Eric Bennion 2.0

EricBennionUpdatedPhotoAGE   37

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?   Salt Lake City, Utah / Downers Grove, IL (Chicago Suburbs)

@TWITTER   @DiaryDad

ON THE WEB   www.diarydad.com

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Two

DAY JOB   Blogger/Social Media Manager (But I’ve been an English Teacher, A Radio DJ, A Marketing Manager, and a Mac Nerd…)

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   This is a tough one. There are two that I memorized when my kids were 3 and 4, so that I could “read” them with the lights off, in the car while I was driving or over the phone when I was on the road. These are: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise, and Boom Chicka Rock by John-Archambault.

My dad sang lullabies to us at night, so I made a point of learning one of the songs he sang to us, “Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod”, and because my kids liked that song I learned Kenny Loggins’ “Return to Pooh Corner”. Right now I am reading The Percy Jackson Series and getting ready to introduce The Hardy Boys books to them.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
My wife works from home half-days and I try to fill in the gaps. I try to keep them tagging along with me so she can have some alone time, when she needs it, and when we are not off on a family adventure.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I think it goes without saying that I am more patient.

I think that comes as a side effect of seeing the world through my children’s eyes. Many of the things I take for granted (knowledge/experiences) are happening for the first time for my children. I have to stop and let them struggle through their mistakes and struggle through their successes as well. Sometimes it is really hard — especially when they are making mistakes, to let them see it through to the end.

It is definitely worth it though, and I think the patience I am learning is paying off elsewhere in my life; with my spouse, my extended family, and even professionally.

HOW HAS PARENTING IMPACTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
I think my wife and I are closer than ever because of our children.

We both try to take a very active role in raising them, which means we spend a good deal of our time together as a family doing things which bring us all closer together. We learn, play, and have conflicts together. It is great because our children see us doing these things together as adults and learn from our examples.

I watch my wife interact with our kids and learn different approaches, and my wife does too, vice-versa. Then we watch as our kids interact and we can see the results of our efforts.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE SEX? IS IT ENOUGH?
We have sex as much, or more, as we ever have in our relationship (can you ever have enough?…), but I think this is due more to placing a priority on having that time together.

Which means doing the other little things that make intimate-time possible. For example, foreplay starts with housework — not candlelight and Barry White — making sure the ‘stressors’ are removed so the “mood” can be achieved. It also means seizing the moment even if it means you only have time for a quickie.

HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY (IF AT ALL)
We swear a lot less, and have learned it’s better to leave plans open so that our children, and we, can adapt when or if the plan changes.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
My biggest strength is my ability to adapt to change. I tend to be more spontaneous and able to respond in the moment to the needs of the children. Planning and organizing are my weaknesses. My kids have planned adventures throughout the year because my wife is very good at planning for them and organizing them.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
From time to time, when our work schedules don’t allow for one or the other of us to be with the kids, we have a collection of friends and family, as well as community resources that we can utilize to care for our kids. For the most part my wife and I cover most of the childcare.

DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
I have one child that has Celiac disease. It means we have to be very careful to make sure his diet remains gluten-free.
At first it was overwhelming because we were learning as we went, but it has been 5 years since his diagnosis and we’ve now adapted to the changes necessary to keep his diet safe for him, and keep a daily routine. He is a healthy, normal kid who is able to eat most things kids his age do. Where he can’t, we are either able to adapt or help him understand why he is different and work through the struggles with him.

ARE ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN ADOPTED?
None of our children are adopted, but we are seriously considering it.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
I was watching my two kids and two of their friends at a festival while my wife was parking her car.
In the 20 minutes I was by myself with the kids I lost one of my kids’ friends. In the middle of a throng of people I dropped the three kids I had managed to keep track of at a security station, so that I could be mobile enough to find the lost one. I found him — but for a good ten minutes I thought for sure I was going to be the dad that no one trusted with their kids.
I have been allowed to watch their kids since that time and haven’t lost anyone.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
This is a tough one to answer. To pick one moment is like being asked to pick your favorite kid… I really enjoyed the births of my children; I cut the umbilical cord for both of them.

It was a great bonding time for me. For the first 24 hours of their lives I got to be with my kids. When they were washed, weighed, or any other activity that the nurses did with them I was there the whole way.

My kids will never remember it, but I will never forget it.

Lisa D

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

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