Title: Agent and owner of The Kneisly Team State Farm
Lives: Owings Mills
Family: Rachael (wife), Serafina (16), Claire (11) and Richard (2)
What’s the hardest part about juggling both parenthood and your career?
Figuring out how to prioritize the responsibilities of being an entrepreneur and a father and be awesome at both is by far the most challenging. My office, home, kids’ schools and essentially my whole life runs from one end of Reisterstown Road to the other, but my wife’s day is even more unpredictable.
My wife works as a federal law enforcement officer, and one day she could be in Washington, D.C., another in Baltimore, another in Virginia, home at 4 or home after 9, or just having to be available in general due to her demanding role. That means the bulk of the day-to-day drop-offs, pickups, doctor’s appointments, forgotten lunches or calls to be picked up from the bus stop because it’s raining come to me.
As a dad, I love it because my family is number one. My dad died somewhat unexpectedly, and I never got to meet my grandad either, so I know how fragile life is and want the people who will remember me to have as many memories as possible.
What makes trying to balance both easier?
Having a great team makes all the difference. My wife is definitely the general manager of our family, and I’m probably the head coach. She’s a master delegator and strategic thinker. If I’m stuck on something, she can quickly find a way to unravel it on a Saturday morning over coffee planning out our weekend. She knows when to jump in and help the rest of the team to get everyone back on the same page if I’ve gotten repetitive.
We also have a great team of support coaches from my sister and brother, grandmothers who watch the kids so we can get a break and the wonderful ladies at K&M Daycare. Then, of course, we have the vibrant business community bolstered by the local chambers. Being a part of the Greater Baltimore Chamber has given me access to so many other peers in my same situation, and that makes a difference.
What do you love about being a parent?
All of it! I love spending time with Sera. She can be goofy, and we can laugh about something nonsensical on the way to her first job over the summer, and then it’s picking her up and taking her to volleyball practice to watch her grow as an athlete. It’s seeing Claire gain more and more confidence through music and theater and having her tell me every intricate detail of the “My Little Pony” and “Steven Universe” worlds while I’m trying to respond to an email. Taking Rick to the park for a bike ride or to play ball or climb all over me while we watch “Cocomelon.”
Everyone “gets” the big moments. To me, it’s the day-to-day moments that you miss.
What’s your biggest parenting fail?
Not discipling enough. I’m definitely the “Kneis” guy. I think it’s clear to see I’m a sucker for my kids. Sera is the oldest, and I remember how much my parents gave me as a teenager, so I want to give her that and more. Claire could reason like an adult at 5 years old, and I tend to bend fairly easily for her. Then you have the youngest and the only boy, Rick. I’ve promised myself he won’t get over on me nearly as much as the girls, but it’s not looking good.
How has your family been handling the pandemic?
We’ve been relatively unscathed healthwise. I think for the girls it was particularly challenging. Sera is a junior in high school and missed an entire year of sports and has yet to see a real homecoming weekend. Claire benefited a little from having a more flexible schedule, but she loves interacting with people, so missing out on social interaction was tough. Rick only recently had his first family dinner at a restaurant.
What do you hope your children learn from you and your career?
Insurance is not just a bill you have because the state or the mortgage or someone else said you have to have it and you should get the lowest amount for the least amount of money. Like anything else, find someone you know, like and trust and do your own research. Have as much liability and life insurance as they can afford because one will grow our legacy and the other will make sure it won’t get taken from them.
Family Meal: Homemade pizza
Family Dessert: Ice cream
Book to Read Together: One book we read to each of them is “If I Could Keep You Little.”
Way to Spend a Weekend With Your Children: Hanging around the house with nothing but chores on our agenda, then my wife and I decide to come up with a random adventure to take everyone on.
Family Vacation Spot: We love a good quiet week away at the beach in Corolla, North Carolina
(the Outer Banks).