I probably should have written this story sooner but life is busy sometimes, okay, so back off!! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. You guys are great! I’ve told the story before of how my daughter was the first girl born into my dad’s side of the family in over 70 years, so my entire journey of fathering a daughter to date has been new, challenging, rewarding and amazing.
One of the many differences has been with my daughter’s choice of extra-curricular activities. I played hockey and baseball for as long as I can remember and my son followed in those same footsteps, even though I tried to get him to try other sports. My daughter, however, found her love in gymnastics, and man is she ever good at it! Every time I see her do a new move, it feels like the most incredible feat I have ever seen.
Although I know nothing about gymnastics, I still like being a part of the gym and help out whenever I can. My daughter’s coach, knowing that I try to be a team player, had asked me if I would do a little performance with my daughter for the Christmas showcase and naturally, I agreed. The idea was simply that my daughter would do a move and I would then try to replicate that move in front of all the parents and children in attendance. Easy enough, right?
Well, what actually ended up happening was that my daughter and I ended up choreographing an entire routine to surprised everyone in attendance. A couple notes about this. First, I was waaaay more nervous than I expected I would be, which then caused my foot to cramp up minutes before we went on. Second, the video below was posted to Facebook and now has over 2 million views, which is crazy! Finally, no, I don’t know how I nailed that first cartwheel and failed so badly on the other. I’m guessing it was a combination of age and lack of grace…
Luckily for me, there wasn’t too much pain the next day, although I’m guessing the shock of the video going viral probably helped. We never expected so many people to love the routine but I am so grateful that everyone got to see just how talented my little girl is! I wasn’t sure about this gymnastics thing when she started in it but it has ended up being an extremely important and rewarding part of our lives.
So, without further ado, and if you haven’t seen it, please enjoy what was one of the best nights of my life!
Today on the podcast I speak to Mike Reynolds from EverydayGirlDad.com. On the show we cover topics such as:
– Body Image for Men
– Mike’s switch from PuzzlingPosts.com to EverydayGirlDad.com
– Mike’s new found love of Cross-Stitching
– Speaking in New York on the Changing Face of Maculinity
– Mike’s t-shirts for Charity Venture
– The hopeful revival of our Creative Minds Podcast
I hope you enjoy the show and please feel free to leave a very kind review if you see fit! 😀
Star Wars has provided me with so much joy over the years, with no line being repeated more than the classic Darth Vader shocker, “Luke, I am your father”. To celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day celebrations, I thought I would share my Top 7 “I am your father” moments! Here we go:
7. That time I told the kids to clear their plates after lunch but they forgot and then went to play outside with their friends and then found the same old half-eaten food on their plates for dinner.
6. When the kids were supposed to shower but defiantly avoided it, so I pretended the shower was broken for a week so they could be the smelly kids at school. Lessons learned.
5. When my son threatened to run away because I wouldn’t let him play on his iPad for an extra half hour and then called his bluff by letting him put his shoes on and walking all the way down the street, only to have him realize it was a bad idea and quickly run back home.
4. The day I became the “Worst Dad Ever” for not buying the toy my kid wanted, 5 minutes before their best friend invited them over for a playdate that they needed a ride to.
3. When I told the kids to bring their toys in from outside in case it rained because I wouldn’t replace them, only to have it rain on their not brought in toys, ruining them for good.
2. When my kids found out they loved sports, so my wife and I took on extra jobs to help pay for the costs of competitive sports fees because we want the kids to have the opportunity to explore their full potentials.
1. The day I realized that I get to wake up and experience something new and amazing with these kids every single day and loving every second of it regardless of whether it’s good or bad.
As you can see, for better or worse, there are plenty of “I am your father” moments throughout the days and I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way. Speaking of that, check out this amazing Happy ‘I Am Your Father’s Day’ video made especially for the Star Wars fans out there!
