The first year of parenthood hasn't been easy for Marcus Tankard and his wife Latisha Tankard. That's especially the case when you have moments like last week's episode of Thicker Than Water when patriarch Ben Tankard's joke erupted into an argument about whether or not Marcus and Tish are too overprotective of their 1-year-old baby Micah.
Luckily, it sounds like fatherhood has definitely had more ups than downs for Marcus, and he has learned a lot about himself and Tish along the way. Marcus talked all about what he's experienced in his first year of fatherhood, incuding whether or not he'll become a father again anytime soon, when The Daily Dish recently caught up with him via email.
What has been the most unexpected thing about fatherhood?
Marcus Tankard: Baby clothes. I never knew that babies grow so fast. It’s like you buy them one outfit today and they wear it for the weekend, but you might as well box it up 'cuz that’s the last time they’ll fit in it. Micah is growing so fast that there are clothes that we bought that he will never wear because he can’t fit [in] them anymore. When you have a child, you enter the race to see how many clothes your child can wear in the shortest period of time and how many pictures you can get to document that they actually wore it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming a father?
Time management. Time that you don’t manage is time that you lose. I’ve had to become way more meticulous with how I handle time in general. Compartmentalizing my day helps me to get the most of it. I used to be a night owl and then sleep in. Now I’m still a night owl, but I’m early to rise and then I try to sneak a nap in a couple times a week. I’m very intentional about time that I spend in prayer and writing my books. And I’m even more intentional about the alone time that me and Latisha have. I would never want a lack of time management to cause me to forfeit [any] fulfillment [in] my marriage, ministry, or other responsibilities. So it definitely is a lesson I am learning.
What’s been the greatest thing about becoming a dad?
Being a dad is great! If I had known that I would love it this much I might have done it sooner! It is hard work because I have to love and serve my wife differently. She has different needs now, many of which have to do with Micah. So diapers, Micah’s baby shows, his baths, and all the stuff that comes with a baby, coupled with our pre-existing responsibilities (ministry, travel schedule, businesses, etc.), it can quickly turn into chaos. But the greatest thing about becoming a dad is when I call Micah’s name and he gives me a big smile. That smile is payment enough for all the effort and energy exerted to make life great for my family.
Has living with your family during this time made things easier?
Anytime you are privileged to have a baby and it's coupled with the support of your family, it is a great thing! Living with my family has enabled my dad to bond with Micah and my wife in a way that I never imagined possible. Tish has the father she’s never had, and my Dad is able [to] bond with Micah the way he couldn’t with me when I was a baby. It’s kind of surreal watching all of this play out before me. Me and Latisha are one. We hardly ever have to ask Mom and Dad to watch Micah. We tend to take him everywhere with us anyway. It's always been important to me that I have my family with [me] while on the road. But knowing that the support is there if we need it is very comforting, and it definitely makes life easier.
Looking back, do you think you and Tish were overprotective of Micah at all?
Absolutely not. We are not overly protective parents. We are responsible parents, and I am a very hands-on dad. I think that when you are accustomed to taking care of your Juvenile grandchildren or picking up "Juvenile slack" (like my dad), and you have someone like Tish and I that require no aid or assistance, it can look like we are being overprotective or stingy. It’s not that at all. Anyone who has wanted to hold our baby or babysit has been allowed to, which is why it was such a shock to hear Shanira [Tankard] say what she said. No one has ever asked and was denied. At that point, Shanira had babysat Micah multiple times and had been a tremendous help to Latisha and I with Micah. So we couldn’t help but think there was another agenda being worked when we heard those things.
Looking back, I think that Benji [Tankard] took some jokes to heart. Micah being safer in a walker than with Benji was a joke, which is why Tish never remembered saying it. Things were said by me and Latisha that were hurtful to him, and we didn’t realize it. I do think that Benji is an adult and he doesn’t need his wife to speak for him. So if he felt hurt by anything that we said and if he felt that we were being overprotective and didn’t take him seriously, that was a conversation me and him should have had brother-to-brother, not his wife addressing me about it at a family dinner. We talk about everything else, so this should have been no different. I think this whole situation was a learning experience for us all, and we can learn and grow from it.
You and Tish are celebrating your anniversary this week. How has your relationship changed since becoming parents?
I think our relationship has evolved and it's brought us closer. We tried to conceive for almost a year. So once we finally got pregnant, it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Tish is my wife, but she is also the mother of my child. My love for her as my “baby mama” enhances the love I have for her as my lover. My marriage is great, and it's getting even better since Micah has come into our lives. It can be a balancing act between Micah, our new church plant, writing, a bow tie line, and a host of other things. But I’m more in love today than I was eight years ago when I laid eyes on her. I think the feeling is mutual.
Do you think you, Tish, and Micah will be ready to move into your own place soon? Why or why not?
It will take a whole lot more than drama from my siblings to get me to move out of my dad’s house. Most church planters don’t have the opportunity to stay with their parents in a mansion while they live their dream of starting a church. We are in a good place right now. So as long as my dad will allow us to stay, we will stay in place until we can get the church started.
Do you and Tish want to continue to grow your family in the future?
Absolutely! Latisha wants to be pregnant at least two more times. If it were left up to me, I’d love Micah and Tish the rest of my days and be the happiest man in the world. But I know Latisha wants more babies, and Micah needs in-home playmates. So I'm not sure how we are going to space them out just yet, but more children are coming!
Which Tankard Juvenile do you think is going to become a parent next?
I think Brooklyn [Tankard] talks a good game, but if the right man presents himself, she’d have another baby and wouldn’t think twice about it. She’s a good mom, and I think having more children would be great for her, just at the right time. Being a single parent is a huge responsibility, and I believe that the best circumstance is to have two emotionally and financially sound parents caring and sharing love with a child. So let's pray Brooklyn finds a good man, and see what happens!
Are there any updates on the church you want to set up in Nashville?
We are so excited about this new adventure! Currently, we are holding weekly bible studies in Nashville and are having great success. I think we will be ready to move to a Sunday morning before the end of the summer. We are looking forward to impacting the metro area with a message of love and destiny.
Will Marcus and Tish be able to resolve their issues with Benji and Shanira? Find out when an all-new episode of Thicker Than Water airs Sunday, May 1 at 9/8c.