Dad of the Week: Pete
Up to now, Stork Craft has featured a Mom of the Week for the past few weeks (Which we love!), but we figured, why not change things up a bit and feature a dad? Better yet, let’s feature a dad who has recently become a grand dad, and who is also in the juvenile products industry! Meet Pete: Business man, husband, father to two grown up sons, and brand new grandfather to a four month old granddaughter.
Ever the smooth talker, Pete is the sales man that could probably get into a conversation with just about anyone on anything (I think out of everyone that I talk to over the phone, on average Pete ranks the highest when it comes to calls per day! Haha!). But even as a natural conversationalist, Pete advises that every caregiver needs to keep in mind that “…you have two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth…use them proportionally”. In the same way, even when the Blackberry is ringing off the hook and buzzing with email notifications, this dad knows that it takes conscious effort to put family before work.
For the majority of our readers who are parents of young children, the days can seem long and the nights even longer. This is especially true with a new born that requires changing and feeding every few hours, or a fussy toddler who is teething and learning to sleep on his/her own. Despite the spent energy and hectic schedules though, cherish every moment because babies do grow very quickly into young adults! As Pete, and probably every parent that has waved their children off to college and beyond observes, time is the one thing that you can never get back to spend with your kids: “Now that they are grown, “the shoe is really on the other foot”, as I try to get more time with them than they have to give to me.”
-First name: Pete
-Children (or Grand-child’s) age: Step-son 27, Son 21, Granddaughter 4 months
-Location: Greensboro, NC
SC: What was the biggest surprise about fatherhood when you first became a dad? What about becoming a grandfather?
Pete: The biggest surprise was learning how little you actually know about the new children in your life. Every day was a trial and error to see what worked and didn’t work, along with what they liked and didn’t like. As a new grandfather, the biggest surprise is that the likes/dislikes and works/don’t work are again different from what you did with your own children.
SC: Looking back, what has been the biggest challenge for you in fatherhood during your children’s early years? Has this changed since they are now grown up?
Pete: The biggest challenge was balancing my time between work and family. While critical to build a career to support them, I had to learn that it was more important to give them as much of my time as possible as well. Now that they are grown, “the shoe is really on the other foot”, as I try to get more time with them than they have to give to me.
SC: As a granddad now, if you could travel back in time a few decades to give yourself some advise when you were a young father, what would it be?
Pete: It’s so cliche, but true – you really need to enjoy those early years when the children want so much of your time, because those days do go by so fast.
SC: How did you manage your work life balance between being a father and businessman while your children were growing up?
Pete: It was actually easier in those days. Technology has actually made things harder for this generation. Except for business trip weekends, weekends were for family; nights were as well. When the kids were very young, we didn’t have cell phones and Smart phones to allow us contact at night and on weekends. Email was also in its infancy, so we weren’t as accessible as we are today.
SC: Any advice for fathers-to-be, new dads, or even dads who are becoming grandfathers?
Pete: For fathers, make time with your family that doesn’t include cell phones. Put it away for certain periods of time, so that you can devote your full attention to your family. For grandfathers, learn the salesperson’s rule – you have two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth…use them proportionally. Allow your children to make their own decisions and mistakes – allow them to use you as a sounding board, but try to not tell them what you did or what you would do in each situation.
SC: Since you are in the juvenile products industry, have you seen any big changes in products since you first started and now? If so, what are some of them?
Pete: There are almost too many to name – in general, there are so many products that weren’t available when my kids were little. My kids slept in drop-side cribs, which aren’t available anymore. The car seats they use today are safer and have more features than the ones we used. There is also such a variety of strollers available that my son has multiple ones for the different activities he, his girlfriend and the baby are involved in.
SC: Do you have any recommendations on any baby or children’s products that every parent should have?
Pete: First, remember that the nursery is more about mom than the baby. Purchase furniture, bedding, and accessories that you will enjoy, as you will spend so much time in the nursery [during] the baby’s first few years. Also, buy as good a mattress as you can – your baby will spend 50% of its first two years on that mattress. Last, buy as good a car seat as you can - the safety of our children is so important.
-My guilty pleasure is…
finding a pick-up game of basketball, football or soccer with the neighborhood kids. Not very guilty, but a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.
-My biggest influence as a father is…
helping my kids make their own decisions. As an insider/outsider, you can help them understand the potential consequences and positives that happen with each decision. Then, you can watch as they make their final decisions.
-If I was stranded on a deserted island, I would need to at least have…
my health. I would need to find activity, or I would go nuts. Finding another human would also be helpful – communication and companionship are too important to me.
-Favourite restaurant to take the wife out to:
Positano’s or Sal’s, two local Italian restaurants with great food and management that is easy to get to like
-Favourite place to take my grandchild to:
We haven’t gone anywhere yet, but I’m looking forward to taking her to the pool and to the beach.