MATT KIRKWOOD

Who you are and what do you do for a living?

I’m 47 years of age, born and raised in Grand Rapids and lucky enough to live here with my family as well. I’ve also been lucky enough to have been employed by WOOD TV8 for over 20 years as a meteorologist.

 

What is your family dynamic?

A husband of 21 years to Jennifer, a father to thirteen year-old twins Aidan (son) and Logan (daughter). Yikes!

What has been the biggest challenge of being a Dad?

The biggest challenge for me is to find enough quality time to spend with my children. I remember talking with a neighbor years back who had older children (when my kids where in diapers) and she said you won’t believe how fast the time goes. At the time it was hard for me to understand when they were so dependent on you. But here I am about a decade later and she was right and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. As a full time worker along with my wife and kids who are active in sports and various other functions, it’s a challenge to find the quality time to connect, especially when you have to compete with “the screen”.

 

What has been fatherhood’s biggest reward ?

Since I believe children are a reflection of you, it’s been wonderful for me to witness them acclimate so well with others. My twins’ personalities are quite different but Jen and I are fortunate to have kids that are well-liked among their friends and peers and also feel compelled to challenge themselves as well – whether it’s school, homework, or sports activities. My twins’ personalities are quite different so to see that makes me think we are doing something right as parents.

 

What is the most memorable Dad moment you’ve had? Positive or negative – what moment of fatherhood stands out to you?

Positive: One was when we just finished a long session at the playground and I was giving her a piggyback ride home and totally unsolicited she said “Dad, I love you.” Just writing this chokes me up. Another more recently was when my daughter was playing in one of her all-star softball games, one that she hit a home run in and was having a great game herself. It wasn’t that fact that she was excelling so well that made me proud but the fact that she went out of her way to try and comfort a fellow teammate who wasn’t having such a good game. That put a smile on my face. Negative: I have to understand kids are a reflection of the way I behave and I admit I get far too angry when people drive like morons and I don’t vocalize it in a proper manner when the kids are in the car.

How do you balance your work/family life?

The balance? It doesn’t happen. Jen and I are at the stage where through a good network of family and friends we divide and conquer to get the children to competing sports/extracurricular activities. Seemingly by week’s end we feel we have not spent enough time with the kids and with each other. We understand that it is just the stage of life we are in and that is why it seems to go so quickly. We try to leave Sunday’s solely for family time to reconnect after a long week and to begin the new week strong and bonded.

 

What “Dadvice” would you give a father with daughters?

Nothing complicated. Make sure every single day to make eye contact with your daughter and tell her you love her, even those days when you may be disagreeing with each other. Also, listen to whatever she has to say about whatever subject it may be. Make her feel that she can always come to you with whatever question she may have with love, trust and confidence.

Our “Father Feature” series highlights a Dad with daughters who wants to share his experiences. Learn more about them and get some real-life “dadvice” here. Know of a Dad you think should be featured? Send an email to todd@ddtime.org and nominate them (or yourself).