Database Name: dbwzecoixet92g art-of-fatherhood-podcast-notes – A Dad’s Path

Transcript #53 – Art of Fatherhood podcast host, Art Eddy on the mental switch on becoming a dad, how to stay engaged with your kids as they grow up, and we discuss the kids shows that drive us crazy!


We speak with the Art of Fatherhood podcast host, Art Eddy. Art’s youngest child is in the 6th grade, so he gives us a blueprint of some of what he’s learned and experienced along the way.

Highlights of our conversation include:

  • How to deal with your own identity becoming a dad

  • His ideas on screentime

  • How to smooth the transition of your kids finding other priorities besides you!

  • The rite of passage of being driven nuts by one of your kids’ shows. We share ours

  • Ignoring the playground side-eye

  • More ideas for creating support structures/friends groups


Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast platform. Like this episode? You can check out more of our Dad Podcasts.


Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of A Dad’s Path podcast. I’m Will Braunstein. Today, I’m here with Art Eddy from The Art of Fatherhood podcast. In addition to the podcast, Art also co-authored a book, The Life of Dad. It was published by Simon and Schuster. He’s been a featured writer, podcast host and producer, and a host of Facebook Live shows on many different platforms. You can find Art at theartoffatherhood.net. Welcome, Art.

Art Eddy, Art of Fatherhood: Hey, Will. Thanks for having me, man. Really appreciate it.

Will: Yes, thanks for coming. I’m excited about this. It can be fun to interview people who have podcast because someone like you, you’ve interviewed a lot of other dads about fatherhood. I noticed you’ve interviewed a lot of well-known or famous people. Actors, comedians, sports stars, businessmen. Very cool. I have to ask, what do you see in common from a lesser-known dad as myself versus someone who’s incredibly famous worldwide, something like that? What similarities, and then what differences have you found, just off the cuff?

Art: First of all, don’t call yourself an ordinary dad. That’s first and foremost. I think every dad, and I’m not just saying this, I think every dad, you’re a dad podcaster and you know this, every dad has a story. I think the biggest thing that you and I are doing, and people who are having dad podcast is just to show that there is this common bond. I felt like a few years ago, maybe 2015, there was the rise of the dad. Like, “Dads, they’re cool now. They’re just like us.” It’s like, “Okay,” and then then it faded and it was like, “All right, hey, we’re still here.”

I would say the biggest thing I hear from everybody, and you probably do, too, is just patience. As you become a dad, as you become a parent, you realize you need patience, or it’s still a work in progress, right? For me, two daughters, they’re in their teenage years, 14 and 12. I’m still trying to be patient with them. They’re still trying to be patient with me. It’s a two-way street. I think the biggest thing that we all have in common is just that bond of trying to be the best dad you possibly can be. I think you probably screen your guests. I try and do the same.

I screen my guests and just try and make sure that they are, no matter who they are, whether they’re famous or they’re not in the limelight, or whatever the case may be, you just want to bring on good dads to share your same views on fatherhood. Not that you can’t bring on other people who have different views, because not every parent should parent the same way.

I would say the biggest thing– Sorry for the long-winded question, but I would just say patience is huge. Every parent, every dad that I’ve talked to has different takes and different experiences that has evolved from their past, their parents or if they didn’t have a parent or if they had another different father figure whether it was a grandpa or a teacher, whatever the case may be, everybody sees things differently.

People who don’t have dads or grew up in a broken home, they try and– you can either break the cycle or you just keep the cycle going. I love those dads who’ve broken the cycle of broken homes or alcoholism, or just absentee fathers and said, “I don’t want my kids to feel the way that I felt.” I think patience is one, but that common bond of just trying to be a good dad is, I think, the main thing.

Will: That’s a great answer. I loved what you just said about breaking that chain and where our inspiration comes from. I had a great childhood. I have a great father. We go to lunch every week still.

Art: Nice.

Will: I didn’t get my inspiration from the negative. I got it from the positive, and saying, “How do I share this with more people?” When I meet people who grew up with, like you said, a broken home, without a dad, with a negative influence in their life, and they come out there and they’re striving to be the best, gosh, that’s so inspiring. It can come from anywhere, that inspiration. Also appreciate what you’re doing as a podcaster here as a dad.

Art: Thank you.

