K104 Radio Interview

Tune in and listen to Andreas Wilderer, Jonna Spilbor and Keryl Pesce on K104 radio talk about “Being a Stay-At-Home-Dad the best move for your family?” on their show “Happy Hour with Jonna & Keryl”.

 

 

 

Jonna S.:

Well, I’m going to say our guest today is a little bit of a departure from our traditional type of guests because we have a guest who’s an author of a book called Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women. He is a man who thinks one of the ways that women should be supported in this day and age is by relying on stay at home dads. And he is going to discuss with us how to make that work, who it’s right for and all that. Because listen, I can imagine a lot of people be like, “Oh heck no.” But I think after we speak to, his name is Andreas Wilderer. Now we’re going to have to get a little confirmation the way you say his name because it’s spelled Wilderer. Like he ain’t just Wilder. He’s Wilderer. But he’s from Germany so maybe there’s some accent on the wrong syllable that I’m not doing it.

Keryl P.:

Is the entire book based on that concept?

Jonna S.:

Yes.

Keryl P.:

Of why women should-

Jonna S.:

How stay at home dad relationships can work. And he’s a speaker, he’s a consultant, he’s a coach and what I dig about him is he’s a man who is promoting empowerment for women. I like that in a guy.

Keryl P.:

I think people should be more open to that. I mean, we’ll save the discussion, but why would it be… I remember years ago Al Roker saying on TV that when he would go in public places with his kids and people approach and say, “Oh are you babysitting today?” And it was like, would you ever approach a mom and say, “Oh you babysitting today?”

Jonna S.:

Right, right. Because they’re not there yet. Whatever works. Right. I agree. So I’m very interested in speaking with him, which we will do, Andreas Wilderer, after the break.

Frank:

That sounds good. With Jonna and Keryl, this is Happy Hour. We’ll be right back with our guests so please stick with us. You’re listening to K104.

Speaker 4:

Jonah and Keryl K104. It’s Happy Hour. Live-

Frank:

And welcome back to Happy Hour again here. Happy Sunday morning to you. And it’s time for our second segment. And of course, you know our second segment with Jonna and Keryl is always with our guests and we have a Andreas Wilderer with us here today.

Jonna S.:

Yes, and our guest today, Andreas Wilderer is the author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership. And a little bit about Andreas is he is a business leader and entrepreneur. He also recognized that women can be providers and men can be the nurturers. Wilderer began focusing on coaching female leaders while teaching men how to actively support them. I love this already and he is also a Gallup Certified Strength Coach. We’ve had a previous… Our friend Robin Torres and she’s fantastic and I know Andreas is going to be fantastic. Welcome to this show.

Andreas W.:

Welcome. Thank you for having me.

Jonna S.:

So we were gossiping about you before we called you up because and I could be wrong and maybe you can dispel this if this is a myth. I think the whole notion of having dads stay at home and care for the kids while the mom goes out to be the breadwinner and work is something that we have not yet embraced totally as a society. But I want you to tell us why maybe we ought to. So tell us a little bit about, is that the primary focus of your book, Lean On or is that just one facet of it?

Andreas W.:

This is just one facet of it, but it’s a very important facet and no, we have not embraced it enough being a stay home dad taking care of the kids has become much better in the last 13 years. I’m since 13 years a stay home dad, so I have seen a lot change in the last few years, but we are not there where we should be a society today. And especially when we ask women to lean in into their work and go back to work. Break the glass ceiling. Who is taking care of the kids? Who is going to be the nurturer for the family? So women can do that. And so if we ask for more women to go to work and break the glass ceiling, we need also to ask the men to step up and help out with the family.

Jonna S.:

That’s a really good point.

Keryl P.:

Oh my God.

Jonna S.:

It’s like a counter balance. Hey, exactly. Wow. And it’s almost obvious, like I just wanted to hit myself in the head and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” That makes total sense.

Keryl P.:

How can you have one When without the other dynamic stepping in? Wow.

Andreas W.:

Yes.

Keryl P.:

My cousin is the breadwinner, a female, the mom, in her family and her husband is the one that primarily stays home and takes care of the kids.

Jonna S.:

All right. So they’re making it work. So is there some secret to making it where… And the reason I ask is that I’m sure you have to have a conversation if you’re going to do this in your own family with each other, the spouses, the parents need to speak to each other. But society kind of looks at people strangely when you do this. So it’s not just happening under your roof. You’ve got to be comfortable no matter who’s going to throw barbs at you. So how would somebody go about making this work? Who is it good for?

Andreas W.:

So the first decision has to be made in the family and it has to be made by the husband or by the man. It has to be made with the… If I’m going to be a stay home dad, I need to be okay with it. I need to be okay with my wife earning more than me do. I must be okay with being maybe looked at strange from other people in society, but because you will always have those people who say, “Why are you staying home or can’t you provide for your family?” So this is a decision the man has to make for himself and in a co-work with his wife because that’s the next one. It’s one of the topics I address in my book is you need to empower each other.

