Saturday, April 19, 2008
Spotlight on Dads is a weekly series from Discovering Dad that features involved fathers from around the world. The objective of the series is to inspire fathers to connect and learn from one another, while also deconstructing the stereotype of fathers as 'second' parents.
This week's spotlight shines on Jason Roth who shares his experiences at Roth Family Adventures. Jason and his family live in a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, and he'll be the first to tell you that he's a lucky dad.
Tell a little about yourself. "Who am I?" That's a tough question to answer. Now that I'm a dedicated husband and father, I rarely have an opportunity to think of myself as an individual. It's amazing how life changes when you make that transition from carefree bachelor to family man. I'm a thirty-something, who still feels like a twenty-something (except for my bald head). I work as a director of marketing and communications at a private health sciences university in Henderson. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, swimming and other outdoor activities. My wife, Grace, is six years my junior, so some may say I robbed the cradle. She's a Filipina-American, although most people are surprised that we were actually born at the same hospital. We grew up just a couple of miles from each other in Long Beach, California. We actually met, though, at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. I was flying to Southern California for a family reunion, and she worked for the airline. It was one of those strange, chance meetings that people hear stories about. We've been married five years, and we have a 2-year-old son named Zane. He's the best thing to ever happen to us.
What about your family background? I have a mixed family, but it's not too atypical. My parents divorced when I was 4-years old and both remarried shortly thereafter. As a result I have a total of five brothers and two sisters, some of which are step or half-siblings. It makes holidays interesting and rather chaotic. One thing that most people don't know about me is that I'm a twin. My brother lives in Southern California, and we couldn't be more opposite in personality. Actually, unlike most twins, we've never really gotten along. Even as infants, my mother tells stories about having to keep us separated to prevent injury from our fights. We get along better today, but that's probably because we only see each other twice a year.
What do you like most about being a dad? My favorite part of being a dad is teaching Zane things he needs to know about life. I'm amazed each day, as he surprises us with new knowledge. I enjoy witnessing his excitement when he discovers something new or sees something that he's really fond of, like airplanes, helicopters and animals. I hope he keeps this excitement as he gets older.
"My favorite part of being a dad is teaching Zane things he needs to know about life."
What do you find most challenging about being a dad? I never realized how challenging being a dad was going to be until Zane was born. The greatest challenge is probably the loss of spontaneity that I once was able to enjoy. Now, every decision we make has to consider the impact on our son. For example, prior to his birth, Grace and I flew to San Francisco almost every weekend. It allowed us to get out of the desert heat, and we enjoyed the weather, food, sights and sounds of our favorite city on the West Coast. It was easy for us to do. Now, it's too much of a hassle, so these trips are rare.
The other major challenge is balancing the responsibilities of being a dad versus work and caring for myself. I'm often troubled by the fact that I've had to "let myself go." I used to go to the gym five days a week. I lived a very active lifestyle. Since the birth of Zane, I've lost 40 lbs. of muscle, and I rarely have time to do anything about it. I'm currently planning a comeback of sorts. I realize that if I'm going to continue to be a good dad, my health needs to be taken off the back burner and made a priority.
What's your most memorable experience(s) so far as a dad? There are so many memorable moments, but if I have to choose only one it would be our first night home with our son. It wasn't funny at the time, but I can laugh at it now. We were completely lost on what to do with our helpless newborn. Needless to say, sleep was something we didn't get to enjoy.
In general, how do you think dads are perceived? Why? Based upon advertisers' portrayal of dads, we're a bunch of inept and bumbling idiots that have no clue about how to communicate with our children. It bothers me as I know, based upon witnessing my brothers, friends and other bloggers, that fathers today are involved in their children's lives more than ever. It is my hope that dad bloggers will become more recognized in helping change public perception.
How has the experience as dad helped you discover something new about yourself? Being a dad has made me realize that I can be a patient person. I never thought I was. Now, no matter how long it takes, I enjoy watching our son do things for himself. The fact that he inherited his mother's stubbornness has only helped me. Unless I want to incite a tantrum, I have no choice but to let him do things, even when I think we don't have time for it.
Who do you go to for advice about fatherhood? I refer to the other dad blogs for advice and information about issues we deal with everyday. For the most part, it's based upon personal experiences, so I find it extremely useful. I also go to my parents for advice. With so many brothers and sisters, my parents (on both sides) have a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to fatherhood and parenting-in-general.
Do you hang out with many other dads? If not, why? If so, what do you do together? I try to hang out with other dads. We're very fortunate to have recently moved into a neighborhood that's home to many young families. One of our neighbors is my age, and he has a daughter about the same age as Zane. We've gotten to know each other quite well over the past few weeks as we play with our children in the park in front of our homes and host backyard barbecues for our families. We're well on our way to developing a great friendship. We even have a round of golf planned, without the kids.
Tell a little about your blog. My blog Roth Family Adventures was started back in September 2005. It was a way to share our pregnancy experiences and milestones with family spread across the country. Since then, it has evolved into something much larger than I imagined. We now have regular readers from all over the U.S. and around the world. I find it fascinating that people in places like Seoul, South Korea, and Tehran, Iran, find us interesting enough to visit every day. Of course, I do have concerns about this exposure as well. Lately, we've become recognized in Las Vegas. On several occasions, we've heard people yell out our names when we're at the mall or even grocery shopping. They always say "we read your blog." That's one of the reasons why I don't show pictures of the exterior of our home or talk about where Zane goes to school. There are some scary people out there.
Anything else you'd like to share? Thank you for choosing me for your Spotlight on Dads series. I feel honored to be included with an exclusive group of great dads.
Are you sure there's nothing else you'd like to share? Given how special this opportunity means to me, I'll use it to share a final bit of great news. We learned yesterday that our family will change once again, as baby 2.0 will make his or her debut on Thanksgiving Day!!!
WooHoo! Everyone join me in congratulating Jason, Grace and Zane!!! Awesome, and we'll look forward to hearing updates on Roth Family Adventures!
Next week's Spotlight on Dads will be furiously funny! I hope you will join me on this adventure!
Spotlight on Dads is a weekly series published every Saturday on Discovering Dad. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Your feedback and recommendations will help to shape this series. Thanks!
Spotlight on Dads - Chuck Houghton
Spotlight on Dads - Scott Lancaster
Spotlight on Dads - Dana Glazer
Spotlight on Dads - Tyler Wainright
Spotlight on Dads - James Austin