Connecting with families of all dynamics has been a major highlight of this blogging gig. While Moms still dominate the blogosphere, there are some incredible Dads in the digital realm whose presence and perspective is incredibly powerful. Hence, our “Digital Dads Rocking Fatherhood” series debuts today, with the purpose of connecting with and uncovering how some of Canada’s digital dads are rocking dad life and blog life simultaneously.
The role of fatherhood is evolving. No longer just a financial lifeline to our broods, fathers are increasingly participating in all things parenting. They’re being recognized as having incredible value and significance to our children’s well–being and development and we’re all about celebrating that in our content.
As parenting bloggers, we want to give more power to the voice of dads in the social sphere and spotlight some who we admire in this digital realm. There’s a plethora of Mom bloggers out there, and while needed and amazing, Dad bloggers also have amazing perspective and insight on parenting that can get overshadowed. We want to spotlight some great digital dads ahead of Father’s Day and beyond.
I’m thrilled my first feature is father of two Casey Palmer from Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad. I met Casey at the Catelli’s 150th Anniversary celebration earlier this year, and got to know him even better as my tablemate at the BConnected Conference in April. He’s beaming with charisma, shares amazing insights on his platform and demonstrates what it means to be a phenomenal family man on top of juggling a full-time career and digital platform. Below he shares some words of wisdom for any fellow Dads looking to start a digital platform/blog and his “I’m Not Dead, I’m Just a Dad: Where the Dad Bloggers At?” highlighting the lack of Dad bloggers in this digital space is entirely worth the read. Casey also has an amazing message about removing the stereotypes surrounding fatherhood, and how he wants to be perceived in his role of parenting alongside his beautiful wife Sarah. Hint: he’s no by-stander.
Now, ladies and gents, without further adieu, my Digital Dads Rocking Fatherhood interview with the insightful Casey Palmer:
1) Tell us a bit about yourself, your family & your blogging gig – side hustle or full time endeavour?
I’m Casey Palmer from Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad, a blog about the finer things in parenting life, like the nice stuff we get and then regret buying because the kids make a mess of everything; and how to be a great Dad while still being a cool dude!
But yeah—I’m the Dad in my Toronto family of four, with two young boys as the heirs of whatever it is I’m building here.
The blog started as the continuation of my ongoing quest to digitally express myself, which I’d been doing since mid-2002. Now, it’s my third full-time gig on top of parenting and my actual full-time gig—I firmly believe in the value of having something worthwhile we can call our own, so I work night after night to see this through to its fullest potential!
2) What lured you to the blogosphere and what keeps you motivated to keep at it?
The Casey Palmer we all know today can be traced back to a tweetup in October 2010, which introduced me to Toronto’s Twitter scene and the wealth of people and places I likely wouldn’t cross paths with otherwise. That night would send me down a path that built my influencer network, which directly translates to the world around me today.
But the reasons why I blog have matured drastically from then ’til now.
In the early days, I wrote as if I had something to prove. That I was the best blogger in Toronto. Or that I could write every day—things like that. But time and fatherhood would change my views, showing me what actually mattered.
Now I blog to be the best blogger by my standards, creating something crafted from the most authentic bits of me so when my boys look at my story 5, 10 or even 20 years from now, they can get a better sense of who their Daddy was at the time.
3) What do you enjoy most about fatherhood? What are you a Rockstar at? It’s okay…you can brag ;)! What are your favourite family activities?
What do I enjoy most? Having these two little guys who—no matter what happens through the day—still want to cuddle with me at bedtime with a sleepy smile, because they love me.
I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a father when Sarah proposed it in early 2013, but my life’s become so much fuller for it. I value time more. I have a better sense of my purpose. With the health and prosperity of my family as a driver, it keeps me going, making sure I continue hustling for growth as I wouldn’t want anything lesser for them.
In my relationship, I’m the patient one. My toddler definitely tries my nerves much of the time, but I usually rein everyone in and calm situations down when thy grow a tad too volatile. I’m also able to spend more time with my kids than my father was with us, so I’m taking the template my parents built and trying to evolve it for fatherhood in a new age. I think the boys are too young for the things that’d be really fun (roller coasters, what up???), but we enjoy plenty of our time with impromptu dance parties. Piggyback rides. Ice cream. Playing with bulldozers and fire trucks.
Every day’s a new adventure!
4) What stereotypes about fatherhood do you wish would vanish, and what is your greatest hope for how modern dads are perceived?
I’m not my kids’ babysitter. I’m not the secondary parent. And despite whatever you see on TV and in the movies, I’m not a buffoon at parenting—I can change a diaper. Strap the kids into their car seats. Get them to behave in public. Guys, we’re past the breastfeeding stage—I can literally do just about anything my wife can, and that’s the key to making this family work.
It’s no secret we parent within the bounds of a huge double standard—the bar’s get scarily low for Dads, while Moms never seem to do enough without someone ready to criticise them for their choices.
WAKE UP, Y’ALL—I’m not here seeking praise for the things I’m supposed to do; I want a spot at the table so I can weigh in on how we parent our kids. As a Dad, I want to know my thoughts and opinions count. Or see myself represented in media more often as an influential role in my children’s lives. This is especially important for the Black community, where positive archetypes for fathers are still pretty invisible in 2017!