Andreas W.:

And this means when we decide, okay, he’s the stay home dad, that means also he gets the key to the house. He makes the rules, she has to follow his lead. When we talking about how do we wake the children, it doesn’t make sense for her to say, “Okay, I’m going to work, but I’m still making all those decisions and have actually him only babysit what I want to do.” We have to embrace each other though. This is the main decision between the couple to make. Are we all okay with doing it? So it’s set up for success.

Jonna S.:

And honestly why not? Other than it’s just been past stereotypical relationships. Why wouldn’t it equally work as well for the husband to be the primary caregiver and the wife to work? And I think part of the challenge, and this is why you’re saying it’s so important to have that discussion amongst the couple first to really get on the same page is where women and men differ in how they validate their worth. And men are typically the providers. So it really… And I kind of agree with you that the decision has to really settle good with the husband first or the father first.

Andreas W.:

It has, and we have raised to see masculinity in a certain way, especially as a man. You have seen it from your parents and from your father. What is it to be a man? And this is going to be redefined right now, but there are still those old impressions that’s how a man needs to be. And for having respect for myself, I have to overcome those prejudice about what is it to be a masculine man. I don’t have to define myself about being the Marlboro cowboy again. So, those are the where we have to go in society.

Jonna S.:

And honestly, what more important job could there be than to be caring for and raising your children? Why is that looked at as a second step down or something? I don’t get it.

Keryl P.:

I think personally it would be a lot of couples when two parties are going to go to work, you’re spending a lot of money to have a stranger oftentimes come in and take care of your children.

Jonna S.:

And sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Keryl P.:

No, and I know it’s sometimes you don’t have a choice. So if you have a choice, this might not be a bad way to go, but… Okay, so this works best, I should say, this kind of arrangement when both spouses have sort of an equal opportunity income wise, right? Because you wouldn’t want to take, let’s say the husband is a CEO of a big corporation and the wife is working her way toward that and is not at the same income level. It doesn’t make sense to have the… I guess it makes sense to be more traditional in a case like that?

Jonna S.:

Or there’s a matter of practicality comes first. You know, if you have your lifestyle and your bills that have to be met and one could meet that better than the other one, but all other things equal-

Keryl P.:

What say you Andreas?

Andreas W.:

So, Betsy Meyrs has three types of women in leadership defined. The first one is the late bloomers and those are women that may be already raised children and start later in their career or their husband had been the CEO. They want to step back and they start working full time. Then we have the part of the power couple where both women and men go work together or go out and fulfill their dreams and the family somehow is maybe raised by a nanny. And then we have the breadwinners and stay home dad. And depending on where you are in this situation or in those three models, it makes maybe more sense to have a stay home dad or it makes more sense for the dad to be a more active role in the raising of the children.

Andreas W.:

I don’t say every man has to be a stay home dad, but I say every man should step up more and help raise the children in a better way and give the female more freedom, more power, more time to go to work and fulfill her dream.

Frank:

So Andreas, let me ask you a now, you had mentioned that you’ve been the stay home dad now for 13 years. 13 years ago, what was it that you guys sat down with? For somebody that may be sitting down to do this for the first time, maybe they’re considering something like this or they’ve run into the situation where, “Hey, my wife does make way more money than I do. Maybe this could work for us.” What was it that spurred the conversation that had you eventually get into the spot you’re in?

Andreas W.:

So we fell into it without having the right conversations. That’s why I tried to write my book and have it help others not to learn from all the mistakes we made. When we were still in Germany I stayed home because the government made it so easy for men to stay at home and I was one of the first ones who were paid to stay home, had paid maternity leave for men. Maybe four months after that the law was made, I was one of the first ones to apply for it, so it’s really…

Andreas W.:

In January they made the law, in May I started to be it so… And then when we came to the US I was not allowed to work at the beginning. I didn’t have my work visa to be work here and I only had the choice to stay home with the kids and then we saw it’s good for me to be home with the kids, not only to give the kids somebody to they can lean on and have the stability of at least one parent is home, but also for my wife. She was traveling all the time and is now, I would say always she’s gone four out of four weeks.

Andreas W.:

It makes it easier for her to know the kids are taken care of by someone who loves them just as much as she would instead of having them raised by a babysitter.

Jonna S.:

And if I could just go on a little bit of a tangent. I know personally, for example, when you are… Like I run a business, so I make a lot of decisions all the time, every day, 24/7. So sometimes when I and my much younger boyfriend, Andreas, are trying to decide where to go for dinner. I’ll say to him, “You make the decision.” Like I’m all decided out. You make the decision, you make the plan and I will follow and that to me… And when that doesn’t happen, it’s upsetting. And when it does happen it’s like thank you for supporting me and taking something off my shoulders.

Keryl P.:

And you know what? There’s a key point. Thank you for supporting me and to communicate in what way you can be supported. Right. It’s like that expectation. Maybe so the man stays home, the woman goes and she’s in a leadership position and then you get anger… We women are so good at this, this passive aggressive-

Jonna S.:

You should know.

