Former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Ian Ziering has been named DaddyScrubs' "Daddy of the Year" for 2013. We recently spoke with the actor, and he dished on what it's like raising daughters Mia, 2, and Penna Mae, 6 months.
I grew up watching "Beverly Hills, 90210" and I'm a huge fan! Tell me a bit about your new role as spokesperson for DaddyScrubs?
I'm honored to be named DaddyScrubs' "Daddy of the Year"! It's a platform created to help other dads be more mindful of the role they play in raising their children. With this title, I am encouraging other dads to stay connected; to be proactive in the formative years where a little goes a long way. Be it at the dinner table, on face-to-face phone video, or a good old fashioned bedtime story, these moments build up the bond, and the loving memories last a lifetime.
You have two daughters -- any advice for dads with young girls in today's world?
Teach your children well. We live in a global environment where a picture can travel around the school, or the world, in seconds. I'm a big believer in the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
How do you balance your family time with work?
My family is my "why" for everything. I balance work by keeping in mind that everything I do is to provide for them. Though I might be away for days on end, I stay close. I Skype in for dinner, I Skype in for breakfast and I always keep my eye out for fun things to bring home -- not just for the kids, but for [my wife] Erin as well!
Working on a show such as "90210" for so many years, do you think it helped shape the father you are today? I know your girls are still young, but do you think some of the issues you dealt with on the show will help you be a better parent to them as they grow up?
I'm not sure I learned much from Steve Sanders regarding child rearing, but there was an afterschool special I did in 1989 that may have taught me a thing or two. "Flour Babies" was a CBS School Break Special. It was the story of a high school class tasked with having to care for a sack of flour as if it were a baby. I remember thinking that a real baby would be a lot of work... I was right!
What is your favorite thing to do as a family during downtime?
We enjoy challenging Mia's imagination. I landscape a story and she populates it with characters. Together we weave a story out of it. We also sing silly songs and make shadow puppets. Erin likes doing arts and crafts and gardening.
What is your advice for dads?
Enjoy every moment, and don't get frustrated. Know that being a dad is a challenge, but chances are that lesser men have been successful, so you can do this. Let your wife know how much you love her at every turn. Count on "bumping heads" with her, but at the end of the day, hug it out. Remember that every relationship takes work, but she's the one you signed up to do the "work" with. Also, start an email address for your kids and start sending them notes and pictures ASAP!
What's up next for you?
I'm never sure what's next. As an actor I've learned every opening night comes with a closing curtain. I'm pretty sure I'll be working on "Sharknado" in January, and maybe another run with the Chippendales in the new year. In the meantime, I've been auditioning, taking tons of meetings, developing digital content for the web and putting together a baby line of products for every young life stage. Watch out Jessica Alba, Daddy knows best!