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 Tom Erdman
HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? I was raised in NW Iowa, but I, my wife and our dogs moved to Lenexa, KS (west side of KC metro) 3.5 years ago.
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One toddler
WORK I work full time as a Systems Administrator
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)?
We are blessed in the fact that, between my income and us living (sometimes very) prudently, my wife gets to stay home with our 20-month old girl and our two dogs. We do have to make sacrifices to do this, but we feel its totally worth it. So this allows kiddo to be with mom all day, then, as often is possible, everything between dad coming home from work and kiddo’s bed time is family time. We go to the park, we get groceries together, we do walks, we listen to music, we read together. You of course have days where life happens, but this is the daily blueprint (which carries mostly over to the weekend; substitute dad at work for dad doing home care, etc), and it seems to work so far. Sundays are then family day; church together, play together, nap together, find something outside the house to do, then mom and dad have ‘date night’ after kiddo hits the hay. The key point is this; if we can possibly be together, we are, and we make the most of it.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Tie: I once put baby girl’s diaper on backwards before putting her to bed for the night; you can imagine how that worked out. In the other instance, the second day after switching her from a high chair to a booster, I slid her under the table and pinched her leg without realizing it. She immediately started fussing, and I just thought it was her normal ‘feed me’ complaining, and I left her for a minute before realizing what was happening. It was only a minute, but I’ll feel terrible about it for the rest of my life. It’s so easy to forget that kids have a reason for almost everything they do; sometimes it’s manipulation, but you still need to examine each instance, ask ‘why is this behavior happening?’.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
It’s more of an event, really. Long story short, four days after bringing baby girl home, my wife went back in the hospital for six days with an infection. So there I sat with a newborn, my best friend in the hospital with a problem they can’t really track down…you get it. I had help from Grandma, thankfully; she fed me and made me remember to sleep when the baby did, and I took care of baby. But the fact we got through it with baby girl none the worse for wear is an achievement I’ll always remember and be proud of surviving.
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.