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Aug. 26, 2020

#7 Kevin Seldon- Fatherhood, Marriage, and Surrender

In this weeks episode Kevin Seldon, host of The DILF podcast joins the conversation to talk about fatherhood, how mom's can help them be and feel more involved, how to parent together, and what he's learned along the the way. 

You can follow Kevin on instagram @dilfpodcast or check out his site http://www.dadidliketofriend.com

Support the show (http://patreon.com/candicehorbacz)


0 (0s): <inaudible> 1 (4s): Hello everybody. You're listening to Chatting with Candice. I'm your host Candice Horbacz. Before we start this week's episode, if you want to support the podcast, you can go to Chatting with candice.com and sign up for our Patrion account. You get early access to episodes, bonus content and live AMS. Every month. This week we have Kevin Seldon. He is the host of the Dells podcast. That's the dad I'd like to friend, he's a new dad and his podcast gets a ton of attention in the parenting world with new dads and parents in general. He is great advice. I really enjoyed talking with him and I hope you enjoy the conversation. 0 (42s): <inaudible> 1 (47s): Well, thanks for joining us today. Kevin how are you doing? I'm good. Thank you for having me. So for those of you that aren't familiar with his work, he is the host of the dose podcast. Do we want to tell us a little bit about, 0 (59s): Yeah, definitely. Well, it will kind of give a little context into my life as the parent and what we're going to be talking about today as well. So basically I have run my own social impact for him for almost a decade. And I started it out of college and I graduated. I wanted to make a, an impact in the world and very bright eyed and ignorant. I just kind of said, let me start a company. I don't really know what I wanted to do, but I know I don't want to be stuck wearing just one hat. You don't have a company. Tell me this one thing that I have to do. So I started a company using an array of my skillsets and slowly but surely I, as luck would have it, I just kind of found gigs. 0 (1m 47s): And I ended up working with vanity fair and with NBC universal and the roots. And so I was able to build a cool brand. And then I set my sights on love and, and search for my wife, a hopeless romantic kind of desperately looking everywhere. I actually wrote a dating book on kind of ways to find love and then use my own dating book to find my wife, you know, it was like it's called target practice. And it was, it was all these different types of people to target. And I never have even published the book yet. It's actually, I've been working on figuring out the logistics of that, but basically met my wife and we work polar opposites. 0 (2m 35s): She is definitely not as sensitive as me, very much about feelings and vulnerabilities. And my wife thinks that feelings are lame and likes to express it consistently. And that communication is not her favorite thing, but basically we, she was every one of my childhood crushes rolled into one from punky Brewster to Brenda. And basically once we got married after about a year, we started to talk about the topic of having a family, which I was ecstatic, cause I've always wanted to be a dad, but it was not as easy as we thought it would be. Health concerns came up and basically it was my wife's a diabetic and basically it just didn't go as quickly as we wanted. 0 (3m 24s): And I think my wife wasn't actually ready. And so it took us a few years. And throughout that time, I didn't realize the reason was that she wasn't ready. So I just didn't understand why it wasn't happening. And all of my friends were getting pregnant and actually pushed a lot of my friends away and pushed away this support network that I had built over the years. And I got very depressed. And over that five year period, by the end, I started doing a lot of writing. I actually got signed by a big agency and I was doing writing, but it was one of those things where I started to just do things by rote. I lost my passion for life. I dropped big clients and I pushed people away and I just was not in a good place. 0 (4m 11s): And so when we finally got pregnant, I thought that it would be this cathartic experience, but it wasn't. I went into panic mode because my wife is dying and, and it was a very difficult pregnancy. And then when we finally, and they gave birth, it was a very traumatic labor. My wife was rushed to the, to surgery after, and my baby was rushed to the NICU. And so I never got that beautiful picture that everyone has holding their baby. Like everything was so easy and perfect. And days later when we came home, we went into that newborn baby mode. And so I never got that time to really relax. 