Double Duty Daddy

The Modern Dad

DD Daddy October 12, 2015 Posts No Comments on The Modern Dad

Several societal factors have helped redefine gender roles and change what it means to be “mom” and “dad” in a household. Shattering societal norms that were established generations ago is what modern dads are doing today. This new type of dad can be found reasserting his persona at home where traditionally, has been dominated by the mom. Forget about the guy who comes home from work, pats his kids on the head and falls into a recliner while reaching for the TV remote. Today’s modern dad cooks, changes diapers, bathes children, takes them to school and goes to work. Modern dad understands it’s not the role of mom to be the main caretaker at home while he just provides financially for the family. It takes more.

On my recent trip to San Diego this past summer, I met up with my good friend Ricardo who drove down from LA to hang out with me for a night and catch a Padres game. Ricardo’s sister lives in San Diego with her husband JD and their 2.5 year old daughter Lucia. After some good conversation about baseball, beer and parenting, JD mentioned he was a stay-at-home dad (he went back to work since then) and I knew I’d want to pick his brain on that experience and more.

Without further ado, meet JD:

DD Daddy: Did you always have that paternal instinct in you or did you acquire it once you became a parent?

JD: I feel that I’ve always had a strong paternal instinct. Being the oldest in a large step family created a lot of responsibility at a young age. While that may sound burdensome to some, I took joy in being involved, albeit briefly, in the process of helping my siblings grow. I’ve always known I’ve wanted a family though.

DD Daddy: You used to be a stay-at-home dad for a period of time. What was your experience like and would you do it all over again if you could? If so, what were the great things about being a stay-at-home dad and what were the challenges?

JD: Staying home with Lucia was never a decision we made prior to deciding it was time to start a family. In fact, it’s something that having had the choice at the time, I would have instinctually said no. I had a lot of antiquated and immature ideas about the man being the “bread winner” and how the stereotypical gender roles were supposed to play out in an American family. Meanwhile, my wife’s career skyrocketed, mine stagnated and when it came down to the wire, it made the most sense economically for our family. Once the decision was made though, there was never a moment I doubted or regretted my role as the stay at home parent. The thing I loved about staying at home with Lucia, aside from being with her constantly, was teaching her about the world around her. The laughter that echoed through the house as we played peek-a-boo, watching her watch, with wonderment, the world around her as she slowly started to comprehend it.

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DD Daddy: What’s your daddy philosophy when it comes to raising your daughter?

JD: “Whatever works for you, do it.” That’s actually the best advice I got from one of the countless people trying to give unsolicited “new parent” advice. (I’ve done it too.) We spend so much time worrying about doing the right thing as a parent, that often times we overlook what really works because it seems too simple.

DD Daddy: What’s your biggest challenge as a father?

JD: For me, it’s remembering to be tender and soft to my little girl, but not to be so soft that it hinders her. I want her to be a strong, self-confident, independent woman.

DD Daddy: Best travel tip for a parent traveling with little children?

JD: Keep them busy. Bring a carry on filled to the brim with activities they find fun. Coloring books, regular books to read to them, and don’t shy away from electronics. An ipad or iphone can be a life saver in a pinch. Letting them play a puzzle on your phone isn’t going to ruin them later in life.

DD Daddy: Any advice for first time parents with babies?

JD: Patience, patience, patience… No one ever tells you how hard having a newborn really is. It’s normal to get exhausted and frustrated, but take a second to remember they will only be this small for a short time and cherish every second.

 

 

Hat Tip to JD for the Q&A

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