Will: My podcast focuses on first-time dads. What advice would you give first-time dads? You mentioned patience is something that’s going to be important throughout all our fatherhood journey. You’re sitting there in a room with a first-time dad, what do you tell him? What are the key bits of advice that you think would really be helpful?

Art: Great question, especially for your podcast, A Dad’s Path. That is perfect because when you become a dad, that’s where, obviously, your dad path starts, right? I would say even before then, too. If you’re listening to this, I bet you get a lot of emails like me where it’s like, I’m soon to become a dad, started looking up dad podcasts, I’ve stumbled upon yours and all that. That’s great. You hear that. One of the things I would say if this is before the birth of your first child, this is going to sound weird depending on if you’re together in a relationship with your partner, and she’s one who’s pregnant. Talk to your baby in the womb.

You can sing, you can talk, whatever the case may be, but when you talk, and you’re almost like, the baby can hear you. The mom’s probably talking the same thing, so the dad. I remember doing that for both of my daughters. You start that connection there. You start it right there. Then when the baby comes, it’s going to be so many things, man. There’s going to be so many emotions. The hairs on your body will stand up and you feel this sense of duty now, like, “All right, here we go. This is my dad path.” For me, I became a stay-at-home dad.

I realized that as a guy, if you go to mom groups, or you go to the playground, all of that stuff, people will give you the side eye. Maybe not as much now, but let’s just say 14, 13, 12 years ago, people were like, “What are you doing here?” I get that. When you’re breaking the norms or whatever, you go grocery shopping, you hear like, “Isn’t it great that you’re giving your wife a day off?” I just smile and wave and like, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.” After a while, when someone sees me there every Friday coming for grocery shopping, they’re like, “Maybe this guy is doing the grocery shopping with his kids.”

It’s going to be overwhelming at first. Of course, people say like, “Bulk up on your sleep.” No, when your child sleeps, you sleep. If it’s during the day, take a 15, maybe a 30-minute nap if you’re not having sleepless nights, take a nap when they sleep, but then wake up– If your child sleeps in a different room, have a little alarm, so you wake up after 30 minutes. 30-minute power nap is great, and then you can do different things. No matter what– Going back, I’m going to take myself. I’m 43 years old, but that movie with Michael Keaton, Mr. Mom, you see him become the stay-at-home dad.

He’s like, “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know how to do this.” Whether you’re a man or a woman and you’re raising a kid for the first time, it’s crazy. Once you start getting into a pattern, into a routine, that’s like a cheat code in any video game, man, because all of a sudden, you’re not only like, “My baby starts to know that once they have the second bottle towards the end of the night or they get the bath, they get the bottle, and it’s time for bed.” Find patterns that work for your family. It doesn’t have to be exactly what I said, but get in a routine that works for everybody in the family.

During the night, baby wakes up for hunger, he or she’s hungry, change the diaper. If you change the diaper, then you can give the baby back to the mom so she can nurse. That’s another bonding experience. That’s something you’re doing so you both can battle the non-sleeping time. Six months, seven months, you’ll come out of that being sleep deprived and you’ll be fine. I know I threw a lot out at your audience, but that’s just something that comes to mind when you talk to someone who’s going to be a dad for the first time.

Will: You said some really, really good things there. One thing that really stuck out is both moms and dads doing it for the first time, at some point. It totally makes sense that the dad, as a dad, we don’t know what we’re doing. Moms don’t know what they’re doing exactly either, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not empowered. We can learn. We can read. We can become dads. That’s why we have this podcast. That’s why our listeners are here, because they want to become better. That’s the point, so you can learn, which I think is really important. It’s not just this is a mom’s job. We know that.

Like you said, once you get into a routine, that’s really key. Unfortunately, as your kids grow, it is like a video game where you get the routine, that’s the cheat code, and then you have to face a bigger boss and a bigger boss, and a bigger boss, in a different routine as well. You have to adjust as well. That really makes a lot of sense. What’s the opposite though? What’s the flip side of that? As a first-time dad, what do you wish you did less of, or when you talk to other dads, what do you see them doing that they should be doing less of?