0 (4m 50s): So I decided to take an extended paternity leave, which is what, something that I am a big advocate for paternity leave a dad advocate if you will. And I, I basically decide to take an extended maternity leave. And when my wife kind of went back to work, that's when the bonding really began with my son and is amazing as it was. I realized that it was extremely lonely. There's not the support network for dads out there, even in 2020, there's really not a built in structure to support men, expressing feelings, let alone a real structure for them to have camaraderie with other dads. 0 (5m 32s): And that's when the idea of the podcast came. And so it took a few months with a newborn baby to get things up and running. But at the beginning of the year, I launched the <inaudible> podcast, which is data I'd like to friend and slowly but surely we we've gotten on the charts and craziest things. We broke into the top 50 on iTunes of parenting podcasts in Germany and Denmark in Canada, in the U S in France. It was like all French titles and then deal. And then more French who in France is listening, but it's gotten some good attention. We got featured by people magazine and we slowly but surely have just, we've had some great conversations. 0 (6m 14s): And it was beautiful for me to realize how much other men and other dads were feeling the same thing and slowly but surely building a space for dads to talk about their feelings for men to express what they're going through and make us realize that we're not alone. And that there are many dads that we would all like to friend out there. So that was a very long story short, but that's this year. 1 (6m 42s): No, I think that's so beautiful. And you touch on like a lot of really important points. I think that Fatherhood has, is such a crucial part of like the family unit of bringing up a child. And we, for some reason, it's really hard to kind of incorporate and like bring you along the journey. Right. Cause they were the ones that are pregnant. So you don't really get too like experience that at the same way that we do. And then depending on the pregnancy, you know, if it's like difficult to then that might even be more alienating for the couple and to have the dad involved. Cause he is like, there's nothing I can do to help. Like literally nothing I can do. So then that can kind of push it away a little bit more. Then you talk about the traumatic birth. 1 (7m 23s): Right. And then no one's prepared for that. No one knows if that's going to be You we actually had a pretty rough go as well. Like I had a cakewalk have a pregnancy. So we kind of assumed that labor was going to be the same. He was born with like a nuchal cord situation, like app garb, zero. So he had to get rushed to NICU and we spent like a week there and it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And then I can't really speak to your experience, but I know it was difficult for you because you're not only worried about the baby. You're worried about me. And I think that there's like just like this natural protection that the husband has over the wave and the baby. So it's a whole different kind of trauma for you to experience. 1 (8m 5s): And then if you talk about not having paid time off, like if you have these traumas, right. So how do you be able to kind of recover? He'll enjoy that newborn stage when you're worried about not getting paid, not making your bills and then having to go back to work and like a month for realistically for a lot of people. Yeah. It's tough. 0 (8m 24s): And not even just obviously the money is a huge thing for us. We just decided I would, that I would work off my savings. I run my own company. So I was able to have some of the people that work with me, pick up some of the Slack during that time period. It was also just about the passion going through the motions of work when you are a lead is hard. And my company is all about inspiration, inspiring brands to do better inspiring individuals to do better. We work with a lot of very high profile companies and individuals and I wasn't mentally there. I wasn't giving it what I wanted to give. 0 (9m 6s): In fact at the time I think it was like 2017. We got pregnant at the end of 2018. And basically I was pitching a show to CBS because I started doing a lot more writing at that time while I was running my social impact for them. And there was a point where I said, I wouldn't even watch this show. I don't wanna write this. I don't wanna pitch this because I don't even like what we have at this point. And yes, it had to do with the corporate entity and the way CBS was changing everything with regards to the show. But I just wasn't passionate about so many things. So that's when I decided to, I had launched something called Geldof labs, which is my company is called, Kilduff kind of an experimental think tank. 0 (9m 50s): And that's when I said, you know what, I'm going to kind of get into podcasting and publishing through my company and use those resources to launch something, to support dads because that will make as much of a social impact. Is that 2 (10m 3s): Yeah, we were insanely fortunate during this, the entire process because we had some cashflow through stuff that we didn't really have to manage, but even throughout the entire process, like we even talked about, like we don't, I don't know how other fathers who, or even like mothers who had like David survive off of their dual income and they only take limited time off. And they, like she said, like, you don't have time to process. Especially if something traumatic happens, you don't tend to actually process it. And we know first and like, it takes more time than you'd expect the process, something like that. Oh yeah. And it's even a birth alone. I'd imagine like, even without the like trauma, it's probably something still the process, right? There's a lot of emotions floating around. 