Keryl P.:

Right? Who are you mad at? So I think it’s up to the woman in that situation or just to really in general in life, if you need more support to properly and-

Jonna S.:

Identify.

Keryl P.:

Identify that and communicate in what way, what does support look like to you? Because you just said it Jonna, in your world that’s what it looks like.

Jonna S.:

Right.

Andreas W.:

Yes. This part of communication, having an open conversation, open communication and not assuming something. That’s I think one of the biggest, no matter what family model you have, there’s not assuming what the spouse wants or the partner wants, but starting to talk about it. That’s something I always say and it’s coming out in my book is strong. Have this conversation with them, together make goals. Make a five year plan, make a 10 year plan. That’s where we both agree where we want to go. Maybe they have to compromise, but at least everybody knows where we want to go together.

Jonna S.:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What other concepts… So in in your book Lean In: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women, can you, without giving away too much of the book, can you tell us what the five pillars of support for women are?

Andreas W.:

So the five pillars are self, partnership, family, work, and society. And how are the five pillars defined is what five areas do you have to work through to be an extra support or make it work? You have to be okay with yourself. Like we talked about, is the man up to it? Is the woman up to it? You have to have the conversation together in your partnership and say, “Okay, that’s how I want to do it, that’s how you, who is taking care of,” but making those rules. Then the same one with the family. When it comes to older kids suddenly, like my children are 12 and eight and they’ve been through so much in living a nontraditional life, being bullied by the neighbor kids because they didn’t understand this. And so those are conversations we have to have. Then in the workplace of course, and in society, we have society to make up for it. So those are the five pillars I’m talking in the book about it.

Jonna S.:

You just raised a good point too because it kind of touches on what I said a little bit ago and that is, this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Like the decision might be made under your roof, but your children go out into school and they go to their friend’s houses and daddy’s the one who’s going out and making the money and mommy’s the one who staying or both parents are going out. So I suppose there’s a way that you have to sit down as a family, even with your young kids and let them know that this is normal.

Andreas W.:

Yeah. The best example was my son’s friends always came over on Saturday and asked, “Do you want to come out to play?” And he said several weekends, “No, mommy is at home.” And suddenly he was bullied at school, “Oh, he doesn’t want to play because he has his mommy.” Until we explained it and said, “Mommy is not here from Monday until Friday. So if she is home, it’s the special time.” And then they understood. But we had to teach them and that was in first grade. So teaching a first grader and his friends that it’s different, those small things are what the kids have to learn and accept for themselves.

Jonna S.:

Wow. Yeah, because those small things aren’t actually small. I think that’s huge. And if I were in this kind of situation, I would make sure I sat down with my kids when they did see me on the weekends and say, “You know, you better not love daddy more than you love me.” That would be my challenge Andreas.

Frank:

But you know what’s really important though is the fact that you were able to have the conversation with those kids and maybe stem the tide of future bullying as they get older maybe they’re able to understand now. I mean that’s tremendous.

Andreas W.:

It was great, and I applaud out my neighbors and the mothers who helped to bring this issue to their children and to explain it to them since they were really traditional brought up, daddy went to work, stay home mom and suddenly this complete different.

Frank:

Right. Now, here’s one question for you. So if you’re like the one dad in the neighborhood that’s a stay home dad and there’s a bunch of other moms, it’s almost like a sitcom. Does your wife get jealous at all of the other moms looking at the cool dude there?

Andreas W.:

No, actually the other moms are not open to stay home dad. There’s still this big depth between it. So when I go to birthday parties for the children after school, it’s normally the moms hang together and the dads, most of them see me as okay, he comes to normal dad who brings the kids to the birthday party instead of accepting me as one of their. So, luckily now more and more dad support groups are out there. So you can go online and look for stay home dad networks and stuff like that. Facebook has great groups and city meet ups, but this was different 10 years ago. So there’s still this gap between moms and stay home moms and stay home dads.

Jonna S.:

Well yeah and I get it, but you are really a bit of a pioneer and I applaud you for being a man in this world and doing what you can, writing books, coaching, speaking to help support women and empower women. And I know that people can find you at your website, which is your name.com. It’s Andreuswilderer.com. The book is Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership. And where can they get the book, Andreas?

Andreas W.:

You can get it on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Jonna S.:

Great. And I did visit your website. There’s a lot of cool stuff on there, I mean a ton. I would encourage people if you want to learn more about this, if you think this might be a lifestyle for you or just some… There’s some other stuff on your website too that’s very interesting. You know, your Gallup Certified Strengths information. Go to andreaswilderer.com. We’ve really enjoyed having you as our guest. Thank you very much for coming on today.

Andreas W.:

Thank you for having me today.

Frank:

Yeah, thank you very much Andreas. I really appreciated what you had to say and some of it was eye opening.

Keryl P.:

Yeah, this is going to pick up steam. It’s going to pick up steam.

Frank:

All right, well this is Happy Hour with Jonna Spilbor and Keryl Pecse, and we’re not done yet for this morning. So you guys all hang with us and we’ll be back. This is K104.

 

 

 

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