Dads in the Limelight – PJ Mullen

Our 22nd Dad in the Limelight is PJ Mullen of http://www.realmendriveminivans.com. I want to thank PJ for being a part of this series. It has been great getting to know him and now sharing him with all of you!


1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I’m PJ Mullen and I’m a 35 year old father, husband, blogger and prolific air drummer. Nearly four years ago I left my job in the mortgage business two weeks before our wedding because I just couldn’t stand what I was doing anymore. When we returned home from our big day I went to work renovating a home we had purchased because we thought it would be a good sabbatical for me as I plotted my next career move, plus it saved us a ton of money.

Fast forward to almost a year later and we found out we were expecting our son, so we made the decision that I would be a stay at home dad after he was born. The only jobs I found required a great deal of travel and that just wasn’t going to work for us with my wife’s schedule and a newborn. I started blogging about my life as a dad at Real Men Drive Minivans in November 2008 in part to save my sanity and possibly develop some new skills that would be helpful when it came time to return to the workforce.

2) Tell me about your family

My wife and I have been married for three years.  Our son was in April 2008 and has turned into this walking, talking tornado of activity on us practically overnight.  We are also expecting a baby girl in June and couldn’t be happier. 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

With a toddler, it’s all about patience, which has never been my strong suit. I was impatient in my career, which lead to some poor career decisions, so I have to take deep breaths a lot and remind myself. One of my favorite sayings is that “doctors have patients, I don’t”, but in my son’s nearly two years I have gotten significantly better on this front. Also, being a stay at home dad is a humbling experience for a Type A personality, so that has been a big adjustment  for me too. 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Throw out all advice books and go with your gut. I read a few, scanned some others before our son was born and they turned out to not be so helpful. My wife and I have trusted our instincts and the good and bad we have learned from our childhood and applied it to how we are raising our son. 

5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
Considering that I’m a stay at home dad I don’t have much of an outside life.  Sure, we go out to the park when weather is permitting, run errands and hit Gymboree once a week to help him in his development, but my life pretty much revolves around my family. We are fortunate that some of my family is local and we can rely on them to watch him so we can get out every once in a while, but the balance thing is something I definitely need to work on. And, obviously, the blog helps me stay connected with the great people I’ve met online. 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I haven’t really interacted with many dads in my area, most of them have jobs 🙂  I have watched my friends who became parents before me and have taken a little away from the things that they’ve done with their kids. Still, I would say for the most part I’ve relied on what my wife and I have determined are the right things for our family.  
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Since I’ve become a parent everything has become magnified. Every decision you make has to be viewed through a different lens. There is no such thing as just picking up and going anywhere without at least a modest amount of planning. It definitely alters the way you think about things. Frustrations and tantrums fade, but every day you realize more and more that the little person growing up in front of you needs you for guidance and support. 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

Everyone has their own personal milestones, for me it was finally hearing my son call me “Papa” after months of him calling me “Mama” instead. It seems small, but it was a big deal to me.

If you have any questions for PJ, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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