2 (10m 43s): And for guys who are like your immediate reaction is to like bottle it up and like push those emotions aside. Right. Because it's what we're trained to do as men, you can spend a year processing that. 0 (10m 55s): Oh, absolutely. The funny thing is, so I, my father is exactly as you're describing, I don't know how I became what I've become, but I do not bottle anything up. I think my wife wishes that I would, I think most people in my life wishes, I wish I would follow more of not really built that way or capable of it. But a lot of my energy was to getting my wife to open up and to not bottle up her emotions, which obviously in my opinion, could affect the baby a lot during a pregnancy 100%. And it was, I did the entire registry because I thought, well, I can't get involved that much with I can't carry baby or I would. 0 (11m 37s): And so basically at least I can understand what all these things are. We launched and expect the unexpected series. We launched stub series as part of the podcast. We have a co-parenting series where my wife and I kind of come together and very brutally honest have almost couples therapy session and talk about whatever we're dealing with at the present. And simultaneously with this expect the unexpected series. I was shocked at realizing that it is a very common thing for all of us. We are worried about our wives. We're worried about the baby's health. And so we don't even take a moment to think about how we're feeling, the big thing or the expected expected series is to talk about the guys' fears. 0 (12m 19s): Well, they're pregnant and then bring them back six months later, once they have a baby and kind of discuss how they matched up. But the biggest thing that comes about when we talk about fears is the dad never address his, his own. It's always about the wife. It's always about the baby. It takes a lot to get a dad to break down the walls, to be able to think like it's a selfish thing, which it's not getting in touch with your own feelings about, are you scared to become a dad? How do you feel about all of these aspects? And then they just get bottled up for five years as you deal with the chaos until you have a kid that's a little older and some dads break under the pressure I've found. 0 (12m 59s): And it's like, 2 (13m 2s): Well, you put her, I put her in like a box, right this box. And that was like this energy Ninja, making sure that like nothing bad would Pierce this box. Even like throughout the entire pregnancy, throughout the post pregnancy. And like you are The, this is like usher of protection and security. You feel like you have to be, and there's no other way, right? There's no other way because don't not the one growing a human. Yeah. And you wanna feel like you're contributing in some way, right. 0 (13m 29s): And society backs you up in that, in that culturally we're all told that we're supposed to be the protectors and we are the security and we need to provide the money. In the last episode of my podcast, I talk with a PhD who is also a dad and he kind of has the research to back up a lot of the theories that we're talking about and that we discuss on the podcast. And he had this great story about in the sixties. There was this guy who was a, kind of a stay at home dad at that time. And he was playing with his kid in the park and gushing with some woman he met and talking about how much he loved his son. 0 (14m 10s): And it was so wonderful. And at the end of him gushing, the woman turned to him and said, that's so nice. I hope you find some work soon because it seems like you have a bit too much time on your hands. Oh gosh. I love that story because I feel like it, not that much has changed during maternity leave. And even now when I'm with my son, people are like, Oh, that's cute. You're babysitting. And we've heard that cliche so much, but it's not done. And I don't know how, but so many of us dads want to be actively involved, but societaly, we're not really allowed that freedom to wear that multiple. 2 (14m 45s): That's interesting. Yeah. Going back to like the beginning, when you find out you're pregnant and you have like all of a sudden nine months ahead of you, it's not like work. There's no moving deadlines. Like biology is pretty much set in stone. Like the dates, right? What are some things that you did to prepare? 