Happy Fathers Day to all the great dads in my life! You are the people who make me excited about the direction that the next generations are heading.
I interviewed both moms and dads about some of the joys of parenthood for this short two-parter. Head over here to read the interviews that I did with mothers in Part 1. Today’s post is going to focus on the answers from a few dads that I know. I think that a lot of times, we hear mostly from the motherhood perspective–or articles are directed more towards mothers about the issues facing parenting but I wanted to make sure that some of the cool dads in my life got to have their stories heard as well.
Let’s get into it!
What’s your first name and what ages are your kids?
Zach: 8, 6, 5
Jason: 3, 2
Mike: 2, 6 months
When was one of the first times you really felt like a parent?
This is such a tough answer to pinpoint. I think one of the first times I felt like a parent was right after our first child was born. I remember right after he was born – still being in the hospital, and I remember having all of these new kinds of emotions that I didn’t really know how to gauge/control. I was convinced that every nurse was torturing my newborn son every time they checked on him. I remember looking at this tiny little life, and realizing that his survival was dependent on me. –Zach
When I caught Emmy when she was born. –Jason
It happened almost instantly for me. My son was born in Lyons in the middle of Winter, and on the drive home with him I couldn’t relax. I kept worrying about road conditions and was constantly checking on him in my rear-view mirror. I couldn’t believe how much everything had changed so suddenly. –Mike
What is it that makes you a good parent?
Perhaps it is my fear that I’m NOT a good parent, that makes me a good parent. (Did you follow that?) – When my kids have a bad morning before I take them to school, I worry that me snapping at them in frustration is going to cause them years of therapy later in life. In all honestly, we all have these kinds of mornings (our family has lots) – and I’m probably not emotionally scarring my children. And so maybe it’s my sensitivity to this that makes me a good parent. I’m afraid that I am completely sucking at this parenting thing, and that might actually make me a good parent. A crappy parent wouldn’t care, right?
I tell my kids (daily) that I love them. I do my best to be fully present when I’m with them I do my best to help them start their day with positive thoughts and feelings (every morning as they walk into school, I tell them, “Remember, your name is ____ and you can do this.”) Every night at bed, we talk about the day. I ask them each: “What’s the best thing that happened today?” and “Are there any mistakes you made today?” (and I answer these questions too) – we pray together, and I kiss them goodnight. –Zach
I’m pretty patient with the girls. –Jason
For me, it all starts with being on a good team. My wife and I share the same values and goals for our family. I also have great parents, who also happen to be amazing grandparents, our family has proven to be a dedicated support system for us. That said, I’ve wanted to do this my whole life and I’m excited to be a father. I enjoy it. I’m often the dad at the party that’s off talking with the kids, watching them play, while the other parents hangout. My son is old enough to understand that he’s my number one priority all of the time. My kids will never sit around in a dirty diaper, because I’m tired of changing them, or get into a dangerous situation because they’re being ignored. I strive to always be mindful of their safety and well being. I love them so much. –Mike
What’s one thing you hope your kids remember about you when they’re adults?
I want them to remember that I was around and invested in their lives. That I love them deeply, and that there’s nothing they could ever do that would make me love them less – and that it’s my faith in Jesus that grounds me in these things. –Zach
I hope they remember how much I loved them. –Jason
This is hard to answer because my son has just reached the age where he’s forming “memories”. Hopefully, they remember we’ve always been best buddies and I was there for them whenever I could be.
I also hope they remember that I love their mother, and we always treated each other with respect. –Mike
What do you really like about your kids?
I love my son’s creativity. He’s always drawing pictures and making up “what if” scenarios. I love how he is completely enthralled with whatever his latest obsession is. He turned his own room into the “Bat-Cave” using masking tape and construction paper. And most recently he’s been wandering around our house with a stick, waving it at things and yelling “Wingardium Leviosa” Our middle daughter is passionate and fiery and determined. Strong-willed doesn’t even begin to describe her. Our prayer is that while this personality trait can be extremely frustrating when you’re working with a 6-year-old, it can also be a huge blessing and serve her well in the future. I like that in addition to this, she is soft and tender. She is a collector of trinkets, and could perhaps end up on a episode of “Hoarders” in the future. I love her dearly, and wouldn’t change a thing. Our youngest daughter might be one of the funniest people I know. I like that she is happiest when “snuggling” – She has entire conversations with me where I only really understand a fraction of what she’s saying. She has no concept of time – she will talk of an event that happened months ago, and use the word “yesterday”. She also confuses hot and cold, “Daddy, last night I was cold, so I took off my blanket.” –Zach
I love their creativity and independence. –Jason
There are so many things! I love the way Rooster gets all serious when we’re discussing things that make loud noises. …he laughs his ass off when he watches The Three Little Pigs and thinks the Big Bad Wolf is so cool. …he sings songs when he’s in his room by himself. …he has a special bounce in his walk when he’s in a really good mood. …he is obsessed with my record collection and stereo, and has a collection of his own that he’s very proud of. …he has a baby doll named Ako that he gives me updates on and pretends to nurse him. …he always wants to help me in the kitchen, doing the dishes or cooking. …he always calls me Mike, never dad or daddy.
After a long day at work, I love the way Wren bounces up and down when she sees me. I love how she looks just like her momma when she’s asleep. …she scrunches up her nose when she smiles or laughs. …she sings along to the radio with sweet little shrieks. …her eyes. ….just everything. –Mike
Thanks to all the dads who let me ask them these difficult to answer questions. And thanks, to you, for reading!
If you have kids, pick a question and answer it in the comments! I loved reading all these responses. If you don’t have kids, ask someone who does. It’s such an exciting thing to learn about your friends.
PS: Shortly after I concluded all of these parenting interviews, my sister and her partner became parents to my newest nephew! Welcome to the world, Leo Charles Marshall! He was born on June 13 and he’s awesome and chill and I can’t wait to hold him in my arms. Leo also has a big brother, Owen, who is six years old.
I decided to ask Sarah and Michael my favorite question from this round up:
What’s one thing you hope your kids remember about you when they’re adults?
Michael says he wants his son to remember that he was consistently there for him since day one.
Sarah says, “I want my sons to remember that I always valued them as they are (warts and all) and never pushed them to be anyone they weren’t.”