By Taroue Brooks
How is life as a father?
Fatherhood is the best and hardest thing that has ever happened to me. I wake up happy everyday b/c of my kids and go to bed exhausted b/c of the same. LOL However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. My Little LaNiers, Madison (8), McKenzie (6) & Carter (3), really give life greater meaning & purpose. It provides a deep gratification that & stress level that other parents immediately understand. I think my favorite part of being a dad is watching my kids grow, learn and come into their own personalities.Shannon LaNier @MrShannonLanier
News Anchor, Houston’s CW Morning Show
Father/Family Influencer & Author
How is life as a father?
Fatherhood is the best and hardest thing that has ever happened to me. I wake up happy everyday b/c of my kids and go to bed exhausted b/c of the same. LOL However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. My Little LaNiers, Madison (8), McKenzie (6) & Carter (3), really give life greater meaning & purpose. It provides a deep gratification that & stress level that other parents immediately understand. I think my favorite part of being a dad is watching my kids grow, learn and come into their own personalities.
How do you find balance with your career and fatherhood?
I find work/life balance by looking for it instead of sleeping! Haha… It really does take a village and I couldn’t do my job as a TV News Anchor or tour the country as a motivational speaker and 6th great grandson of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings… without the help of my wife. Chandra LaNier is the glue that holds our family together and keeps us on task. Thanks to her we use lots of calendar alerts and we try to check-in with each other about our family’s schedule. I also love to make list that I can organize in order of importance. That helps me complete the most important or time-consuming task first, then I move down the list. Another strategy that helps my work/life balance is that I try to include my family in as many work opportunities as possible. When they can they will travel with me. I also love when my wife can attend an evening work events or galas with me. That way I can get in a date night while also working. Lastly, I think I can be most useful to my family when I’m in good health and spirits… so I try to make sure I take care of myself and get regular checkups. I don’t think I go overboard, but I do love to go to the gym, which is my sanctuary. I truly believe I can be better and do better for my job and family, when I feel holistically healthy.
What have you found to be the difference in raising your daughters oppose to your son?
WOW, were do I start! Actually, each one of my kids definitely have their own personalities and it’s kind of hard to generalize them based on their gender. However, I do think my girls cry and scream a lot more than my son. He was much harder to potty train than the girls were, and they seem to be slightly more in tune with their emotions and don’t mind expressing them. Other than that, since my kids are still young, we’re still trying to figure it all out.
Why is the purpose behind you utilizing social media featuring your children?
When we first had our children, we were very conservative about putting our children on social media and didn’t want to over expose them. Then we lost our computer with all our family pictures on it and had no backup except when we put on facebook. So from that day, we started putting pictures of our kids on social media to archive them. It’s also a great way to keep our long-distance family up to date on what our family is up to. Lastly, as a father/family advocate, I want to show people that there are great fathers in the world that are taking care of their responsibilities 365 days of the year. That’s why I started the Instagram page @DaddyDuty365. I feel by showing my life as a father, it will hopefully encourage other dads to be responsible fathers. Plus, I may be able to show them great activities ideas that they can do with their kids and how to have fun while being a responsible dad on a budget. We need as many positive images of great dads we can get to combat the negative images we are use to seeing. This way we can start to instill awesome aspects of parenting in our children who can then pass it along to their children and community.
What lessons have your children taught you about yourself?
My children have taught me that I’m stronger and more resilient than I thought. When I was a new parent disciplining my kids I was worried that they would stay mad at me forever, and hold a grudge against me. However, 5 minutes later they were back to love with me and fully forgive me. So, they have also taught me not to hold grudges and that life will go on. Another huge lesson that I’m still learning and that I encourage every parent to practice, is undivided attention. Put down your phones, get off the computer, turn off the TV. Just be present and play with your kids, talk to them, of do their hair without all the unnecessary distractions of life. Your children will appreciate it and your time together will be more precious and memorable.
Tell us about your journey of braiding your daughters hair.
When my wife and I first started having children, she said if you want any more kids you are going to have to help me with all this hair. I can’t be the only one styling our daughters hair every single day. I need help, so you’ll have to learn. With the help of Youtube and my wife, I learned how to wash and style our daughters’ hair. I’m no pro, but I can do several styles and am in the process of perfecting my corn rolls. I can’t say that I enjoy doing their hair, but I do enjoy spending time with them. I’m sure in a few years they may not want to just sit down and talk to their father, but they won’t have a choice to spend time with me while I’m doing their hair. It’s a great time to bond with your kids so I take full advantage of the opportunity.
What is your biggest challenge in being a dad?
My biggest challenge as a dad has been being a dad. There are just so many things that are thrown at you on a daily bases that you never feel like you are good enough or doing enough. There challenges change everyday so you just have to roll with the punches and learn on the fly. However, if I could only pick one thing, I would say, the biggest challenge is keeping my kids safe. I try to make sure they are safe at home but can only do so much when they are at school. I try to make sure they have rules in place so they don’t hurt themselves, but kids will be kids and break those rules. The scariest park of being a parent is that underling fear that your kids may get hurt physically, mentally or emotionally and you will not be able to do anything about it. I worry about that every single day of my life, so every morning when I wake up and every evening when I go to bed, I pray for my kids. Their earthly father may not always be able to protect them, but their heavenly Father definitely can. So, I put my kids back in the hands of the one who gave them to us, and I ask for God to protect them at all times. It has been working for us thus far… Can I Get An Amen!
What’s next for you?
Besides promoting my @DaddyDuty365 & @MrShannonLanier platforms, I’m in the process of starting a pod-cast for parents, but mainly dads. I want them to feel they have a place to go to safely speak about the ups and downs of being a parent and ways to become better at all aspects of parenthood… or at least make them feel more comfortable about it. Since you can’t give the kids back (or at least you shouldn’t), you mine as well embrace it, be your best & enjoy every single minute of being a parent. I’ll keep trying to do just that until the day I die.