0 (15m 0s): That's a great question. Well, first of all, we took a pregnancy test actually just wrote an article about the, that should be out soon. We took a pregnancy test and it was negative. And I was heartbroken because my wife got her period in December. I insisted we had sex every day because it had been five years. And I was like, yeah, I was not giving up. This is our chip, you know? And so we pushed and then I was sure, this is, I don't know how PC 2 (15m 27s): This podcast is. 0 (15m 30s): No. So her boobs were sensitive. And so I was like, what? That way? This works, the sign. And so I was very excited and we took a pregnancy test and it was negative. And I was like, Oh my God, heartbroken again, like we have wasted so many pregnancy tests. And then like, this is the chief's day to me. That's like, can we rent it off and do it again next week? Because of like, we have to buy another one. And basically we, my wife went to the doctor and for the first time I think she was finally fed up, you know, because before, I don't know if she was ready or not, or fully wanted it. She said, what the F do I have to do? And the doctor said, let's just take a test just to be sure. She was like, I already did that. And they took it and then she was like, you're pregnant. 0 (16m 12s): And so we just took it a week early. So, you know, most people find out like two months in and they're like what we found out like exactly the day. So it was a very long pregnancy. We found out very early on. And so for us and answer to your question, I started to do the registry. I worked on the nursery and kind of custom did a lot of things in there. I feel like I had been planning it for most of my life becoming a dad. So its kind of manifesting all of those things. And more so than that, I think my prep work, you can only do so much thinking about your feelings, which I did not do. Ironically, the most empathetic guy in the world. 0 (16m 52s): I never took a second to think about my own feelings because like everyone, I was in panic mode for nine months and I was worried about my wife, who's the diabetic and worried about the baby's health. And we had an a doctor's appointment. I kid you not almost every week because high risk, you have two doctors. And so we went for checkups consistently. People are like, did you, you know how many ultrasounds? You know, those little pictures they take? They're like, Oh yeah, we got one. I'm like we have 80,000 because we, every time we went, they would be like, you want a different angle. It was almost like a photo shoot inside my wife's belly every time because we had so many being high risk. 0 (17m 33s): It's one of those things where I never took a moment to think about my feelings until I started the podcast. To be honest, like it's been extremely cathartic for me because I don't think I ever realized that I wasn't delving deep. I was so busy in my life trying to get others to delve deep and get them getting my wife's guard down. That once we got pregnant, I just was oblivious to my own feelings. And the biggest prep work that I did was less when we came, became pregnant and more, when the baby came out, I demanded night feeds and I actually highly recommend this to dads because I feel like the baby, I thought I was going to be a natural. 0 (18m 14s): I was very cocky. And the baby, every time the baby would cry, I would rock him. He didn't want me and my wife would touch him. He would stop immediately. And I was like, what the F is this bond that you have? You know, I tried to talk to them while he was in the womb. I tried to bond, but it was just, there is something about their connection. And my wife was insecure thinking that she wouldn't have that connection. And sure enough, I was the one who was the odd man out. And I was there on paternity leave while she was maternity leave. So I said, well, if she lucky enough was able to breastfeed, which I think is a wonderful thing. But at nights I asked her to pump for a bottle. And I mean, my son didn't know who was giving him the bottle cause he was half asleep. 0 (18m 57s): So we didn't complain. I got bonding time. And also it made it easier to transition him into the crib. And I felt like I actually had a purpose, which I think a lot of dads don't feel empowered during that beginning period. That's something we're going to be talking about on the next episode with my wife, when we do our co-parenting thing, because I feel like so many wives wear so many hats and they're used to it and they don't want to burden the husband, but then they get overburdened and then they're irritated at the husband. And I feel like it'd be a beautiful thing to empower the husband and say, you do it your way. And maybe you'll teach me something new. And we actually had to do that in flip because when I took paternity leave, I really started to create all my own ways of doing things. 