Sharing the Journey with Ben Murphy


GQ or Maxim just not cutting it for you now that Junior’s arrived?

Then you may want to check out thefatherlife.com where Ben Murphy is one of the founding fathers. Yeah, I said it – FATHER. This totally hip online magazine is rockin’ to it’s own beat and marching along for modern dads daring to stay hip and balancing fatherhood. The Father Life is a mixture of fatherhood advice, life advice, and everything in between (including a couple of awesome articles by Shoshana Bennett on PPD just because folks in the forums were talking about it)

Ben Murphy, Ben Martin, Ben Loux, and Ryan Marshall are the brains behind this wonderful site and I came across it while searching for worthy and intelligent content on the web for fathers. So very impressed with what I saw, I emailed Ben (Murphy) for an interivew and here we are! I know, I know, June is over. It’s July. Trust me, you’ll be glad you read about this and I guarantee you’ll be emailing your husbands to tell them to check out this awesome site!

Tell me about The Father Life. What would a dad walk away with after reading your magazine?

Well, TheFatherLife.com is a men’s magazine created with dads in mind. When I became a father I noticed pretty quickly that all the men’s magazines on the market were for the bachelor set, while the parenting magazines were largely geared towards mothers. It blew my mind that there were no men’s magazines out there geared towards dads… so I got a couple of friends together and we created one!

Our magazine is all online (www.thefatherlife.com), all free, and updated with new articles every week. It’s designed for today’s modern dads who are every bit as involved with their families as they are with their careers and hobbies. A lot of these guys are family men who are also executives. They are also at-home-dads who’ve left the career ladder to spend time with their kids… So, our content is pretty well-rounded. Obviously, there’s a lot of fathering content, but it’s balanced by everything from sports, cars, and investing, to food, fashion, and music.

I want our readers to walk away from TheFatherLife.com encouraged to press on in this new ‘Fatherhood 2.0′ life that’s becoming the norm now for a lot of guys. It used to be that fathers brought home a paycheck and that was it… today’s fathers are turning that model on its head. As one of our readers put it to us a while back, “The Father Life is for guys who work hard, play hard, and father hard.”
How did The Father Life come to fruition?

It was really just seeing a huge void in the marketplace for good fathering media content — and thinking that we could in some way address it. We really started out to create the magazine that we wish was out there on the newsstands. And that is still our aim.  We figure that there are millions of other dads out there as well experiencing the same thing — and they’d probably be interested in a magazine like this!

The whole process has really evolved. I have a background in design and media, including some online magazine experience. So, I knew it was easy to do this in concept. I brought along my friend Ryan Marshall who has an extensive background in web design and my friend Ben Loux who has a background in Finance and Corporate Compliance. It helped that all three of us saw this need for fathering media. We’re all around 30 years old with careers and young families, so we have a lot in common. And we all knew each other from back in college so it was a really good fit.

The three of us started TheFatherLife.com as a quarterly publication so that we could fit it into our schedules. But it’s grown from there to where we’re currently publishing a number of new articles every week. That’s due in large part to how well-received the magazine has been as well as to bringing on Ben Martin, our Editor-In-Chief, last fall. He’s been able to focus solely on developing content and has done an absolutely tremendous job!

The newly updated version of our site is rolling out this August and will have a similar feel, but will allow us to really expand the reach of what we’re doing exponentially. I’m really excited about it! We’ll be posting new content almost daily when that site rolls out.

The success of the magazine has really been from our readership and from the writers who contribute content. The magazine exists on reader-generated content and it’s really been amazing! And our readers are incredible providing their feedback and ideas to help the magazine evolve…
Share with us how you approach fatherhood with your own family.

My wife and I have two young daughters and I’m really just focused on enjoying it. That’s easy to say in a vacuum – harder to execute in the whirlwind of every day life, but I just love my family and love the family life. Having kids puts everything else in perspective… It really is what sparked TheFatherLife.com.
In an interview at www.fatherville.com, you were asked to come up with one word to describe parenting and you responded “Marvelous Chaos.” Share with us what Marvelous Chaos means!

Things are crazy and never quite what you expect — and yet somehow everything falls in place and it’s more wondrous than you could have anticipated… it’s a joy of the unexpected that comes from having kids around.

I want to commend you on your Postpartum Depression articles by Shoshana Bennett as it is important for fathers to understand how they can help their partners during such a difficult time. Have you had any personal experience with Postpartum Depression or known anyone who has? If so, what were your feelings about the situation and what advice would you give to a father currently facing a similar situation?

I’ll be up front that I haven’t personally had interaction with postpartum, but the advice I would give is to be as supportive as you can… and get advice from other guys who have been in the same situation.

The thing I love about the Postpartum articles is that they’re one of the best examples of our readers shaping the content of the magazine. During a 6 month period we were seeing forum posts and receiving emails from guys who were saying, “this postpartum thing is crazy and I want to be supportive of my wife, but I don’t know where to start!” And so those articles emerged entirely from that dialogue.

If you could tell us about one of the most joyous moments you’ve experienced as a father, what would it be?

I think it’s when my kids are just lost in the moment and truly happy… the satisfaction of knowing that you somehow created a context in which they are just loving life and you are privileged to be there and enjoy that moment with them. I guess that’s a pretty abstract answer, but I hope it makes sense…

On the flip side, share with us one of the most challenging moments as a father.

I’m the type of guy who wants to do a lot of things and do them all well… I’m very ambitious and take pride in how I execute things. So, with a family, I don’t have time for everything and I have to set limits. Prioritizing my time for family and limiting my other interests is challenging. I assume all fathers go through this, and I think it’s just a time in one’s life when you start to finally figure out who you are and what’s worthwhile to you. My family comes first.

We all know we need to take some time for ourselves to keep our sanity and sense of self hanging around. What are some of the things you do to keep your sense of self and not lose yourself in your roles as a father and husband?

I’m an artist and I still work on my artwork whenever I make the time (www.benmurphyonline.com – be warned, it’s edgy). I also love outdoor sports and do as much trail running and mountain biking as I can. I like naps too; naps are wonderful!

But you’re right – as great as being a dad is, you can’t give yourself over to it entirely or you lose your sense of self. The same can be said for a career or anything else really. In the end, taking care of yourself helps you take care of those around you. And we try to encourage guys to still be themselves along with being great dads. We say, “Yes, It is possible to be a great guy AND a great dad!” And I hope that our content helps dads accomplish that…
Do you feel fathers are largely ignored by the media at large?

I don’t know – I wouldn’t say ignored. The media is driven by “what’s hot right now” and I’m not sure if fathering has been as hip until now… I feel that TheFatherLife.com is hitting at a time when the whole idea of a “dad demographic” is just starting to gain traction. And in a lot of ways TheFatherLife.com is and will be in the midst of shaping the new (and improved, I hope) perception of dads in popular culture. There are a lot of wonderful emerging dad blogs out there now as well as baby products for fathers (www.diaperdude.com is a good example) — that wasn’t true just a decade ago. A lot has really changed with the internet, and perhaps that’s driven some of this shift. I’m certainly noticing a lot more fathering content now in the media and I think it will continue to grow and improve.

Last but not least, if you had a chance to give an expecting father (new or experienced) just one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

To enjoy it. Just enjoy it. You only get to do it once, so make the most of it.

When is too much really TOO MUCH?


I have often wondered at times, heck, even marveled at women who seem to take on the world and appear to excel in all they do. How do they do it? How on EARTH do they keep up with everything and appear so calm and suave? Even with all that I now do and have been through, I have no idea.

There are days that go just right. No one screams or fusses, no one has an potty accident, don’t have to clean up after the girls (or the dogs), and the day just flows.

