What it means to be a dad has changed drastically in the last several decades. From the less involved stoic father of the 1950s to the diaper bag-toting, baby-wearing dad of the new millennium, fathers today spend triple the amount of time with their kids than fathers in 1965—and they are loving it!
Patient, loving, fun, and kind; great dads today embody all of these traits and so many more. This month, we celebrate all the amazing superdads who, with unconditional love and support, navigate the wonderful and life-changing world of fatherhood.
We interviewed three of our favorite fathers to see what being a modern-day dad means to them!
How did you find your rhythm as a new dad?
“It took me months to feel I had a handle on things. Some days I still feel like I don't, but those days are few and far between. I think it’s a matter of putting your head down and taking step after step, moving forward and trusting that you'll get to the other side, even if you can't see the light just yet. The lack of sleep, the pressures of running a business, and the abundance of those "omg-why-is-he-crying" moments can really take a toll in the first few months. It helped to see his mom. SuperMama. What a hero. Men are supposed to be the strong ones, but really, seeing her strength and how she shows up for him, even when she also doesn't know what to do and has had even less sleep than I have, is really inspiring.”
What is your favorite way to bond with your son?
“Dancing! Sometimes it's actually the only way to have him be happy and entertained, and he just loves it. So I love it too.”
How has having a child changed you for the better?
“It's making me watch my mood and daily decisions closer. I had heard that having a kid made you reconsider things, but had no idea it would come down to such tiny details. If I'm not in the best mood, I know he'll sense it and will be affected by that, so it helps me focus on really showing up as the best version of myself that I can offer. Want to eat some ice cream? He wants some too! So it's really time to walk the talk...it won't be possible to "teach" him anything if I'm not practicing it myself. It makes me be better!”
What would you say your parenting philosophy is?
“Survive. Just kidding (sort of)! I don’t know that I have an underlying philosophy at this point, but at least a few times a day, every single day, I find myself coming back to this key question: how can I give? And the answer is almost always: give your time, give your attention. That’s all kids really want. I look at my daughters and no matter how chaotic or overwhelming the situation, I can almost always get right on their level by shifting my thinking this way. I teach them to do it too. If you’re bored? Give. Can’t get along? Give. It’s kind of a family philosophy, I guess.”
How do you balance being a dad, being a husband, and working?
“I work at night so the majority of each day, I’m a full-time Dad. Then, I shift into work mode for the evening—that’s usually when I “tag” my wife in and she spends quality time with the kids while I work. It’s not ideal nor perfectly balanced, and it often means that we’re both single-handedly parenting three kids while the other works. But, we’ve found a flow that works for us (for now.) And being a husband? It’s peppered into the day through 5-minute hysterical vignettes of something the kids did or the occasional family walk we sneak in at lunch time. The great part about this phase of life is that it’s constantly changing, and I’m so happy I get to watch my girls grow.”
What is the best advice you would give someone who just became a new dad?
“There’s not a perfect parent out there. Just do your best and love your child with all you have.”
What do you think is the secret to raising great kids?
“Allowing them the freedom to be a kid by letting them play and explore their interests, creativity, and imagination. Present them with various opportunities and offer them support and encouragement.”
How do you foster close relationships with your children?
“By treating them as people who have feelings, dreams, and opinions. I also feel it is very important to get down on the floor (literally) and have some good old fashioned playtime. Children are very present and it helps for us to be as well. They are wonderful teachers.”
What do you enjoy most about being a dad?
“Being a father is the most rewarding and sometimes most challenging opportunity we experience. For me, my children are my most precious priority in which I learn to love, laugh, and be myself. I value fatherhood as my most celebrated accomplishment. I get to be challenged, have some great laughs, and give and receive an overflowing amount of love. Being a father to my children truly is magical! I most enjoy seeing my kids prosper and blossom when they truly love doing whatever they are into at the moment. I love spending time with my children and learning from them. I aspire to be more like them with their playful manner and excitement of discovery.”
Great dads, you inspire us! Parenting with humor, grace, and joy has an overwhelmingly positive impact on kids’ lives now and as they mature into adults. This Father’s Day, join us in celebrating and appreciating all of the amazing men who do their best each day and go to such great lengths to define what it means to be “Dad.”
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of three little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.