It’s Smarty Saturday and this week it’s all about Dad! Meet Nathan Howard. Nathan is a stay-at-home dad to son Dane (2) and baby #2 on the way. This Florida native has lived in Charlotte for 16 years and currently lives in the Southpark area with his wife Andrea. In the words of his wife:
“When I returned to work, after having my son, I really struggled with the idea of Nathan staying home with Dane. I mean, I was the one who read all the baby books and as the mom, I thought I was the one who knew how to best take care of my son. Not that I thought Nathan wouldn’t do a great job, it’s just as a mom, you think you should be the one to do it all. Now, 2 years later, I am absolutely amazed at the father that Nathan has become. He has taught Dane to be independent. He is consistent, disciplined but also a very loving and FUN dad. I am really amazed at his ability to juggle and accomplish so much in a given week. He has accomplished the fine art of being a great dad to Dane but also taking time to fulfill his own needs and hobbies as well. This means he is not only a happy Dad, constantly exuding positive energy for Dane but he is also a happy husband and somehow manages to still have a smile on his face and a hug for me at the end of the day. It is probably his ability to strike this balance that amazes me most of all.
In addition to being a great dad, Nathan has become a better cook then me (this is NOT something I struggle with at all =) and he finds time to somehow juggle his custom furniture business and still take care of the household. While he is not pursuing his custom furniture business for income these days, he is accomplishing quite a bit. Just this year he’s built bedroom furniture for Dane’s big boy room, completely demolished and rebuilt our kitchen (mostly by himself except we hired a tile guy and a crew to tear out the walls) and built a beautiful deck onto the back of the house.”
So how does this super-dad get it all done? Let’s find out! Meet Nathan:
What is your favorite part about being a stay-at-home dad?
The look on people’s faces when I tell them that I am a stay at home dad. Aside from that, the most interesting thing is how much I have learned about myself as I have raised our son. Seeing him grow and being with him as much as I am, is like having a miniature mirror around all day.
I have developed teaching and nurturing skills that I didn’t know I had. It’s an incredible feeling to hear/see your own son interact interpersonally and with others the way you have taught him. To hear the, “yes please” and “thank you”…
To sum it up, my favorite part is the time and energy that I am privileged to give to my wife and kid(s).
How do you find the right balance between taking care of a 2-year old, all the household activities and work in time for your furniture business?
Plan ahead and schedule as much as you can. Also break up big tasks. For example, laundry or other household chores… do a little every couple days.
What are some of the most important things you’ve learned about being a parent?
— Remember you are the parent and they are the children. Don’t let them control you. Yes, you can compromise at times but remember your actually “raising your teenagers” right now.
— The 3 “S’s”. Stamina, Schedule and Structure
— Communication, especially with your spouse. Stay on the same page as your spouse ALWAYS.
— Take care of yourself (mind, body and spirit)
What do you do differently now that you have experience being a parent?
I show more caution. I’m the guy driving down the street NOT on the cell-phone and actually driving at the speed limit.
Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of baby #2! Are you worried about re-finding your balance once you add a newborn back into the mix?
No, but I am anxious/excited. I think that our first child primed us enough to be as ready as we can be for #2. So long as both Andrea and I stay on the same page, (communication wise) we should have balance.
Andrea mentions that you are a great cook and meal planner … any tips to share?
If it were up to me, we would have protein shakes at every meal, but pork chops don’t blend to well. Plan ahead, make a menu and stick to your list when you go to the store. Sometimes presentation can make up for lack of flavor, well maybe not. Just get in the kitchen and cook. The only way to learn is to do it. And you’d be surprised what you can whip up when you relax and just “cook”. Remember dinner is a chance for the family to come together, don’t think of cooking as a chore.
Oh yeah – “Campbell’s casseroles, one dish meals and more” GREAT BOOK
What is your favorite family activity?
Walking on the greenway or through other Charlotte neighborhoods on the weekend after a big hearty breakfast.
Favorite weekday activity with Dane?
Pick up Dane from preschool on the bike. He loves it and always asks, “Are we riding the bike today?”
Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
I could not live without my…
TABLESAW and gym membership
My must-have item for a 2-year old is….
Tissues and patience.
Thank you Nathan for sharing with us. Good luck with the arrival of the new baby. If you have a Smarty Mom or Dad that you would like to nominate please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dont’t Forget our very Smarty Giveaway! A $925 shopping spree at the shops at Morrison. Click Here to enter this giveaway, it will end on Wednesday 12/10 at 11pm! Morrison Shops are located on the corner of Sharon Road and Colony Road in the heart of SouthPark.