1. What is the best part about being a Dad?
To see little versions of you grow up day by day. To be part of my children’s development, and helping to shape who they are is an amazing experience. The curveball and surprises they throw me daily are awesome. It keeps me on my toes, which is an exciting way to live.
2. Why do you think it’s important for Dads to have a resource like TheAverageFather.com?
There is a lack of good content and material out there to coach Dads on the art of Fatherhood. There are so many ways to be a good Father, but most of us only know the example set by our own Dads. TheAverageFather.com allows men to educate themselves on the different tools, techniques, tricks and tips on how they can be the best father they can be.
3. What is your background? Why did you decide to be the voice for “Dads in BC”?
I’m a child of a divorced family. Both of my parents have remarried and I’ve lived the experience, both negative and positive, on how divorce in a family affects children. When compared to peers of mine who grew up in stable homes, the majority of stable households provided better outcomes for their children. This is particularly pronounced when these children start their own families later in life. When I got married, I was dedicated to the fact that I was going to provide a stable and supportive environment for my kids. An environment where I would be a dedicated and diligent Dad who invested in my kids and my family. There is a cultural shift occurring in the western world where fathers are participating more and more in their children’s lives. Not simply a Canadian or BC issue, Fatherhood is an issue for men worldwide, and one that I am invested to be leading.
Men are naturally at a disadvantage when it comes to connecting with our kids when compared with Mom. We don’t have 9 months to bond as the baby grows inside us. Birth is in many ways biologically and culturally a foreign experience for men. We are often awkward in our attempts to participate in the nuts and bolts of parenting in the first few months. Add to this the lack of paid leave for men as a standard in the western world, and the cultural expectation of many corporate cultures that in order to succeed you need to put the needs of your employer first. Instead of trying, and routinely failing at the daily routine of infant care, it is understandable that men might revert back to what they know and can succeed at in their professional lives. After all, this does provide key support for the family (Financial), and is historically and culturally reinforced.
The mistake in this is in assuming Mom is more an expert at childcare than Dad. Despite the advantages of pregnancy and birth when comes to fostering the bond with your child, Men are just as capable of connecting with their kids. The key to success in this is knowing and accepting the fact that you are going to make some spectacular mistakes, become comfortable with this idea and then get over it. Treat being a Father as the most important career in your life, because it is. It is one where you will be continually learning and improving. You’ll likely be drinking from the firehose in the first few months, but it will continue to get easier every day. Fatherhood is WORK, and you need to work at it. So pull up your sleeves, get those “big boy” pants on and buckle down at being the best Dad you can be.
5) In Canada, couples are lucky to be able to split Maternity leave once their baby is born. What resources/information is available to new Dads who are considering taking time off from work once baby is born?
First – Don’t feel guilty. Often men will feel a sense of guilt or anxiety about not being at work. They continue to think about work even after starting their leave.
Second – PLAN! Before taking your leave have a plan on when you will start, and when you will go back to work. Make sure you have an outline of when you will need childcare or help when you return to work. Make sure you have all the diapers, wipes + gear you think you will need for the first few months. Then make sure you have some flexibility to pick up other things as you find out you need them.
Lastly, ensure you have a support network. For men, it is best to have a group of other men who are experiencing the same thing you are. New Fathers who can share horror stories, share tips and resources they come across. This can also be family if you have some nearby. Check out www.citydadsgroup.com for more info on a dads group in your city.
6. Children love to spend time with their Dad. What is your favorite activity to do with your children?
Routine is key to success in raising kids. Setting up a series of predictable events that your kids can depend on, anticipate and succeed at is a foundation in successful parenting. I build a part of the day into our routine where Dad spends an hours or more every day just with the girls. We go to the grocery store and maybe pick up a cookie, the park and play on the swings, or the pet store and look at all the animals. What the activity is matters less than the time you regularly set aside for it. Make sure that you build in Daddy time into your week, where it is only Dad and the kids who spend time together. This becomes something your kids can depend on and look forward to as you cement it into your weekly routine.
7. With so many books available on a variety of parenting topics, do you have any book recommendations for Dads?
At TheAverageFather.com we have a “Dadabase” with books and other resources for all our fellow fathers. Each Dad will have their own specific need, and we have content to meet all those needs.
8. What is one product or service you can’t live without? Bubble Bath.
9. We all know Fatherhood can be busy. How do you relax and find some “Daddy Time?”
Walking the dog. Since before my kids were born walking the dog has been a great time for reflection and down time. Running, walking or taking him for a swim at the beach, spending time with my 4 legged buddy helps we chill out and put things into perspective.
Tony Morrow, host and founder of TheAverageFather.com began an even bolder adventure: Fatherhood. With many hard lessons learned, this veteran Dad is interviewing experts about Fatherhood, and sharing his knowledge with you! Tony Morrow is a happy husband and father of two.