While I’m not a mother — yet — I do have several nieces and nephews, including 3-year-old twin nieces.
They’re adorable, and I absolutely love them, but I’ll be honest ... sometimes, it’s a relief to know that I’m just Auntie Stephanie, and when I “borrow” the girls, I get to return them to my sister- and brother-in-law when I’m ready. For all their cuteness and adorableness, they can still be handful. I mean, there are two of them!
That’s why I’m always amazed when my brother-in-law takes the twins on his own for the day — and he genuinely enjoys it. While I seem to run out of energy after spending time with the girls, he has copious amounts of patience, silliness and parental guidance that lasts all day.
Of course, I thought it was hilarious that he recently asked his mother-in-law if he could swing by her house early one Saturday morning so she could put the girls’ hair in ponytails before their ballet class, because my sister-in-law was working. But I texted him later and found out he managed to figure it out himself and got the girls to ballet all on his own.
He was an expert diaper changer when the girls were younger, he never minded carrying a diaper bag around and I have simply come to admire him for being who he is — a great daddy.
While I’m very impressed with my brother-in-law, he’s not an anomaly.
In fact, in this month’s June issue — dedicated to the men in Kane County — we talked to three stay-at-home dads who have made it their full-time jobs to watch their children, including Jim Karner of Batavia, who takes care of his four young kids.
I met Karner and his kiddos — Haydn, 9, Harley, 8, Tillee, 6 and Milo, 4 — and as I watched them fish, do homework and play with their dog, the easy-going relationship between the five was obvious. While I’m sure there are days when four kids are difficult to handle, Karner has embraced the challenge.
We also interviewed Brian Singer of Batavia, who stays at home with his two children, and David Amundson of St. Charles who takes care of his 13-year-old twin boys. All of these dads can be an inspiration to the fathers in the area.
In a similar familial vein, we talked to Kane County families who love fishing and have shared the sport with their kids and siblings, and we picked up tips on how to balance crazy summer schedules packed full with summer camps, sports practices and more.
And if you’re a dad looking for something to do with the kids this summer, don’t forget about the Kane County Fair, which celebrates 145 years this summer. The fair lasts five days and is a great place for kids to let loose and have a blast.
We also went straight to the gut, er, heart, of many men and talked to those who are right in the thick of a nationally growing hobby — homebrewing. From homebrew club members to those who are looking to take the next step of opening their own craft breweries, Kane County is filled with men who enjoy a good beer.
Plus, we have stories to help men look — and smell — their finest, with grooming tips from the experts at Macy’s and Buzz Barbershop in St. Charles and top cologne choices from Geneva’s Odalisque Beauty Apothecary and Perfumania in Aurora.
While Kane County Magazine strives to be a home, health and lifestyle publication for the women of the area, we recognize that our men mean a lot to us — as fathers, husbands, teachers, athletes and entrepreneurs. And so, this month, we turn it over to you, fellas. Enjoy!
— Stephanie N. Grimoldby