0 (19m 40s): My wife was like, what's happening, you know? And I had that tendency to be like, no, you have to do it exactly like this. This is what he likes. But then you have this kid that only likes things one way. And so it's such a pleasure to have your, to individual ways of doing it. 1 (19m 56s): I totally agree. We had a similar situation. So he was home again, we're work from home. So like he's hear the entire time. And his main way to think of contributing was you would put the baby down for like naps or bedtime. So we had a SNU and we thought it was going to be like this savior. It didn't really do a lot for us. It helped, but it, he still needed assistance falling asleep. So Eric would go upstairs and he had like this very special choreographed way that he would rock and shush and move or about to get the baby to fall asleep. And it worked like a charm, but then when it was my turn to do it and he was super cranky, then I'm like, it's not working. So he would have to like, come up. 1 (20m 37s): He's like, you're doing it wrong. You have to kind of like do it this fast. And then at this angle then you turn this way. I mean, in a way it's a beautiful thing because he had like a sense of confidence and that was that he really mastered. And that was like his time. That was just, you know, the baby and him. And then it like kind of forced me to kind of figure out, well, how am I going to Sue the baby when he's fussy and doesn't want to go down. But if I didn't have, like, I guess like that Surrender and like, let him have his thing. If you will, then it could have created a lot more strife and like alienated him a little bit more. So I think it's really important for the mom's to allow the dad In and maybe like flounder a little bit. 1 (21m 17s): No one knows how to change a diaper at the beginning. Like we both did a really awkward job and we were in the NICU, especially with all the wires, like where, like where does anything go? So I think you both kind of have to find your way. And I think because like we carried the baby and there's like a little bit that maternal instinct, maybe we, we can become overbearing and we're like, Nope, I'm the one that's got to do this. Or I strictly want to breastfeed. I don't want to do any bottles or pumping as annoying. So I don't want to have to pump and get strapped up and feel like uncomfortable, but its about like give and take and then doing what you can as the mom, as the wife to kind of like make room for your partner. Okay. 0 (21m 55s): I couldn't agree more. I think that is something interesting that happened with us in the power dynamic. I think that because the moms get so much naturally and they get so much attention and love naturally they feel like when dads figure out something that works, its kind of like, ah, Oh my God know, this is how you do it. And I feel like in some ways seeing it from the other side, I think that probably you could tell me Candice but I feel like it's a little that way for moms, probably two in that like I've learned this way, like I'm so proud of myself that this must be the way I I've invented gold. You know, I feel like you need to teach the world. We ironically, we made it. 0 (22m 37s): This is very much my relationship with my wife. We made it a bit of a competition. So then when I would get him to sleep in the crib, I would brag about it the next day and would be like, how did you do it? And I'm like, I'm not telling you my secrets. You know? Like instead of helping her along kind of, you know, I guess you'll have to figure it out. Always crying, not going on. I know how to stop it. But you know, this kind of joke with us in a good way. It forced us each to, to come up with our own kind of methods. But she always, whenever we put 'em down for nap, she's always like, how did you get him down so fast? And I'm like, I'll never tell you no, that's my that's my little secrets. 0 (23m 18s): Have you ever heard of Alexander technique? So it's something I learned at college. It was oddly enough, it was like a posture class that I took at Northwestern. That was one of my favorite courses of all the money you spend to go to college. And all the courses I took a posture class was something that I enjoyed. It's ways to move your body, that don't put as much pressure and weight and strain. So when you sit down instead of like plopping down, it's like a way to like sit down gently or up without your muscles, all contracting. And there's the Alexander technique massage that you can give to someone to just kind of, weightlessly take the strain out of their neck and their arms. And I I remembered it years later when we had my son and I use it to relax him a lot. 0 (24m 4s): And just the concept of when I'm holding him, everything's gotta be weightless. You know? So his head can never just sit there cause like I put it against my cheek or I put it on my shoulder and I make sure his arms are just dangling. Cause I feel like the more weightless he is, but don't tell my wife that, cause that's my little secret. This is not aware of the, 1 (24m 22s): Oh, that's so neat. I'm going to try that. 0 (24m 24s): Yeah. Just to make sure there's no kind of weight at all or else he is exerting energy and then it's hard to let go. 1 (24m 34s): I'm going to use that tonight or last night, I guess what would be some of your pieces of advice for fathers that aren't naturally like driven to be a dad or maybe just out of like fear or ignorance? Like how do you kind of like spark that desire for involvement? 