Monday, June 19, 2000

On Father's Day, dads reflect on children, times

From young to old, dads do their job

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Bruce Topper, of Kenwood, holds his son Matt, 4, at the Cincinnati Zoo.
(Luis Sanchez photo)
| ZOOM |
        Marty Meisberger isn't quite sure what the toughest part of being a father is, but his 51/2-year-old son had an opinion.

        “Dealing with brats like me,” said the freckled Nathan, who spent Father's Day at the Cincinnati Zoo “just because my dad wanted to come.”

        Despite fatherhood becoming more important and demanding because of the prevalence of dual-income families, Tristate fathers seem to be thoroughly enjoying their experience Sunday. For many, that meant braving the dreary Father's Day weather to spend a day at the zoo with their kids.

        Mr. Meisberger and his wife said they try to take Nathan and his almost 2-year-old brother, Jacob, on outings as often as possible.

        “It gives you a break from the realities of everyday life, like work stresses,” the Syc amore Township man said.

        As more moms take jobs outside the home, dads are helping more. Married men now spend 2.1 hours per workday on household chores, compared to 1.2 hours a day in 1977, according to the Families and Work Institute.

        Kirk DuQuette of Northgate is one of those new-age fathers. He often takes the role of “Mr. Mom,” working out of the house as a graphic artist while his wife teaches. He has helped his daughter Liz, 12, set up her own Web site, and he plays blocks and watches videos with his 3-year-old daughter Becca.

        “I think the savior for us dads are all these videos,” Mr. DuQuette said. “I must have seen The Little Mermaid a thousand times.”

        New parents Carla and Kirk Seemann of Amelia, have seen their lives take quite a turn since Cameron was born 15 months ago. They used to travel spontaneously quite a bit, but now it seems to take an hour just to get ready for a day trip to the zoo.

        Mrs. Seemann said fatherhood is different now than fromwhen they were growing up. Her husband agreed.

        Bruce Tepper of Kenwood had one of the busiest Father's Day of anyone. He spoke with his 27-year-old daughter for more than an hour in the morning on the phone and took his 4-year-old son to the zoo and Krohn Conservatory in the afternoon. Later, he was going to his father's house for dinner.

        Mr. Tepper said he loves being a father, but doesn't claim to be perfect.

        “Now I am too old, then I was too young,” he jokes.


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