Craig wears multiple hats as an entrepreneur, a father, a husband and a pilot. As a JDF captain he admits that he is no stranger to a challenge, yet he readily confesses that heading to a delivery room is more nerve-racking than flying through a storm!
Read on and enjoy Craig's candid answers on fatherhood.
How has becoming a father changed you personally?
It’s no longer (primarily) about me and my desires and needs. The primary focus is now my kids: seeing to their needs, their aspirations and giving them a better life than the one I had. Even my own desire for success is driven by a desire to achieve for THEM. Oh, I’m also a lot more patient now!! Having kids has certainly taught me patience. Lol!
Has fatherhood changed your life significantly?
It certainly has! My “free” time is no longer my own! But I’m fine with that as the moments spent with my children are priceless. Once kids come into the picture, they become the number one priority. Enjoy life in the back seat.
What did you panic about as a new dad?
I panicked about changing diapers. After the horror stories I heard, Freddy Krueger had nothing on the fear that a dirty diaper drove into my heart. But it isn’t so bad at all. I’m now quite good at it actually (especially since I’ve mastered the art of stopping my breath for a rather extended period.)
You know how women share parenting tips with each other, do men do this?
In my experience, not so much. The internet and the ladies of my family were my closest allies.
What’s more nerve-racking? Flying through a storm or heading to the delivery room?
Heading to the delivery room!! With flying you can plan for what’s coming- check weather reports, plan for aircraft performance based on environmental factors, weight, etc. With the delivery room, however, no such information is available. You’re at the mercy of your thoughts and imagination. Will the baby be okay? Will it be a safe delivery? Well there be 15 toes? I just put it in God’s hands, try to remain calm and hope for the best. God has been pretty awesome (Thanks big guy).
Men often complain about how hormonal and emotional women get during pregnancy. How did you handle this and how do you offer support?
I rolled with the tide. I agreed when she needed me to, showed my disapproval when it was required and walked the straight and narrow. It’s a hormonal battlefield and you’ve got to be ready to do what’s necessary to stay alive - yes, I said alive, and yes, I do mean that in the literal sense. Tough times!
All the women I interview agree that children can put a damper on sex. How much dent has it put in your sex life?
Let’s put it this way, you can’t be as spontaneous as you once were (I learned this the hard way one night - but that’s another story). If it’s important to you though (which it should be), you’ll make the time and make it happen. The hours between 11p.m. and 5a.m. have become a period very dear to my "white-liver" heart.
In today’s crime ridden society, with the abuse and increased violence against children, what measures do you put in place to protect your child? This question is from Garfield (obviously).
Ensuring your kids are in a safe environment is important. Deciding where they go or don’t go and with whom are just the tip of the iceberg in trying to ensure their safety. Ultimately, educating your kids about what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is key. Also, creating an environment where your child feels comfortable to talk to you about anything is a very good place to start.
What is your biggest fear as a dad? (Another Garfield question)
My biggest fear as a dad is having to deal with any of my kids being seriously hurt, or getting “that call” one day... No parent should ever have to face that. My heart goes out to any parent that has had to.
Are you the disciplinarian in your household or are you easily worked over by the puppy-dog eyes?
My wife Melissa is the disciplinarian in the household. I have however been appointed a role equivalent to that of the “bogeyman”. The words, “I’m going to tell your father” or “Wait till your father gets home” seem to have quite an effect.
What is the most uncomfortable topic you’ve had to discuss with your child or do you anticipate discussing?
The topic of sex comes immediately to mind. How much information do I put out there? When do I put it out there and in what amount - bite size or chunks? Do I give a PowerPoint presentation with visual aids at 16? In this day and age, at age 12, maybe? In my ideal world, my wife would have the sex education talk with the girls, I'd have the one-on-one with the boys, and we would both be available for consultation. Problem solved. Lol! If only it were that easy.
What is the most shocking thing your child (or any of your children) have ever said?
I think for me so far, it’s my daughter Sahai, who in the 4th grade, came home one evening and began to explain the digestive system to me in great detail: identifying all the parts, enzymes and what they break down. This is the same digestive system that I struggled to learn in the 8th grade!! I marvel to think what these kids will be learning in high school.
What’s your favourite father/daughter bonding activity?
Taking out the trash. The receptacle is a little distance away and the eldest, Sahai, loves to race me on the way back. We have a nice little chat to the receptacle and on the way back we pretend we’re not going to race. Then one of us takes off and the race begins! At first I used to let her win, but now it’s become a case where I comfort myself by saying I let her win. There are special moments to be found in the simplest of things.
I think we are all so unaccustomed to seeing men play an active role in their children’s life that we shower praises on men for doing things that, in truth, moms routinely do and are expected to do. Do you think fathers should be held to same parenting standards as mothers?
Yes and no. There’s nothing that a woman does that should be categorized as the “woman’s job”. If we’re going to be fair, that also applies to men. Parents, both mom and dad, should be able to handle and stand ready to do any parenting task that is required. I will however say that there’s a significant role that mothers play in nurturing children that cannot be denied. Fathers chip in but there’s no substitute for a mother’s love.
A slightly different question, there is a wide perception that men are the breadwinners of the family which means they are expected to spend more time working as they focus on building their career or businesses. How difficult is it to balance your professional life and your role as a dad?
This is a tough one. Admittedly there are times when work will come in the way of family and "bonding time”. In your mind, you’re working hard in the best interest of the children. Children however will seldom view it in this light. It’s important to have a partner that has your back on this one, helping the children to understand the sacrifices you’re making on their behalf.
It’s also equally important, if not more so, that when you do have the time, you make it count and make up for the shortfalls. When you’re with them, become “SUPER DAD!!”
What’s the best advice that you’ve received as a father?
I’m paraphrasing here but Aunt Thelma told me, "Develop your children's confidence and self-worth. Teach them the importance of working hard for what they want, to strive for and develop a culture of excellence and the importance of being an asset and not a liability to society.” RIP Aunt Thelma.
What advice would you give to a new father?
Master that “holding your breath while you change the diaper” trick. This is especially important when they reach solid foods. And watch the hands! They always want to get their hands involved during changing time. If you can master that, you'll be fine 🙂
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