I Am the “paternal” Host Nick Firchau, and This Is How I Am a Parent

After the children were born, Nick Firchau says that he wondered for days what the hell he was doing. He needed guidance, but he found parenting was not a topic usually discussed by men. Then the veteran sports journalist decided to launch some sort of “fatherly podcast” that he would like to hear. The fatherly , Firchau has a frank, in-depth conversations with all kinds of fathers, including in the US soccer star , an innovative Seattle DJ and barber NewYork Knicks . Topics for discussion ranged from parenting black children in Trump’s America to defending the emotional hardships of boys and fatherless fatherhood. During the recording of the interview, Firchau says that he is always thinking about how to apply lessons and ideas to his family. That’s how his parents have it.

Name: Nick Firchau Location: Longmont, Colorado Job: Host and Producer of the Paternal podcast on masculinity, masculinity, and fatherhood Family: My wife Jasmine and I have been married for almost six years and have a son Nathaniel (4) and a daughter, Will (2).

Tell us a little about your family and your career. Was life mostly according to plan or were there any surprises?

My wife and I got married when we were 33 years old, when we were both still working in the media in New York. Most of the couples we knew were like us, focused more on their careers and clearly didn’t think about starting a family in a hurry. Although we wanted to be parents and our first pregnancy was definitely planned, I don’t know if the New York lifestyle is right for us as parents. We lived above a popular bar in Brooklyn and people camped on the porch drinking and smoking and flirting as we tried to put him to bed. I rode my 1980s Schwinn bike to buy diapers at Duane Reade and walked a few miles in the snow at Prospect Park just to get him to take a nap in the carrier. We eventually moved to California and then to Seattle, where our daughter was born. Finding a balance between living in cities with promising jobs and building community was a challenge for us, which is why we moved four times in the four years after our son was born. We are tired, but I think we are happier now than ever.

Tell us about your morning routine. What are your best tricks to get out the door?

We have an overly affectionate puppy that crawls into our bed at about 6 am and then stays in a bustle for about two hours until we send the kids to school. I’m usually in charge of making coffee and playing music – we still listen to KEXP in Seattle every morning – as well as brushing my son’s hair to make him look somewhat presentable to the general public. My favorite moment every morning is when my daughter watches my wife get ready for work – clothes, hair, makeup – and just takes everything into account. The first time I saw them together at the sink, I almost cried, because I couldn’t even imagine. being a husband and a father could be so good.

How much outside help do you get as a parent? Without anyone or without which you can not live?

We spent the first four years as parents thousands of miles away from our parents, so during those humiliating and painful first months with the baby, we hardly received any help. In the end, my wife’s poor sister, in her twenties, moved in with us in Seattle and became our default nanny on those rare nights when we could go out for lunch and a drink and our kids adore her. But unlike our parents, she had a life of her own, full of boyfriends, concerts, after-parties and Instagram, so she, understandably, was busy with other things most of the time. We arrived home relatively late one evening, around 11:00 pm, and when I asked how the night had gone, she shook her empty cocktail glass in her hand and told me, “You are out of vodka.”

What gadgets, apps, charts, or tools do you rely on?

I’m ashamed to say that we’re too disorganized to use a lot of parenting or scheduling apps, but I’m very proud that we never let our kids look at our phones. We’ll cheat on PBS shows on iPad if we take a long flight to see the family, but our general rule of thumb is that phones are terrible for kids. When my wife and I catch each other looking at our phones in front of the kids, we use a code word meaning “hey hang up, your child wants your attention.” We’re not perfect at this – I’m obsessed with political Twitter and my wife always replies to work emails – but we try.

Has the way you work changed the way you become a parent?

By just leaving New York, we improved our work-child balance a bit, which was a good start. Over the years since then, both my wife and I have shown much less tolerance for messing up or wasting time at work, because neither of us wants to mess around in the office after 5:00 pm. Having children teaches you how to manage your time efficiently, effectively, and even ruthlessly. Sit down, do your job well, go out the door, go home. We don’t have much time to waste on Slack because one of the kids is probably stuck in a screen door or something.

