Reading Chris Illuminati always makes me laugh. Today Chris shares his wit and wisdom with Kidorable Parenting.
1. Tell me a little about who you are, what you do, and what you’re passionate about.
I’m an author and freelance writer living somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. I’m also a stay-at-home dad, SAHD for short, but I hate using that acronym because it looks like “Sad”. I enjoy writing, reading comic books, making people laugh and recently took up cooking (which thankfully hasn’t made people laugh, yet).
2. What is something you wish you had more courage or imagination to do when you were younger?
As a kid, I never believed dreams jobs could be obtained. I watched SNL and The Tonight Show religiously and never thought to ask “how does a person get on these shows?” Of course, the internet didn’t exist at that time so it was a little harder to obtain that type of information, but I never put forth the effort to ask “how does a person do comedy for a living?” I fell into line in school and assumed “well, I’ll just be a funny accountant or something.”
3. What do you do to give children you love the courage and imagination to seize possibilities within themselves and the world?
I think many parents tell their children “you can be anything you want to be” and the child has a dream and the parent essentially says “alright, well, good luck with all that.” I tell my kids they can be anything that want to be and I’ll help them figure out how the hell to do it. The best thing about the world we live in today is that every life aspiration, no matter how insane it sounds, can be a real career. Do you want to take pictures of your toys and post the photos on Instagram and possibly make money doing it? Well, you can!
4. Describe something in your family life you have consciously made more fun, easy, meaningful, or joyous.
As a kid, I ate dinner with my parents at least 6 nights a week. I never realized how important meals were besides, you know, nourishment.
Dinner time is family time. We sit at the table, eat dinner together, and talk about the day. We play a game called “Peak and Pit” where we say the best and worst part of the day. Getting them to actually EAT the dinner, well, that’s a whole other story.
5. What’s something about your current family life you wish was more fun, easy, meaningful, or joyous?
I don’t want to rush life but my son is 7 years old and my daughter is 4 and there are certain things the boy can do that the girl can’t just because of age life ride bikes or go on long hikes. I wish both kids were a little older and slightly more independent to do activities as a family. We’ll get there eventually.
6. What is something you treasure from your childhood that you have tried to recreate with your own children?
Family vacations were always my favorite time of year. We’ve tried to take the kids as many places as possible. Every summer, we spend a week at the beach and the kids talk about the trip for the entire year. As the kids get older we’ll expand the places and actually leave New Jersey.
7. What is something from your childhood you have consciously changed in raising your own children?
My mom spanked me as a kid. She did it because that’s the way she was brought up. I can’t fault her for it but I swore I’d never hit my own kids. And I never have. Trust me, there have been times… But I just walk away and let the moment pass.
8. What’s the best thing about being a parent?
Kids sometimes make situations MUCH HARDER, but overall, kids make every situation a little easier. Especially uncomfortable situations. We had a death in the family recently and the kids attended the church service. It’s a sad life event but kids, with their innocence and huge smiles, made the day a little easier.
9. Tell me about your current project, or something else you think I should know about your work.
I have so many projects going on that sometimes I can’t keep track. I’m trying to write more fiction, which is fun, because there are really no rules. After writing for over ten years, mostly news and fact-based content, there’s now a real pressure to make sure everything is 100% accurate. But with fiction, if my character has a medical condition that makes his sneeze lightning bolts, well by god, he can sneeze lightning bolts!
10. Where could I find out more?
Besides the parenting website (amessagewithabottle.com) I have a personal website with all of my writing (chrisilluminati.com).
In two weeks I’ll give a free Kidorable Umbrella to a random fan who subscribes to both Chris’ blog and Kidorable Parenting and shares this interview on the social media platform of their choice.
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