On each of the 30 days leading up to Father’s Day, Life of Dad will feature a different great dad from around the world.
Today we feature Tom Riles…a husband, a father of two (Babs – 2 years, Tommy-6 months), and the audience warm-up comedian for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Riles leads a busy life, but has a blast while he’s doing it. Over the past two years, Riles’ passion project, Life of Dad, has become the first social network for dads, and a fast growing parenting community on the web! Here is Riles’ interview.
I really became a father when… I rushed to the NICU with my daughter right after she was born. My wife had just given birth like a rockstar, so she couldn’t move, which led me upstairs with my minutes-old baby, as she began to be treated for the congenital heart defect that she was born with. It was just my daughter and I that night, and I sang every song I knew to her. Although I don’t sing particularly well, it must have sounded good to Babs, because she stayed calm when she heard my voice. That’s when I became a father.
My kids makes me laugh when… Babs makes me laugh when she changes they lyrics to songs for comedic benefit. The other day, while holding Minnie Mouse, she sang, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Minnie…How I wonder what you Minnie…” My son Tommy makes me laugh when he laughs when I tickle him. The more I tickle him, the more he laughs, which means the more I laugh. Sometimes, this continues for minutes.
Favorite daddy cocktail once the kids crash? Typically, I a beer guy, but if it’s been a stressful (or happy) day, I’ll go for a manhattan. One part whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, on the rocks. This is the drink of my father-in-law, and my grandfather. I had no choice but to pick it up.
Dream date night with your lady, where would you go? Just two weeks ago, we were able to escape to Vegas when my parents watched the babies. It was fantastic…pool, dinners, gambling, all while knowing that our babies were in great hands.
What is the hardest thing about fatherhood? Being a pretty ambitious and motivated guy, I have trouble with finding the right balance between career and family. I love my family…and I love my career, too.
What’s in your man cave? Well, we have a garage that will someday be converted into my man cave. However, with no construction, or design skills at all, the conversion doesn’t seem to be happening any time in the immediate future.
How many hours of sleep each night? Five. But that’s kind of my choice. I love early mornings, before the sun rises, and knowing that I’m the only person awake in the house. Once the storm rolls in around 7AM, the hours of productivity are replaced by playing with, and taking care of, our kids.
What food that your kids eat do you like the most? When we go to the park or for a car ride, my daughter always has a little container of her snacks: Goldfish, raisins, cheerios, crackers. I could eat that baby trail mix all day long.
How has fatherhood changed in the last 20 years? My dad was extremely hands-on with all of us. I try to do the same. So…in my family, with the exception of technology, I don’t think fatherhood changed that much. In the world, there are many more stay at home dads now, as well as many working dads, who spend great amounts of time with their children. So, yes, I think fatherhood has changed for the better, and men are playing a much more important role now in parenting.
Dream family vacation? Europe. I don’t want it to be National Lampoon’s European Vacation, but maybe something kind of like it.