On Mother's Day, you met my wife, Jordana Chambers, and heard a little bit about our fifteen years of marriage together. But with Father’s Day arriving, I'd like to introduce myself. I live in East Tennessee with my seven (yes, you read that right) children, Tobin (14), Josiah (12), Jude (10), Eden (7), Marceau (7), Rhys (5), and Zuri (23 months). Our life is especially unique as our son, Jude, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at five months old. I am the CEO of Springible and today I'd like to share about how I help manage life and style for my kids as a dad and entrepreneur.
So, seven kids is a pretty big family. How in the world do you describe what life is like on a daily basis?
Yep, seven is a lot. In fact, we’ve come to call ourselves the Chambers Village…each of us is a villager. What’s our daily life like? Well, life for us is constant. Loud. Busy. Silly. Messy. Exhausting. So many details, especially having a child with special needs in the mix as well. There are tough days and great days. Every single member of the family is opinionated, and they want their voice heard, which leads to some very lively moments. But, with us, what you see is what you get. It may not always feel very curated or Instagram-worthy, but it’s as real as it gets.
What sort of fatherhood wisdom have you learned and can share with other dads out there?
It’s been quite a wild ride so far. I’ve failed a lot, grown a lot, and still have a ton to learn, but here are a few things I’m always trying to focus on (I’m no pro or expert, but these are my goals).
- Don’t compare how you parent to anyone else. Just be the best possible dad you can be for YOUR family.
- Do your best to just be present and in the moment (this is a HUGE challenge for me - having kids from age 14 to almost 2 means switching gears and conversations and interests all the time…but hopefully I’m maturing in this as time goes on).
- Show love however you can, as much as you can. Not every child is the same, so find out how your child feels the most loved and aim for that. (In our house, one child wants to have an in-depth conversation about the weather patterns, another wants to kick the soccer ball around, another wants me to play dolls, and Jude is always a little bit of a wildcard - sometimes he likes being hugged, and sometimes he just wants to be left alone. The key for me is to continually pay attention, and that’s how I’ll recognize their love needs best.)
- Encourage them in what interests them. They may not ever fit a typical mold or go after what you expected, but cheer them on, challenge them to do their best, and live their best, even if life is especially challenging.
How do you manage your wardrobe in a way that provides a balance between a busy family life, and a demanding work life?
The keyword on wardrobe for me is: diversify. I always keep a few more fashion-forward or trendy pieces around, but frame everything in tailored, classic looks that I can dress up or skew more casual. Because my life at home and work moves so quickly, there’s usually not much time to sit and ponder outfits. So, having classic pieces I can easily mix and match with trendy pieces makes my frequent quick changes. Parenting a child with special needs, and helping wrangle our other busy villagers leaves me with some sort of mark or food spot on my clothing more often than not, so being able to grab another button up or a pair of slacks takes a ton of stress out of those moments. Whether it’s date night, running between meetings, or going for a more relaxed style for soccer practice or ballet pickup, I’m pretty sure I’m wearing something from Tommy every single day. They just fit what I need for my very full life!
Seven kids means lots of clothing in your house, how do you keep everyone dressed well?
A few rules of thumb for our Chambers Village: 1) it must be well-made, 2) it has to last (hand-me-downs, anyone?), 3) Jude has to be comfortable (Tommy’s adaptable clothing line has been incredible), and 4) it should be versatile, colorful, and fit properly.
The washer is always running, and our kids are always on the go, so I imagine at some point we’ll end up hiring someone just to help with laundry. It’s pretty crazy the amount of clothing we have around all the time. But, it’s wonderful to have a brand that makes great clothing for EVERYONE, including kids with disabilities!
One day when you look back on the dad\journey of being a dad, what do you hope to have accomplished?
I hope as a dad, I was able to help my children experience as much of life and the world as possible. I hope they’re brave, not afraid to be who they really are. I hope they know they’re loved by me and Jordana no matter what, and they’re always safe and welcomed home when they need us, and we’re their biggest fans.
What three clothing essentials do all men and dads need in their closet?
- Have a go-to, tailored suit or jacket. This is a must for me. Lightweight and flexible in the warmer weather, wool in the colder weather. Make sure it’s a good neutral color to wear with anything.
- Layers, layers, layers. (Even in the summer!) T-shirts, button-ups, jackets, light sweaters. Layers make it easy to dress up or go casual by simply switching out one piece instead of an entire outfit.
- Joggers and sneakers. Just throw them on and go! It’s the dad life, dress accordingly.