0 (24m 55s): Well, I would say that that is something where the wife or partner would ever kind of partner you have is an important piece because I think that when that happens, sometimes the partner then can take on more. It doesn't help in the way you think it would. I think it actually alienates the dad more. It makes them feel like, well then I'm not needed. I'm not necessary. And so I think that if a partner can put more responsibility where you're kind of forced to do it, I didn't step up as much as I've always wanted to be a father. I don't feel that I truly stepped up until my wife went back to work and it was like, wait, what is that? What is the nap schedule? 0 (25m 35s): What is the feeding schedule? And it was like, I had to kind of create that even though I was there for three months with her, I don't even think I understood the concept of a feeding schedule because my wife was just, he was always on the boot. He was crying or on the boob or sleeping. So I didn't really understand the cycle. And once I kind of did that and the weight was on me, all of a sudden, a lot of our lack of desire I think is, is a version of fear that converts into a wall that says I'm not interested because I don't know many dads who have no interest in their kid. Honestly, I know there's this trope and there's so many theories that, that dads are not invested or emotional individuals, but I've talked to a lot of dads through the deal podcast thus far and throughout my life. 0 (26m 22s): And I've not met many men without feelings. I've met many men with a lot of walls built up and like scar tissue that prevents them from expressing it. And a lot of dads who had so much fear or were so not empowered as a dad, that they felt distanced and felt like their kid would be better off without them there. But no one, 2 (26m 45s): No one that deep down didn't have the desire or love. And I feel like it's accessing them and getting through the fears and putting the weight on your shoulders to say, Oh, first of all, this is like, when you have your kid and your kids trying to do something you can do at for them or you can patiently wait until they figure it out. And the look on a baby's face when they figure out something for the first time is so amazingly unforgettable. And I feel like its the same with everyone of us as humans. So if a partner can allow dad the space to figure it out that look and that achievement, when it is figured out with their kid is a bond that just grows and grows and gets stronger and, and drops more walls. 2 (27m 25s): Does that answer the question now? And it totally does. Yeah, I think so. What's your opinion on that? So the original question was like, what are some, how to kind of get a guy, a dad that maybe is like either fearful, ignorant or like avoidant of being involved and having that relationship with the baby? Yeah. The funny part about that is like the fear is natural, I think because it's just so much uncertainty. So, and the only way around that in my experience in life and anything that drives fear because of uncertainty is to develop clarity and the best way to develop clarity is through like some sort of channel like, like journaling or something where it's like, you actually develop the clarity or what does it mean to be a father to you? 2 (28m 10s): Right? Because we put meaning to things, whether it's the meaning of I'm uncertain about this and now it scares me like that's putting meaning to where, or actually developing the clarity yourself as to what it means to actually show up as a father or husband or whatever it might be. So I would say that like that is a great place to start for anybody. I know that's what I did for a lot of it. And then preparation wise, it was like a matter of, I mean we had, I don't know, you have seven months to figure it 3 (28m 41s): And find out two months. Okay. 2 (28m 42s): And to do it, you have seven months to figure that the f**k out, read the book, read something, read the blog, listen to the podcast. Right. Try trying to figure it out for me. It was okay. I knew that there is going to be this giant uncertainty. I am the most way overly optimistic about, just about everything. And that OverOps, that is a good quality to have. 3 (29m 5s): Yeah. 2 (29m 9s): Or like, Oh, this'll be fun. We'll get a nanny. This won't affect us too much. And we're just like overly optimistic about the entire experience. But in the end I knew that there was uncertainty. So like I I've had like a meditation practice on and off for since college. And it's one of those like habits that never truly formed in a daily habit, but it's like one of those things that I do like every other day or something like that. So I took those months leading up to the actual birth to turn that into an actual strict habit. Like brushing your teeth, just developing that like meditation routine, developing like a journaling tackling. Yeah. Journaling routine. I took a couple of online performance, like neuroscience performance courses. 