Early on, when I featured one of my good friends, he asked when I was going to do a feature on myself. At that time I told him “never”. This never has been about me, and it’s always been about inspiring and uplifting other dads. I kind of liked the idea of being an “everyman” of sorts. I liked being a little more anonymous, giving the credit to the people who really deserve it, all the other dads around the world. I always feel like I am just a regular guy gaining as much inspiration from all of you as so many have from this site and it’s features.
After a while a few other people asked, emailed and messaged me, asking if I ever was going to do a feature about myself. Again, I thought it was a little too self serving to feature myself on my own site. It’s weird! I thought it would be kind of presumptuous and arrogant to interview myself, for myself. It still seems kind of odd writing this. The final straw, however, was when someone messaged me, surprised to see that I wasn’t a “fat old guy, just running this account.” It was then I realized that what has made us so popular is that we are real. We feature real dads, share real experiences and are real ourselves. We aren’t just trying to cash in on anything, our message and motivation since day one has been to empower fathers in their role and “make being a good dad cool.” It was then, after some long, hard thought, that I came to conclusion that I wasn’t being so self indulgent after all, but available, honest and hopefully able to build a stronger bond with all the awesome dad’s I have talked to thus far. I’m not just a guy behind the curtain, but a regular guy, just like you, that struggles with being a modern day dad in this crazy world just as much as the next guy.
I have made a lot of great friends through this site, and I hope all of you reading this know that you have helped me so much, inspired me, and motivated me to be a better father. We are all in this together, so if you have any interest, feel free to read on and get to know me, Conor, of Modern Day Dads. If you think it’s a little self indulgent, then I guess you weren’t one of the people that asked me to participate, but instead, go back to reading about all the other awesome dads on our site. Thanks, y’all.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your
career with being a dad?
I’m Conor, I (amongst other things) am a co-founder of Modern Day Dads along with my wife Jessica of Modern Day Moms. At least that’s where you might know me from. Though I am a tattoo artist by trade, I never have been able to define myself by a job, a career or work so essentially I’m a stay at home dad who’s defines himself as himself. I do whatever I need to do. I’m a counselor to my child, a dishwasher, a maintenance man, a chef, at any given time I am any given thing. I am not a product of what I do but who I am. I feel like it’s counterproductive to define myself in the terms of only my physical output. I’m a father, an artist, a writer, I love the outdoors and fitness, I am sensitive, passionate, idealistic, I am a family man. I’m grumpy, tired and irrational, I am a human being!
The balance is simple as I’ve crafted my entire life around trying to be as emotionally and physically available to my child and family as possible. I wanted to, and try my best to give my child the life that I wanted and found that wasn’t in just being a breadwinner but by being someone who provides emotionally, physically and mentally, not just monetarily. I offer not just things but feelings, not words but actions, not just time but memories. Some days I feel like I’m doing a better job than other days, but I keep trying and reset myself and re-evaluate myself all the time.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
I don’t see myself much different than the fathers before me, although I do see a shift in consciousness in general toward people wanting to be better fathers over all. Gender roles are shifting, and disappearing and there are these gray areas where dad’s are staying home with the kids, and playing at the park, and cooking dinner. It’s awesome. Perhaps it’s reactionary, perhaps it’s a cultural change, I don’t know and that’s probably not as important as the change itself. I’ve received such positive feedback and inspirational messages regarding the site, it’s overwhelming, and through those messages I learn a modern day dad can be anything, as long as their heart is in the right place. I guess being a modern day dad means improving on the past, and redefining any past stigmas, gender roles or parental definitions and creating your own personal landscape for you and your family. It means something different to everyone, but to me it could be summed up with the word “love”.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
It didn’t just change my life, it saved my life. Someone once said to me “parents don’t always just make children, sometimes children make the parents” and I agree completely. Although it took me a while to round myself out, and I’m constantly trying to improve, I felt an immediate sense of great responsibility. I feel like I was put on this planet to be the best father I can be, and that my wife was put here to be my rock and my daughter my guide. They both are my absolute best friends. Life gives us lessons in interesting and creative ways and it’s up to is to decipher them, follow them and learn from them. I’ve tried to live up to my own personal expectations of what a father should be since my daughter was born, but my daughter and wife also have expectations that I need to live up to to make them happy. Juggling that, we have to learn to make ourselves happy and in family I find happiness. Sometimes I’ve succeeded, other times I’ve failed but it’s the one job I’ll always keep trying to do better no matter what. Some people search forever, I’m lucky I’ve found my place.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Sharing things together. Learning, teaching, and seeing things through my daughters eyes. She’s taught me as much as I’ve taught her, if not much more. I love giving her the support and guidance, and I honor and am in awe of the responsibility of a parent. For such a jovial and silly guy most of the time, I take family extremely seriously. I like the challenge and enjoy the ride, hoping I don’t mess things up too bad along the way!
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
It’s always funny when you think you’ve got it all figured out. It’s funny to find you aren’t the teacher after all and that you child can show you how to slow down, relax and enjoy life. I’ve been peed on, pooped on, vomited on and spit on like the rest of us, but I’m constantly in awe of the person my child becomes and who I become as a result. What is really funny is how much your children know, how much they see, and how wise they are despite us growing older and thinking that we have it all under control.
A funny story though, and it shows how wild it can be when you are just starting out, was the time my wife called me at work in hysterics. “She fell!! She’s bleeding!” was all she could get out as I hung up my phone and got in the car and squealed out of the parking lot to get to my apartment. My daughter was around one at the time. I remember the absolute terror I felt, weaving in and out of traffic, running scenarios through my head of what happened. I’m lucky I didn’t get a ticket driving down a busy road, pretty fast at the lunchtime rush. As I ran in the house, “What happened!? Is everyone OK?” I looked to see my wife and daughter laughing together and smiling. I almost lost my mind right then and there! I had to question if it was all a hallucination or something! My daughter had a band-aid on her chin from where she fell, and the hysteria was real as it was the first time she ever got hurt, but a minute ago it was insanity, and now you are laughing laying with toys?! She did bleed pretty bad, but in the madness of it all I had driven home faster than my wife could have even began to call me to tell me it’s OK. I could almost feel the hairs in my head turning grey the whole ride over there! It was crazy then, but pretty funny now. Every time I look at my daughters scar on her chin, I remember why I am going bald.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Lead right in with your heart. Give your love endlessly forever and always. Make sacrifices, because you will only regret the things you didn’t do. Put your child first and yourself second, third or fourth in line. When your child is born you have a great responsibility to not screw it up, put yourself second and you will find out whats truly important in life.
Thanks so much for reading, and again, you all have been a huge inspiration to me. I’m just a regular guy, but you all are the super heroes! I can’t thank any of you readers, contributors, and friends, enough for being a part of this site and community. Without all the support it just wouldn’t be the success it is today. Thanks.