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Parents of the Year 2019: Brad and Katie Baer

This incredible couple nominated each other! Find out why.

Backstory

Brad’s wife Katie nominated him for Parent of the Year with a heartfelt story. When we informed Brad, he wanted to surprise his wife and nominate her back! Here are their testimonials.

 

Katie says:

Brad is my husband whom I adore—but that aside, he is the most deserving of the Parent of the Year award. Our feisty 3.5-year-old Jack was diagnosed with T-Cell ALL (Leukemia) in the midst of a six-month home renovation when I was eight months pregnant. Brad has been our rock, savior, and ultimate partner as we have battled this journey. While we are now six months into our son’s treatment (3.5-year total treatment plan) and have a 4.5-month-old, Brad has been the leader in this horrific adventure for our family. He is a partner at his company Bluecadet, the chief FUN officer with our family, continues to act as host while we have family and friends support and visit us, and has continued to be my best friend. He is an amazing father to our Super Jack (and now his sidekick Jude) and I could not ask for a better life partner.

 

Brad says:

Imagine if the wife of LeBron James found out that she was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in basketball. That’s how I felt when I learned that I had been nominated and selected as a Parent of the Year. Much like Mrs. James, I think my game is solid, but I’m not even close to tops in my own household.

 

In a world where everyone is too busy to do this or that, the fact that my wife, Katie, decided to nominate me is proof that even the busiest people take time to think of others. For the past 10 months, we’ve juggled a life which has included battling Leukemia with our four-year-old, adding a bright-eyed newborn, overseeing our home renovation, and still balancing work and everyday life with a smile. She hasn’t wavered still making time to create centerpieces for the local public school auction and to listen to friends and family members who call to talk about their bad days. She rarely misses a moment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and always prioritizes her boys (including me) above everything else.

 

Our eldest, Jack, is the star of the CHOP thanks to Katie’s creativity. She turned floor tiles into hopscotch, transformed the bathtub into a car wash, and solved Jack’s frustration over constant nurse visits by instituting a sticker payment policy.

 

She has also worked hard to ensure that our seven-month-old, Jude, never feels neglected. While the majority of his life has been spent in the hospital supporting his brother, Katie has made sure he doesn’t miss a beat. He gets the same VIP treatment as if he was an only child and living a normal life. And that says something because his life has been anything but ordinary.

 

But most importantly, the reason Katie really deserves to be Parent of the Year is that she’s done everything possible to allow me to be a better parent. I’ve nearly cracked on multiple occasions, but she hasn’t let me spiral out of control. Having both of us in the game is the most valuable gift she could give our little guys, and that’s what makes her the two-time MVP – both the most valuable parent and the most valuable partner – of our household.


Get to know Brad

Favorite Quote:

Chance favors the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur

 

I love this quote because it shows that half of being lucky is putting yourself in the position to catch a break. It also highlights the fact that life rewards those that are curious. You never know when you’ll have your shot, so you better be ready when the time comes.

How do you find balance?

I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve found balance, but the real key is having an incredible wife that supports a balanced life. Other than that, my life hack has always been what gets done after most people go to bed. I’m a night owl that does my best work between 9 pm and 1 am. That’s when I swim or work out, tidy up loose ends, and prepare for the next day. While it might mean less sleep, it ensures that I’m not starting the next day from behind. I’m rushing like everyone else, but it lets me feel organized at the beginning of every day.

 

Another key to mental balance is that my wife, Katie, and I also always have a side hustle to keep things from getting stagnant. No matter how busy we’ve been, we’ve done things like starting a kids’ travel blog, creating a stop-motion holiday video, planning events, and founding a Baby Business Card company. We let the kids participate, so it becomes a fun learning experience.

If you could go back in time, what is some parenting advice would you give yourself the day your first child was born?

My advice is something we actually did before our kids were born: write down a list of short-term and long-term values before things get crazy. We outlined our rules both as a couple and parents and permanently have them stored in our phones. The points range from having date nights once a month to ensuring that our children have exposure to different countries and cultures throughout their lives. While we definitely have wavered at points, they remain the fundamentals for our family.

 

Then we asked Brad to “sneakily” answer for Katie. Here’s what he came up with:

What is a favorite quote that inspires you?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”— Mark Twain

 

We’re firm believers in traveling and exposing our kids to as much as possible. From day one we’ve offered them atypical kid foods like sushi and strapping them on for crazy outdoor events. While it might backfire sometimes, more times than not it becomes a really amazing memory. Our littlest, Jack, was on nearly 50 flights by the time he was two. I would go on business trips with my husband and vice versa all with our little one by our side. 

How do you find balance?
I work from home so it’s a constant juggling act to be a mom, wife, and businesswoman. The plus side is that I can prioritize the different roles depending on the specific day or needs, but the downside is that I sometimes have to work at night if I’ve worked out or went on a field trip with the kids during the day. I’m also part of an exercise group called Fit4Mom where I can get my workout in while entertaining my little guy. If that’s not an option, I ride the exercise bike the basement while responding to emails.  

If you could go back in time, what is some parenting advice would you give yourself the day your first child was born?
In hindsight, I would probably tell myself to slow down a bit. Our family is constantly on the move, so we definitely have set a precedent for being overcommitted and fast-moving. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised when Jack says “I’m ready to go, go, go!” I’m still not sure we’ve adjusted to compensate, but I think moving 10 percent slower would be better for all of us.

 

 

Photograph by Sara McCaffrey Photography.

Contributing Writer

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