When I founded Monica + Andy it was out of my own experience as a new mom. I was overwhelmed by my love for my daughter, underwhelmed by the organic baby clothing market, and felt adrift without a community of mom friends. It was important to me that Monica + Andy help new moms through their own transition. I was committed to making things better for them.
But something incredible has been happening—not only in our Guideshops—but across the country. With paternity and family leave policies that are finally (!!!) recognizing both genders as caregivers, two working parent households where parents are splitting responsibilities, and same sex parents who are creating loving families, we are meeting dads with serious “getting ready for baby” spreadsheets. They’re engaged in the conversation about strollers, child care, and our Layette experience.
But this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. In my own home, my husband Rob was the one who mastered the baby swaddle and took the midnight feedings. And since both of us are entrepreneurs with startups, we share the responsibility for our daughter—sometimes shuttling her between our Lincoln Park offices on days off from school so we can still get some work done.
Yes! Dads. are. In. it. That’s why we are proud to introduce our new Instagram series #wespeakdad in honor of Father’s Day. In the coming months, we’ll ask some of our favorite dads for their best advice and parenting mantras—and share them on Instagram with all of you. (So be sure you’re following us!)
To kick things off I’ve asked my partner in crime, Rob, to share some fatherly words of wisdom. We are so lucky to have him in our world.
Happy Father’s Day Rob! And to all the dads enjoy your day!
Founder of Interior Define + Dad
What does being a dad mean to you?
I clearly remember the day we learned my wife was pregnant with our daughter. I felt a mix of excitement and a little fear. As recounted by my wife, I inadvertently ran a grocery cart into a display the day we found out.
In our family, I play a supporting role in our daughter’s daily routine. Spending time with my daughter is my favorite thing in the world, but my wife and in-laws do the daily heavy lifting in her day-to-day. I’ve used starting a business as a (poor) excuse; made all the poorer by the fact that Monica started one at the same time—which makes her all that more an impressive mom.
I think dads often have the ability to spend the “fun” times with their kids, e.g. reading bedtime stories at night or playing on the weekend. However, it’s humbling to see how much influence you have on your child and how careful you need to be with that influence. For instance, I just learned you shouldn’t read Harry Potter to your child until they’re at least 8 years old — after reading the series to her at age 5 (with some generous editing). Hopefully, she’ll forgive me.
Tell us your best advice for new dads.
With all of life’s distractions (work, technology, etc.) it can be difficult to put 100% of your focus on your child in your free time. But it’s remarkable how quickly time passes, and I’ve learned (most) everything can wait. I do my best to shut down anything not related to her between the time I get home and the time she goes to sleep, and on the weekend when we’re spending time together.
What’s your parenting mantra?
Love your child to your fullest extent and always do what you think is best for them—and it will all turn out okay.
Parenting is full of surprises. What has surprised you most about being a dad?
I had assumed you begin developing a real, relatable relationship with your child when they’re in their teen years or beyond. I was surprised at how early my daughter began inquiring about topics that seemed beyond her years (e.g. politics or history) and how we began sharing a sense of humor—which probably speaks more to my sense of humor than hers. I know there is a line between being a parent and friend, but I have more fun with our daughter than anyone.