ERIC PAYNE Makes me wanna holler.

Communication is critical.

AGE   40

HOMETOWN(S)   Chicago is my hometown. Recently moved from New York City to Atlanta

@TWITTER   @EPayneTheDad

ON THE WEB

Makes Me Wanna Holler: Man, Dad, Husband (the blog that started it all)

Black And Married With Kids

HuffPost BlackVoices Parenting (the newest addition to the family of sites where I write)

DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!   (my Kindle book on parenting and fatherhood)

*Editor’s Note*   In May Eric was named a 2011 Top 50 Dad Blogger by Cision Media and Babble.com just selected his blog as one of the Top 50 Dad Blogs for 2011!

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Two

FAVORITE CHILD   if applicable* (we’re joking*) I have a teen, well actually…no comment

DAY JOB   Blogger, Freelance Writer, Technical Writer & Social Media Consultant. But when my daughter was stay-at-home age, I did stay at home with her.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

In the beginning it was tough, because I entered my relationship with a child already in tow (she was a single mother when we met). There was a lot of trial-by-fire for me. However, I think this gave me an edge I probably wouldn’t have had had I started from scratch. Nowadays I make sure I’m am done with my work well before my kids are home or wake up. This may require me to stay up late working or get up early working, but I do not believe in splitting time between them and a computer or smart phone.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

Parenting has taught me unconditional love, something I had no real concept of prior to my kids entering the scene. It has also taught me patience and self-restraint. It has made me more judicious and fair (as I have siblings).

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

I would wager that I rarely to almost-never have sex but this has nothing to do with my kids. A thousand times isn’t enough, though realistically, I believe, a couple to a few times a week is a healthy amount for the well being and cultivation of your relationship, and your ability and desire to express your love for your partner.

As far as communication goes I have stepped up my communication game completely. I do my best to make sure that I am crystal clear when speaking to my wife.

Two people in such close confines can’t afford to suffer misfires in communications.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

Running a tight ship, making sure all the needs are met, all the wants are addressed, all the bellies are full and all the laughter is fulfilled on a daily basis. And keeping it all in order in my head and sometimes on paper. These are my strengths. My weaknesses? Well, sometimes taking things too seriously.

WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

My spouse is great at taking turns with me on things with the kids. She shares the same love of academics/education as me and does a great job of instilling her love of reading to both our kids. She loves to sing and dance with the kids and makes them laugh. As far as weaknesses go I will only say that we don’t share the same degree of strictness. I grew up in a strict household, she did not. Conflicts occasionally arise over parenting styles.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

We currently have no outside assistance other than the occasional babysitting providing by family friends or during visits from the in-laws. In our previous location of New York City my wife’s family played a major supporting role in our lives.

DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?

My son struggles with ADD Inattentive disorder. It has followed him throughout most of his academic career and created a major stumbling block for his performance in the classroom and on tests, though he is quite worldly, well-mannered and charming. Although he is a teenager I have to pick and choose when and where and how to be strict with him based on the particular situation he is in. I have to be on guard —to be able to make the distinction between him genuinely applying himself versus him putting forth a half-hearted effort.

 WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

There is no one moment but I’d say collectively the worst moments for me have been when I’ve acted on impulse first, not assessed the situation that is happening and have been wrong in my handling/management of it. In these few and far between instances (Thank God) I have been quick to apologize to my children as they need to know that they aren’t the only ones who make mistakes, and aren’t the only ones who need to apologize when mistakes are made.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

Being present for my kids’ milestones (graduations, recitals, plays, games, etc.), witnessing their joy and watching them grow into who they will eventually be are the things that bring me the most joy and satisfaction as a parent.

Please feel free to add other stories or anecdotes about your life as a parent.

Becoming a parent doesn’t change you.

You either intentionally opt to change or don’t notice the subtle changes you begin to make because you are a parent.

Does this mean you should shirk your responsibilities in the name of being a free spirit? Of course not! But don’t blame a kid who didn’t ask to be brought here for why you’re not living your life to the fullest.

If you want to, you will find a way — and you’ll hopefully find a way to incorporate the kids along with you.

Lisa D

Lisa Duggan is the founder of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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