How cool was that?! Now I want to hear some of your “I am your father” moments, whether they’re happy, funny or other, and I have a great Star Wars prize pack to give away to help make your Father’s Day that much more special! All you have to do to enter is using the Rafflecopter form below and I’ll pick a winner in a few days.
Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, but I really am a father…
For the longest time I associated masculinity solely to World’s Strongest Man competitors like Mariusz Pudzianowski and Magnus Ver Magnusson, and I don’t think I was alone in that belief. Times have changed quite a bit in the last few years, for the better, in my opinion and I think it’s great that my children will have a new example of what masculinity means as they grow up.
I’m always cautious with statements like the one above because I don’t want to take away from the excellent male influence a lot of us, especially myself, had growing up. My point is that society as a whole is more accepting of a version of masculinity that doesn’t solely revolve around fixing cars and chopping down trees and I love it. A 2014 study commissioned by Dove Men+Care showed that 9 out of 10 men globally believe masculinity has evolved since their father’s generation, and that showing care is a sign of a man’s real strength.
That’s a hard stat to argue with no matter how you look at it. I can’t imagine a world where I would have to feel self-conscious about consoling my son with a hug after a loss in the big game or dancing down the street with my daughter. Those are actually the moments where I feel the most like a man, as opposed to when I’m cutting the lawn or paying bills.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all the new superhero movies as much as the next guy but I think there is room for all kinds of heroes in the world, not just the ones with super physical strength. My main goal is to achieve hero status in my children’s eyes by showing them that you can be both tough and caring at the same time without worrying about what others think of you. Only time will tell but if the results to this point are any indication, I’m hoping to earn my cape by the time they are out of high school.
Just in time for Father’s Day and with 94% of men saying it is important to be a caring father, Dove Men+Care is paying tribute to the moments in real Dads lives that demonstrate how their care, rather than traditional physical traits, truly defines them as a hero. Dove Men+Care has created this amazing ‘My Dad, My Hero’ video that features real dads’ lives and shows what real strength is all about when it comes to being a father. Please enjoy the video and then keep reading below for an exciting giveaway!
How great was that video? I thought it would be fun with Father’s Day on the horizon to giveaway a special package from Dove Men+Care. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post and let me know what your favourite moments with your kids are. Good Luck!
Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the ‘My Dad, My Hero’ campaign but I am truly thrilled at the way the public’s views on masculinity have changed.
We have another guest post on the blog today! Please welcome Canadian father, Ingus, who is Toronto-area photographer and new dad, learning the fine art of parenting a new baby girl. You can read about his wacky adventures at Dad Mode On blog!
“So you’re going to be off for five months, eh? You’ll have plenty of time to catch up on Netflix!”
“Five months? You’re going to be playing so much Call of Duty!”
“That’s a long time, won’t you get bored?”
Before going on my parental leave, that was the typical response I received when I told family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers that I was taking close to half a year off for the birth of our daughter.
I began to think that being a dad for the first time was going to be a sweet vacation. I mean, I won’t have to be with the baby all the time, right?
I can binge watch a little, work on that photography project that I wanted to do for years, or play videogames like I did when I was a teenager.
This is going to be an awesome, awesome vacation!
Then on Christmas night- as cliché as it can be – our 7lbs 14oz bundle of joy arrived.
And in an instant, all of those silly thoughts disappeared.
I’m sure many of you parents can agree, the first month is a write-off. Your mind, body, and soul belongs to your new little blob. You can also agree that, though the first month is difficult for dad, it is 100 times more difficult for the new mom.
For my wife and I, we made use of the fact that I was going to be off for five months by ensuring that I would be as involved as possible.
We made sure that I was earning every single moment of this vacation.
The truth is, though my job and Employment Insurance (Go Canada!) allowed me to take more time than most others, we are still taking a hit financially to make it work. Not all families have this option, and I can understand the raised eyebrows when people learn how much time I’m taking off.
