Some people you can just tell were meant to be fathers. You can tell by the way their entire life, and approach to life changes completely. Their priorities shift and soon you can’t remember a time where they didn’t have a child who was the center of their world. Dan Pensyl is one of those people. Dan Pensyl is an amazing skateboarder who has been a great supporter of Modern Day Dads from the very beginning and has jumped right into the role of being an awesome father to his two little girls. He is a hard working guy who is dedicated to his wife and kids, and knows exactly what it takes to make things work, and thats “work.” Dan has a lot of great stuff to share regarding his experiences of being a father, and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to read his inspiring and motivating words.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
Well I am a professional skateboarder/ lab tech/ and most importantly a father to two amazing and beautiful girls, Kessler Carmella and Delancy June. When we found out that my wife was pregnant we were still living in Brooklyn. I was working construction and set building, plus I was finishing up my part in the Join or Die video (full length skateboarding video made by one of my sponsors, 5BORO). So once we were getting close to the due date we moved full time to our house in PA. We worked a bunch to save up so I could take a few months off from everything and just be around my family. Luckily I have sponsors that are supportive and realize that family comes first in all aspects. I am so glad that I was able to do that because those first few weeks of fatherhood are something so special that no one can put into words (but I know you all know what I’m talking about). Once she got around 2 months old I got a job through my buddy loading trailers at a trucking company. It wasn’t the most ideal being it was the third shift, long hours, and not climate controlled. But it paid ok, had benefits, and I could still hang with my family and skate during the day and on weekends. That lasted a year and a half and now I am working in NJ refurbishing parts for lasers (it sounds fancy but I sit in a room with a bunch of chemicals and torque wrenches all day). So for me there is no finesse in balancing your life, It’s more making the time. I wake up at 4:15 every day to commute 45 minutes to NJ so that I make sure I can be home for dinner. I still skate a bunch in the evenings or on the weekends I’ll head into NYC, but honestly touring doesn’t sound that fun anymore. I don’t know if i listened to Cat’s in the cradle too many times while my wife was pregnant but since my daughter was born I don’t want to travel without them. I’ll go away for an extended weekend but I don’t want to be away from them and miss anything.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
I don’t know. I guess to break it up is the best way for me to describe it. Being a dad is the most rewarding, gratifying, exhausting, amazing and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. And being that it’s modern-day means that I have the ability to take and teach the moral fibers that I feel are the most important and instill them in my girls. I feel like we are very traditional in many ways but we have the open mindedness to change aspects to make them fit our beliefs( I am not talking about religion, I’m talking about upbringing).
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
All those cheesy love songs started making sense. No seriously I can’t explain it. There was this protectiveness that grew inside and this feeling of pride. I don’t know if being a pro skateboarder for all those years just made me still feel like a kid, but holding Kess for the first time was the first time I felt like a man. A man that started crying at google commercials, so not a manly man. Just a man.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The quick and easy answer is the Daddy’s home experience. The honest answer is everything. I used to travel and party a ton, and I thought I was happy and that was the life I always wanted. And I was always so appreciative and felt lucky for where I got to go and what I was doing. Until i became a father and now I know what true happiness is. That realizing that the first time my daughter crawled over to me and climbed up my legs and spread her arms for me to pick her up would blow Machu Pichu off the map.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
Well fathers of little girls who are potty training. Here’s a little helpful hint you might want to know that wasn’t in the baby book I read. I know moms are always saying about boys I don’t know how you aim that thing. Well the aim part isn’t accurate but the leg position is important. My daughter when I’d put her on the potty would just sit like she was saddling a horse. Well she never did it before so she didn’t know any better and I pee standing up so how would I know. Well when they sit like that they will piss all over you, I one time even tried leaning her forward to the point her belly button was almost touching the toilet seat. After about a month I finally asked my wife after I walked out of the bathroom at a Phillies game with pee all over my boots. My wife was rolling, she said she’d piss all over me if she tried to go like that too. So legs together will keep you dry.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
The best advice I can give is the advice given to me before Kessler was born. Don’t ever say I can’t wait. There will be plenty of time in the future for them to do anything. But you can never go back. They can only sit in your hand once, then a week later their on your fore arm and before you know it they are crawling. And you can’t ever get that new baby smell back. So my daughters are going to be 3 at the end of Sept, and 1 just before Halloween and the only time those words have come out of my mouth are when a tooth is about to pop. Other than that just embrace every moment.
Oh and another very important thing is to know that every kid develops at a different pace, so if you are at a park or a preschool or anywhere and there are kids around the same age some will be talking sentences and some won’t talk at all, there will be 4 year olds in diapers and some will be potty trained by 2. Every kid is different and as long as their teachers and Drs think they are fine don’t let people try and make you feel like there is something wrong. So Enjoy your time with your family because as everyone says they grow up too fast.
Oh and buy a hard drive or get the cloud, your memory will be full in your phone in no time. And deleting 12 photos to take 1 sucks!!!
Thanks so much Dan! We wish you all the best in everything you do! Keep up the great work!
Check out 5boro.com
Here is Dan getting down in the 5boro video, Join or Die, to one of the greatest songs of all time:
Get in touch with Dan here: http://instagram.com/dpensyl