Art: There’s that transition depending on how your relationship was before you became a dad. Whether you’re living together or if you’re not living together, whatever the case is, there’s going to be– You know this and I know this. Once you become a parent, you become less selfish and it’s like the world doesn’t revolve around you. I’m going to go back to when I got out of college. I remember I called my parents. After I got maybe one of my first checks and I saw not only the tax, but the medical benefits and all this other stuff,f I just had to get an oil change. I was like, “Life is expensive.”

I called my parents. I was like, “Hey, thanks for everything.” They’re like, “Huh?” This is an impromptu call of just saying, “Hey.” I explained exactly what I just explained to you. You realize that there’s a lot of other things that are more important than yourself. If you have time, you shouldn’t lose yourself. You shouldn’t lose Will the individual, I shouldn’t lose Art the individual. Shouldn’t lose the time with your partner as well because you’re going to need that. What I hear is people are like, “I wish I did this more. I wish I was feeding my child a little bit more. I wish I was doing a couple more things or being my kid’s soccer coach.”

When they’re toddlers, they’re like, “Yes, sad’s going to be my coach? Sweet.” When they’re middle school, “No, I don’t need you to be my coach, dad. I’m sorry. You’re good.” I was a softball coach, Tee-ball coach, soccer coach, basketball coach. Loved all that. Right before the pandemic hit, I was going to be a volleyball coach. I know how to play volleyball, but I was just like, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” They had a coach’s helper who she played volleyball and she was a senior in high school, and then she was going to get a scholarship to college.

I even said from day one, I was like, “Everybody, that is your coach. Ms Megan’s your coach. I’m just the guy that’s going to be helping out with drills and emailing your parents when they come to games. Just throwing that out there.” Again, being a guy and showing that I don’t have the experience, this person who’s younger and is a woman has more knowledge than I do. She’s going to be your coach. I’m just going to be the guy that sends out emails and gets the orange slices. I’m sorry for the digression. I would say the biggest thing is hindsight’s always 2020.

You’re always going to be like, I wish I did this more. Having this podcast that you run, people should use this as a resource because we’re giving you the answers to the test that we’ve taken years ago that don’t go out of date. There’s going to be things that I’m like, what did I wish I’d done? Maybe I wish I would’ve taken my kids to a couple more play dates or certain things, but they have good friends now. In the school system, they learn stuff. Maybe when I was younger, I was timid and I saw the side eye, but I should have been more brave and been like, forget it, I don’t care. I’m just going to go out there and do it.

I think each parent is going to realize, and they’re like, “Oh man, I wish I could have done that,” but like I said, our podcast can help out with that “I wish I could have”, because you’re hearing from a bunch of dads. That’s a great question, by the way, that if you listen to your podcast, they’ll be like, “Dad A does, Will should have done this, Art should have done that. Past guests, they should have done this.” Just put it all in a parenting Rolodex. It’s just like, I like that, or a buffet, I like what Will said over there about changing diapers. I like what Art said over there about helping with the bottle feed or whatever the case may be.

Just make it your own. The biggest thing is we try and keep up with the Joneses. Don’t do that. That was another thing too, because I felt like one of the dads that I was talking to was like, “All my neighbors, their kids are into sports. My kids hated sports and I actually hated sports, but I felt that was the thing to do.” Just talk to your family. I think as we go further, you’ll find out, like for me, communication is key with your kids and your family. Just see the pulse of everybody, what they want to do, because that’ll make life a lot sweeter and easier.

Will: I like that. At some point, your little ones turn into little people, and have opinions and thoughts. It’s important to make that switch. I liked where you started with the coaching example, how you used to coach a lot more and now your kids are less about that, because that’s a value that I try and instill in myself and that we talk about on the podcast a lot, which is at some point your kids aren’t going to want to spend as much time with you.

When they’re young, they’re, “Daddy let’s do Legos, let’s do a puzzle, let’s play a game.” Don’t take that for granted, because that will go away. It has to. At the very least, kids get busy and their schedules fill up, and they have more social obligations. Then there’s also the whole teenage thing where that can go a lot of directions too. For me, that’s been an important learning as well. You articulated it well with that coaching example

Art: Also too, and great point there too in teenage years, I think again, if you’re a new dad and you’re going to be watching a kid’s movies and all that other stuff, I think it’s Toy Story 2 when Jesse tells Woody about the whole why she was donated or whatever the case may be. You see the kid start getting older and the toys get pushed underneath the bed, and then it’s put in a box. Time flies, time seriously flies. Like you said, there’s going to be things that, yes, they’re not going to want to play Legos with you anymore. They’re not going to want to play this board game.