Of course, there are those who go a little further and undermine the decision that I’ve made, as they are perhaps even little jealous of my situation. Through their eyes, they see me as some lucky dude who has the luxury of taking five months off as a vacation.
They don’t understand that when you’re off on parental leave, it’s not a vacation and that you also become more involved and accountable for your growing family unit. They don’t see the side where you are immediately available to take your wife and baby to the Emergency Room; or where you are able to call an ambulance in the middle of the night without having to tell your boss you won’t be in; or where you don’t have to ask a co-worker to cover for you after speaking to a telehealth nurse about your daughter’s fever.
They don’t see those things, and I suppose it may be my fault for only showing the good side. To them they only see the fruits of the work I put in – you know, those silly photos, status updates that I post on social media. The thing is this was not me bragging about my situation, this was just me relishing the hard earned vacation I was having.
I love (and am loving) every minute of it. If we have another kid and if it were financially feasible, I will no doubt choose to take the same or more time off.
You see, there’s also an added benefit to being there from the get-go: I am damn confident in my dad abilities.
She needs a changing after front and back poop… in the dark? Boom. Done.
She’s wearing button-on shirt today, with jeans and socks? Boom. Done.
She won’t burp? Burp. Done.
Mom needs to go out all day to help a friend? Done, and I’ll have dinner ready by six.
There’s no better feeling than to feel confident and competent as a father and husband. I sincerely feel that had I taken only a few weeks off, I don’t think I would feel the way that I feel right now.
Every day I am rewarded with something new from my daughter. Whether it was her first smile, first laugh, or most recently her first babbling conversation: I’m here to witness it.
And there’s no better thing in the world, and it was simply the best decision I ever made.
Now with two months left to go on my parental leave, it truly does feel like a vacation. Instead of binge-watching Netflix, I binge-watch my daughter figuring out the world. Instead of playing video games at night, I play how do we get her to sleep through the night.
I truly do not want it to end, as it really has become an awesome, awesome vacation.
Life can get pretty repetitive, can’t it? Work, school, ballet, hockey, sleep, repeat. Entire weeks can go by without anything significant happening and I’ve made my peace with that as we can’t be all spontaneity all the time. Every now and then, however, something sneaks up on you and kicks you right upside the head. Such was the case this Monday as I drove my 7 year old son to power skating, as we have done every Monday for the past 3 months.
If you had told me that I was going to get misty eyed while driving to power skating on this day I would have probably laughed, given you an “okay, then” and rushed out the door with my son, you know, because we are literally always late somehow. My son has been more and more interested in hearing about my father lately and never seems to run out of questions about him. I have written about my father before for those who are new here but he passed away a few years ago on the same day that we found out we were pregnant with my son.
While he usually wants to know about my father as a coach and other sports related stories, on this day he shifted his focus to me and was curious about how I dealt with his passing. I know, heavy for a 7 year old, right? That was my initial thought as well but I always jump at the chance to both talk about my dad and bond with my son, so I happily answered his questions.
He asked if I was sad when my father died and how it all happened, which were easy answers. Then he asked me if I missed him and I froze a bit, not sure how much to get into it. I told him that I missed my dad everyday and explained that I was sad that he never got to meet my son and his sister, but mostly I missed him because I didn’t get to have him around to teach me how to do technical things like change a tire, or help me with coaching or help me learn to be a good dad. This conversation alone could have been enough to cause my emotions to go haywire but I held it together, until my son hit me with…
“But, you’re already a good dad.”
I’m guessing he didn’t realize how powerful it was to hear those words after the conversation we had just finished. I thanked him as I discreetly wiped a happy tear from eye and saw him light up knowing that he had made his dad smile. We sat in comfortable silence the rest of the way to hockey, both proud of our achievements for the day.
I spent this past week in Washington, DC taking part in the 5th Dad 2.0 Summit. This being the first Dad 2.0 that I wasn’t speaking at, the first thing I noticed is that my anxiety level had dropped dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I love speaking at this conference but I get myself so worked up for imminent failure that I can’t let myself relax until I am off the stage, so it was nice to have that calm feeling the whole time. Of note, imminent failure has yet to happen…
The hotel for this year’s event, Mandarin Oriental, was the classiest one to date and this fact became evident to me after my first night there. I drew the short straw on night one and slept on the floor, however the Mandarin provided me with a ton of pillows and comforters to make a bed with. When I entered the room after the cleaners had been by, I noticed that they had remade my makeshift floor bed for me, left me some slippers and folded my previously worn clothes for me. The only thing missing was the towel swan! On top of that, they had what can only be described as the “greatest promo video ever” playing on the television sets in each room. Check the link and I promise you’ll be amazed.
Oddly, one of the highlights of the Dad 2.0 Summit over the years for me has been the unrelated karaoke night that usually happens. Last year in San Francisco was a very light, yet extremely fun, group of people and so I expected this year to be about the same. Imagine my surprise after a couple of us planned the outing to find about 40 people waiting in the lobby, all excited to join us for a night of fun. We laughed, sang and danced, and I’m thankful to everyone who showed up!
There were also a record number of Canadians at the event this year and it was great to see so many of my countrymen and women representing what they do. If you are looking for great Canadian content, here are some links to these fine people! Mike & Andrea Reynolds, Mike Vardy, Justin Connors (also my roommate extraordinaire), Buzz Bishop, Dai “the Moose” Manuel, Andrea Nair, Mike Granek, Matt Clarke, Stewart Reynolds! I’m still buzzing and apologize if I’ve missed anyone. I promise you will be added!
Finally, it isn’t lost on me that the reason I get to attend Dad 2.0 every year is because of the sponsors. I am now going to take a minute to show them some deserved love in the hopes that they continue to want to support fathers from around the globe by sponsoring future conferences. I can’t mention everyone but there were a few that really stood out to me so I’ll give you the bullet points on them.
- Not to play favourites but I look forward to the Lee Jeans booth every year and they certainly didn’t disappoint. More than just being able to walk out of the room in a brand new pair of jeans, Lee creates an amazing experience by offering couches, beer, basketball and an amazing staff who take the time to connect with the attendees. Relaxing in the Lee Lounge has become a Dad 2.0 staple.
- A new sponsor to the event this year was photo app company, Memory Web. They were so new in fact, that they launched their business just before the summit began. We deal with a lot of PR firms, which is great, but I really thought it was great that the actual owners of the company were there running the booth and their pride in their company shone through in my discussions with them.
- I couldn’t talk about Dad 2.0 Summit without giving a great deal of credit to the people at Dove Men+Care. These guys have been title sponsor of the event as long as I’ve been attending and they bring it to a new level each and every year! Outside of the amazing barbershop they set up each year, they sponsor meals, speakers and create a mad rush for the tons of product they bring each year. On top of all that, they truly respect and understand the importance of good fathers and that is evident not just at the conference but also in the work they do with the dad community throughout the year.
- Best Buy took us out on a wicked drone experience in the Virginia countryside and the laughs on the bus ride alone would have been worth the trip.
- The LEGO night out at the Smithsonian was outstanding and the interactive games they had planned at the event made it a night to remember! You are looking at one third of the LEGO Duplo Bridge Building Competition champions, baby! Getting the whole room to belt out “Oh Canada” was a career highlight for me, too! They also have some great stuff coming down the pipe for dads so keep your eye out for that!
- KIA added a new wrinkle to their test drives this year by offering professional headshots and the lineup was 6-7 deep at all times, proving that we all want to be made to look pretty!
- Meta Wellness brought Michael Strahan to the event. Enough said! (They also had an awesome snack bar that I frequented on a “regular” basis. Get it??)
- In the “memorable moments” category, the folks at Kidde Fire Safety had one of the more interactive displays as they allowed us to compete in a firefighter challenge to see who could get geared up from head to toe the fastest. If you want to see me struggle with this challenge you can head over to the HowToBeADad Facebook video…
There were so many more great sponsors, which you can find on the Dad 2.0 Sponsor Page, but these are the moments that stuck with me.
I’ve decided to split my recap into two posts so that I can talk about my personal takeaways, and there were many, separately. For those of you reading this who were or are on the fence about attending the Dad 2.0 Summit, not only is it excellent for meeting the people in the dad community and also for personal growth and development, but the connections you make here are invaluable.
Thank you to Doug French, John Pacini and the rest of the Dad 2.0 team for another excellent event!
There I sat on my couch with my 7 year old son, watching the Toronto Blue Jays clinch the AL East title for the first time in 22 years. It was nice to be able to share something I enjoy with my son and I assumed that we would watch it and then go on with bedtime as we do every night. That isn’t exactly what happened though.
As we watched the Blue Jays celebrate, my son snuggled up next to me, I started to feel the sting that usually precedes a good cry. Trust me, I had the same thought you just did, “Who cries about professional sports?”. It only took me a minute to figure out what was going on and once I did I took an extra couple minutes with my son to sit and enjoy the moment we were experiencing.
It was 22 years ago that I sat in my basement with my dad, watching as Joe Carter hit a home run to win the World Series. I remember jumping up and down, numerous high fives and the feeling of pure joy in that moment. Every time I see that clip and hear the famous, “Touch ’em all, Joe”, I am transported back to that moment and I can’t help but smile at remembering that special time with my father.
I often worry that my memories of my father are going to disappear but this was an excellent reminder that they are just being stored away for when I really need them. My son is younger than I was on that day 22 years ago but that doesn’t mean his mind won’t come back to this moment one day when he is experience something similar with his own kids.
So I guess the answer to the question, “Who cries about pro sports?” is, I do, and I’m perfectly okay with that.
Where does the time go? I’m serious, what just happened here? I blinked and my children were another year older. It leaves me reflecting on whether I’m making the most of this time with them or if I’m letting it slip by too quickly. I had been asked to write something about the new video from Quaker, The Recital, and quickly planned out what I wanted to talk about. That changed instantly after I watched the video, however. There as a line in there that really resonated with me and it’s when the dad in the video says,
“And I hope she doesn’t think I work too much or don’t pay enough attention to her because I really do value the time we spend together”
That’s exactly it, isn’t it? This line just kept ringing in my ears afterward because it is exactly how I feel about my kids. I have a full time job and also freelance on the side so that my wife can stay home to raise the kids. This means that while most parents are chastised for having their phones out around their kids, I occasionally need to have mine out in order to pay the bills. Still, I wonder if the kids remember all the fun events they got to go to or will they only remember that daddy was on his phone (fulfilling social media obligations for that event) during them?
I worry everyday that my children won’t understand this and I do my very best to explain it to them and to keep my work to the times when we are not together, but I’m certainly not perfect. I actually considered leaving blogging earlier this year because I felt like it was taking away too much of my family time. I got to a point where there seemed to be so much going on that I just shut down to avoid it all. As it turns out, I just needed to implement some structure to what I do. Yes, after 4 years of this I am still learning how to manage it. Laugh away.
This is the path we have chosen and I am grateful for every opportunity I have received and for every Harlem Globetrotter who has visited my house to play basketball with my kids… I just hope that my children will look back someday and remember that above all else their daddy loved them and did everything in his power to give them the best life possible. Now, grab some tissues and watch this very cool video from Quaker. PS – I’m already planning something special for my daughter and I to do together after watching this!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Quaker to showcase their new father/daughter video and hit me harder that I had expected. Do all the things you want to do with your kids before you blink and they have families of their own.
*Photo Credit: The cover photo was taken by David Redding Photography.