Father to a
TULL TO JOSH
So, are you nervous?
Not really. Definitely more excited than nervous. Suppose there is a little apprehension due to the unknown and the knowledge it will be a big change and have its challenges, but on the whole, I'm psyched.
Did you always see yourself having children?
Yes. I always felt it was something that gives life more meaning and I've always seen myself doing it.
When did you expect this to occur?
Depends when you would have asked me. As a kid I probably thought it would have happened a little sooner than it is, but once I started seeing Jess and children became a more realistic prospect, we are only a little ahead of schedule.
What awesome skills have you learnt from watching me in action?
Haha. You are definitely more involved in the nuts and bolts than I would have predicted - didn't see you as a nappy changer - so that's impressive. On top of that, your commitment to your preferred approach is also commendable as is your ability to keep your word when you are challenged. That being said, you are not strictly a disciplinarian. You have lots fun with your kids, which is probably the most important. I also like the way you reason with them - even if you may attempt it a little too early in their development!
What would be a good description of how you plan to conduct your parenting?
I'd like to have a relaxed approach to parenting. I'm sure that will be difficult, but a happy and relaxed environment is something I think I've achieved without children and I hope it can be maintained. I want my children to be exposed to and experience lots of different things - be they cultural, social or otherwise. Beyond that I'm like everyone else - I want to do what I can to help them be happy.
Who out there for you exemplifies parenting and why?
I think our parents did a pretty good job - at least second time around! We were raised in a warm home and surrounded by lots of interesting people and ideas. Apart from them, I've been lucky to see a lot of my friends raise young children and I've learnt from all of them. I think most modern fathers are pretty impressive. Today's man is definitely a bigger help to his wife—in terms of child-rearing—than those of the past.
Do you think you will have a boy or a girl?
I didn't have any idea on that for a while and then I "picked up" some boy vibes when Jess was about 18 weeks pregnant. Who knows though, see what happens!
JOSH TO TULL
Has becoming a father changed the way you look at our father?
I'm not sure it's changed the way I look at him, however it has drawn, brought my mind and attention to certain things I remember from growing up and led me to ask myself certain questions. I guess the main things that stick out are as follows:
A tremendous commitment and consistency to work, home, and family. He was out the door every day, Monday - Friday, at 7:00 AM or earlier and back in the door, or the back gate to be more exact, pretty much every day around 6:45 PM, in time for family dinner, apart from the days there would be sports practice of some kind — those days, as he was very involved, he was early. When I say consistency in my recollection I'm talking in the 99th percentile. In actual fact I only remember one or maybe two days he did not go to work due to health or much else for that matter. Weekends, were focused around family and sport, luckily the two were quite intertwined so he gets off remaining consistent there, if one of us would have followed ballet, gardening, or cooking instead of cricket or football, we could be having a different conversation.
A (well at least it seemed to be) crystal clear view of what was, is right or wrong, then holding that line in a very solid and consistent manner, in what was and still is a complex (as most are but perhaps ours a little more) family. It brought structure, certainty and greater sanity to a family rebuilding itself post the horrors of war.
The ability to understand and intellectualize one's emotional state, patterns, and where these feelings, behaviors may be coming from, and whats behind them; our parents did this within the family but also stretching outside of the family to friends and even acquaintances.
Last but not least, how the combination of intellect, effort, and strategy can be harnessed to overcome great odds. I believe on at minimum a couple of occasions he was able to, we where able to work together to bring a bunch of average, misfit, disproportionately Jewish teams to win our local districts, cricket finals.
I feel fortunate to have had the benefit of the above traits, I dont remember (and am told there was not much) babying, nappy changing, or feeding, but I don't feel any loss for that in any way. I ask myself living in todays world, in NYC, which has a different landscape, pace, sports from which we grew up with, will I have the time, skills, knowledge, to, in part, provide the same for my kids — and if not the same, what will replace those things I cant pass on, and what do I need to, will I be able to evolve. The work ethic I think I have in check, so thats a start.
What aspects of fatherhood bring you the most joy?
Arriving home to excitement and a smile, one-on-one time hanging out on the weekend, cruising around in whatever form and just chatting.
I'm sure you've made what you would consider "mistakes" as a father. Got a good example of something you would do differently?
Being present in the best form of you, as much as possible. I could do, could have done more of that, it's a continual battle, especially in NYC, and you're worn down from lack of sleep, your schedule is upside down and everyone is tired. I'd also add being nicer to your partner — sure, things are shifting, and the male role is changing, but at the end of the day it all starts with the mother, and they have the really hard job. In most cases we get off pretty easy in comparison. All things being well and mother being around, babies don't really NEED us until they are done breast feeding, but mothers do.
I'm caught between being really responsible and really irresponsible in the remaining weeks before I have a child - what do you suggest?
Interesting thing you have put your finger on, I felt the same, I assume this is a common phenomenon. That said, I have found myself between these two states most of my life... I suggest you enjoy it, as from here irresponsibility comes at a much higher price and heavier burden.
Our children are likely to live very far away from each other. How does that make you feel?
It definitely weighs on my mind, NY and Sydney are tremendously far apart, and while it's well known, I can see for myself the benefits (or lack of) of not being near one's family for young kids. I have no doubt it will affect my kids' sporting ability and in a grander way other very subtle things. Seeing as we were so connected growing up, it's definitely a sad thing. LA is constantly a consideration, but that comes with other issues; Sydney is probably a strech as it's not my partner's home, nor where her family is, nor where we met. There's always space for you guys here! In the office and in the neighborhood. :)
When are you guys having a third?
Ha, third, third scares me, I wonder if I can do a decent job with two, it's so much work, not to mention money, especially here in NY. I'm open to a third down the line, but only if we start moving west.