Then ask them what they’re into. My daughter and I, my oldest and I, we write a pop culture website. We write at a pop culture article series called Dad and Daughter Pop Culture Reviews. We just did our favorite Stranger Things characters. My wife and I, especially during the pandemic, we wanted to make sure we have a great relationship with our kids where they can come talk to us and we can do the same. My family is my biggest priority. Duh, I get that, but I make it sure that I’m there for them. I would say to new dads is harness everything that you’re doing now as a new dad and keep on doing that, keep on being communicated to them and see what’s going on in their world.

Take stock into what they’re interested in. It’ll go a long way. It’ll definitely go a long way because yes, there’s going to be fights. There’s going to be things where you don’t agree on, but man, if you are coming from a place where you both understand each other, it’s a lot better and you won’t have that stereotypical, “My daughter’s going through teenage years.” It’s like, “Yes, okay, we get that,” but there’s a lot of stereotypes that guys hate. We all don’t fit under that category. I would say strive for making sure you’re there for them and actually taking interest to what they’re doing.

Will: That’s great. That’s all about keeping the connection. Keeping a connection, and as you’re saying, communicating. I think that’s huge. When we’re teaching our kids, because we’re teaching all the time whether we it or not right through our modeling, through what we do, sometimes what we say, but usually what we do, have you seen patterns or things that you’ve done that you’re now seeing in your kids on a positive side? Something like as simple as saying please or thank you, or just that remind you, or you think they might have gotten from you and your wife’s parenting?

Art: Good question. That’s another great point for new parents to think about, the question that you just said, because you might be saying all of these things, but are you doing the things you’re telling them to? You might be talking the talk, but are you actually walking that walk? Having that question, not every day, but maybe once a week, and you do that by seeing their actions and how they handle things that is similar to how you would handle something. I would say that my kids definitely have my idea of getting things done, like getting the homework done and then having fun.

I was always like that in high school. I try and have all my ducks in a row. Then it’s like, all right, now it’s time to have fun. I would say for my wife, she’s very detail-oriented. I see that in my kids as well, whether they’re making a fun craft, whether they’re doing homework, whether they’re working on– They both play piano but my oldest will maybe do a little bit more. My youngest just started in sixth grade. She started last year, she started playing the saxophone.

You see them, they definitely got the musical talents from my wife’s side. I had to do the turntables, but that’s the weird near playing. It is an instrument, don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s an instrument, but playing a saxophone or a piano, I think, is a little bit harder than me with the turntables, just my experience. I see the attention to detail from my kids have from my wife, and then me just prioritizing what needs to get done first, work hard and play hard, or work hard and then you can play after your chores or your homework is done.

Will: I like that prioritization. How did you approach screen time, or how do you approach it? Is it do your work and then you can do whatever you want? Is it there’s educational screen time and non-educational screen time? Just for the listeners in the background, there’s two video game systems, Mortal Combat and KGM, so we’re not unbiased. Are there three? There might be three video game systems.

Art: Yes, there are. I am such a geek at heart. Here’s the thing, every age group it’s going to be different. When you first ask me that question, I immediately thought to my kids at my kids’ age right now, but I’m like, “No, this is geared toward making sure the new time parent.” Let me just say, every parent is different. Talk to your spouse about it first.

One of the things my wife and I– Again, judging whatever, yes we were judging, even though you shouldn’t judge other people. I go to a restaurant, pre-pandemic, and I see all these families with a kid with a tablet, I’m like, “You’re spending how much money? You’re not really engaging with your–“

I know there’s going to be certain meltdowns and you’re going to break glass in case of emergency and give them your phone, play this game. Sure, but we always try to play Tic-tac-toe with them if we’re at the restaurant, and if they have the kiddie menu, whatever. When we were living in New Jersey at the time, my family was based in New Hampshire, we would drive up. That was like, all right, we have our van, [the DVD player because before that, DVD’s were a thing. They would have some Teddy Grahams and a solo cup. They’d be eating and watching Cinderella for the 15th time on the drive, but that was it.

