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Is Fatherhood the End of My Autograph Collecting Career?

Life changed at 8:14 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. My wife delivered our first child, a little boy named Nathan. That baby bump that grew to stretch a belly to its limit, those kicks and squirms my hand hovered over each evening—it was now a perfect package in my arms.

I’m a dad.

Matt Raymond and his newborn son, Nathan

Matt Raymond and his newborn son

I already know I’ll be a better father than any previous calling: writer, marketer, grapher. I’ve always known.

So, what does this mean for my autograph collecting career? What does this mean for Autograph University? Each hour I spend outside a hotel, each hour I spend tracking celebs on Twitter, each hour in front of this laptop is an hour away from him.

It’s going to take some time to find a new rhythm—in every aspect of my life. Making breakfast will be different. Taking a shower. Commuting to work will be a new experience. Ordering a pizza. Graphing. Blogging. I don’t know what will happen, but here is what I think:

My in-person graphing will come to a complete stop. Well, let’s call it paused for the time being. At some point when we’ve found our rhythm as a family I’ll start checking out signings that are predictable and fit into our schedule (e.g., retail promotions). Will I ever stake out a hotel again? Perhaps if it’s someone I really care about and the timing is right. I can’t say for sure. I anticipate that my role in the hobby will be less an active participant and more an analyst and observer. I still have a lot to learn and much to share with you.

The doors of Autograph University remain wide open. Will my posting slow for the next few months? It’s likely, but the number of ideas I have churning in my head for this site has never been greater. I am still here to answer your questions and help you improve your autograph collection and meet celebrities. It’s still a priority. I love this stuff. Apologies for any delays responding to you and for pushing back the giveaway I teased in the newsletter this week.

Thanks for continuing to support me and Autograph University. The future is brilliant.

Are you an autograph collector who is also a parent? How did your collecting habits change when your child was born?

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

10 comments… add one

  • Lance June 29, 2012, 10:28 pm

    Congratulations on your newborn baby boy. My wife is due in early December-its our first child. I get the sense that my graphing hobby will be curtailed as well. And that is ok with me.

    I totally identify with your post. Again, best wishes and have a great summer.
    Lance

  • Matt Raymond June 29, 2012, 10:34 pm

    Thanks Lance :) Best wishes to you and your wife as well. Exciting times.

  • Paula June 30, 2012, 11:41 am

    Congratulations Matt! Being a parent is the BEST JOB! You will find time to graph…I’m still working on it and my daughter is going to be 3 in November. I miss a lot and am grateful when I do get a graph and double grateful when I get to take my daughter with me! Enjoy the time with your son! Good luck!!!! I hope to you around. 😉

  • Matt Raymond June 30, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Thank you so much Paula, I appreciate your insight. See you out there.

  • Canadagraphs July 2, 2012, 5:31 am

    First off, congratulations Matt.

    Second, never been a dad myself. But almost every long time friend I have in the graphing community is. All of them still come out now but 1. Of course, they all come out less often, the big road trips we all used to do together have all but ended, but they still come out from time to time.

    They have all had to sacrifice going for that athlete/musician etc that they realllly always wanted for a family situation on more than one occasion, but, they have also still managed some outings as well. In fact, I think for a couple of them, its the “escape from reality” thing that parents eventually need. As amazing as kids are, they also mentally drain parents from what I see.

    As their kids have gotten older, their schedules have also gone thru cycles of busier and less busy as certain changes in the rhythm of their children growing up changes. I’m sure you’ll find that too & will eventually realize “I actually have a few extra hours to myself a couple times a week now” & want to find a way to use it.

    As for the site… you dont owe anyone but your family your time. If you never blog again, then everyone who came here should just be thankful for the input & efforts you put in. If you do blog again, then great.

    Once again, congratulations, and good luck.

  • Matt Raymond July 3, 2012, 1:53 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your observations. You offer a new perspective to this Comments section on the impact of parenthood and collecting that I hadn’t considered (from the perspective of a friend to a new parent). I also really appreciate the kind words about the site.

  • Dustin July 2, 2012, 8:43 am

    Matt-

    Family comes first before anything. Your participation in this hobby will be slowed down a bit in the beginning, but that is 100% ok.

    Congrats on the beautiful baby and we will look forward to your knowledgeable posts/stories about future autographs

  • Matt Raymond July 3, 2012, 1:55 am

    Thanks Dustin, I appreciate your support!

  • Doug July 10, 2012, 3:58 am

    First, as a collector who recently celebrated my daughter’s 2nd birthday, I want to welcome you to the best club in the world!

    Good news, bad news…bad news first…yeah, your IP will totally curtail and for good reasons because lil’ Nathan will call for most of your attention. Good news…it isn’t forever and with your focus on sports, having a boy is the gateway back into it. Although YOUR personal collecting may slow down, it just means that Nathan will require his own corner display case and shelf space. He is going to see your stuff and photos with athletes and he will want his own. When the Bruins training facility allowed graph collecting, if it wasn’t filled with kids, it was filled with dads and their kids. You’ve had a killer run and it may slow down but it is far from dead!

    What I did was jsut get focused back on TTM collecting. I recently bought a Fenway scoreboard photo signed by 4 past players and I’m almost done getting the living memebrs of the 1948 Red Sox and I’ll be doing that until the photo is full. I’m running about 60% on my TTM and can’t wait until she’s old enough to take out to events.

    Also, now it’s time to create a great collection for him! I have a few items signed by Carroll “Big Bird” Spinney, Paul “Frosty/Mad Magazine” Coker, Jr., her onsie signed by 5 members of the 2010-2011 Bruins and I’m working on getting items signed by voice artists from the latest Pooh movie. Now that she’s getting into toons, I’ve changed some of my TTM and convention focus to getting stuff for her. It may create enough of something that turns her into a 2nd generation collector!

    Again, congrats on your little one! It may curtail some of your collecting but it just offers the ability to refocus and diversify your energy. Soon enough, we’ll be seeing you post photos with toddler Nate holding his first signed baseball!

    Doug

  • Matt Raymond July 11, 2012, 7:15 pm

    Doug, thank you so much for your wise words. Your suggestions are excellent and will help me as I refocus my efforts. It’s great to hear about how you’ve been able to share the hobby with your daughter. I really appreciate the comments.

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