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by Jennifer Griner

A dedicated father to his two little ones, Joel Lane has a love of music and a talent for transforming things through painting. He shares what he loves about fatherhood, his favorite moments as a father and what he does to live a more balanced life.

Share a little bit about yourself.

I am 31 years old and live in the Sacramento, California area. I have two children. A 3 year old boy, named Noah and a 6 year old daughter, named Tatum. I am a single dad who is fortunate to have the kids quite a bit of the time.

I own a painting business called, Parkview Painters. I paint interior and exterior cabinets, furniture and also pianos.

Pianos are kind of an interesting thing for me because I used to be a music director at a church in Southern California. I am a musician and music has been my life for a lot of years. Being a single dad, I have not been able to play music much but I always have pianos in my house or at my workshop. Right now I have a total of six pianos in my house and workshop and I get to play around on them a little bit.

I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old and performing when I was 7. I recorded my first album at 13 and I have been in and out of quite a few bands. You can listen to some of my music and download some of my albums for free on my website www. JoelLane.com. I play soft rock music and while I was at the church I did two alternative style Christian albums.

In addition, I do a lot of running and I enjoy it. I did a half marathon last year and I am training for a triathlon happening in June at my hometown. Most of it is bike riding, which I am actually afraid of. I don’t like bikes, because three different times in my life, while riding my bike, the front tire just fell off, the rim and everything. I ate it and got all messed up. Now, I have this fear of riding bikes and I am hesitant to do the triathlon. But I figured it’s time to get over my fear of that and just go for it.

Tell us more about your business, Parkview Painters.

We do interior/exterior painting for residential homes. On my website there is a short video that shows me painting a condo in a minute and a half. It’s a fun, time lapsed video.

I had another business for about 3 years called, The Painted Past where we just painted furniture and pianos. I recently got divorced and I passed that business on to my ex-wife so that she could have income coming in. Now, Parkview Painters is my new business. I have two partners coming on that are also really good painters. I am going to be doing most of the marketing and setting bids, while I have my kids so I can work from home. The days I do not have the kids, I will be out painting as well.

Painting has been kind of something I’ve done since I was young. I’d pick up furniture at thrift stores or classified ads, paint it and resell it. I just like to paint furniture or houses and I enjoy the transformation from old to new.

What do you enjoy about being a father?

Being a father is something I enjoy but something I am scared of at the same time. I enjoy being a role model for my kids and instilling in my children good values and morals. At the same time, I get scared because I just hope I am doing it right. Many times I question myself. As they grow older I adjust and I have to read up on how to protect them, how to communicate with them better and let them know that they are loved.

Mainly, what I love is just the fact that I get to spend time with my kids, even if it is just sitting there having a picnic with them. Whatever it is, we create a lot of good times together.

When I was growing up, my dad worked a lot, all the time. So I make it a point to be available for my kids, at any moment of the day. I want to be around. I enjoy knowing that they know I am available for them and they can talk to me about anything.

At the beginning of this year, I realized that I am growing through them. In fact, a book called, Upside Down Mommy by Amanda Johnson helped me with that. As a parent, that book reminded me that these little human beings, my kids, are transforming everyday and we, as parents, are transforming with them. We are a part of that process. As a result, I have been making it a point to remember that concept and allow myself to transform and not be stuck in the ‘this is the way it’s gotta be’ mindset.

What top advice would you share with a first time father?

I would say to just allow them to be themselves and allow them to tell you what they need. A lot of times I get caught up in, “Okay, this is what we are doing; this is how you should do it; this is what you need to wear; smile like this; talk like that.” Sure, all those things are good, but I think there needs to be a balance. As parents, we need to listen more. I think we need to allow them to use their voice to express themselves and to just be themselves. That’s gone a long way with me recently. Now, I feel my kids can actually be comfortable using their voice and know that they are heard.

What are your favorite moments with your kids as a father?

My favorite moments would be snuggling in bed. For the last few months, they’ve been wanting to sleep in my bed. As a result, I don’t get any room at all with all three of us. I just really enjoy waking up next to them and seeing those smiles on their faces. The other times are when I don’t have anything else going on and I can give them my undivided attention. Anytime we can just get away from the house, get away from stress, we all seem to have the best times.

What do you do to live a more balanced life?

That’s been a pretty tough one for me lately because I am so used to having a partner to just balance things with. It’s been a learning process. At this time in my life, the main thing is that I’ve learned to just keep my eye on exactly what I need and stay focused on that, whether it’s finances, exercise or if it’s a break from the kids. I am constantly staying aware of that, throughout the day. So that way I can tell when I am getting to that point where I cannot handle it. With the kids, I take them for a walk, which is a big thing for us. We go out for many walks and go to the park a lot.

Also, having my goals written out for the week and just knowing that it will happen. I don’t have to stress about it. I remind myself that everything will fall into place and things will get done.

In addition, I think pre-planning is important. For example, today, I have a paint job and the kids will be with me while I am painting. I’ve got everything lined up. Lunch is all pre-made and I’ve got extra clothes for them. All that preplanning makes it easier to be on time to things and to get out of the house in an orderly way. Not too stressed.

The biggest thing for me is just taking breaks, even when I don’t have it planned out. If I plan to get something done this week, but the kids are on edge and everyone is just elevated, I know I need to just be aware of that for myself and know that it’s time to go to the park and go for a walk.