Then there were certain times where we would watch a movie once a week, on Friday or something that with the family, but it was mostly get outside and play. As they get older, you want to play video games? Sure. You get an hour of that. Cool, but you have to do X, Y, and Z first. I’d say for us, when they were younger, screen time was just let’s get out and play first. This is right around toddler, after you’re done with the bath and right before a time maybe you can read a book through your tablet or play a game or something. Doesn’t always have to be educational. I think we limited the video game time versus the educational screen time, if that makes any sense. If we were traveling, it’s like, you know what’s happening? You’re watching movies for six hours. [laughs]

Will: All bets are off when you’re traveling, especially long car rides. Because we struggle a little bit with my second grader has a school computer now. He had one last year.

Art: That’s crazy. Let me ask you this too. I think parents now that are new parents and their kids aren’t in school yet, I seriously was looking at my youngest school supply list and I’m like, it’s just a PDF, I’m like, “This is it? This is all they need? That can’t be.” Then I realized everything’s done on a Chromebook now. It’s environmentally, I guess maybe if you take away the battery and charge, and electricity, and all that stuff. You’re not wasting paper upon paper upon paper. When you said that, that was just recently something, I’m like, that’s so weird they don’t need all of the things I used to get when I was a kid.

[laughter]

Will: Yes. Which is a little sad. Just in the nostalgia sense, it was fun to pick out your trapper keeper and your binder, and the color of your folders.

Art: Especially for your kids’ elementary school. You have all that stuff.

Will: It was interesting because a lot of the things on there weren’t actually educational and they’re just sort of, or barely. At the same time, our lives are going to be driven by computers, by electronics in one way or the other. They already are. I don’t want my kid on Zoom, that is a deal killer for me, but in terms of just being on using his computer as a tool at school, I was okay with that. Anyway, I always ask that question because it is a hot-button topic.

Art: I think every family’s going to find their sweet spot with it. My daughters will be like, “Do you mind if I type on my computer and write a story?” I’m like, “Yes, sure.” It’s using your imagination instead of writing it out and stuff. We would read their stories. They’re great. They still do it today. I’m like, you can have some creative time because I’m cool with that. You are using your creative side of the brain. Maybe you’re not writing it down or maybe you’re not building with Legos anymore, but you’re still being creative and you’re still like– The stories are– My oldest she’s just wrote a 162-page book.

Will: Wow.

Art: It was really cool. We all read it, we enjoyed it. I remember we were watching a movie recently and I like, “Hey, like your movie.” She brightened up. She’s like, “Yes, you’re right. Thanks, dad.” I was like, “Yes, no doubt.” It goes back to paying attention to what they’re into. Like you said, if there’s creative ways of what they’re doing with electronics, cool. Or make stop motion. Back in the day when they were into Legos, they’d make stop motion movies with the sets they just built.

Again, you can see this and not your audience, but you can see the Star Wars stuff. You see all the documentaries of, “I used to make stop motion things with a camera and all of this stuff. Now it’s tablets and phones and all that stuff.” It’s like, if you’re you’re being creative and you’re actually creating something like, cool, go at it. I’d rather you do that. I might give you two hours instead of one hour because of what you’re doing.

Will: I totally agree. There’s a distinction when you’re creating, when you’re being more active versus slumped down in the couch, tongue out, watching whatever it is. I think the one pleasure that you were able to avoid is CoComelon. Have you heard of that show? It’s like this–

Art: We got all of the– I feel like every generation’s got their certain thing.

Will: Yes. I’m sure.

Art: No matter what it is. As much as I appreciate Frozen– I remember my family and I went to Disney for the first time for our daughters. It was in October, the month before Frozen came out, the original one. It was our anniversary, my dad’s birthday and we were with family and all that other stuff. We had a date night, my wife and I, and everybody else stayed at the hotel room.

We were going around checking out Epcot. I remember we went into the Scandinavian Norway area and we’re like, “What are these?” “This movie’s coming out next month. Watch, your kids are going to love it.” I’m like, all right, cool. The let it go, like, let it go. I’m like, okay. Can we let it go? Because we’re not, because it keeps on going on. Everyone’s got their own thing, whether it was that or Peppa Pig, or Baby Shark and all that, there’s always that. There has to be that song or series that drives bears nuts.

Will: 100%. that’s part of our rite of passage, I think, the kid wanting that one.

