WOCA 1370 AM Radio Interview

Tune in and listen to Andreas Wilderer speak with Robin MacBlane and Larry Whitler about “How can marriage grow stronger together when dad stays home”.

 

Speaker 1:

1370 AM, 96.3 FM, The Source.

Larry Whitler:

All right, 25 minutes before 11 o’clock. Thank you for tuning in. This thing we call life is really a team effort. You know?

Robin Macblane:

Yes, it is.

Larry Whitler:

It takes many of us to make all of us, and for a long time, probably most of humanity’s existence, you ladies have been supporting us guys as we pursued whatever it is we were trying to pursue. Right?

Robin Macblane:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Larry Whitler:

Not that we weren’t there for you, but you know what I mean. Right?

Robin Macblane:

Yeah.

Larry Whitler:

Our next guest, Andreas Wilderer, is on the phone. He’s got a book called Lean On: the Five Pillars of Support for Women in Leadership. Andreas is a business leader, a stay-at-home dad, while his wife pursues her career. That’s part of what we want to focus on. He’s also a leadership coach, a keynote speaker, an entrepreneur. He established the Male Spouse Network and he’s an advocate for stay-at-home dads. Andreas, it’s an honor to have you on our show. Good morning. How are you?

Andreas Wilderer:

Good morning, I’m good. How are you?

Larry Whitler:

I’m good. Where are you calling from?

Andreas Wilderer:

I’m calling from Pittsburgh today.

Larry Whitler:

Pittsburgh. How’s the weather in Pittsburgh today?

Andreas Wilderer:

It’s sunshine. A little bit cold, but sunshine. So, wonderful.

Larry Whitler:

Andreas, where’s your accent from?

Andreas Wilderer:

I’m German.

Larry Whitler:

German. All right. I got to listen.

Andreas Wilderer:

I came 10 years ago.

Larry Whitler:

All right. I know how to say, “I love you.” [German 00:01:44]. I know how to say that. My grandmother was German.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yep, you did it say right.

Larry Whitler:

Yeah, she would always tell that to her dog. [German 00:01:52]. How did it happen that you … What does your wife do? Tell me about your wife.

Andreas Wilderer:

My wife is the CEO for a water company called De Nora Water Technologies.

Larry Whitler:

How did the two of you meet?

Andreas Wilderer:

We met back in Germany. We were best man and maid of honor on my brother’s wedding.

Larry Whitler:

Oh wow.

Andreas Wilderer:

Things progressed from there.

Larry Whitler:

Did you catch the, what did you have to catch? The garter?

Robin Macblane:

The bouquet and the garter.

Larry Whitler:

Did you catch the garter?

Andreas Wilderer:

No. We don’t throw the garter in Germany, but she catch the bouquet.

Larry Whitler:

Oh, okay. Okay. So the traditional held to be true. She was the next one to get married?

Andreas Wilderer:

I think so. Yes, she was the one. It was just a few months later, so we were very quick.

Larry Whitler:

Do the five pillars of support that you write about in your book, Lean On, do they apply to all of us, do you think?

Andreas Wilderer:

I would say so. It’s more a conversation about, how can you support each other? Of course, there are some specifics to what problem stay-home dads or women in leadership or women in the workplace are going through. But the base ideas applies to everybody.

Larry Whitler:

How many children do you have?

Andreas Wilderer:

I have two children, 12 and eight.

Larry Whitler:

12 and eight. So when the 12-year-old was first born, when you first child was born, I’m assuming both of you were home for a while.

Andreas Wilderer:

I was home longer and she went back after eight weeks.

Larry Whitler:

Oh, okay. Was that hard for her to do, to go back to work?

Andreas Wilderer:

I think it was hard for her to do, but she also had the peace of mind that I was staying home with him, and so it was an easier transition for her to go back to work.

Robin Macblane:

Your book is absolutely wonderful, because you let everyone know that the best foundation you have to begin with is your unity as a couple.

Andreas Wilderer:

It is, and that’s the most important, is being a couple. Open conversations between each other, that’s the base foundation of every good relationship. What I would say.

Larry Whitler:

Do you think to be a stay-at-home dad, you really have to do it from the beginning, you couldn’t switch roles halfway through?

Andreas Wilderer:

You can switch roles halfway through, but then you have to allow the partner the transition, the period. So you cannot expect for him to switch after five years, let’s say, and then that he knows everything right away. He has to find his way into it.

Robin Macblane:

How did you get over the stigma? Because I hate when people say, “Dads don’t care as much as moms do. They’re not as emotional and, sometimes, they don’t know what they’re doing.” I’m always defensive of dads, because I was born in 1954 and my dad had a full-time job, but he would stay home with my brother and I too while my mom worked.

