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MamaVoices: Brushes With Fatherhood

To celebrate Father’s Day we’ve recruited a few of our favorite bloggers to share their brushes with fatherhood, along with our staff.
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Brushes with Fatherhood – what have the Dad’s in your life taught you?

I was born on a summer afternoon one week before my fathers 39th birthday. I came out looking like my father. Mother said it was the cheeks that were a dead-giveaway. Nice and round, just like Dad.

I was named Stephanie after Stephen. Today I still have my father’s cheeks and his emerald green eyes. I am the eighth of the nine among his offspring.

Dad made life wonderful. He made Christmas more magical that Santa ever could. Dad treated 4th of July like he was Uncle Sam (which in fact he was born on the 4th of July) Birthday’s were yellow roses and balloons.

Dad can celebrate. He loves to go all out with everything whether it is a holiday or a family football tailgate dinner. If I have learned anything from Dad, it is to go all out -the gravy on the potatoes, the frosting on the cake, the cherry on top.

-Stephanie Nielson, NieNie Dialogues

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Like my husband my father understood motherhood is a hard road, and they both had the compassion to help out wherever necessary.

My dad worked 9-5 but unlike other dads he didn’t stop working once he got home. He cleaned, did laundry and frequently helped my mother make and clean up dinner. Because of this I expect a lot more from my over-worked sweetie and he is quickly becoming quite the mr. mom.

My husband and I both work, me in the morning and him late at night. Even though he struggles to fall asleep before 2am after working until midnight he is always there to help with the kids when I get up to work in the morning. In fact, if one child wakes early, he takes care of it. If I ask for help during a session of frantic cleaning before visitors arrive I know I can count on him. He is always asking if he can get me something to eat or massage my feet at night after a long day. If I didn’t have him I couldn’t do many of the things that add a little bit of joy in the life of a stay at home mom.

Sunday dinner is cleaned up by my father, every week. Which to me makes sense. My mother makes large and impressive meals every Sunday. She gets to cook, enjoys it and my father gets a very yummy meal.

They understand in order to keep the peace, they need to help the peacemaker relax.

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

-Emily M.

Dad taught me the benefits of hard work... From piano lessons to homework, I was expected to do my best. At college and in my career, hard work was the key. In my marriage and as a mother, Dad also taught me that hard work pays off. Dad is the hardest worker I know... always up by 6:30 a.m. and never with a complaint. While growing up, his career kept him busier than ever, yet he never missed a piano recital, daddy-daughter date, cheerleading performance or softball game. He was there by my side when I got married, and waiting by the door when my baby was born. He taught me to never settle on being good in life. The person next to you is good. Instead, work hard to be better.

Dad taught me about the value of money... I can remember when I received my first weekly allowance. It had to be something like fifty cents. But to me, it was so special. Dad taught me to not spend it freely. I was cautioned to remember the value of saving. Dad is also the thriftiest man I know, and from this I have learned so much... preparation, security, and smarts.

Dad taught me to think clearly and to make good decisions in life... He taught me about personal responsibility, honesty and trust. Dad is passionate about thinking clearly in order to make a good decision. When I was learning to drive, he taught me to always be "on the defense." Defensive drivers, according to Dad, never get in accidents. Think clearly while you're at the wheel. When I was taking my finals at college, dating my husband, and searching for my first full-time job, Dad made sure I knew the consequences of every decision. Think clearly while you're planning the paths of life. Don't be impulsive with your head in the clouds. Come back down to earth and make a good decision.

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These are only a few lessons Dad taught me, but they have stuck with me through the twists and turns of life... just like Dad. He taught such vital things at such pivotal times... all while being a nurturing father, a softball coach, a firm disciplinarian, a hard and dedicated worker, and a loving parent. Thanks, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

-Rebecca D.

As a dad to our 16-month-old son, my husband has exhibited a great deal of patience and fun. Dads are good for taking (safe) risks with kids--throwing them in the air and catching them with an ease that many mothers probably wouldn't feel, and letting kids take risks to learn lessons--my husband will let our son feel the sensation of losing his balance and falling, but catches him before he falls completely. Later, I'll notice my son knows better how to balance on steps and other precarious places.

Later, when everyone's over-tired and our son just won't go to sleep, it's his daddy who will rock him and lie on the floor with him just for an extra hour of comfort. There are certainly times when kids need their moms, but the bond with a dad is special, too. I'll be proud if my son turns into the kind of man his dad is.


I have learned important lessons from all of the dads in my life - some more valuable than others, but all of them have stuck with me over the years...

My Dutch Grandfather taught me to be fair and honest. He had ten children, and never played favorites. He was also the most generous man I've ever met; he gave to every charity that sent a him a letter.

My mom's father is famous for all his random tips... He always told us to eat natural peanut butter and plain yogurt to avoid any preservatives or added chemicals, and he's always claimed that tea and chocolate are actually good for you. He taught me, from a very young age, that I should always date my cards and letters, should never chew gum, and should always read the newspaper!

My own dad taught me the value of discipline and hard work. He’s always said that if you're going to do something, do it well or don't bother. He would make us wash the whole car over if we missed just one tiny spot. My dad loathes laziness; we were never allowed to be bored!

And lastly, my husband - the father of my two boys - has taught me the virtue of patience; he is a much more patient parent than I naturally am, and it encourages me to be the same. He’s also extremely aware of the world around him, and the world we will leave behind. He's taught me a lot about being environmentally conscious and aware -- something we can all be better about!

-Courtney in London, Babyccino

My Dad was a lead by example guy. (Except for the time I got roughed up on the playground by a bully…then he was the teach-your-daughter-to-throw-a-punch-guy.)

I credit my Dad’s example for instilling in me the love of my three favorite things: books, the outdoors and milkshakes.

I learned quickly that parking myself in front of the TV on the couch was unacceptable – but go outside with a book and he’d let me stay there all day. Camping trips were made special by Dad reading to my Mom and me while seated around the fire. The milkshakes? Not only does the man make a mean homemade shake, but if he doesn’t have all the fixin’s, he’s the first to suggest a post-dinner trip down the street to the local shake shack.

Oh, there are other important life lessons my Dad has taught me, but the ability to enjoy a great story, an amazing view and a tasty milkshake…well…those are the things that make life worth living.




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