Art: Do you have a guilty pleasure of what they watch? You’re like, this is funny. I’ll give you all your thinking. I’ll tell you, I’ll admit it. The Tinkerbell movies, I thought were fantastic. Some of the humor wasn’t adult humor per se, but there were certain things I’m like– I remember my wife came home from work and I was like, “What you watching?” “We’re watching that new Tinkerbell movie. They had behind-the-scenes. Video’s character was hilarious.” My wife’s looking me like, “Are you okay?” I’m like, I need more adult interaction, but yes, it was hilarious. [laughs]

Will: That’s good to know. I have not seen the Tinkerbell one. See if we get my kids into that. That’s a good question. Peppa Pig honestly is not a bad one for me.

Art: See? Yes. [laughs]

Will: Just like CoComelon is.

Art: [laughs] The way you say CoComelon, I hear the disgust.

Will: It’s not even me disliking it, it’s how it affects my kids when they watch it there and that ultimate slumped-over mode-

Art: TV phase.

Will: -unlike any other show. Yes. I love that you do all these different activities with your kids. That seems to be a common theme to build relationship and to build memories together. I’m curious if you have any, either family traditions or father/daughter special days you do, or something like other ways that you’ve found to help build those memories.

Art: Great question. I think the biggest thing is my daughters and I will geek out of all the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universe TV shows and all that. We might do our own fan fiction and talk about what we’d like to see next, or have our own stories after the fact. My oldest, we had this thing where we wrote for– All four of us would write a story for 10 minutes. We had to put a clock on a timer. Then when that was up, we would switch, everybody counterclockwise would give our story to the other person, we would write it down. We’d have for five minutes.

Then we would just finish the other person’s story. We’d do it for all of us until we wrote everybody’s story. Then we read the story out loud and see, some of it was funny. Some of it was trying to go with the theme. To me, that is a great way because it builds laughter. We have games, we’ll play games, whether it’s card games or board games, my kids. My wife and I, we don’t like play Clue with our daughters because they will give each other secret codes and we’re like, all right, we’re done, we know what you’re doing. Forget it.

Will: You got to fight back. You got to do your own codes.

Art: Yes. [laughs] It’s, I’d say playing games, and just we go for hikes together, and certain things we talk about. Just talking together is great. My wife took my daughter, they went shoe shopping last night after dinner and my oldest and I were just talking about high school and what I remembered for all that. Just talking, playing games, and just finding activities that we’re all into and you’re not forcing everybody to do something that you want to do.

Will: That’s awesome, and big. It’s obvious, don’t be selfish all the time about the activity. Because it is not about the activity, it’s about obviously bonding and creating those connections, those moments with your kids. That’s right on. The last thing I want to ask you about is getting away from our kids and focusing on ourselves, mental health, physical health. Specifically, I’d be curious what you found that works for support structures in terms of friends, other dads. Are other dads your friends? Do you have limes there? What’s worked for you? Either you or guests that you’ve spoken to. I’d just be curious.

Art: Great question. I think you can agree with me on this where our guests might not be long-time friends or whatever, but we share that common bond of fatherhood. Having these conversations with you, Will, I feel like this is a way to do my own sanity check, see what’s going on. Our podcast, I think you and I have that where it’s like I do work from home and it’s like don’t really have anybody else in the office. My wife works from home, but she’ll be on calls or whatever the case may be. You’re like, cool. We have a great relationship.

We’ll hang out all the time, but it’s during the work hours for her. For me, I make my own hours. For her it’s the standard 9:00 to 5:00. I would say, like I said earlier, don’t lose the individual of yourself because you will just get bogged down. You won’t feel like yourself and you just feel like you’re losing yourself. I know dads that get together and go to ballparks once a year. They’ll go have a dad trip or whatever. As we’re recording this, football season’s coming up, and I’ve been doing a fantasy football league for a while now. I’m actually doing one last year.

Started up with dads who– Some dads knew what they were doing, other dads didn’t. I was like, it’s the no-risk dad fantasy football league. We’ll be on Facebook talking trash with each other and all that. I would say, depending on your work situation, your family life, try and do something even if it’s just going for a drive or doing something you like. Even if you play golf or basketball, or hunting, fishing, whatever the case may be, make sure you have that. Also, make sure you have that date night with your spouse, because that’s important.