Then there are days like today where from the moment that I roll out of bed, it’s all downhill. Breakfast snack wasn’t the right thing, Alli got out of her room and got the ice pops out of the freezer, proceeded to yell and scream and throw fits the entire day to the point of being put in her room and left there so I could calm down before dealing with her zillionth tantrum in two hours. Cameron bit me twice today while nursing so he didn’t nurse much today at all, Charlotte needed to go potty every 5 seconds and of course it was gray, humid, and wet from yesterday’s storms so we couldn’t go outside to play, no TV show was the right one for us to watch, the girls wanted to play with what the OTHER one had – of course! Why would it be any different? Oh, and Maggie almost pooped on the couch right next to Charlotte as we all cuddled up to watch TV that we had actually agreed on! *sighs*

I know the whole nursing/supplementing thing is getting to me. It was so hard not to blame myself. After all, I have been Cameron’s ONLY source of food since birth. How do you not blame yourself? And now that we’re weaning (even though I’ve decided to keep nursing as long as he’s interested even with the formula), I know I’ve got a whole ‘nother issue with the prolactin and hormones coming ’round. To be honest, last Monday I was pissed. Pissed because I had finally been doing really well again – had been happy, confident, cheery – more than I had been in quite some time and then WHAM! the whole issue with Cameron and POP goes my happy bubble. I felt guilty about being pissed over my happy bubble being popped. I mean, c’mon – I should be concerned about my son – and I was, I am – but instead there I was, moping about my happy bubble. Everyone kept telling me that I couldn’t blame myself that there was a myriad of reasons that he wasn’t doing well – to which I replied – Yeap, got the flow chart in my head already, you’re not telling me anything new. I almost made the flow chart. Thinking that may have been a bit over the top.  I moved through my emotions on Monday pretty quickly, or so I had thought. I am so hoping this is PMS and not PPD that’s been lying in wait, ready to pounce at the first sign of honest vulnerability. I’ve got a lot going on elsewhere too and as crazy as it sounds have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to do a to-do list. It’s on my mental to-do list to do a to-do list (try saying THAT three times fast) but I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. i’ve got to otherwise this is just not going to get any better and I will become even more lost in the forest of tasks that seem to be springing up around me, especially if I keep having days like today.

I feel like a deflated clown punching bag after a state fair.

Just toss me in the corner and leave me to be covered in hay and dirt and Lord only knows what else.

I’m pissed. I’m apathetic. I’m just well – here. I don’t really want to be awake but not quite ready to go to sleep yet. I can’t think of a darn thing to cheer myself up besides coming here and just letting it all hang out in naked honesty. I need to pray. I need to go lay down and read the Bible and find my answer there.

Hey – Chris is listening to the radio on his computer and it’s my favourite uplifting song – Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. Starting to feel better already. :-)

Here’s to hoping tomorrow will be a better day. It has to be. Alli will be starting music camp so she’ll be gone from 9a – 12n every morning through Friday. I’m ready for another break.

My Project Today


Today I spent the bulk of the girls’ nap time putting together a relaxation slideshow in Powerpoint. I plan on having this going during labor. How effective it will be remains to be seen but I found a plethora of really beautiful photos and finally got them to all cooperate into one big slide show. I contemplated making it a bit… oh, dang it…. um.. SUBLIMINAL! (I hate it when words elude me!) but decided that would ruin the overall beauty and flow of the photos so I opted just for photos. I have also requested DH make a mix cd with songs chosen by me. A very ecclectic group of songs but all of them really just make me relax and/or invoke a positive emotional response.

Here’s the Song List for the CD and I am going to TRY to upload the slideshow but I can’t promise anything… I’m really not that much of a computer genius. (Which is why I married one!) Not so successful with the slideshow. I’ll give it another shot tomorrow.

Playlist
Oasis – Wonderwall
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
Anna Nalick – Breathe
The Verve Pipe – Freshmen
U2 – Mysterious Ways
Jewel – Intuition
Alannah Myles – Black Velvet
Live – Lightning Crashes
The Eagles – Hotel California
Jewel – Foolish Games
Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten
Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
The Proclaimers – (I’m Gonna Be) 500 miles
Jewel – You were meant for me
Sting – Desert Rose
Shakira & Alejandro Sanz – La Tortura