Welcome to this week’s edition of Dad Blogs Exposed! I had the pleasure of interviewing a fellow Canadian Dad and new friend of mine, Mike Reynolds, from the blog, Puzzling Posts. Mike and I were members of the same Movember team that crushed it last year and are working together again on this year’s campaign. He’s a great guy with a good heart and I’m excited to be able to share his story with you all.
CD: Why did you start blogging?
MR: I actually started blogging as a way to get myself writing more. Puzzling Posts originally had nothing to do with parenting, it was a spot I tried to write Stephen Leacock inspired stories on. For the first year I write a new story every day for 365 days and once that project ended I let the writing slide for a bit. then came kids and I found all kinds of new material. My girls inspire me to be creative and keep me young at heart which makes blog writing extremely fun.
CD: Can you talk about how you got started with writing children’s stories and maybe share a couple of your favourites?
MR: I’ve always loved writing stories but for the longest time I’d take weird news headlines and create some piece of fiction around them. Last Christmas my wife bought me a set of writing prompt cards that showed a bunch of robots. One night my oldest daughter and I came up with a story about one and the idea of bedtime stories was created. Since then, we’ve stopped needing the prompts and have written stories about giants who play hopscotch and soccer playing dinosaurs as well as many others.
One of the highlights of my story writing career came when I got feedback from an elementary school teacher who mentioned her class had read my stories and were inspired to write their own afterwards. That’s why I write–to inspire kids to be creative.
CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?
MR: I get most frustrated with myself when I find myself telling my kids “I’ll do things later.” Being tired is part of being a parent so I don’t feel bad for sometimes running out of gas, but I want to take advantage of every moment my kids want to play with me so I don’t regret it when down the line they don’t want to play with me any more. I also cry a lot and it’s hard to hide tears at work sometimes.
CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?
MR: Treat every smile like it’s the last one you’ll ever see and then work as hard as you can to find the next one anyway. Also, the immense love you feel the first time you see your child somehow only grows over time, take advantage of every moment you get to sit down and talk to your kids. Building a relationship and an environment where they feel they can talk to you about anything is essential.
CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?
MR: At this point I’m very happy writing our bedtime stories and the adventures we go on and I don’t think that part is anything I’d ever give up. It’s also the bedtime stories I’d like to grow seeing how they’re what sets me apart from a lot of other smaller sites like mine and because it’s also something attached to active parenting. If the stories weren’t being written with my children I’m not sure I’d be as interested in them finding a wider audience.
At the same time, I’d love for my blog to turn into a resource for parents to turn to when they’re looking for an honest review of some simple family activities. I like reviewing places and things for families because in addition to being able to help out other families, it gives me the chance to get my kids doing all kinds of fun things like visiting toy stores and pumpkin patches etc.
CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?
MR: Part of my day job is monitoring the many social media channels of my organization and with them Twitter is the best tool because of the quick interactions with our audiences. I assumed that would carry over to my own site and I certainly do love Twitter for Puzzling Posts but Facebook has been the far greater driver of traffic and engagement with others. I’d love to grow my Facebook page more so I can stop annoying my friends with my daily doses of Puzzling Posts.
CD: How has blogging affected your life?
MR: What I’ve liked about blogging is that it’s made me do things I normally wouldn’t do. I’m not a crafty person but I’ve started a feature on my site where me and the kids work on crafts we’ve found on Pinterest. There’s a good chance these Puzzling Pinterest Projects would never have come about were it not for the blog.
I’ve also always struggled with thinking I’m worse at parenting than others because sometimes (a lot of the time) I find parenting difficult. But it’s not me, it’s that parenting is just damn hard. I like sharing this with others just in case they’re somehow under the impression it’s just them struggling.
Really, blogging is my way of releasing creativity.
That’s it for this week on Dad Blogs Exposed. Thanks to Mike for his time and I hope you’ll check back in next week for a new Dad and a new story.