Because you want to show your kids not only that you’re there for them, but it’s also healthy to still have you time. We always talk, kids think the sun revolves around them, but you want to show, there is some truth that you should have some you time. I think however you find that as in a healthy way, do that. Then for being healthy, I work out Monday through Friday. Then Saturday we might do a hike or I might do lawn work, or whatever the case may be. I’ve been working out Monday to Friday for a while now since the pandemic. I’ve been religious about that.

I have an elliptical and I have weights. Instead of going to the gym like I used to, it was always, now it’s like I just work out from home and just eating better. This almost sounds like a public service announcement, but go get your physicals. I rarely would get physicals in my 20s, sometimes in my 30s. Now in my 40s, I’m like every year, and my doctor’s like, “Maybe you should cut back on the cheese and meats.” I’m like, “All right, cool.” It’s like, eat a little bit better. It’s just taking care of yourself so you can be there for your family.

Will: Those are great ideas. You brought up routine again. I think that’s really important. When you’re working out saying, this is important to me, I’m going to make sure I do this every day. I’m going to prioritize this, or as many days as I can. I agree, balance is important. You do see people who make their lives 1,000% about their kids, and their kids think the sun revolves around them, like you said. That might work for them.

We’re not here to judge at all, but in general, having a little bit more balance, I find that after I go out with some friends and talk, just whatever it is in real life, we get a drink or two, then I’m recharged. Then I’m a better dad the next day. I’m feeling more well-rounded. Same thing when I have a nice date night or whatever it is, when I work out. That all is part of who I am. Part of who I am goes to how I communicate, how I act. That’s what fatherhood is.

Art: I know podcasts are worldwide so people can check it out. It’s not just saying for the States, but in the States, just with a different dad blogging and vlogging, and podcasters, all that stuff, there’s a thing called City Dads Group. Then also the At-Home Dad Network. They actually are having a convention soon in Phoenix. There was a dad convention as well called the Dad 2.0 Convention. Depending on where you live, just look up City Dads Groups, and you can find dads who are looking for other dads to maybe hang out and do fun nights. Depending on if it’s sponsored or not, you might go to a baseball game or whatever.

They have these different groups. You don’t always have to hang out. You can just talk on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever the case may be. That’s a great way to find people, especially if you moved or you realize after a year of being a dad, you’re like, “Where the heck are all my friends? Oh, yes. They wanted me to do this, but I couldn’t do it.” This is going to sound like I’m talking to kids, but your true friends will stick out there, stick with you because they know, they just had a kid and all that other stuff. There’s different programs and groups out there for guys who might have, like I said, moved to a different area. You know this, after college, it’s like do we really find friends? [laughs]

Will: For sure. You bring up really good points which is that they don’t come to you. You need to be proactive. Whenever I’m proactive, not whenever, but 99% of the time, people are receptive, want to hang out, appreciate it. Even if they can’t hang out, appreciate it. Then we’ll reciprocate. It is about being able to take that action.

Art: The sweet spot is it’s like you’re in a neighborhood and you found a family that’s got your similar values, and the kids are the same age, and they play well together. You go on family trips. We’re lucky to have family like that. We get along. We call them “framily”, friends and family. You put it together and those are so great, because that’s a great support system that are local and near you. That’s just for a support system. You get along and the kids get along, and we all love hanging out together.

That’s another thing where you might not think about, but once you strike up a conversation with the neighbor and get to know them and be like, their pairing is similar to ours. All of a sudden, you start bonding with them and you do more stuff with them. That’s a great way of everybody getting together, the kids are doing their own thing, and the parents are doing their own thing. It’s like, “Ah, utopia.” [laughs]

Will: That’s real. I’m here to vouch for that and say, when we were starting out, we had newborns and it felt like that was the most foreign thing in the world. Now, after some time, I’m finding myself. It happens because you select your community and who you hang out with. You can find that sweet spot. It comes and it gets easier. The very first part of being a dad is thrilling like you said, but also really challenging. Just being there is half the name of the game. Trying to do your best is the other half. Appreciate it. Art, thank you again for joining us today. You can find all of Art’s links on artoffatherhood.net, including to his book. I think this was great. Our listeners are really going to join this one. Thank you, Art. Thanks for joining us.

Art: Thank you. I appreciate the invite, and I appreciate what you’re doing, man. This was a blast.

Will: Awesome. Thank you.

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