Politics

Ryan on Fatherhood: It's Hard When Kids Ask if He'll Be Home

Speaker talks to People magazine on condition of no Trump questions

Rep. Paul D. Ryan's family is recognized before his swearing-in as speaker on the House floor in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is getting the celebrity treatment with a feature on fatherhood this week in People magazine.   

In an interview with People  — set under the condition that the magazine not ask the speaker about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — Ryan talked about the time he spends at home in Janesville, Wisconsin, with his wife, Janna, and their three kids, Liza, Charlie and Sam, ages 14, 13 and 11.   

"I miss things during the week, so the hardest question they ask is ‘Are you going to be home?’ when I know that I’m not," Ryan told People. "That’s the hardest one."  

Ryan, however, does spend every weekend at home, much of which involves attending his kids' sporting events like volleyball, basketball and track. He admits that he's not a hands-off father when it comes to sports.   

"They get nervous when I focus on their athletics. It pushes them, but they also get a little nervous," Ryan said. "I’m not one of those yell-from-the-stands type of dads, but we’ll always talk after the game. Like a talking-to."  

[ It's All in the Family for Ryan on Speaker Day ]  

Ryan is also fairly hands-on when it comes to his children's diet. Those sour worms they like? He finds them disgusting.   

“I’m probably pretty overbearing about that," he said. "I’m not a sugar guy and my general rule for diet at home is, ‘If it wasn’t a food 100 years ago, we don’t buy it or eat it.'”  

While Ryan may favor the paleo diet, he doesn't cook like a caveman. He uses his remote-controlled pellet meat smoker on Sundays to prepare weekly meals for his family.  

Politics is not a frequent topic of discussion in the Ryan household. And the Ryan children aren't pushing their dad to to run for president so they can invite friends to stay over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.   

"They thought 2012 was pretty exciting," Ryan said. "But the sleepovers they care about are the ones in Janesville, Wisconsin."

Contact McPherson at  lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter  @lindsemcpherson .

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