Dads in the Limelight – Kevin McKeever (Always Home and Uncool)

Our 44th Dad in the Limelight is Kevin McKeever of Always Home and Uncool. I want to thank Kevin for being a part of this series. It has been great reconnected with 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). 
After surviving a sheltered suburban childhood on baseball cards, Mad magazine and 8-track tapes of The Knack, I became a newspaper reporter. Luckily, an MBA-wielding Midwestern girl on her own rescued me from poverty. I then tried making homebuilding executives sound vaguely interested in their employees’ well-being. This, not surprisingly, put me on the leading edge of the real estate layoffs in 2007. My corporate demise was hastened by my becoming a full-time telecommuting dad three years earlier.  
These days, I masquerade as a freelance writer, hunt-and-peck a local newspaper column, and chronicle my world at the Always Home and Uncool blog. I also contribute to the McSweeney’s of dad blogs, DadCentric and serve as a court jester for the talented writing crew at Polite Fictions. I coach youth soccer (grrr) and baseball (ahh), volunteer at my kids’ school and annually mix up an eggnog of legendary proportion. I also have occasional panic attacks and body issues.

2) Tell me about your family

My Love and I have been hitched for almost 13 years. We have three kids:  Thing 1, our 10-year-old diva-in-training who is battling the autoimmune disease juvenile dermatomyositis; Thing 2, our overgrown 8-year-old boy who is always battling Pokémon; and Murphy, a nearly 4-year-old yellow Lab who is currently battling an ear infection.  

As you’ve surmised by now, I married up. That we met a keg party only completes the fairy tale. When she took a promotion that required regular continent hopping in 2004, I gladly traded in the soul-robbing florescent lights of the corporate office. It’s a good fit for us because she loves wheelin’ and dealin’ while I excel at eliminating ring-around-the-collar. Also, I’m a master at the intricacies of maximizing dishwasher capacity and efficiency. (The woman puts cereal bowls on the bottom rack. Without even rinsing. Is she high?) 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Without a doubt, it has been having a child with a rare, incurable disease. Nothing prepares you for your child suddenly becoming ill and being in a life-threatening situation. That little information was available on the disease when she was diagnosed about eight years ago and that her baby brother had been born only a few months earlier simply added to the difficulty. She’s still on a bunch of medicines, but otherwise normal and mooning over Justin Bieber. 
Next would be being a modern father in an old-boy corporate environment. Right before my daughter became sick in 2002, I took six weeks paternity leave to be with my newborn son. Word is I may have been the first man to ever do this at the corporate office in the 50-plus-year history of the company I worked for. Jokes were made about it in the executive suites, I’ve been told, but I know it paved the way for at least one other guy I worked with to stand up for himself and take time off when his son was born.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Don’t panic. When you panic, you lose perspective, control and eventually your mind. Kids are going to get fevers and puke on you from time to time. They are going knock over dinner plates and scratch up your favorite CDs. There will be times your children say they hate you and you are sure you have screwed them up for life. Ninety-nine times out of 100, you’ll both recover just fine if you take a breath and keep your wits.  
Also, always carry a plastic bag and baby wipes in your pocket.

5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 

Since My Love has dedicated her life to conquering the business world, she periodically reminds me that she has to live vicariously through me. Did she pick the wrong guy for the job! Still, she encourages me to interact more often with people who don’t need to be reminded to wipe and wash. So I play some tennis and golf, sneak off to minor league baseball games while my kids are in school, and host a drinking night with some local bloggers ever so often. But mostly I just sit around and wonder where that smell is coming from.

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

I’ve found that many of them around my age are far more competent and involved as parents and husbands than they let on. Many have it all — good careers and strong family lives — but they don’t feel compelled to turn it into a crusade. Maybe we’re too humble or too scared or too lazy. More likely, we’d just rather expend our energy debating which Stinson brother was more essential to The Replacements or the value of using the wheel play with a runner on second because these are topics that will never be among Oprah’s favorite things.

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far? 

I’ve always maintained that it’s not what you bring to the table as a mother or father, it’s how you contribute as a parent. 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Cutting the cord after my daughter’s birth and being splattered with the blood was the first. The most recent was watching my son make his guitar debut by plucking out “Hot Cross Buns” for his grandparents. Today, I’m hoping they’ll spontaneously clean their rooms.

If you have any questions for Kevin, 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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