Your Questions Answered: Prominent Austin Dads on Fatherhood

As I’m sure you are well aware, Father’s Day is just around the corner. Armed with questions from our lovely readers, LiveMom contacted eight prominent local dads to get their take on fatherhood. Here is what they shared:

 

Shawn Cirkiel, owner of Parkside and The Backspace and dad to 7-year-old son Noah and 3-year-old daughter Dylan.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
I think Austin has a great mentality and inclusiveness which really translates well to having kids be a part of everything Austin has to offer from concerts, to outdoor activities, etc.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
Never shake a baby! Start including the babies from the beginning in your activities from going out to dinner to shows etc. If you start them off young it is more natural later on and you don’t isolate yourself.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
A nap!!!


Rob Cunningham, Community Relations Director at FOX 7 KTBC Austin and dad to two boys, 13 and 10 years old.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
The lakes and the hike and bike trails.  Plus I like the feel of Austin, there are so many great people doing good things here.  I grew up here and like the fact that my kids are growing up here too.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
Relax and enjoy it.  Most of all let your kids know that you’re not perfect.  If you make a mistake apologize.  Kids respect honesty.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
Clear lenses for my Oakleys, a new road bike, gift certificate to a good sushi bar and a million dollars!


Owen Egerton, humorist, author, writer and co-star of DadLabs and dad to one daughter, Arden, age 6 and one boy, Oscar, age 2 ½.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
Austin kicks ass in so many ways. What thrills me most about being a dad in Austin is the eclectic community of parents and parenting styles: attachment, religious, traditional, hippie, stay-at-home dads, experimenting home-schoolers, public school advocates, parents with ties and day jobs, parents with tattoos and music gigs, dads that teach knitting, moms that teach pyrotechnics… all these invested neighbors stumbling through together.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
Find some dads to drink with. And while drinking, talk kids, laugh, complain, listen and confess how freaking wonderful and hard parenting is. You’ll be a better dad if you don’t try and go it alone.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
I’m a sucker for anything hand made by the kids or my wife Jodi. Painted rocks, twine bracelets, bloody marys. As long as it was made with love. And vodka.


Frank Fernandez, Executive Director of Green Doors and 2011 Austin Under 40 Winner in Community Service category and dad to a 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
How accessible it is to have a high quality of life with your family – whether it’s going walking around Lady Bird Lake, taking the kids to the public pool, or taking them to Austin City Limits Music Festival.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
I would let them know it’s not always that hard.  It does get better – your life will not always be about poopie diapers…

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
A nice leather reading chair.


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Adrian Quesada, co-founder of Grupo Fantasma and dad to two girls, ages 1 and 5.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
I love the pace of the city and how the community offers such diversity for kids and families. You can find things to do that promote everything from creativity to sustainability to good, old-fashioned fun. There are also many opportunities for kids to grow up around live music and the arts. My wife’s parents are in Austin and mine are four hours away so having that support base is huge as well.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
I don’t know that I could sum it up into one piece of advice as fatherhood is such an amazing thing. I’d say have patience and treasure every moment as time flies.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
I want to be with my family. I’ll be traveling that day unfortunately! A close second would be a new ribbon microphone for my studio. A close third would be a new pair of glasses.


Mike Rosenthal, co-owner of 1379 Kids and former NFL lineman and dad to three girls and a boy ranging in age from 2 up to 7 years old.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
I love the active nature of the city.  Everywhere you look people are outside enjoying the fantastic weather.  Parks are always packed, the trail is buzzing, and there are always people playing outside having fun.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
Buckle up.  Each day is a new experience.  There is no manual for parenting, so just follow your beliefs.  Another piece of advice would be to not take yourself too seriously.  Adults screw up a lot of things including youth sports; we need to sit back, relax, encourage our children, and enjoy each day with our family.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
To sleep in til 6:30am.  Only kidding….kind of.


Representative Mark Strama, Texas House District 50 and dad to Victoria, 4 years old, and Caroline, who will be 2 next month.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
I love that we are surrounded here by our extended family – my daughters spend each weekend with a group of seven cousins under the age of five, which is complete chaos but also complete joy. This time of year we spend most of our time looking for water to escape from the heat – swimming pools, Barton Springs, and all the great fountains and splash pads at parks around town. It will be fun when they’re a little older and we can enjoy the trails and the lake together as well.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
I know everyone says this but it’s true: take time to enjoy this time with the baby.  As busy as my wife and I are, I feel like we’ve done a good job of maximizing the time we have with our kids, and eliminating distractions during the time we have together. One other great tip someone gave me: jump out of bed and handle the midnight feedings every chance you get. Treat it like an opportunity not a chore. Once I started looking at it that way I feel like those overnight feedings took on an entirely different complexion, and it earned me a lot of bonus points with Crystal as well.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
My girls call any day mommy and daddy don’t have to work a “Family Day,” and even though it happens every week, they still act like Family Days are like Christmas.  All I really want for Father’s Day is a Family Day.


Andrew Urbanus, Director of Habibi’s Hutch Preschool and dad to four kids. His oldest son is 22, the next son is 20, the last boy is 14, and his daughter is 12.

What do you like most about raising kids in Austin?
Raising our kiddos here is nice because Austin is a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll and hardly any Donnie and Marie.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to new fathers?
Never call staying with your child by yourself ” babysitting.” That drives mamas crazy. It’s only babysitting when it’s someone else’s kid.

Forget the ties, socks and grilling tools. What do you really want for Father’s Day?
A professional massage, followed by a great meal, followed by a sexual encounter with my wife where no other living member of my family is around.

 

Do any of these answers sound familiar? What are your plans for Father’s Day? Are you getting a gift for the dad in your life? If so, are you going homemade or store-bought?

Written by: Nicole Basham

Photos courtesy of Parkside, Rob Cunningham, DadLabs, Green Doors, Mike Rosenthal, Mark Strama and Habibi’s Hutch.

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

5 Comments on Your Questions Answered: Prominent Austin Dads on Fatherhood

  1. Great post Nicole! It is really refreshing to get Dad’s perspective on raising children. Thanks!

  2. Haha, this is great — thank you for rounding up such an entertaining group of dads and ideas!

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