Father's Day: Advice and Lessons

We all know Mom's have a special place in their children's hearts. But Dad's do too. It's just a little different. They have their Dad jokes, Dad lessons, and even Dad style. So to the Dad's out there making it happen, today is for you, and I hope you all have your ideal day. Happy Father's Day.

When my Dad was my age (27) he had three young boys running around my Mom while he worked 72 hours a week at a car dealership. The sacrifices he and my Mom made for our family sits close to the front of my mind at all times. I'm grateful for the wonderful childhood they provided me. And I'm grateful for my close relationship I still have with my Dad.

Kids aren't on the table for Sydney and me right now. But I have a few close friends who've started down the path of Fatherhood. These men are some of my closest and longest friends, and I hoped they would share some of their experiences as Fathers. They over delivered and I'm happy to share their lessons and advice below.

Do you feel like a different person now that you're a Dad? If so, can you describe it?

RM: When I became a Dad, I realized that my son would look to me as an example of a man, and in return I strive each day to be a better husband, father, son and friend. Emotionally, loving a child is a completely different feeling, it has allowed me to explore new emotions.

JL: To be honest not really, I’ve always known I wanted to be a dad at some point. The biggest change that’s had to be made is just sacrificing some of the stuff you were able to do before having a kid.

What skill/trait do you want to pass on to your children?

RM: This is one that I have been pondering myself lately. I do activities here and there, but don't have one skill or hobby that I have perfected. My goal is to share the things I enjoy with my son, and part of that is creating traditions we can enjoy together. My hope is that through whatever it is I share with my son, I can teach him to be a good man.

JL: If I could teach him anything it would be resiliency. I have alway admired that quality in people and feel like it would take him a long way in life whether it’s in a professional setting or at home.  

What's harder than you thought it would be?

RM: Work/Life Balance. As a provider, I struggle with the time I spend away from my son. I am always itching to play with him, especially now since he is at such a fun age, but I have work to do, bills to pay and two people to support. (Three if you count the dog!) Any time I miss out on bedtime, a fun day or a sweet moment, being away is much harder than I thought it would be.

JL: Two things, dealing with the sleep deprivation, you  hear all the “Enjoy sleep now while you can.” It doesn’t really seem that big of a deal until you haven’t slept all through a night since you brought him home. 

Secondly, actually spending quality time with my wife. You spend so much time focused around the kid that things kind of speed up on you and the next thing you know the days over. It’s tougher than you think to actually sit down and connect. 

What's easier than you thought it would be?

RM: I almost hate to say this, mainly because I am scared it may come back and bite me with kid number 2, but sleeping *knocks on wood*. From the beginning Tres has been very predictable and on a great schedule. I always envisioned days on end of grogginess and being in zombie mood, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how rested we all are.

JL: Changing diapers, before I had a kid I would cringe at the thought of changing a full diaper. Now, I feel like I’m a diaper changing machine. 

What concerns do you have as a Dad?

RM: I want my boy to be safe. Not just from physical harm, falls or scrapes; but I also worry about him being bullied - or worse being a bully. I hope that he grows up in a community where he is accepted and is accepting of others. It has even become even more relevant with the current social setting and is something I pray about every day. Additionally, a lot of the experiences I had growing up that taught me some of life's best lessons are under scrutiny as of recent. As the world changes, I hope he gets some of the same experiences in his youth that I had, which I feel shaped me into who I am today. High school football, fraternity activities, etc.

Jesse: Well, there’s always going to be a genuine concern for his general well being. The main concern I have is that I want to make sure we raise a good man, that’s something I’ve found myself thinking about a lot. 

What's the piece of advice you've used the most since becoming a Dad?

RM: What works for one kid may not work for the next. Your kid and your neighbor's kid aren't going to be the same, and what works for kid #1 probably won't work for kid #2. Focus on what you can do day to day to support your kid and meet their needs.

JL: SUPPORT MOM. Early on, she’s not only recovering physically but emotionally. So, just being there to make things easier and supporting her as best you can. Once the dust settles, just continue to try and take as much off her plate as you can. 

What's the lesson that's stuck with you the most since becoming a Dad?

RM: Wubbanubs, a baby shusher and a velcro swaddle. I promise these will save your life from day one. #notsponsored

JL: Just roll with it, being flexible and understanding that no matter what you think you are not completely prepared and that’s okay. If you think about it all of our parents, at one point, had no idea what they were doing. 

Since becoming a Dad, have you had a, "Woah, I sound like my Dad" moment?

RM: I haven't had any of those yet, but I am sure they're not far down the road.

JL: Well, my dad has a ton of weird sayings that have made their way into my daily dialogue but I do catch myself every now and then. Mainly, when I’m talking to someone from my family, I’ll notice my dialogue is very similar to his when he would be on the phone with his siblings or parents. 

Did you read any books before the baby (babies)? Did they help?

RM: My wife bought three, and to be honest I only made it through three chapters of one, a week before the due date. What has really helped has been The Wonder Weeks app. It tells you what is happening to your kid's brain week to week and is especially helpful when they are unable to communicate.

I mostly stuck with the notion of "it will just come naturally," and it has. The biggest learning advice I have is to take the classes offered by the hospital before birth, especially Infant CPR...we have had to use the Heimlich way more than we would have liked - Tres doesn't like to chew food apparently.

JL: I did, I don’t remember the title but my wife got it for me about half way through the pregnancy. There was a funny moment reading it, it had a series of checklist of things you needed to have done according to where in the pregnancy you were. I got to one of the checkpoints and it said “If you don’t have this done, you need to hurry up.” We had none of it done. 

It did help me understand what I needed to do and how to be there for my wife. 

Can you describe your Dad fashion style?

RM: Nike Air Monarchs and Old Navy Flag Tee all day! Just kidding, my style has stayed pretty in line with the traditional wardrobe I have worn in the past. Polos, shorts, jeans, boots, etc. Nothing too "dad" yet.

JL: It’s a mixture of quarantine and dad attire. I’ve been in a T-shirt and chubbies shorts majority of the days. If I’m feeling fancy I’ll throw on some khaki shorts, Greg Norman shirt and some 247s. 

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