You might know Ian Ziering from his "Beverly Hills, 90210" days as half of the Steve Sanders-Kelly Taylor coupling, or you might know him as the character Fin Shepard (pun-intended) from the TV phenomenon "Sharknado," the fourth incarnation of which debuts on Syfy July 31.
You might not know him, however, as a doting dad of two and a (gasp!) former nighttime bed wetter. The actor revealed his struggle with the common issue as a way to make it easier on his 3-year-old daughter Penna, who's going through the same thing. (Ziering has since teamed up with GoodNites bedtime pants to let parents know how they can make their kids' lives easier without the embarrassment.)
In addition to talking about his girls (he also has 5-year-old daughter Mia), he talked to mom.me about his experience in Hollywood, how parenting has changed for dads and why he started a blog with his wife, Erin: At Home With the Zierings.
How does it feel to have had such a lasting presence in Hollywood?
I guess I’m just lucky. I take it all with a grain of salt. I’ve always considered myself a journeyman actor. I’ve never sought celebrity or fame. I’ve just been very lucky to be a part of projects that have reached some amazing heights, whether it be "90210," which was a global phenomenon, to "Sharknado," which also is equally as phenomenal. I feel like there’s still a lot of meat left on the bone for me, and there’s a long road in front of me, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.
How do you balance your work with having two kids?
Being a dad is the most important role I’ve ever had. Fame is really just a byproduct of being lucky enough to work in the entertainment industry.
My daughter Mia, she’s so proud of me. She’ll tell people, “My daddy’s an actor. He’s in ‘Sharknado.’” While I’m very happy that she’s so proud of me, I don’t want her comments to be viewed as bragging or boastful. This is one of the challenges that are very particular to my experience.
One of the other challenges that we’re having right now is with my 3-year-old, Penna, who’s doing a little bed-wetting—something that I can relate to, something that most of us can relate to. My experience was completely different to Penna’s and Mia’s when she was wetting, but when I was a kid, there were no overnight diapers. I would be 4 or 5—I was out of diapers anyway. If I wet the bed, I would panic. I didn’t want my parents to know what I had done, so I would try to change the sheets in the middle of the night. And God forbid my brothers found out about it. They would bust my chops to no end. I’d wake up ashamed or embarrassed, and I’d go to sleep worried that the next night, it would happen again. And I didn’t want that experience to be the same for Penna.
You’re a very involved parent and have even partnered on a blog with your wife, Erin. How do you talk about bed-wetting with your daughter without embarrassing her? What would you want other parents to know?
Other parents have to know that it’s completely natural. This is something that’s developmental. And eventually it will work itself out. If it doesn’t, obviously see a physician because it could be indicative of a larger problem, but for the most part, it’s going to be OK.
For Erin and I, whatever it is, and this particular situation I relate my experiences with my kids, and they laugh at me, so I’m still paying the price from days gone by, but it helps them understand that this is normal. So just creating an environment that empowers them to be secure and independent, and creating a nurturing environment where we can let them know that it’s not just them.
How do you think parenting for dads has changed since you were a kid?
My father worked three jobs growing up, and my mom was a stay-at-home housewife. So now, with our economy the way it is, it’s quite common to have both parents out working to provide for the family. I don’t have a traditional job. I’m home quite a bit, but when I’m working, I’m out of the house, on location somewhere. But what’s important for me is to be as proactive and present during the time that I am home. And when I’m not, I use technology to check in. I use videoconferencing on our cell phones to hear what’s exciting in their lives and to share what’s exciting in mine.
What are your summer plans with your family?
We’ve got some local travel coming up. We’re going to go camping. With the camping, we’re definitely going to bring some GoodNites pants for Penna, so she doesn’t have to worry about it along the way. We’re pretty much going to stay close to home. The kids are involved in local summer camps, so they’re really busy and enjoying their summer.
Images via Instagram/ianziering