How can we do our job better? That’s a question we ask ourselves often. We take work very seriously – we read books, go to seminars, get coached, and do whatever is necessary to improve ourselves.
Sometimes, however, we forget about working at being the best at our other job – the most important one. Being a father and the best one we can be. By best, I don’t mean as per a ranking based on “time spent with kids” or “read five books this week” but simply being the very best we can be as our natural selves. I’m not thinking of Ward Cleaver or an idealized TV father. Rather, someone that simply does good things because he wants to, and listens - even when he knows just the right thing to say. And that’s just my definition – I hope you might be willing to share yours.
If you’re no longer married to your child’s mother and a live away dad, like I am, I’d especially like to hear from you. By the way, I don’t use the term part-time or visitation rights
, part-time, or weekend father. As author William C. Klatte says in his book Live-Away Dads, these imply you’re a visitor in your child’s life. If your child doesn’t live with you, you may have a whole subset of issues you deal with where you could use an idea or two. Some of the one’s I think about include:
How do you make the most of your time – bonding, relationship building, and fun – while maintaining a semblance of a regular home life for your child?
Do you over-parent and try to make up for lost time?
How do you introduce a new spouse to your child and maintain a healthy balance between honoring the new person in your life while respecting your child’s mother and her role?
Perhaps most importantly, how do you stay actively engaged in your child’s life with a regiment that may consist of every other weekend and dinner or Wednesdays?
I don’t have the answers to the above –although I’m constantly trying to come up with them! As a matter of fact, if you’re like me, you think about these questions, wrestle with them, and wonder if other fathers have the same questions and need the same help. My guess is they do and that’s why I’d like to put together this group – a group I’d call NYLAD – that stands for New York Live Away Dads (Coaching Group) – if you have better ideas for the name, I’m totally open.
How does this work? Frankly, I’m not sure – this is going to be evolutionary. At this point my hope is that we start out by talking or as it goes these days, emailing. If you’re reading this and think it sounds interesting, email back your ideas. If things move along the right direction, we could move towards a chat-room forum, then a call. This would be a great start.
Moving on, and the reason I’m focusing on New York is that ideally, we could move on to a meeting, or outings and perhaps even get-togethers with our kids.
That’s about it. If you like some or all of what you’ve read, please email me back as I’d welcome your ideas on moving this forward.