Gerald Olson – Los Angeles, CA

Introducing our Lead Dad of the Week, Gerald Olson!

Gerald is a storyteller, who has worked in television and at creative agencies. He is the father of a 3.5 year old son who he adopted through California’s Safely Surrendered Baby program. As Gerald recounts it, he got a call on Thursday night and was a father on Friday morning – with a big film shoot starting that Monday.

“That was the beginning of the conversation of, I need to figure out a new way to work,” he said. “I realized as a parent that you need to protect your brain. So I had to rent my brain out to people who were paying me enough or people who I wanted to be in my brain.”

Headspace is certainly something Lead Dads struggle with. And it’s something Gerald is candid about figuring out. “The head of the household needs a massive organizational brain,” he said. “I was not that guy. I was only responsible for myself. I thought parenthood was going to be like I get to be maternal and I do. But it’s become much more about building a life.”

He and Astor enjoy nature together and are often out and about in the hills around where they live in Los Angeles. But for someone who was not a parent for the first 50 years of his life, there has been a lot to get used to.

The pandemic was tough, but he had a group of neighbors who would leave things for Astor – and him. Other friendships have shifted. The hardest part has been when he’s had to travel for work. The two are so close that he has to find more than just a friend or sitter to watch his son.

“I used to need an extra set of hands when he was younger,” he said. “Now I need an extra heart. I don’t want to leave him with just capable hands. I need to leave him with someone who has him in their heart. I’m working hard to foster those relationships.”

One thing that has helped to calm down is meditation. Gerald created a mantra for Astor, which he now recites to himself. You can read it here.