March 17

Dad of the Week: Greg Skipton

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Greg is a Sr. Administrative Assistant for a large mental health and social services clinic in Watertown, New York . When not working, you can find him raising his daughter!

Every Dad of the Week answers the following questions, read on to learn more about Greg!

  • What was your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be a father?
    • Terrified and relieved. We had been trying for a while, so I had come to grips with it being time to take the next step. The process was somewhat stressful and full of disappointments, so when it finally happened, there was a sense of relief and accomplishment – and then reality set in as to the fact that life would never be the same.
  • When you knew you were going to be a father of a daughter, who or where did you turn to for advice?
    • We chose not to find out the gender of our baby, so I did not know until she was delivered. I hoped and prayed for a girl – I don’t 100% know why, but I was a mostly theater, music, arts child growing up and I feared having a boy who might grow up to be the opposite of me (of course realizing the girl could end up doing the same) – so when she came, I was ecstatic. I would have turned to my Dad for advice, as he stayed home and raised us growing up, but unfortunately he passed away after a vicious battle with bladder cancer about 3 months before my daughter was born. I was glad he knew that a grandchild was on the way, and I try to use his life example as the way I raise my little girl, but I certainly miss his personal influence.
  • How would your kids describe you as a dad?
    • Since she can’t describe anything yet, I would hope that she finds me patient, protecting, loving, and fun.
  • What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
    • My daughter is not an easy child, and has been difficult since before she was born. We had to go through a series of tests and medications in order to even get pregnant, and then she ended up giving my wife a difficult pregnancy – we had an early possible miscarriage scare, and then my wife ended up getting preeclampsia which meant she was taken out of work much earlier than we had planned. Then – she came early…was born just after 36 weeks and was tiny…only 5 lbs 2 oz.

      She was strong and had no issues, so we were fortunate that we got to take her home right away. However, she did not sleep unless on one of us, so for about the first 3-4 months we were beyond exhausted…then she developed colic and reflux and was on a medication for a strawberry hemangioma on her head that caused night terrors. By about 8-9 months we had her sleeping fairly well, but we still had to wake up at least once a night in order to feed her per the instructions by the doctor because of her medications, so when other friends with children were bragging about their children sleeping through the night, we were still waking ours up. And, my child developed a very large temper that can flare at any moment.

      We have approached the “brat” stage, and I am finding that the most challenging as right now she is too young to rationalize with or punish, but it feels like she is old enough that people start to judge you based on your child’s behavior. But the biggest challenge is doing it without my Father’s help. I know he would have been there to help and support us when we needed it, and unfortunately I cannot get that sort of support from anywhere else.
  • Looking back on your life as a father, what would you change if you could?
    • If I could change something, I think it would be that my wife and I be more accepting of our child’s temper and not see it as a burden on ourselves and others. Because of her temperament, we rarely get a baby sitter and go out, or we have been extremely reluctant to leaver her with grandparents and have away time to ourselves. This has been a fairly mutual feeling, so it is not causing undue strain on our marriage or relationship, but it is certainly not doing any favors either. We are in a survival rut, but it is what we are used to and hard to change in spite of how many times we say we are going to do so.
  • What do you do for fun with your daughter(s)?
    • We read A LOT – she has not really developed an attachment to toys or playing, but loves reading books with both of us. Also, bath time is sort of daddy-daughter time…I have always been comfortable around water, and so when she was just a tiny thing, bath time became something that I was very comfortable with while my wife was a little more nervous about her slipping or losing a grip. This was nice, in that feeding time was sort of her moments with our daughter, and bath time became mine. It is a routine that has continued and seems to be our time – I am told repeatedly that if she gets a bath from someone else, it does not usually go as smoothly or seem as enjoyable as when I do it.
  • What advice would you give to other dads with daughters?
    • Be there as much as possible, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My mom was a work-a-holic growing up, and now I find as she tries to give me parenting advice, I am like “but you weren’t there – Dad was” and I cannot get advice from him. I don’t begrudge it of my mother, but I am finding that somewhere in the recesses of my brain, 30+ years later, I remember that the moments and challenges I currently face with my daughter are the ones that would have been faced by my father. If you and your partner equally share the load (which I feel my wife and I strive to do), that is great, in fact probably ideal, but if it is unequal and you are the one carrying an unequal amount of the load, you child may remember that down the road. I also think that quality vs quantity is important…I do more of the daily tasks with my daughter because my wife is the bread winner – but when she gets home, she pretty much spends every moment with our daughter until she is put to bed (allowing me to get dinner and other such chores done before bath time). So I may technically put more parenting hours in, but I feel my wife’s time is more concentrated. Both of us get a little jealous of the other’s role from time to time, but I think it creates a good balance and hopefully is setting us on the right path in raising our girl.
  • How have you come to balance fatherhood and outside life?
    • The answer – I am not sure I have. I guess I am fortunate in that my wife doesn’t have many group activities or outside hobbies because of the constraints of her job and requirements for out-of-hours meetings and committees, so I have remained able to pursue mine starting about 4-5 months after our daughter was born. We are terrible at creating time away for ourselves, but have adjusted and built a very good family routine. Basically, balancing has meant we have tried to not let having a child get in the way – if friends invite us to dinner or the bar, we ask if it can be earlier in the evening and bring our daughter along (if appropriate), or we will sometimes go and eat early and make sure she is fed so that we can better hang out with our friends as we will leave early.

      We have made more efforts to host people at our house. We have tried to continue to travel – we have road tripped to RI and Cape Cod, and managed to get our daughter to Disney for her 1st birthday and just took her to Saint Martin. It is not to say that it is easy or even always pleasant (because our daughter is not the greatest flyer), but I think if we keep making the efforts and exposing her to the things we love, we will be able to continue to share many of these experiences as a family down the road.
  • What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a father?
    • The day she was born is certainly the biggest – it was a whirlwind, semi-emergent C-section birth where so many things could have gone badly or involved a lengthy recovery or hospital stay, and instead she was perfectly healthy, if tiny. Others would be the first time she said “Dada” in full recognition of who I was, seeing her take her first steps, and traveling with her to Cape Cod, Disney, and now St. Martin.

If you’d like to be spotlighted in the weeks ahead, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/7NWYZd1k7RoaTndN9


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