PATRICK WEST Full time husband and father.

AGE   42

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I live in Dallas, Texas. It feels as much like home as anywhere I’ve ever lived, and more so than lots of places.

@TWITTER   @Patrick_West

ON THE WEB   http://dfwdaddy.blogspot.com

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   One

DAY JOB   Director of Partner Communications for J.Hilburn

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   What children’s book is a favorite in your house and why? What book has made a great impact on you or your kids? Was there/ is there a story that was passed down from generation to generation?
How can anyone pick just one book? Words are the gateway to understanding everything. Sure, math is the universal language and with it you can figure out the hydraulics necessary to move a mountain; however, words have the power to move your soul and give you the confidence that moving the mountain is achievable.

There are three that move my soul just at the mention of the title.

The first book TheKiddo™ ever read to us was, “Buenas noches, Gorila” by Peggy Rathmann. She was three and had memorized it.

“Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown was the first book we read often enough for me to commit it to memory.

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go” reminds me that she can and will move mountains (plus it’s Dr. Seuss, and who doesn’t love him).

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

We’re a one-income family, which has given TheBetterHalf® the opportunity to stay home. That single sentence is both extremely simple and nauseatingly complex.

Financially, my salary provides for what we need in term of food, shelter, clothing, etc. During the lean years (and with the global economy in what seems like a constant hair-blowing, arm-waving, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs roller-coaster mode there have been several such years) the one-income piece has dwindled to the point of non-existence. It’s hard to feel like you’re providing anything at all when those times hit.

Emotionally, I’ve learned that work isn’t who I am. It is simply what I do. What I am is her daddy. So it’s okay if I’m a little late in the morning because I spent extra time making breakfast for TheKiddo™. My bosses understand my priority is my family.

We believe that part of providing for daily care is ensuring that there’s no reason for her to grow up too fast. So we worry in private when things seem most bleak. One of the keys to that is making sure that financial stress hasn’t been noticed by TheKiddo™. That means we play a lot. Over the past few years, we have discovered a wide variety of cost-effective activities that turned into habits. It’s almost surreal the amount of free fun you can have with children in Dallas, TX. As we discover activities, we try them. The ones we enjoy, we repeat. Museums, trolley rides, crafts. It’s all stuff we can enjoy when we have money, or when we’re flat broke.

Along the way we create memories. We have fun. And we provide for the well being of TheKiddo™.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

I hope it has made me more aware and made me better about thinking beyond myself. I do my best to see how everything impacts her, and look for ways to ensure the impact is positive.

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

I hope my biggest strength is the sense of selflessness that overwhelmed me the moment she was born. Life is less about me than it ever has been. It’s about how I can provide for her, help her grow, and teach her to be the best person she can be.

I fear that my biggest weakness is impatience. It’s what has led to my most regrettable moment, as a daddy.

WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

She’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. From teacher gifts and artwork ideas to party planning and researching activities, she always has an idea of something interesting and fun. And she is meticulous in her planning and preparation. When things don’t go exactly according to plan, however, she has a hard time adjusting. That leads to frustration and anxiety for her, and then for all of us.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

I lost my patience and scared her. After a long stressful day at work, I arrived home in a foul mood. It was one of those days I just couldn’t seem to shake off of me. TheKiddo™ wasn’t listening well and doing what we needed her to do to get ready for bed. By the time I had repeated myself a third or fourth time, I exploded. I yelled. I stormed. I raged.

The next day at school during art, she drew a picture of me. It was horrifying. It was a giant mouth in a red face. When I saw this, I was more ashamed than I’d ever been in my life. I think that drawing will haunt me for years.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

We were sitting at her first dance recital. She was 4 years old (about a month and a half shy of 5). She had just taken her position on stage and was waiting for her classmates to get settled.

Suddenly she says as loud as possible so that I could hear her from the back of the small auditorium, “I’ll do my best daddy.” As she said it, her face lit up with a huge grin.

At that moment, I knew she was learning from me and paying attention. I’ve always told her that her best would always be enough. She doesn’t have to be perfect. She doesn’t have to win every game. She just has to do her best. The realization that she understood this as a year year old was beautiful.

Naturally, I could only grin and cheer in response.

Lisa Duggan

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

One thought on “PATRICK WEST Full time husband and father.

  • June 13, 2012 at 9:26 am
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    Such an honest and touching piece. I really love hearing Dads disclose when it makes them look less than perfect. I believe this is one of the best things I can teach my child. Imperfection. Thanks Patrick! Sounds like you you and your Better Half are doing just fine!

    Reply

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