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Real Talk: What’s it Like to be a Dad?

Father's Day Q&A



One of my favorite things I’ve found about being a mom is watching my husband be a dad. He has the patience for it and he pays attention to things that I’m not as good at, like earwax buildup and teaching her how to properly climb up and down the stairs, because when it comes to her (and everything else in our lives together) the man has patience.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time musing on motherhood and parenting, but as we look forward to celebrating my husband’s second year as a father, I thought it would be fun to hear what he thinks about the whole parenting gig so far, how it’s changed him, what he did and didn’t see coming and if he ever thinks he’ll master the tiny ponytail technique.

So I did what any wife/mom/journalist would do—I conducted a proper interview.

Ok. So now that I have you trapped in the car with me for a good two-hour drive home, I thought it would be a good time to interview you for this piece I’m doing for the parenting magazine. Are you up for it?

Sure.

Great. I knew you would be. I want to hear your thoughts on fatherhood. First question: What was the biggest surprise you found bringing home our daughter and what surprises you now that we’ve been into it almost two years?

Well, I knew if I had a baby girl she would own me. So that was no surprise there. But I thought having a baby would mean more cuddle time and she just wasn’t a cuddly baby. There’s a bit more of it now that she’s older though. Oh, and also, I was no stranger to babies, but I didn’t have a clue how fast they learn and know stuff! I will teach her something and she will pick up on it so fast. Or she just wakes up one day and she knows something new that we didn’t teach her. She’s just so smart. I thought she’d be older when she started paying attention.

What were you the most worried about as a new dad?

For some reason I was worried about knowing what they needed. Like how do you know when a kid needs to eat? What cry means they’re hungry and what cry means they’re tired? I was really worried about that, but by the time we left the hospital we had it figured out. I could tell the difference between a burp cry and a hungry cry. She didn’t really cry for no reason, we were lucky she let us know. I know not all kids are like that.

What’s your favorite part about being a dad?

Just how excited she is when she sees me. No matter what, I just have to show up. If she hasn’t seen me in ten minutes, or a whole day, she’s just so happy and excited. I also love our weekend morning time when I let you sleep and it’s just the two of us snuggling on the chair.

Ok, I know you love everything about her, but what are some of your favorite things about our daughter?

Oh, her dancing. I love that she already loves music so much. I think all kids basically do, I don’t know. But I don’t want her to lose that in life, that innocence of a child, how they’re excited about virtually everything and nothing. I wish I liked anything as much as she likes a ball. Oh, and I love swimming with her. She loves it so much. I want her to learn how to swim as soon as possible.

What’s the hardest part about being a dad?

Time. In general. There’s not enough time with her and not enough time without her to get anything done. It’s hard to find a balance. Now that she’s getting bigger she’ll be able to come and do things with me on the ranch. When she was so little that was hard.

What were some things you learned about being a dad from your dad?

He taught me that I could do anything, like if it’s broke, you can fix it. If it needs building, you can build it. I learned my patience from him. He spent a lot of time doing things like archery, and we all wanted to do what he did, and he always did stuff, so we were always along doing stuff too.

It’s fun watching our parents be grandparents. Especially the grandpa thing. I never had a grandpa and I was jealous of the kids who did because I wanted one. It’s fun seeing Edie develop that relationship with them.

And now, just for reference, describe your perfect Father’s Day.

Oh, just hanging in the backyard having a BBQ with family and friends. I think that would work better than actually trying to do anything. I can only imagine trying to fish with her. Maybe next year off the dock if we can catch one every 50 seconds that might work.

Am I the kind of mom you thought I’d be?

I think so. I’m trying to remember what I thought you’d be like, aside from when we got home from the hospital and you were suddenly this expert. I thought it might be the other way around.

Yeah, I know. I was annoying.

But you have that confidence in life. I don’t know why I thought that wouldn’t transfer to being a mom. But it did. You just grab life by the horns, do what has to be done.

Well, that was sweet. Ok, one more question. It’s a big one. What is your biggest hope for our daughter?

Obviously I want her to be happy. I want her to find things in her life that she’s passionate about and pursue them. I want her to figure out a way to make her passions her life in a realistic way. Mostly, I want her to find her way and be happy with who she is, whoever that is. If she can find that all the other things will work themselves out. And of course, I want her to be a good, kind person.

That’s what I want for her too. Thanks for the insight.

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Written by Jessie Veeder

Jessie Veeder

Jessie is a singer/songwriter/writer and statewide columnist living on her family’s ranch near Watford City with her husband and daughter. She blogs at veederranch.com . Reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com. (facebook.com/veederranch)

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