Modern Dads aren’t parental figureheads. I just need the rest of society to figure that out.
5) What kind of family man are you? Traditional? Game changer? Unconventional? Rebel?
There are three truths that drive much of how I parent and the endgame I’m going for with my efforts.
ONE: I am NOT a perfect parent.
I don’t get my advice from parenting books. I don’t look at other families with envy, wishing I’d done things a little more like Mr. Perfect over there. I often tell people I spent 20 years on a steady diet of TV and video games, so I don’t spend time fretting over every little decision we make about our children. If I continue committing to investing my time and energy in developing my relationship with them, I’m already well ahead of what I’ve seen from so many other parents.
TWO: I WON’T have perfect children.
Soon as I did away with the “not my child” mentality, I became far more comfortable with the idea of my children being complete terrors, proactively thinking up ways to deal with their outbursts. My parents tell me I was a well-behaved child (until my teenage years, of course), but the memory is a very subjective thing—who knows how much of my boys’ personality comes from me?
THREE: I need to TRUST my children to lead their OWN lives.
I’m not here to be my kids’ best friend. They’re not here to live the lives I craft for them word for word. Ultimately, my children and I are all people, and we’ll make mistakes. We’ll do things we regret. But if we all aim to come out stronger from each obstacle we overcome, I think we’ll all make the most of whatever life has in store for us!
Ultimately, all this considered, I think myself a fair parent, and look to approach everything in our lives thinking what decisions work best for the family.
So far, so good, I think!
6) What are your future goals for the blog? What topics drive your content?
I used to set goals, like getting more followers than Influencer X or landing more invites than Influencer Y, but things have grown so much bigger than that!
Now, I keep a blog to-do list I attack in those moments where nothing else is demanding my time (i.e. rarely), always striving to build the best blog possible by keeping on-trend and aware of every tool possible to do my brand justice. This doesn’t just mean how the site’s built—its topics are huge drivers as well, and as nice as it is to get all sorts of pitches for the blog across a number of angles, is it better to get good opportunities all over the place, or a few great ones for things you really care about?
I, too, have a lot of work to do.
7) Best tips for any dad thinking of starting a blog or other digital platform?
Stick to it! There’s a huge opportunity for any Dad Blogger worth their salt—especially since there’re so few of us—but you’ve gotta pump your work out consistently to build a name for yourself. It’s not good enough to go to an event and say what you did there. You can’t just review something and have your work read like the product specifications. What’ll set you apart from the crowd is truly infusing yourself into your work and giving your readers an avenue to connect with you.
You’ve gotta keep improving. Keep pushing the envelope. And eventually, you’ll likely be surprised at how far you made it!
8) Any sources of inspiration you care to share? (Quotes, experiences, people, etc.)
I’ve long realised that I’ve become my father, and the wisdom of age taught me to embrace this rather than fight it like I might’ve as a younger me. My father’s a man of principle and character, and I hope I can impart half of the strength to my children that he imparted to me.
But my Dad’s not my only influence as a father.
There’re a few quotes that come to mind whenever I think of fatherhood:
The funny, in regards to pregnancy — “She’s eating for two, I’m drinking for three.”
The contemplative — “Parenting — the days are long, but the years go by quickly.”
And the one that never fails to leave an impact on me (much like how no father can ever listen to Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” without shedding a tear), a cautionary saying to enjoy the time with our children before everything changes — “You never know it’s the last time ’til it’s the last time.”
And as much as many young Black men wanted to pattern themselves after Cliff Huxtable, I did much of my growing up in the ’90s and definitely learned a lot from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Philip Banks. One of the biggest moments that showed me how to be a father was one about being exactly the opposite—the ever-classic ultra-emotional ending to season four’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse”, where Will parts ways with his absentee father
If nothing shows me how I’d never want my boys to feel, this is it.
Love your kids, y’all.
9) What would your perfect Father’s Day look like?
The gift that keeps on giving is time—a resource life’s all too scarce on far too often. For Father’s Day, I’d love to spend some of it with some steak and a beverage, tunes on my ears and pen scribbling away all the thoughts I rarely have the time to say.
Ties and dress shirts are nice, but this Father’s Day I’d just enjoy some time to be me.
Pretty amazing stuff here. Thank you for sharing your story and perspective as a successful digital creator who’s also rocking his role in fatherhood, Casey.
Casey’s journey as a digital content creator is beyond inspirational and he has an amazing way of connecting with people from all walks of life. His expression and sense of humanity in his words pull you in and keep you there. He sways us to celebrate our successes with his tag line “Started as a blogger now I’m here!”, but also reminds us not to get complacent with our content and keep improving and connecting. Casey’s content is phenomenal and I’m currently loving his #Chronicle150 series featuring 150 truly Canadian stories in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday. You’ll quickly find his material does not disappoint, and despite being highly respected and recognized in the digital sphere, he’s not too cool to be kind and classy, has stayed humble and is super helpful to newbies in this industry like myself.
If you aren’t already, I highly encourage you to follow along on his adventures in Dad-life as a digital content creator through Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube. I hope you enjoyed Casey’s perspective on fatherhood and it’s impact on the content he puts out as much as we did.