Andreas Wilderer:

It was a hard time to get over the stigma. I think I didn’t ever get really over it. I knew how to handle them now and I know how to maybe answer some of those bad comments you get in society, but we are getting on a way better. The society is changing. Over the last 12 years I’ve seen so much change and so much openness certainly to stay-home dads.

Larry Whitler:

Is that part of what the book addresses, especially for men who want to be the stay-at-home dad?

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. The book for sure goes into this, but it also goes to all men who say, “I want to support my wife more.” You don’t necessarily need to be a full stay-home dad, you can still go to work, have your own business or pursue your career to support your wife-

Larry Whitler:

Oh, yeah.

Andreas Wilderer:

… and to help her to excel in the workplace.

Larry Whitler:

Oh my gosh, I 100% agree with you. I can think of examples which I won’t mention on the air, but I can think of examples of guys who have fallen into that cultural trap of thinking they have to be the Lion King or something. The wife has to be something less than him. I think both of them can be the Lion King, or queen if you want. I see that a lot and I just don’t think it’s healthy.

Andreas Wilderer:

No, it not healthy. I’m happy that we are over this period. That there are less men who think they need to be the Lion King, and we are starting to redefine masculinity. That’s such a wonderful trend in society that we talk about, masculinity doesn’t need to be [inaudible] man of the ’70s or the, “I’m just [inaudible] on how much I make my money,” to be masculine. So more the new things like being emotional and supportive measurements for masculinity now.

Robin Macblane:

I did learn a new phrase from you, adaptability quotient. I mean, you not only coach the men, but you coach the women also.

Andreas Wilderer:

I do coach both. Adaptability quotient is two words. When you say, years ago we always said IQ is the most important. Then about 15 years ago people started to say emotional quotient is very important. Both of them are still important, but I also say now adaptability. Adaptability is necessary for everybody because we are changing so much. Society is changing, technology is changing, roles are changing and, how can we adapt to them?

Robin Macblane:

We have to support each other too. That’s another lifelong lesson that you learned, that you tell us about in the book and on your website.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. The support of each other has always been the base of every good relationship, and this support just has a little bit to change now when we talk about women starting to make their own career. Women are trying to break the glass ceiling and they need different support from what we are used to, but support they need.

Larry Whitler:

What is the biggest challenge for a stay-at-home dad?

Andreas Wilderer:

I would say to stay sane.

Robin Macblane:

I love that.

Larry Whitler:

Sorry.

Andreas Wilderer:

And not to lose your identity by just being home. At the beginning, you step into and everything is about the kids. Then comes this plateau where you say, “What am I doing? What is my purpose in life, certainly?” And getting over this down period and, hopefully, having a partner to support you and help you pull out, I think that’s one of the most important, but is most challenging.

Larry Whitler:

I wonder, and I’m guessing this is true, that women probably go through the same thing. A lady has a baby and all of a sudden she’s staying home and she’s not pursuing her career anymore. She must say, “Well, what am I doing?” All of a sudden everything changes, and it probably that challenge you just described is the same for both of us, both men and women.

Andreas Wilderer:

I think so. We go through all the same kind of challenges and some have added challenges. When we look at the stay-home mom, they find maybe community in the school activities with the children and find like-headed stay-at-home mom too are suddenly the best friends and play groups for the kids. It’s hard for men to step into those. Luckily, over the last year, there are more and more dad networks popping up where dads can receive this support from peers.

Larry Whitler:

Okay. Let’s talk about social time. You go out to the park with the kids and you’re the dad and all these moms are there. How do you socialize when everybody else who’s out there is female?

Andreas Wilderer:

For me, and this is again 10 years ago when I was with my son at the park. Luckily it’s over, he’s grown up, but back then it was, I was more the odd ball on the park. I was looked at in a strange way. Why is there suddenly a guy sitting on the parking bench watching the children? You were not automatically integrated, you were more, sometimes even seen as a threat. Okay. Then when you go to the same park and start talking to people, they say, “Oh, okay, that’s his son.” And he is there, but in the first moment, moms stayed with moms and dads stayed alone.

Larry Whitler:

Yeah, I can see that. You know why, you can’t blame the women for being worried about us guys because there’s so many creepy guys in the news that are up to no good. So it was an expected thing, I suppose. So you got over it just by letting them get to know you?

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. If you’ve going there several times and the moms suddenly see that you’re playing with your kid and that you are a loving parent instead of just the creep sitting there, that helps.

Robin Macblane:

That’s what’s most wonderful about you, is that you’re very, very genuine and you really take parenting to a new level, because women just aren’t nurturers, men are nurturers also.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. I like to say there is the stigma [inaudible] that dads babysit on the weekend and moms parent. This is something I always didn’t like to hear when they say, “Oh, are you babysitting your kid this weekend?” “No, I’m parenting. I’m taking care of my kid.”

Larry Whitler:

Yeah, I’m with you. Yeah.

