Most people know Ian Ziering as the fun-loving Steve Sanders from Beverly Hills, 90210—or more recently from the campy Syfy movie Sharknado. But did you know that he’s also dad to two girls and was recently awarded “Daddy of the Year” by DaddyScrubs?
On his Twitter page, you’ll see he describes himself as “A proud father and husband. Everything else is icing on my cake.” Clearly, the man takes fatherhood seriously. Here, Ziering talks to P&N about the joys and challenges of being a dad:
Congrats are in order! First, for the birth of your second daughter back in April. We heard that she was born on the same day as your first daughter. Was that actually planned?
Thank you! No, that wasn’t planned. Mia was born a week late and Penna was born a week early. And they were both induced! But they weren’t induced for the reason of having birthdays on the same day. So, we got two girls born on the same day! I think it’s very special.
Second, you were just awarded “Daddy of the Year” from DaddyScrubs today!
Oh man, I’m so proud. You know, I really have to tip my hat to my own father who instilled in me all the skills that I use take care of my own kids.
How do you feel about being the face of DaddyScrubs?
I am very proud to be associated with a brand that has such a positive impact on so many people, especially dads. The role of the father in recent years has become a little bit foggy, you know? With the economy being challenging to so many, roles have become blurred. Fathers are doing moms’ work and moms are sometimes doing dads’ work. Irrespective of who’s doing the work, what I think is really important is that the work gets done. And I think I’m going to use this DaddyScrubs platform to help raise awareness as to the things that really need to be done. That’s spending quality time—for instance—at the dinner tables, reading to your kids, being as proactive in their development as possible. And I’m just flattered and honored and thankful to be a part of this whole brand. I just feel it’s a huge pat on my back and again, I have to pay it forward to my dad.
You sound so passionate about being a dad. How has being a father changed you?
It’s the best role I’ve ever played! It has made me … selfless. Where I may have been a tad selfish as a single person, now being a husband and a father, everything I do, my family is my “why.” Why am I doing anything? Because of my family. And it’s so rewarding when I’m able to, not just provide, but to help maintain a level of lifestyle for them, to give them everything I could possibly give them, to give my kids a good start in life. I really am a dad, and I take it very seriously. Regardless of whatever celebrity that I’ve earned, I put my pants on just like the next guy. I get up in the morning, and I make breakfast for my daughters. At the end of the night, I read to them and put them to bed. Sometimes I forget, that yes, I’m an actor, but I do that for a living. I don’t live to work; I work to live. And my life is with my family, so they are first and foremost what’s most important to me.
What do you love most about being a dad? What is the most challenging?
I love seeing the cognitive development in my kids. I love when they are first able to roll over by themselves. These little milestone moments are just so exciting! To see your baby roll over on her own for the first time and then to see her sit up by herself is just so astonishing. Then they start to walk a little bit. Then they say words, and their words come together. Seeing their cognitive development is just so incredible. Another thing I really didn’t expect was that I’ve become a teacher. You know, it’s amazing! There was a period a few months back where my oldest daughter was all “Mine, mine, mine!” like, everything was, “Mine mine mine! My toys!” And I had a chance to help her learn the concept of what it is to be selfish. When you say, “mine,” that’s selfish. And now I’m teaching her “yours.” Sort of like, “Well, this is for you,” that that’s considerate. And once she understands those things, I’m going to teach her “ours.” I never thought of putting those sentences together in my life, but your kids lead you—and it’s such an unbelievably beautiful path. It’s bumpy at times, and it’s paved very smoothly at others.
Any advice for current dads or dads-to-be?
As a father, and not a first father, I’ve got a lot to learn from other dads who have done this before me—my own father, who pretty much showed me the way, from my friends and my brothers. So for the new dads that are out there, understand that it’s going to be challenging at times. It’s going to be frustrating. It’s going to test your patience. But when you find yourself stretched to the limit, take a deep breath, and understand that this is really par for the course. And that will give you poise to stretch a little further, to temper your judgement a little more, to relax and help you get over whatever stress there is.