HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Danville, Virginia / Bloomfield, New Jersey
ON THE WEB www.robrichardson.net
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two
DAY JOB Mostly stay-at-home Dad, but also an actor
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK
My oldest daughter is a HUGE Junie B. Jones fan, and frankly that series is my favorite too. She’s also into Judy Moody, and just now discovering Little House on the Prairie. My youngest loves Winnie the Pooh and Olivia, but she wants to be like her big sister so she pretends to read the Junie B. books too. As a kid I loved The Jack Tales (google them if you’ve never heard of it), but my girls need to be a lot older before they are ready for that.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
My wife, thankfully, has a terrific job that she loves, and she essentially provides for our life. As an actor, my work is sporadic to say the least, and sometimes can be very lucrative or not at all. So typically I do all the household chores—day to day cleaning, cooking, taking the girls to and from school, shopping—etc. Honestly, we’re at a point where we actually can lose money when I am employed, because of the cost incurred by my absence. I typically work out of town, and my engagements can be 3 or 4 weeks or as many as 17 last year (though I was able to be home 1-2 days a week, and I always was). So I guess the girls see much more of me than their mother right now, but we’ve managed to make it work so far.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I think more than anything I just “get it” more than I used to. I know now what my parents and teachers were trying to say. Being a parent has made me a better actor, because my emotions are constantly available to me now—we call it ‘actor food’. I have also become a colossal chicken. There’s no risk-taking physically for me anymore, because all I can think about is “what will they do if I’m really hurt (or worse)?”
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
We laugh a lot, and we did before kids but now it’s even better. We could/should have more sex, but I never want to do it just because we haven’t in a while, or we feel like we’re obligated. Last year we made a New Year’s Resolution to have sex at least once a week, and we kept it for about 5 months, then lost track. We may go 2 or 3 weeks without, but when we reconnect it’s terrific, frankly the best it’s ever been in our relationship.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
Good in a crisis (said that), level-headed, and I am still a big kid myself, so I think I understand what’s important to them. Frankly, I had a fairly rough (but somehow happy) childhood, so I know what they are going through. As far as weaknesses go, well…it takes a lot for them to really get me angry, but when I do it’s probably a little over the top. And honestly, the effort of maintaining the household and trying to keep my own career going is exhausting, and sometimes I just don’t want to interact with them! Not often for sure, but sometimes I just want some me time. I often take out my frustrations on an old video game where I shoot zombies in the face with my shotgun. That’s healthy, right?!
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
My wife is a terrific Mother—great with keeping them involved and active, and not letting them veg out in front of TV or a computer. We always talk though, about how different it is for our kids than it was for us, and that a lot of our experiences growing up are really irrelevant to what our daughters will face. If my wife had a weakness, I would say that she has a hard time disconnecting from work. But when you bear practically the entire financial burden, who can blame her?
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
It’s pretty much just us. Both of our parents have died, and while we each have 4 siblings, they all live in Virginia, California, or Oregon. And we’ve struck out with some babysitters who just turned out to be flakes. The one we’ve liked the most is in college now, so her time is limited. So basically, it’s us, with a little help from our friends.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
No, our kids are thankfully healthy. My youngest could use a suit of armor to protect herself, but otherwise we are very lucky.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
How much space do you have? I lose my temper with my 3 year old more often than I should. She is a button-pusher, a needler, a scamp, an imp, a troublemaker—but she’s also incredibly sweet and frankly, hysterical. If she weren’t, she may not have made it this long.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Nothing really sticks out. I’m good in a crisis though, I’ll say that.