mouth, to open up his breathing passageways, we found out that he was biting the doctor’s finger and wouldn’t let go. As he finally let out a cry we were able to breath a sigh of relief — until we witnessed the doctor passing Edger off to the nurses — who he then pissed all over until they gave him to my wife, where he finally stopped and got cozy.
Immediately he looked over at me, the proud father who was snapping away at photos, and proceed to flick me the middle finger. So he bit the doctor, pissed on the nurses, and said, “Fuck the world”. I couldn’t be more proud.
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.