This year, my father is 34 years old. No, really…he has been a dad for 34 years now and has quite a lot to look back on. As we celebrate the fathers of our children as well as our own dads, Lauren and I wanted to take a moment to ask our dad a few questions about fatherhood.
Q: Did you have fears or anxieties about becoming a father?
A: Yes, becoming a dad is a tremendous responsibility. The biggest fear was that I wanted to be the best I could be.
Q: What challenges did you face with having a daughter, let alone two girls?
A: Well, being from a family of 5 boys, and never having a sister, I did not know what to expect. As a single father after the divorce, I had to rely on the outfit displays and mannequins, sales people and sister-in-laws to assist me when shopping for the girls. Being colorblind made that difficult as well. And hair was another challenge, but eventually I got the hang of it. Learning to braid my daughters’ hair is an accomplishment I’ll always remember.
Q: How do you think you’d do it differently if you had raised boys instead?
A: If I had raised boys I would have been a tougher disciplinarian. My girls softened me and made me think more about my decisions.
Q: What outings or activities were most memorable for you?
A: There are so many wonderful memories. Most would say Disneyland or the beach, but my favorite times were very simple. Bike rides to the local video store for a $2 movie, a frozen yogurt, then back home to watch the movie together. Also parks, walks, swimming at their grandparents’ house.
Q: What are you most proud of as a father?
A: I am most proud of the beautiful young women my daughters are today. As a parent, I tried to teach my children right from wrong and hoped they would make good decisions.
Q: What is Father’s Day to you?
A: Father’s Day, to me, is simply spending time with my daughters. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just spending time together. My father, who was my role model, passed away over 13 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could just talk to him or hang out with him and watch a baseball or football game.
Q: How did divorce impact your parenting?
A: Being divorced meant I had to do everything that a mom and dad normally do. I focused on my girls because they were all I had. I knew I didn’t want to be a weekend dad, but rather an everyday dad. I wanted them to know that the divorce meant that their mom and dad would try to work together to raise them. Sometimes there were rough patches when mom and dad were not communicating well, but our focus was on our daughters and for that, I am proud.
Q: What is your best advice to new dads?
A: To new dads, my biggest advice is understanding that “your time” is now time spent with your children. Dads can still pursue their hobbies such as golf, cars, etc. – it just might not happen as often as they would like. As your children grow up, you can introduce them to some of the things you enjoy, like golfing or car shows.
Q: How does being “Grandpa” differ from being a dad?
A: Wow, being a grandpa is awesome and I love it! Being a dad is more hands on as parents do all the work. Grandpa can just be with the grandchild…mostly for playtime. Now I must follow and respect my daughters’ rules, as they are raising their children and I am not.
Q: Where would you say many father’s go wrong in relationships with their kids?
A: In my opinion, it would be listening to better help with the overall communication. Many fathers or parents have their rules set in stone and sometimes a little flexibility goes a long way in relationships of all types.
We can’t thank our dad enough for sharing his thoughts with us and all of our readers. Take time out this Father’s Day to ask a dad in your life a question or two. He may enjoy the opportunity to share as well.