11 Questions with… Aron Harris. @dadrockdad #bdk11Qs
06 May 2019
Welcome to “11 Questions with…”. This edition’s guest is Aron Harris.
11 Questions with… Aron Harris
1. Elevator pitch… tell us about yourself.
I’m born, raised and living in Toronto with my wife and two kids, a boy 13 and a girl 9. I’ve been creative in one way or another, for my entire life. I’m a graphic designer, photography, writer, editor, and musician. My day job is in graphic design and production. I’ve been writing for most of my life in one form or another. I started my parenting blog, Dad Rock Dad, in January. My focus is parenting, relationships, social issues and also less serious topics like food, music and humour.
2. Your spouse… tell us about her.
My wife is an amazing woman and mom. She’s passionate in her life and work. We’ve been together for 18 years, married for almost 16. We’ve always been each other’s number one supporter. We still make each other laugh, every day, after all these years.
3. Your kids… tell us about them.
My son is 13 and going to high school next year, which blows my mind. When I picture him in my mind, he’ll probably always be 6 years old. He loves gaming, video but also RPGs and board games. He’s a talented artist. He’s very smart and funny and bound to be an amazing man. My daughter is 9 and she’s a born dancer. She’s funny and sweet. She loves music and crappy Youtube videos and apps, like a lot of kids, but she’s curious and is happy reading and making art.
4. Do you have any family traditions?
I was raised Jewish and my wife was raised Catholic, so we celebrate a lot of holidays with all our extended families. We do both Hanukkah and Christmas with all our family. My wife and I always take advantage of holidays to cook a ton of food and invite everyone over. A lot of our traditions are centered around food.
5. What have been your biggest challenges as a parent?
Screen time. We’ve been through learning and behavioral challenges. My son has serious allergies, we’ve had hospital visits. There’s no greater, continuing challenge than finding a lasting way to manage kid screentime use. It’s a concern and a battle. We’re just glad that our kids have very little interest in social media.
6. If you could pick any career in the world for yourself, what would it be, and why?
Full-time photographer. I shoot concerts and portraits semi-professionally (meaning not full time and not as much as I’d like). For fun, I shoot street photography, almost every day. I would love to do it full time. The reason why is because on top of loving it, I do it well. I wish I had discovered the skill years ago. It definitely would’ve been my area of study. If you asked me that question five years ago, I would definitely have said musician. Times change. Maybe in ten years, I’ll answer that question differently.
7. Growing up, who inspired you the most?
When I was a kid, it was always artists – musicians and writers, generally. I wasn’t a sporty kid at heart. I played hockey, softball, and soccer begrudgingly. But I didn’t care about professional sports. I always loved music and books. And now, it’s my parents. My father is an artist and an art teacher. He never made much money but he never stopped trying, never stopped coming up with and executing his ideas. He never let anything get him down or knock him off course. Still, to this day, his positivity is unwavering. My mother worked so hard to support our family. She never took a day off, never really complained and just did what she had to do. So, I hold them up as my inspirations to never give up and work hard.
8. How do you balance work life and family life?
It’s tough. I have a lot going on workwise between a full-time day job, as much freelance design and production work as I can find, working as a music editor and photographer for Addicted Magazine, shooting headshots and portraits and now, dad blogging. While my kids are a bit older and more independent, there’s still so much to do. So, the sacrifice I often make is sleep. Both my kids still love being read to at bedtime. After that, I go to my basement office to work. Which is generally to write, to edit photos, catch up on my editor duties or to play music. Thankfully, I’m good with 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Weekends, I spend as much time with the family as they’ll allow. My kids are at an age when they’re spending time with friends on the weekends so in those cases, I usually have an hour or two for work. Or to willfully NOT work. However, I love my work, so it’s a pleasure to do it. Usually.
9. What advice would your “current self” give to your “just about to have my first child” self?
You have no idea what’s about to happen. You KNOW you have no idea what’s about to happen. It’s going to work out okay. Just don’t show it a screen until it turns 16.
10. Has there been a piece of advice you were given about parenting that really stuck with you?
There was one that offended me at the time. “Don’t call your kids ‘buddy’. They’re not your friends. They’re your children”. I heard that when my son was in his first years and I thought it sounded somewhat cold. As he got older, I realized that you do need a line. Otherwise, you end up with kids who think they can get away with doing or saying anything because you’re not the parent, you’re not the one who delivers discipline or punishment. You’re their ‘buddy’. I think you can be both, but you can never lose sight of who is actually in charge. In some situations, ask your kids what they want to do. In every other, tell them what they must do. When I see a parent controlled by a tyranical child, I feel bad for them because I imagine they started that behaviour with good intentions.
11. What advice would you give to new parents?
I’ll go back to what I said about giving the ‘new dad me’ advice. You can’t be afraid that you’re going to break your baby. You’re almost definitely not going to do that. However, they become sentient before you realize it. They start to listen and soak up everything around them earlier than you think. Make sure that before the emotional side of parenting really kicks in, you and your partner are on the same page. A lot of stuff you need to figure it out as you go, but some things, where actually parenting comes in, get in agreeance.
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“11 Questions with…” is an on-going feature. I will be interviewing parents with the same 11 questions, who like me, live in the digital world. The goal is to examine different perspectives, advice, challenges, and experiences from how people parent their children, and live a successful work / life / online balance.
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