Robin Macblane:

Exactly.

Larry Whitler:

Yeah, I think I’m 100% with you. Have you had the circumstance when the kids were younger where another dad comes in and he’s feeling, “Oh my gosh, everyone thinks I’m a creep.” Then he sees you sitting there and goes, “I wonder if that’s a creep, or is that a dad”? And you guys became buddies. Did you have a guy friend that you hung out with?

Andreas Wilderer:

I had some guy friends, but not happening like this, but it was more like they came, I got to know them because their partner told him about me. And the first reaction was, “Okay, now I have to meet this Andreas guy who is the perfect dad…

Larry Whitler:

Oh no. Oh no. Do you have to live up to the stereotype of men? Do you have to be throwing footballs and grunting and having a big beer bell? I mean, do you have to stick with that stereotype or can you be just yourself?

Andreas Wilderer:

I think you can be yourself. That’s the best, is being yourself and making it work, how it works for you. Being a German family, coming to the U.S., we had so many things we are doing different as a family than Americans would expect us to do. Like, I don’t even know how to throw a football. I must be honest, I don’t know how to throw a football. So it was always in the park when the kid said, “Oh, let’s play football.” “No, let’s play soccer, guys.”

Robin Macblane:

One of the talks that you give, because you are a successful keynote speaker, is how to run a family like a business. The similarities.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes, and this is going towards, we have so many great tools for leadership in every company that we say, “Okay.” We give employment training, we do plannings, we have those KPIs to track our progress and the moment we come home we forget everything we’ve learned out there or don’t use those. And so, this is something I say, “Okay, let’s bring some of those tools into the family.” Not to make it more organized, not to take out the loving care in the family, but to help improve it.

Andreas Wilderer:

To say, “Okay, let’s track something like, how often do we fight?” How often do you have a disagreement with your spouse and why does it happen? When you start tracking something like that, you can see, “Oh, maybe we have to talk about something,” or, “No, it’s just happening some time.” Or the same with maybe the kids’ grades at school. Are they staying the same? Do they go up or down? Depending on how many times we are moving or the mom is out of town and then we have some data suddenly to track.

Robin Macblane:

I hate that, tracking data, because sometimes it can be skewed. Then, when you hear about polls being taken, and you say, “Well, I’m a parent, how come I wasn’t included in this poll?” You also bring that to light.

Andreas Wilderer:

Those are polls done by somebody else, and the data tracking, if you track it between your partner and yourself and you track it together, it’s a different tracking of data. And it’s not that we say, “Hey, there’s science behind it,” but just to have a starting point to have a real conversation about it.

Robin Macblane:

Do you think that maybe a society needs to catch up? Because you and your wife definitely are free thinkers as myself and my kids’ dad and Larry too. We’re all free thinkers, but we always come together for the greater good.

Andreas Wilderer:

I think society has to catch up. The government has to catch up. I’m not making any money or I didn’t make any money years ago and still, for example, the taxes were filed under my social security number. Because it’s always filed under the husband. Why does that need to be? Or at school, the school normally first calls the mom, when something happens in their system, they call a mom.

Andreas Wilderer:

My wife is in a meeting and suddenly gets a call from school, like, “Hey, there’s something with your daughter.” “I can’t help, call [inaudible] the husband.” Those are where society still lags behind just as institutions and, of course, there are a lot of old or traditional thinking families who may be not need to change their way, but to become more open about nontraditional family models.

Larry Whitler:

Just to reintroduce, Andreas Wilderer is on the phone. Andreas, please correct me if I’m saying your name wrong, by the way.

Andreas Wilderer:

No, that’s nice. Andreas Wilderer, that’s perfect.

Larry Whitler:

Okay. The book is called, Lean On. It’s a play on the name Lean In. Who did the book Lean In again? I can’t remember who did that one.

Andreas Wilderer:

It’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Larry Whitler:

Okay. Okay.

Andreas Wilderer:

That was my play, is to say, when we ask for women to lean into their work, on whom can they lean onto? That must be us men to support them.

Larry Whitler:

I love that. The Five Pillars of Support for Women in Leadership. I don’t know if this is going to be easy on the radio interview, but tell us about the five pillars. I’m looking at the graphic of the, it looks like it’s family, workplace, partnership, society and self. Tell me how I use that information to strengthen the family that I’m working with.

Andreas Wilderer:

It’s more like you have to go through all five of those areas to build a solid relationship. The first one is to be in, go through the pillar of self. Find yourself, know a lot about yourself. Know what your ambitions of are, what are your goals and what are your dreams? Then put those together with your partnership and compare notes and say, “Okay, I want to do this as my dream. This is your dream. Where can we come together and define ourselves as a team?” Then, when we talk about the kids, “how can we bring the kids into this boat together to have this solid family?”

