Dad Chat – Caffeine Fueled Parenting

Here’s the next in the series of Dad Chats. The response to question 2 is really interesting and gives a fascinating insight on Brandon, the blogger at Caffeine Fueled Parenting.

You’ll find links to his great blog at the bottom of the interview.

Please read on, enjoy, and check out his blog and social media.

1. Tell us about yourself and your family

Here's Brandon and his family
Here’s Brandon and his family

I’m 30, United States Marine Corps veteran, career firefighter, and father of 3 babies. I have 2 boys Noah (almost 4yrs) and Ben (2yrs) and a baby girl Allison (Alli) who is 8 months. We are a split family, my sons from a former marriage and daughter with my current partner. It is a crazy, wild ride juggling so many obstacles that my life path has taken. From custody schedules, a difficult rotating fire department schedule, and all our hobbies and interests. Luckily enough for me, my ex wife and I are pretty cordial and cooperate well.

2. Have you always wanted to be a Dad?

No! Honestly, children used to scare the sanity out of me. I’m a larger statured man and I’ve always had difficulty with finesse. The idea of holding such a fragile little life had always humbled me into a very hands off (even borderline quarantine) approach to children. My role in the military was an infantryman and we prided ourselves on living a spartan and rugged lifestyle. Although many of my Marines had kids, it didn’t strike me as a benefactor but as more of a hinderance. Multiple nieces and nephews swarming around an environment that I normally control with strict discipline and stature of the Marine Corps was my idea of chaos. It wasn’t until my best friend had a child that I spent some one on one time holding and observing a child and found a connection. When I left the military and became a fireman, my focus shifted from an elite destructive and conquering force, to a service mentality of care and crisis management. With that shift of focus and change of environment the idea and planning of a family blossomed. After having my firstborn, my entire life was completely rocked. My purpose and sense of responsibility and connection of pure love had taken root. And I’ve never looked back or thought about it twice. Now I’m addicted to my kids, and parenting in general. I love seeing my kids observe, learn, feel, and progress.

3. What’s the best thing about being a Dad?

It may sound slightly cliche, but having the responsibility of improving the world through my kids. I know my children are destined for success. As everyone, I’m a flawed person, I’ve made numerous mistakes in every aspect of living, yet knowing that I’ll have taken a part in their success, gives me the utmost pride and happiness. I think that as parents we are all critical of our role and care of our children, and that’s healthy to want to do and be better for our kids. Sharing experience while mentoring and watching them surpass our own lives and accomplishments is what gives a parent a heartbeat.

4. What’s the most challenging thing about being a Dad?

Here are Brandon's children
Here are Brandon’s children

I think most parents share many of the common challenging issues with financial struggle, social isolation, decision pressure, provision guilt, easily general fatigue. But to try and separate myself and pitch something of relevance that I’ve incurred, a big challenge of mine is showing humility while exposing poor judgement calls I’ve made in my life to teach and instruct them while maintaining a balance of shielding my kids from seeing how poor of a person I’ve been in my life. I think that in everything transparency is the key to success in leadership; however, I have a deep fear my children would disapprove of me (or worse) knowing some decisions and actions that I’ve taken in my life. Was that a gigantic run on sentence or what? I hope that wasn’t too hard to read.

5. If you became a Dad again would you do anything differently? If so, what?

Being a father of a brand new 8 month old, I’m living that opportunity now. My boys aren’t really old enough to be outside of that initial learning curve yet anyway, but there are things that I’ve picked up along the way to better parent my youngest. But it’s all about time. Being more of an involved and present parent. With my boys, initially, I still maintained a lot of my selfish routines, interests, and schedules. It’s VITAL that you maintain an identity outside of your children but I didn’t let children change who I was initially. It’s a balance, and I’ve learned that having my children know that I’m reliable, and always available, is one of the most important factors in positive human growth of a child. Always working to improve and reinforce that.

6. What advice would you give to new dads?

Exactly what I alluded to in the prior question. PRESENCE. There’s not any amount of money, life lessons, privilege, or advice you can give a child and have it flourish without the Dad being there to be hands on while they’re formative enough to learn it.

7. Social media links…


Instagram: mrbarnes952

There You Have It…

Thanks for taking part in my Dad Chat series Brandon. I particularly loved the answer to question 2, a really interesting insight to the mind of someone in the US Marine Corps.

Look out for another interview next week.

For previous interviews check out my ‘Guest Posts‘ category.

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