Self-confessed helicopter dad and actor, Shane Mardjuki, speaks to HoneyKids about life as a father-of-two...
Settle down with a big cup of coffee and take a parenting moment to find out how actor and dad, Shane Mardjuki, juggles his acting career and his biggest role to date: self-confessed helicopter-parenting his two kiddos!
If you’ve ever come across actor Shane Mardjuki’s Instagram account, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s filled with photos of his kids, four year-old Ellie and one year-old Oscar. And yes, there’s the occasional photo of behind-the-scenes action on the sets of his latest acting projects (you may have seen him recently in the spectacular Julius Caeser production of Shakespeare in the Park at Fort Canning), as well as some pretty impressive pics of him in full martial art ‘submission grappling’ mode. But his favourite role? Being a dad to those two kiddos of his. We had a chat with Shane about how he juggles his acting career and still has time to maintain his full-on helicopter-dad status!
Tell us about your kids…what do you love most about them? Do they have any quirks?
So there are two of them, Ellie and Oscar. Ellie is four and Oscar is one. If I could describe them, Ellie is definitely a cat and Oscar is most definitely a puppy. Ellie is shy with strangers, only eats when she wants and hates showers. She also climbs on your lap when you’re trying to work, loves sleeping on my legs and at about 10pm every night (if she isn’t yet asleep) goes crazy and starts sprinting around the house. Oscar will follow you to the ends of the Earth if you have food. (Or an ez link card as he absolutely loves buses). If he has met you once, you are his best friend. Also, he bites!
What’s a typical day for you like as a dad?
The boy wakes up early. I stay sleeping. Mummy does the morning with him. I wake up with the older kid and get her ready for school. This usually entails three major components: trying to stuff calories into her, trying to distract her from turning on the TV, trying to get her to walk to the bus stop and eventually picking her up and running because we are late. After school we usually do some sort of activity involving the whole family. The zoo or a swim, a walk in the jungle or more usually, trying to get the children not to kill each other. The evening is spent marvelling at how the younger one can fall asleep on cue, and then begging the older one over and over to go close her eyes until eventually we all fall into an exhausted sleep.
What’s the best part of your day?
Usually my daughter wakes up a little before me, seeks me out, jumps onto me and cuddles me for about a half hour every morning without fail. It is, by far, the best part of my day.
What’s your secret to acing the juggle that is parenting and career?
My secret recipe involves a whole lot of compartmentalising and focus. When I am with my kids I am all in with my kids. When I am at work I am all in at work. It’s not easy and I constantly end up distracted by checking a work email when I should be playing with the kids, or covertly trying to call and check in with the kids when I am at work. But the most rewarding times I seem to have, on both fronts, is just when I am supremely dedicated to the task at hand, be it working a scene or doing forward rolls on the bed with my kids.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without as a dad?
Wet wipes. I could conquer countries with enough wet wipes.
Do you consider yourself a hands-on parent? How so?
I make an effort to be as hands on as possible and that can range from being the go-to guy when a game of hide and seek is about to go down, or the man to call when someone has pooped in the shower. Sadly, I haven’t mastered breastfeeding. I leave that to mum.
What’s your best tip for finding peace and calm while being a working dad of two?
Like many parents before me, I have discovered the joys of taking forever on the toilet. Those precious few moments of peace while sitting on the loo are essential to a parents’ mental health and well being, in my humble opinion.
What do you think makes you a cool dad?
Man, I dread being the dad at the party who is trying desperately to hang on to his long gone youth. Who is that douche in the skinny jeans and the pink sneakers? Oh wait, that’s a mirror. It’s me.
What’s the toughest part about being a dad?
My toughest challenge is to not be over protective. I was, still am, the definition of a helicopter parent. I once read that it is tremendously beneficial for children if they are in constant physical contact with you for the first six months of life. However, it’s been four years, and her feet still haven’t touched the ground. I am joking of course, but yeah, I know am way too protective.
Do you have any hobbies? How do you find time to do them?
I really like submission grappling (a form of martial arts). I have been doing it for nine years, and yet I am nowhere near as good as I should be. I blame the kids. “Oh you know, I haven’t had time to train.. kids. Not my own personal physical ineptitude, no, no. Definitely the kids.”