Andreas Wilderer:

And then, we cannot change a lot about maybe the workplace, but we can integrate the workplace into our life and see, “Okay, how can we deal with the workplace? How can we adjust each other or our family to make it work?” That she goes to work, he stays at home, he maybe can still work part time. All those questions and then, of course, society. How can we make sure that it works for us? And this is just to say, “Okay, we know we are maybe different and those are the misconceptions society has about us and we know we cannot change it, but we are not having it as a big problem for us.”

Larry Whitler:

So you have to have that conversation before the first child is born?

Andreas Wilderer:

I would say you can have this conversation any time in your relationship if you have older children. Ideal maybe before you even got married to say, “Okay, are we fitting really together?” But this is something that goes far beyond my expertise. I would say, yes, start the relationship as soon as you can. And this conversation about, “What are my dreams, what are your dreams, and how can we make it work that everybody’s happy after 20, 30 years and we are having no regrets? ‘Why did I do this,’ or, ‘Why didn’t I do it?'”

Larry Whitler:

Right, right.

Robin Macblane:

How big of a role does a person’s religion play in the upbringing of the children and the harmony between the two partners?

Andreas Wilderer:

I would say religion plays a big role for a family that has a religious aspect. It’s upon them to define, “How much do I bring religion into the upbringing of my children?” We believe in God. We are not maybe as religious as some Americans would be, but so we’ve found our own way. And that’s what every family must decide for itself. That’s one of my main points in the book is, it’s okay what the others do as long as you make it work for you. It must be just between you and your family, how to make it work.

Larry Whitler:

Do you communicate with your wife while she’s at work on little mundane things like what’s for dinner, that kind of stuff?

Andreas Wilderer:

My wife is traveling four out of four weeks, sometimes gone for three or four weeks in a row and we don’t see her at all.

Larry Whitler:

Oh my gosh.

Andreas Wilderer:

So we are communicating with video calls. The kids text her every day. The kids started even playing games or reading good night stories via video conferences, but they are adjusted to it. We try to have a big line of communication between us as good as possible because when she is gone so long, the more she knows, the more she feels at home and the less is the gap when she comes home and suddenly says, “What happened here? Why is everything different?”

Robin Macblane:

You have a questionnaire on your website that I think is very, very helpful to the individual, whether you’re a man or a woman, and to couples.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. And going through several questions. Did you have the conversation, do we have goals and the results I maybe a little bit sure, but it’s about the question. When you say, “Okay, no, I have not talked about this question,” or, “Oh yes, I should think about it,” it’s more a conversational thought starter. Don’t expect to get a 10-page report at the end, but use the questions as the way already. Use the questions as the guidance, where could you maybe change your thinking?

Robin Macblane:

And that communication is extremely important because, sometimes we don’t communicate well as a couple or as a family.

Andreas Wilderer:

Yes. For us, for example, we set yearly goals for our family. We are between Christmas and New Year. Every family member sits down by itself and says, “Okay, what do I want to have for next year? What do I want to be in five years, in 10 years?” And then we compare notes after everybody has it. And then we put them together and say, “Okay, you want to do this [inaudible 00:22:36],” or, “This is your goal to move?”

Andreas Wilderer:

No, I don’t want to move. How do we find the compromise? Surprisingly, when we did it the first few years, there were a lot of differences where we did not know, “Oh, is that really what you want? I never knew that about you.” But this kind of conversation to never assume something from your partner is important.

Robin Macblane:

You are such a wise man and you’re very, very enjoyable too or listen to and to watch on your webinars. You really have a great presence about you that makes you feel like a friend, and we should listen.

Andreas Wilderer:

Oh, thank you.

Larry Whitler:

Robin said you’re a good looking guy. Robin told me you were a good looking guy.

Robin Macblane:

Yes, he is too.

Larry Whitler:

Andreas, thank you for being on the air with us today. The book is called Lean On. It’s a brand new book. I saw it on Amazon and it looks like a couple of weeks ago it was released. It’s getting good ratings, by the way. Good reviews. Do you have a website you’d like to direct us to?

Andreas Wilderer:

It’s andreaswilderer.com. That’s my website.

Larry Whitler:

Okay. Very good.

Robin Macblane:

It’s easily to navigate and it’s a wonderful website, sir. Very wonderful.

Andreas Wilderer:

Oh, thank you.

Robin Macblane:

Well done.

Larry Whitler:

Andreas, it sounds like you have it all together. It sounds like your children have a good dad.

Andreas Wilderer:

Oh, thank you. I hope so. If you would ask them, they would say, “No,” but that’s always children saying about their parents.

Larry Whitler:

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Well, you and your wife sound like you have a beautiful thing going on there. Andreas, thank you for being on the show with us today.

Andreas Wilderer:

Thank you for having me today.

Larry Whitler:

You’re welcome. We’ll be right back.

Speaker 1:

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