We team up with Don Rowe to give you the latest on Fatherhood with Ben Bayly.
Who’s in your family? Tell me about the personalities of Bastion and Elliotte?
I have a little 2 and a half year old boy called Bastion and a 9 month old little girl called Elliotte. Baz is definitely the more passionate one with a real strong sense of determination, coupled with this really interesting little perfectionist streak - and everything ends up being tidy and ordered once he's finished. Elliotte has been such a dream and really happy to go with everything up until now. She's got a really outgoing personality loving to connect with people and always smiling. It's interesting even at such a young age to see them developing their own unique personalities.
A very important question to start, why are you only a father to Bastion on your Twitter profile? If Elliotte isn't on your Twitter profile does she even exist??!?!
Whoops. As someone once said to me, it's not whether or not your kids will need counselling, it's how much they'll need. I guess it's moments like these...?! Thanks for the heads up. Better update the old profile before she learns how to read.
How hard is it having your life split between LA and NZ when you have two young children? How do you make it work?
The traveling side has been surprisingly easy - they're pretty transportable at this age. And we try and take enough of their things to create a sense of familiarity wherever we are. The community aspect is harder and takes more effort and time.
We've got a great group of friends and family who are at a similar stage here in New Zealand so we've had to work hard on developing and maintaining friendships in LA with people who are at a similar stage. It's hard when you're in and out to keep growing now friendships, but we're working on it! And there's so much fun to be had too - we've seen some pretty amazing things with my job!
Elliotte's birth wasn't easy, what's it like as a father being witness to that amazing, yet fragile process of giving birth and being unable to do anything?
Yeah it's hard watching your wife go through something so intense and not being able to take the burden. But I think the way we did it actually empowered me to do something - that being, to encourage and take care of Mandy in those moments. Keep her positive and knowing she was capable of doing this. I think traditionally there's been an attitude of men having to sit on the sideline and just watch, or even not being allowed in the room a couple of decades ago. For me it was important to make sure I was taking care of her and doing what I can.
As an actor and entertainer, how does your career influence your role as a dad?
I think for me the more interesting dynamic is how does my role as a father influence my career. Seeing as my kids are much higher up the priority chain I think the lessons I'm learning as a dad and the depth I'm developing in this journey is colouring my craft significantly. Kids teach you to be present. To be engaged. to be vulnerable. All these things are hugely valuable as an actor.
What's the most important thing your father taught you, that you will pass on to your children?
Well two things - firstly, my dad has a beautiful curiosity for people. When he's talking to me or to one of my friends he's so present and asks questions and wants to know more. There's a quote I remember from uni that says 'the greatest human kindness is curiosity' and I think this is a beautiful characteristic that I would love to emulate in my life and also hopefully pass on to my kids. And secondly, my dad has a real vulnerability to him. I think that's a rare characteristic, especially as a male from that generation, but I think it's a beautiful thing and something I hope I can model for Baz and Elliotte.