Winner of – Best Family Blog – from VUE Weekly 2017

Hiatus cleanser

Father is not allowed on the other side of the door.

Dad is not allowed on the side of the door that I am not on. Ever.

This is what the cool kids who smoked at the smelly barn I grew up near called a ‘hiatus cleanser’. Just kidding. They weren’t kids.

Anyway, it has been a bit of an Undad break as family life has ensconced all facets of my smarmy existence. All is well though. I even think I used ‘ensconced’ properly. Properly meaning that I half read the dictionary.com word of the day text I got this morning. My WillieNelsonJokes.com joke of the day came through at the same time so I couldn’t finish it.

So, back on the tracks. Straight and narrows. Rising from the aces. Focused and I’ll stop whatever the shit this is right now.

A few weeks back I put the ask out for those who may know a dad that would like to answer some questions on dad-dom. Cue Patricia Begley-Nelson with a Jeff Nelson suggestion. I don’t know Jeff or Patricia, but that didn’t stop me from asking them to support my invisible friend licensing Kickstarter. They declined, but Jeff was rad enough to answer some dadstions (I mixed the words ‘dad’ and ‘questions’ together. This is a magic i was born with).

Ladies and gentleness, Mr. Jeff Nelson.

Mr. Jeff Nelson

Mr. Jeff Nelson

JN – Did I always want to be a dad? Not at all. I wasn’t directly opposed to the idea, I just didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity, or be any good at it. Now that I am I don’t regret it for a second (even when I do regret it); I’m happy I did have the opportunity. I still wonder if I’ll be any good at it though.

Being a dad has definitely changed how I see the world. From seeing everything as brand-new through her (his daughter), to drawing realisations from my own childhood as pieces of my parents’ puzzling behaviour fall into place. Some friends and I were discussing movies recently, and a thing we call the Dad Context. What is just a throwaway scene to one person will often hit a dad—especially a new dad—right in the feels.

Just the other day, M had her first fall and it was on my watch (I usually look after her before work while her mum gets a bit of extra rest). I turned back to my breakfast for a second and she rolled herself off of the couch and face planted onto the hardwood floor. There was no time for tempering my reaction so she didn’t get scared or whatever—she was already hurt and scared and it wasn’t until mummy came rushing out that she calmed down.

I left for work feeling like a complete failure; beating myself up all day. When I came home though I was greeted by that same excited smile she usually has for me (often the best part of my day), and she was just as eager for bath time as she always is, babbling on and on to me, the morning’s injury already forgotten except for the (now faint) mark on her forehead. The highs and lows in the day of a dad.

As for advice for other dads, advice a friend of mine with kids gave me: “As long as everyone has eaten, pooped, and slept, the day was a success.” Also, there’s a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) out there—different points of view are great but you have to make the decisions that work best for your family.

Jon Manning photo by Andrea Beca

Jon Manning photo by Andrea Beca

Then there is Jon Manning. Jon and I know each other from a short lived TV show we starred in called Captain Kisses House of Awkward Kisses (not at all). Recently Jon and I have worked together in a sketch comedy fashion with Friends Without Benefits. Jon plays Satan. Not in a one on one basketball sense, more in the acting fashion. Here are Jon’s dadswers (oh yeah).

TW – For as long as you can remember, did you always wanted to be a father?

JM – Definitely not. My 20s were full of selfish mistakes. And during that decade of dalliance, I definitely did not want to bring a child into the world. But that line of thinking changed when I met the right gal. She’s always helped me see the world beyond myself and really, it was a great breeding opportunity.

TW – Has it changed how you see the world?

JM – Definitely, it has. I’m more grateful for the simple things, as cliché as that sounds. I just love being at home and spending time with my family. I still have my own ambitions and I still want to fulfill those, but my focus has changed and the most important thing I can work on is my family, and also my Xbox.

I’m also more protective. And on the same level, I’m more optimistic. So there’s really this duality of seeing all the possibility in the world and also being slightly afraid of it. I guess I’ve just gained more perspective.

TW – What is one of the biggest surprises you’ve come across?

JM – This isn’t really a surprise because I strongly suspected things might go this way, but I’m constantly in awe of how good of a mom my wife is. It’s astonishing, and also completely beyond me. I actually don’t know how she does it all. And she still finds time to be an incredibly supportive partner. I’m clueless with most of this stuff, but I’ve lucked out.

TW – Do you have an anecdote that (sort of) sums up your dad experience thus far?

JM – Oh, I love anecdotes. Of course, because I’m living it right now, I don’t have any, but I’ve looked some up quotes, and this seems to be a very truthful and happy thing to say, so I’m going with it:

Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it. – Mike Myers

TW – What advice would you give other dads?

JM – It’s not about you. Being a dad has saved me from some of my selfishness. I’m sure I still have my moments, but to me, this is important to remember. My life is no longer just about me, it’s about my wife, my son, our family—it’s all of us and that’s pretty much how I feel about that. 

Tagged as: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

@TheUnDad

RSS The UnDad Podcast

  • Thus far in review with producer Andrew Paul
    Having Andrew Paul as a producer is like having a wizard/scientist friend that, no matter how under the influence you are, supports your crazy ideas and helps bring them to life. So, yeah, of course I was going to pick his brain. Jesus. This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast […]
  • Never use it as an excuse
    Mr. Owen Brierley is a delight to talk to. Join us as we chat about what it is like growing up being legally deaf, what a lawnmower parent is, and how everyone should have their own personal version of 'It's All Gone Pete Tong'. This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta […]
  • I have a ghost in my head and I call it Garglemax
    I got an implant that connects to a wizard class synthetic user interface. It's like 'Alexa' that only I can hear. It's for science. Everything is fine.
  • Who would win in a fight, Mr. Rogers or Jesus?
    Scott C. Bourgeois and I talk about our respective adoptions, what part of your body you should eat first if you were trapped on an island, all the effing podcasts he is involved with, and the best of kid lit.
  • Jana O'Connor PT 2
    The second of two parts of our Jana O'Connor interview (please listen to the first one if you already haven't). To get to the point: Jana is a jewel in the crown of the Canadian arts scene. She is triple H (not the goddamn wrestler): humble, humorous, and ensconced with humanity. We talk about working […]
  • Jana O'Connor PT 1
    As the Etruscans put it, this one was a doozy. Join me and Jana O'Connor as we cover everything from antiquated idioms to how to butt in line at the dentist (and everything in between). We talked so long that I had to cut it in two. I had to cut it in two because […]
  • I think the Jedi have it all wrong
    There is some rampant nerdery as Darren Pleavin and I talk horror movies, horror feelings, invisible motorcycles, family horror, and some scary stuff that left us holding each other, cerebrally. This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network. Thank you to Andrew Paul and the Edmonton Community Foundation for the […]
  • His Dumbledore is Shit
    Garglemax handles the heavy lifting while I talk shop with Dave Breakenridge, the Managing Editor of the Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, and Edmonton Examiner. Topics covered: Helicopter parents, swearing, ADHD, Harry Potter readings in character, the 10/3 Podcast, columnists as journalists, and where not to get a tattoo.
  • I'm still doing comedy
    Ken Valgardson answers the phone for a content over audio quality interview. We chat comedy, teaching, parenting, and child bowels. It truly is a magical time to be alive. Powered by ATB and the Alberta Podcast Network with help from the Edmonton Community Foundation.
  • We're heroes
    A rousing conversation with Elena Porter where we talk about being an actor and parent, the great Arlington Apartment fire of 2005, murder, and buying a horse. Powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network.

Follow The Undad via Email

Enter your email address to follow The Undad and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 39 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: