Six years ago, I wasn’t sure what kind of dad I might be.
Certainly, I’d had an amazing influence in my own father, as well as my grandfathers and uncles, my father-and-brother-in-law, but as you hold your wife’s hand in the delivery room, I think you’re waiting for that identity to be born (so to speak).
You’re a rookie, playing in the major leagues. You’re green and your palms sweat with nervous excitement. At least mine did.
For me, some of the biggest exposure to fatherhood up until that point was watching dads on TV. Sure, there was the occasional positive representation of who ‘dad’ was, but it was often overshadowed by the armchair quarterback – the dad who found solace and relaxation each day in his reclining chair or divot in the sofa – content with letting mom handle household duties, make sure the kids had combed their hair and brushed their teeth or completed their science project on time.
I guess I thought that I’d fall somewhere in between.
I assumed that I’d follow my professional path in entertainment, juggle my career and swing into day care one day each week to exchange my kid for a wad of cash.
Only ten weeks into fatherhood, I quickly realized this might not be the case.
As you all know, the decision to become a ‘stay-at-home’ dad was partially mine, partially not – and I’m sure others can relate. With a bit of difficulty finding my next ‘perfect’ job, in the interim it made sense for us to absolve the cost of day care. It made sense (not to me at the time) for me to take the bull by the horns and step in as a primary caregiver.
Was I going to let some of those antiquated ‘dad’ stereotypes influence who I might become as a father? Of course not, I was embracing the idea of being a modern dad. I’d be a dad who looked past his fear of failure, who battled back against those who labeled me as a ‘bum’ or just simply, a ‘babysitter’.
Six years ago, I found out what type of father I would be.
And while I’m definitely not perfect, I’ve worked hard to embrace my role.
It took more than a day or two to realize the influence I’d have over my kids, the part I could play in their lives. It didn’t strike me as the most important job in the world – until, it did.
I don’t find anything socially odd or emasculating (as some articles may suggest) at all about maintaining our household, playing chef or chauffer to preschool or play dates.
I also don’t see anything wrong with playing an active role in the clothes, toys, play sets and strollers that we buy for our children. Who better to offer up their opinion than me – the guy that’s in the trenches every day.
Right off the bat, I know which bibs my son will wear and which one’s he’ll rip off his neck and haul across the kitchen at me. I know which baby carrier isn’t going to break my back after an hour of mopping with a kid strapped to my chest.
I know which diapers are the most comfy, which shoes my daughter will hate because ‘they’re too itchy’ or why the way certain strollers fold up, won’t work for us because of the kind of car we have. The Baby Trend Range LX works for us.
As some of you may also know, I’ve worked with Target for a long time in their social influencer ‘Inner Circle’ program and continue to work closely with them, because I trust them, I like them and I feel comfortable shopping at their stores.
Their baby and kid’s sections don’t overwhelm me and for things like high chairs, cribs or strollers – a sample is fully assembled and on display for you to interact with. I’m not walking out of the store with something I’m unsure of – I’m the guy that’s in there moving his kid from car seat to car seat, asking a one-year old which one he likes best.
This Father’s Day, I’m high-fiving you for embracing being a dad, for getting excited about making decisions and being involved in your kid’s lives – enjoy this day, you’re killin’ it out there!
NOTE: This post was proudly sponsored by Target. While I was compensated, the thoughts and opinions in this story are my own. I implore you to learn more about Target and their awesome selection of baby gear (register for your next shower!) AND give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter.