Father's Day Panel

Father's Day Panel

What better way to encourage families and give dads-to-be a peek into fatherhood than with the honest truth from dads in ALL walks of life. So, we reached out to some dads for some insight! Y’all, grab a box of tissues, you are gonna need it!

These dads are in all stages of parenting. Let's begin with a warm welcome to each one! Check out their heartfelt responses below for a look into each of their lives and remember, Dad, you are doing great!!

The wonderful dads you’ll meet in this blog are:

Tim Walker, husband to Moms on Call's Co-Founder, Jennifer Walker, and dad to 3 boys, Grayson, Bryce and Hamilton.

Jim Hunter, husband to Moms on Call's Co-Founder, Laura Hunter, and dad to 5 kids, Kayla, Allison, Patrick, Blake and Brent.

Chris Eddy, husband to Moms on Call's CEO, Morgan Eddy and dad to 3 kids, Barnes, Charlie and Poppy.

Steven Blewett, husband to Certified Moms on Call Consultant, Emily Blewett and dad to Harper.

Mark Denyse, husband to Shae Denyse and dad to 3 boys, Asher, Dax, and Reese.

Moms on Call asks:

How do you manage being a husband, dad and working?

Tim: Since my kids are all grown and on their own, something different and more is required of me these days—trust. Trust that they will make good choices. Trust that when they’ve made bad ones, they'll find their way back. I also pray a lot. And I'm trying to let my kids navigate life, while knowing I'm here on the sidelines cheering them on and ready to help if needed.

Jim: You have to be intentional for sure. You have to dedicate time to all three (husband, dad, work) the best that you can.

Chris: I try to keep a flexible schedule, priority goes to family. I believe setting the expectations with your work colleagues is important. If you have the capability to work both from home and the office, then you should do so. Catch up on work later in the evening or early in the morning while the kids are asleep. It's also very important that you work as a team with your spouse when managing the day to day schedule and that each of you step-up for one another when the other has a conflict or needs some "time off" from the kids.

Steven: I try to be deliberate in my time with my family. When I am at work, I focus on my job, and try to be the best hospital administrator I can be, and when I am home, I focus on my family, and try to be the best husband and father I can be. Moreover, I try to compartmentalize work and family time, and make sure I separate the two. In fact, when I am at home, I try to be present with my family, and not let distractions (e.g. iPhone, email, TV) take away from this precious time. Time is certainly limited before I go to work or when I get home, so I try to make sure I am intentional and being present with my family. Whether it is playing Uno, Barbie, hide and seek, or having dance parties, I try to let myself get lost in being a kid again, and in doing so, it becomes authentic, and frankly, fun. In fact, I get so much joy seeing my daughter smile and have fun. It is intoxicating seeing her smile, and I cherish the times we get to spend together. With my wife, I try to make sure I am also spending time with her, and not just her with Harper. It is important to remind each other you still adore and love them. Unfortunately, we often get caught up being parents, we sometimes forget (unintentionally) to remind one another how much we do appreciate and love each other. Therefore, I try to carve out time for us to be alone, whether it is date night or watching a movie or tv show together, as it is important to maintain that connection you had before having a child. Sometimes a simple note, or flowers, as a reminder to my wife that you are still adored, still my best friend, still the prettiest girl, and still my everything!

Mark: Keep your head down and keep going! It’s busy to say the least! Fitting in time for myself, date nights with the wife etc. are hard. I have no doubt I will look back one and reflect about how crazy busy it all was however it will be missed at some point. I try to think about the future and what I will miss about these times and just live in those moments as much as possible.

Is there anything in particular that you have found to be helpful in managing it all while still finding time to connect and have fun?

Tim: I'm not the fun parent. I'm super practical. I realized a long time ago to play to my strengths, and lean into others for the areas where I'm weak.

Jim: Knowing that you are a team and you do what needs to be done to help each other out when it is needed.

Chris: Having a plan with my wife in disciplining the kids. Working off the same set of principles has allowed us to spend more quality time together as a family. Basically, we do what we say and most of the time this strategy works quickly. Don't threaten to take away a toy if you are not prepared to do it. Don't threaten time-out if you can't follow through. Act quickly and be consistent and you will find that allows more time to connect and have fun as a family.

Steven: Taking time away from electronics, work distractions, etc., and really focusing on being present and being the best version of myself to my wife and child. Moreover, taking time to really connect and love. In fact, often reminding myself what it is like to be a child, and cherishing these precious moments with my daughter, as time really does go by fast. Making sure I am being intentional in the moments I spend with my daughter. Being silly, having fun, yet also discipling her when needed. Time is long, but life is short, so enjoy the little things, each and every day.

Mark: Yes! Having a routine for the kids is essential. We actually have time to ourselves each night because the kids go down by 8-830 each night allowing us the ability to get stuff done or connect. Another thing we set up is a family fun night (fridays) that we can do things that they look forward to. That way we are not trying to stay up in the middle of a week etc.

What do you worry the most about?

Tim: Oh, I could worry about a lot of things if I let my mind go there. But my faith leads me to believe in a God who is bigger than anything going on now or in the future.

Jim: I think just making sure that the kids are getting what they need and your wife as well!!

Chris: I worry about connecting with each of them individually. I wonder if I am spending enough time with them in one on one situations.

Steven: My daughter's health and well-being. Making sure she is safe, healthy, and not harmed by anything or anyone.

Mark: What is normal behavior and what we need to be concerned about. Kids are constantly testing boundaries and have so much rambunctious energy. Knowing what we need to be concerned about is important. I think we are trying as hard as possible to instill good manners, behavior and even social skills is important.

What are the things that you have found to be the most helpful to you, as a dad?

Tim: I mentioned earlier to realize what I'm good at, what I'm not, and to realize there are some wonderful people in my sons' lives who can be the things I'm not. I was never meant to be everything to my kids. No one can live up to that.

Jim: Having a support network with guys that have been where you are. Never take yourself too seriously and finally enjoy those moments with your kids!!

Chris: The most important thing is to remind myself that I am their dad first. They will have many friends in their life but they will only have one dad. Approaching parenting this way has allowed me to act appropriately in preparing them for life. At times, I am their teacher and mentor. At times, I am the bad dad who punishes them. At times, I am their best buddy.

Steven: Routine and schedule. Having a set schedule, especially bedtime routine (e.g. reading books, prayers, white noise machine), has been instrumental in getting our daughter to sleep, and stay asleep.

Mark: Having a good network of friends and support around us. Even with all the support you can feel like you are on an island. Isolation can breed despair and because of that you need people in your life you can lean on.

What habits or traditions have you started (or carried on) with your family? (e.g. Fantabulous Friday)

Tim: We have lunch together every Sunday at a cheap Mexican restaurant near our home. We laugh a lot and eat a lot of chips and salsa. Also, when movie theaters were open, we usually would have dad/sons time to go see the latest superhero movie.

Jim: Yes, I started Fantabulous Friday and it was so fun and the kids looked forward to it every week. It doesn’t have to cost any money at all I.e. going to the park, or a nature center, Best Buy or Chuck-e- Cheese.

Chris: We eat as a family almost every night...... that means dinner usually starts at 6:00 pm (sometimes 5:30). We gather around the island and eat together, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s stressful and messy. We also make it a priority to do family vacations every year. We want our kids to have wonderful memories of beach and mountain adventures with their family.

Steven: Chick-fil-a breakfast before school one day a week. We do a daddy/daughter date eating breakfast in the back of my car before I take her to school in the morning. This is a great opportunity for us to just connect, and have some alone time that is just us. No screen time or playing, but really a sweet time where we just can just talk about whatever...chance to be silly, be serious, and be ourselves. A nice tradition that continues to strengthen our bond.

Mark: You nailed it. As mentioned above, Friday nights are huge family nights in our house. We usually order in something the kids like to eat and watch a good movie together. Most recently it was mighty ducks.

When you had a new baby in the house, what were some of the specifics that helped you out?

Tim: Finding the rhythm of being a team with my spouse. Being willing to help out in any way. Leaning into each other's strengths.

Jim: Keeping the boys engaged because they were 17 months apart. Keeping them on the schedule as best as I could and helping wherever I was needed.

Chris: Having a feeding/sleeping schedule was the most helpful thing we did. I knew the schedule so I did not have to ask questions all the time. It also helped with the anxiety of having a newborn, because some of their behaviors became predictable. Often when our babies got upset, it was time to eat again.

Steven: MOC book, the "Baby Bible," was essential in just about everything we did: from swaddles to bottles, and even how to discipline.

Mark: Routine! Sleep sack or swaddle, naps everyday, early bedtime and letting them learn to self soothe.

When did you feel like you truly bonded with each child, how old were they and describe that moment?

Tim: With my oldest, it was at first sight. With my twins, my fondest memory is each baby in a bouncy seat feeding them a bottle at the same time. I was able to take a shift from my wife, and there was something very precious about that time with them both. I loved them before that moment, but there was something special about that time.

Jim: I would say early on but I loved the ages 2-3 with the boys. It was the best time when they were talking and loved being with you!!

Chris: I now have three children and it has been about the same with each. I found that I bonded with them after a few weeks of being at home. It always happened during one of the feedings, when their wide eyes looked at mine and I could tell they knew I was their daddy!

Steven: Holding my daughter after she was born. This was a very special moment for me that transformed the parenting experience from anxiety into reality. I was now a father, and it became so real and special for me in those first moments cuddling with her. I felt a closeness and a special connection holding her that bonded us from the beginning. She was my little love bug, and although she couldn't speak the words "I love you" yet, she did with her smiles. She had Daddy's heart from the beginning, and I now knew why being a Dad was so special, and this experience unequaled.

Mark: When you spend enough time with them they naturally gravitate towards you especially when boys get a little older. With each kid it was at different times over different subjects. Our littlest one (Reese) is bonding with daddy over toy cars and motorcycles. Also he has already learned (from his brothers) how to play on a tablet. We do some little kid games together and when he wants to play it he brings it to Daddy to teach him what to do :)

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