It’s never to early to talk Movember..in fact, we are just a couple months away #timeflies. We sat down with the Movember Foundation’s Andy Leonetti (aka “Movember Dance Captain”) to talk fatherhood, mustaches, MOVE, and Mr Tiger. Please enjoy, and always remember the importance of the Movember Movement and spread the word!
Talk to us about your kids. What’s it like being a Dad?
Being a Dad is incredible. I thought I understood what love was, but that perception seemed to really open up once this new life came into my world. It’s as though my heart has expanded on another level of love named Vivienne. I guess it also helps to have quite the daughter or should I say, “wild animal.” We were reading a book called Mr. Tiger Goes Wild the other day. It’s about a society of animals where Mr Tiger lives and about how it’s too stuffy of an environment for him. While I was reading about how Mr. Tiger wanted to ditch the suit and go be a wild animal in the wilderness, I heard a definitive, “Me too!” from Viv followed by an expressive ROAR to match that of Mr. Tiger! She’s almost a year and a half and growing up way to fast.
Tell us about your parenting style.
I’m a very hands-on parent, and would most closely associate with the attachment parenting school of thought. But what I really like to call it is the, “show me” approach. Early on in a child’s life, they are developing a sense of self and figuring out their emotions and how to communicate. Even before Viv could talk, she was communicating with me through smiles, and crys, and funny little sounds and actions. I treat her very much like anyone else – with respect and care and with an open heart. Some say you can’t reason with an infant, but I think you can. For example, she made it clear to us through her actions and non-verbal communication that she was done sleeping in our room and wanted her own space, so we started her in her own room in her own crib. She is constantly giving us cues to what makes her happy and what irritates her. For such a little lady she has a lot of opinions, and yes, sometimes “Dada” know’s best and has to stick to his guns, but overall I look after her with a logical, reasonable, nurturing and adventurous spirit.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without as a Dad?
As a Dad on the go, and being part of an adventurous family, there are a few items I just can’t live without and are in constant use. The first item is a Patagonia messenger bag, which makes an incredible incognito diaper bag. It’s got all the right sized pockets, nooks, and dividers needed for day trips and weekend getaways, but it doesn’t scream “baby” or “daddy.” When I’m walking around with bunny ears on because my daughter likes “hop hop’s” and it makes her smile, that’s when you’ll know I’m a Hip Daddy. Of course, you gotta have a changing station, and nothing beats the portability of Skip Hop’s Pronto Changing Station. It fits perfectly in my messenger bag with room for everything you need to keep that baby’s butt clean & fresh. And finally, the one thing that we never thought we’d use as much as we do is the Phil & Teds Traveller crib. It’s super light, goes up quickly and packs away to about the size of a rolled up yoga mat. We’ll use it on a Thursday night to keep Viv’s bedtime, while still keeping up with friends for an impromptu dinner party.
What’s the ‘latest and greatest’ at Movember? Assuming more amazing things are coming?
Each year, the Movember Foundation announces new program activities and new initiatives to their community – and this year is no different. In 2014, the Movember Foundation announced their first-ever barbershop, Movember & Co. The barbershop is located inside Movember’s headquarters in Los Angeles, and is a collaboration with the Blind Barber, making the men’s health conversation part of the regular grooming experience for men in and around LA. All of the profits from the barbershop will benefit the Movember Foundation.
MOVE, is a new global initiative designed to encourage men and women to get moving during the month of Movember, to become more engaged in their own health and well-being. This year, Movember will be providing three different ways for the community to get on the MOVE during the month – you can make your own unique commitment to MOVE, for ex. ride your bike to work, sign up for a new fitness class, etc., choose to host your own MOVE event during Movember, or sign up for one of Movember’s featured MOVE events on Movember.com.
We’re also extremely proud to announce the funding of 7 new Movember-PCF Challenge Awards. In total, the 2014 Movember-PCF Challenge Awards will be funding 49 investigators hailing from 10 cancer centers across the US. These Challenge Awards stand out among the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s research programs, representing a unique approach to understanding and treating prostate cancer. Among the projects funded by the 2014 Movember-PCF Challenge Awards is a study led by Andrew Dannenberg, MD, of Weill Cornel Medical College that investigates the relationship between obesity and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. This work may lead to new treatment strategies and provide patients with a daily life prescription for nutrition and exercise to prevent advancement of the disease. We’re very excited about the amazing work being done by Movember’s funds and these best in-field researchers.
Lastly, each year, Movember creates a new campaign theme to keep the Movember community engaged and excited for the month. The 2014 creative will be announced when Movember.com relaunches mid-September, so don’t forget to sign up, and join me in growing a moustache to change the face of men’s health!
How do you manage the responsibilities of working for a wildly successful non-profit and your home life raising a child?
Movember is like one big happy family, so naturally Viv fits right in. Sometimes she’s able to join us in the office when we have events. They also allow some flexibility around my fatherly duties. But moreover, having a fabulous partner is the real key to being both successful at home and at work. Viv’s Mom and I think of ourselves as a team. We each step up and pitch in to create a good balance between work, personal and family life. I’m able to up my game to give Momma a break when she needs it and when I’m traveling for work she gets some good one-on-one time with Viv. We both bring different experiences and ideas about parenting but it’s how we communicate and work together that allows our daughter to grow and thoroughly enjoy every minute of it!