MICHAEL PARRISH Onlies having onlies.

© Justine Bursoni Photography www.justinebursoni.com

 AGE   28

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Hometown: Missoula, Montana, USA / Now living in Urbana, Illinois, USA

@TWITTER   @OHOnlies

ON THE WEB   Onlies Havin Onlies

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   One

DAY JOB   I’m an academic advisor at a large, Midwestern research university. I work with first and second year college students who are exploring majors before they decide what they’d like to focus on.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   My mom’s family has a tradition of giving You Read to Me & I’ll Read to You by John Ciardi. I loved reading the poems with my parents when I was younger, but I’ve discovered upon re-reading it that it’s one of those “children’s books” that is really for the adults. I definitely appreciate children’s authors who keep in mind the parents who will be reading and re-reading the books. So, that’s a favorite from my childhood. Right now, Asher, my son, is loving Hondo & Fabian by Peter McCarty.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY? How have you, or you and your partner, arranged your life/schedule to provide the daily care for your kid(s)?

My partner is a doctoral student with a fairly flexible, but demanding schedule and I work full time during regular business hours. Asher goes to “school” at the campus daycare during the work day. I am so grateful to his wonderful teachers and love that I get to visit during the day sometimes. I do most of the picking up and dropping off, but I really like our routine and especially getting some one-on-one time in the mornings on our way to campus. While I do the majority of the shuttling during the week, my partner hangs out with our son on his own a few evenings a week and a bit on the weekend so that I have time to go to a yoga class or blog or get other work done. I feel like we have a good balance down of each getting some alone time, some one-on-one kid time, and time together as our whole little family unit.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

I would say parenting has made me more aware of my intrinsic qualities and less reliant on my job to provide me an identity. I think I’m actually more relaxed now after having a kid.

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

I’ve been surprised by my capacity to be nurturing and sweet and I would say that my emotional awareness is a strength I bring to parenting. I do sometimes let my worries get the best of me, though. So far I think I’m doing a pretty good job of not projecting those onto Asher.

WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

My partner is so good at being playful and silly with Asher. He does all the animal voices and can make any activity into a song. He makes up great, funny stories on the spot. He also changes diapers and lets me sleep in on the weekends! How awesome is that?

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

As I said before, we have a great daycare situation. Although we’ve had a few friends babysit on occasion, when he’s not at daycare, Asher is mostly with one or both of us. Working all week means that we don’t actually get a whole lot of time together, so I try to keep weekends pretty clear of things that will take us away from each other.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

Most of my worst parenting moments so far involve Googling some baby or toddler behavior and getting sucked into the “Oh my God! My kid has ___________!” vortex. Such needless and self-inflicted anxiety! The need for information is big, but sometimes I think the internet is the least useful parenting tool around.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

I feel like I have a best parenting moment every few days, as cheesy as that is (and people who know me well, know how not into the woo woo I am). Recently Asher really started holding hands instead of gripping one finger and he likes to hold my hand as we walk down the hallway from his classroom at the end of the day. It’s completely heart melting. It’s those little intimacies that have been the best experiences so far. That, and the sense of accomplishment I feel because I’m still breastfeeding. At one month I wasn’t sure I’d make it to 3, and at 3 months I wasn’t sure I’d make it to 6, but sure enough, here we are just past the one year mark!

Lisa Duggan

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

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