HOMETOWN(S) Bloomington, IL / Chicago, IL, after 22 years in NYC
ON THE WEB No
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
DAY JOB Advertising with side projects as copy editor, model, stripper
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Single, in a relationship
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK My son just turned 18, so we don’t really read together anymore, believe it or not. GED study guides were a big hit recently.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
Parker has been living with me for 7 years and it’s been pretty easy balancing his stuff and mine. I’ve got a routine and stick to it as much as possible – 5:30am gym, 7:30am leave for work, 4:30pm leave work, 5:30pm get dinner on the table. We eat together most every night during the week. Only variables are if I go out at night. And I do.
I believe we all need time for ourselves and we all need to be happy. If I’m happy, Parker’s happy.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
Parenting has made me much more patient and ready to face the unexpected. I’m more willing to listen to differing opinions. Of course, I still don’t think anyone else is right, but I do listen. It has also made me more decisive. One cannot dither about thinking of a solution when one’s kid is sick, in a dangerous situation or just needs you.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
Parker’s mom and I had completely different philosophies regarding parenting and that, among other things, led to our split.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
I listen to what Parker has to say. I believe it’s important to consider your child’s opinion and really hear what he says. This attention gives him the confidence to speak his mind outside the home and makes him stronger. I don’t always agree with him, but he knows he has a voice and I take him seriously. I’m also fiercely protective.
However, with him I’m really just a big softie and give in more often than not.
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
As Parker gets older, she is learning to give him the independence and respect that he needs and deserves.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Parker was a colicky baby and didn’t sleep or stop crying for four months. It was horrible. Holding him one day, I thought that I would give or do anything to make him be quiet. Anything. Bad things.
Even though I just thought it, I’ll never forget that thought and regret it to this day.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Seeing Parker as a young man and knowing that he’s turned out OK. He can be thoughtful, kind and generous. (He can also be lazy, stubborn and stupid.)
He’s got a much bigger heart than I and does not hold grudges. He is developing a relationship with his mother after some really tough times. He speaks to my side of the family after I cut off contact several years ago. I started a relationship with a guy and was hesitant to tell Parker. He’s not completely comfortable with the idea, but when I told him, he said, “Dad, if you’re happy, that’s all I care about. And you look happy.”
That made me very proud.