Is this where I say who I am? Like, identify the narrator?
Hello, my name is Jeff Elden and since I was 10 years old I can remember wanting to be two things; a nationally syndicated newspaper cartoonist and a father. 26 years later with three daughters I can say I’ve been very successful at one of those goals. This isn’t to say I’ve stopped cartooning. In fact, the creative part of my life has had a recent resurgence with several self-published comics, involvement in a local comic collective’s anthology, running a teen cartooning group through a local library and writing, acting and producing artwork for a webseries (Comic Geeks.) I can’t not do something creative. I can’t not be involved with other creative people. I can’t not want to be involved with my kids. But, these two aspects of myself don’t always mix well. Parenting can take time away from creating, and creating means either working late at night or being away from my family for long periods of time. It’s frustrating. Then I started noticing how many creative people I admire who are parents as well, and that made me suddenly aware of how many people I know who have children and at the same time are trying to create, to have another aspect of themselves.
That’s where The Do-Dads comes in. I wanted to make something for parents with creative endeavors to talk about that struggle for balance between the two. That thing became a podcast.
Who are The Do-Dads? You may be asking after you read that last sentence I typed. Well, you’ve already met me, Jeff, but I have two co-hosts. The first I’d like to introduce you to is Brian Spath. Brian is the creator of that webseries I mentioned earlier, Comic Geeks, and this one time in the middle of a long day of shooting a scene in a comic shop we had both stepped away from the set to eat a donut. As I contemplated if my wife would approve of me having eaten only donuts that day Brian says to me, “I wanted to let you know that Kara and I are expecting.” At the time I already had two kids of my own, was feeling a little guilty for taking up most of a Saturday morning and afternoon for this silly project, and was exhausted trying to fit everything in. I think I responded with something like, “Cool, man. You’re gonna love it.” I asked Brian to join me on the podcast because I liked that he would be going through all the things I had just experienced.
Now I need to introduce you to my other cohost, and it isn’t going to make sense. I’ve known Mike Jones since I was a teenager. He was always this guy that would make the room more interesting with his humor, insight and charm. I’m sure Jones would love it if I compared him to some 70s television character right here, but I don’t know any. He’s also a guy I can lose track of for a year and randomly see out and about and it will be as if no time even passed. He also doesn’t have kids. And while he also stars in Comic Geeks and doodles on restaurant menus he has no personal creative endeavors. This is exactly why I asked him to be on the show. Me and Brian weren’t enough to carry a show, and adding another dad with creative pursuits would mean there were three people with similar perspectives…and that would be the most boring hour of radio ever produced. See, while The Do-Dads is sometimes about parenting it’s not a parenting podcast. It’s about being something more while being a parent. It’s about the love of your family balanced with the love of art.
So, we get pretty ridiculous on the show. We stray from one topic to the next. We start off talking about our kids, but end up on comic books, Barney Miller, Back to the Future, breakfast cereal (especially breakfast cereal), viral videos, or our friend Dan Nichols. We put out two episodes each month with one of those being a very special episode that features a guest, someone who is a parent but also has a side project (check out Heath Mitchell of Sippy Cup Dad on a very special episode.) It’s good conversation between people going through similar things and finding support in each other. Oh! We also have a monthly challenge that we give to each other to try something new out and see if it makes our lives any better. The challenge (titled It Gets Better) can go from the bizarre to domestic but always offer some interesting insight. I can say for sure the show has made me a better person all around.