HOMETOWN(S) Glen Ridge, NJ / Ann Arbor, Michigan
GOOGLE+ (if applicable) applicable, but not really
DAY JOB Writer, blogger, Dad 2.0 Summit organizer, 50/50 child custodian
ON THE WEB
LaidOffDad.typepad.com (the blog that started it all)
About.me/DougFrench (everything you always wanted to know about Doug)
Dad2Summit.com (the conference that connects dads with brands)
Babble.com/doug-french-the-turbid-spume (Doug on Babble.com)
WhenTheFlamesGoUp.com (Doug and The Ex)
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two boys
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Divorced
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
We’ve been fortunate, because part of the plan of moving to Michigan from New York City was to work from our homes and find as much flexibility as possible. My ex has lots of professional and academic commitments, and now that I work almost exclusively on writing and Dad 2.0, so do I. So far, we’ve been able to keep up our 50-50 custody schedule and fill in where the other needs help. And if we can’t, we now have grandparents less than an hour down the road.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL? For instance are you now careful, when pre-children you led bungee jumping and sky diving expeditions?
Quite the reverse. My children remind me that they are here to replace me, and that I will one day be dead. I take more chances now because I now see fatherhood (and by extension, life) as the adventure it will always be. I want my kids to see it the same way, and far sooner than I did.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP? How often do you have sex? Is it enough? How do you communicate differently (if at all)?
She and I no longer do that. Which I suppose doesn’t distinguish us from a lot of couples that are still hitched.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
I think it all stems from the Want. I’ve always had an oldest-child, caretaker personality, and for whatever reason, I really like seeing after the kids, in all its concomitant drudgery.
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
As a divorced person, I think this is harder to answer. It doesn’t do either of us any good to call out each other’s blind spots. Rather, as equal shareholders in this business of raising our boys, it’s our job to find our relative strengths and play to them as we navigate the tribulations. As to those strengths, I think my ex excels with her analytical mind as a diagnostician. I think I have greater success with diplomacy. And lifting stuff.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
We relied on steady afternoon sitting while we both worked in New York. We haven’t needed to since I went freelance, and it’s even less of a need now that we’re both working from home. But Grandma is still a crucial backup.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Telling the kids I was moving out. My older son was 5, and the look of his face as it contorted into tears still haunts me.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
I don’t think of parenting in moments, because for me it will always seem like a rebuilding process after the divorce. Distinguishing moments seems like saying one nail in the floor joists is better than another.
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