How do you like your evening routine?

Dinner at the zoo is a matter of course. Sometimes there are two or three different meals and someone usually cries at some point, but I don’t think this is unusual. Both of our kids are big readers – my son is obsessed with objectively boring library dinosaur books with names I can’t pronounce, for example – so reading is a huge part of his bedtime routine. My wife is a professional, she usually hugs each child before bed and then we usually talk, read or watch TV 30 minutes before bed.

How do you unpack?

It was only recently that my wife and I realized that being apart on weekends is an important parenting step. She will pick up the kids in the morning and I will pick them up in the afternoon, which means that one of us will have 2-4 hours of continuous time to relax. She does yoga, I swim in the river center. And sadly, I still feel satisfied when I have 20 minutes to listen to music on headphones and clean the kitchen at night. This is the restart button before we dump this place the next morning.

What are you most proud of as a parent?

Our biggest incentive for moving home to Colorado last year was that the kids interacted better with their grandparents. It was not for dating, free babysitting or lower housing prices, but so that the children could understand and feel that there are more people in this world who love them, like my wife and I. Every time I see my children run up to my parents and hug them – when you see how comfortable and confident they felt as children thanks to the support of their family – I feel that when we returned, we made a monumental good decision.

What moment are you least proud of?

Discipline with my son is always a challenge because he is a typically emotional, irrational and passionate four year old boy. In my worst moments, I find myself arguing with him at his level, as if I was letting his emotions get the best of me, and I forget that I’m an adult in conversation. I’ve said “stop being a baby” several times, and I hate myself for that. Of course, he is not an infant, but he is not yet a rational, stable person. He’s just a little kid. And my job is to inspire him and put him in a place where he can be successful.

What do you want your child to learn from your example?

Marry the right person. I would like to encourage so many qualities – creativity, courage, honesty, compassion – but the best lesson I can teach my children is what it means to be in a stable, safe family. Of course, this is never taken for granted because relationships change over time and circumstances, but my parents provided my brother and me with a model for parenting together and lovingly, even if it was never perfect. My wife and I work as hard at being husband and wife as at being parents, and I am proud of the example we have set over the years.

What’s your favorite family ritual?

My son and I have been contacted because of hiking, which satisfies my need to be in nature and his need to get into what he considers a gooney-like adventure. Until there is a path that he would not walk, or a rock that he would not climb to see what was on the other side. When he walks down the street and feels fearless, he is probably my favorite person in the world because he is only four years old and has already found his place.

What’s the hardest part about being a parent?

When it comes to my children, I am quite an anxious person. I am by no means a helicopter parent and I let them fall off the hill and get the cream of our dog when they play, but I am really worried about what will happen to them and if they will be safe. Nobody is telling you that once you become a parent, you will lose control over the people you love the most. No one can guarantee you that your children will be healthy, happy, alive and well all the time, and this is difficult to deal with because you so badly want it to be true.

What’s the most unexpected thing about being a dad?

In the beginning, you are faced with many unexpected problems – diapers, loss of sleep and sanity, combining work with time spent at home – but the most unexpected changes for me have occurred in my relationship with my wife. We met when we were 15, so we know each other as well as you know your partner. It was amazing to watch this person, whom I have known for so long, just naturally and smoothly assume a new role in her life. Even before we had children, I spent so much of my attention and anxiety on how I would change as a man or how I would adapt to having children, but the happiness I found as a father was equal to the unexpected bonus of seeing my wife become a mother.

Has anyone ever given you parenting advice that you really liked?

When my son was born, I received an email from my wife’s uncle saying, among other things, that parenting would be the best group I will ever participate in. It stuck in me for years because, despite all the other connections that unfortunately can separate me from other men – race, social class, education, sexuality, faith, geography, political preference – I will always be a part of this. a vast group of fathers who share the same experience of wanting the best for their children. This advice made me feel like a part of a larger community that I needed as a new father and that I still need now.


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