2 (29m 50s): Cause I knew like trying to start and run businesses while trying to be a father and trying to be a good husband. Like you need to be on your game. So I took a few like performance classes and these things are basically like, how do you operate at your full capacity? And I took those prior to actually like the actual birth and I read a bunch of books and I like in my head, I was like, I'm prepared. Like I'm doing the work I come there, the birth happens the NICU for a week. We bring them home. Everything. Like there was no preparation for that. I mean, I was so grateful that I was able to, you know, that saying where you, you don't rise to the occasion, you fall back to the level of your training. 2 (30m 34s): So when it comes to like stepping up in that moment, the training that I did and like doing performance courses or meditating or journaling or any of that kinds of stuff, like I was able to fall back on that. I was like so grateful that I had done that. But other than that, like there was like preparation wise for the actual experience. Like I don't know if there's the meditation probably helped a lot. I know that meditation helps a ton, but in the end, like he just got to prepare to be unprepared for the whole process. 0 (31m 2s): I think that's a brilliant way to say it. Yeah. Like expect the unexpected to be prepared, to be unprepared. I feel like people who are too regimented in the way they do things like identity EFT up the butter, a little, just not in a, it's just not the way it goes. And I think the more available you are the better, I think it was like episode 12. I talked to a beautiful artist and poet and his name's Joelle. And we talked a lot about how meditation it can help even in the smallest ways. I'm a huge fan of Headspace. And actually for anyone that's unemployed out there, Headspace is now offering a free year for anyone that's unemployed, which is really cool. 0 (31m 47s): And for anyone who is dealing with stress as a parent, let alone through COVID. But I found that even 10 minutes, I think so many parents feel guilty if their partner is doing something. And so they feel like they need to be doing something. But I feel like if you are lucky enough to have a co-parent, my wife takes him in the morning cause she likes mornings and she's a morning person and I'm more at night and I put him to bed every night and bath. And so I take advantage of that when she hasn't been the morning, either I try and sleep or I do a 10 minute meditation with Headspace. And then when I'm up, I have so much more room and availability for him to have a temper tantrum. 0 (32m 29s): Then if I'm so tightly wound and just waiting for the temper tantrum in ready for me to lose my crap, you know? And that's why I think it's so important. Yeah. I had like so 2 (32m 40s): Many times I tried to like filter through a lot of the training or a lot of like the books I've read in the past. Whenever I like deal with like a circumstance in which like, I just can't figure out why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling or something like that. When you with a child, right. A newborn and you're trying to change his diaper or something and he won't stop crying. There were times where I don't know what it was. It was like the amygdala or whatever, or some part of the brain just was like, there is something bad happening right now. And I can feel it all about my body. It was like so much anxiety. It's just a lot of like that protective instinct, right? Like I know mothers have it too, but there's more of a nurturing instinct when the baby cries. 2 (33m 23s): But only thing that was going through my mind was let's think like a hundred thousand years ago where we were, where there's Hunter gatherers and you're in a cave and the baby's crying, you're hiding from some sort of, I don't know, saber tooth tiger or something like that. Of course what's going to happen. If the baby cries and starts attracting the saber tooth tiger dad is going to go in protection mode. So there's like this trigger that after doing some neuroscience research and stuff like that, then there is a trigger that I believe that happens to a father when there's like a nonstop crying situation in which you feel like there is a threat somewhere and without meditating and being able to get in between like your thoughts and your emotions, getting them inside that gap. 2 (34m 5s): I feel like that's why, when we were taking them home from the NICU, they made us watch a video on how not to shake your baby. Oh. And it was directed and you directly towards this is crazy, but yet when you have the baby and he's crying in your ear for an hour and you're like, Oh, kind of understand why they, yeah. But it was, it was a hundred percent directed towards men and there was a stat. Do you remember the stat? It was like, almost always. It's like 90 something percent of the dad when it's like shaking baby syndrome. And 97% of it is from the father. And that got me thinking, because that was like, there was times I would obviously never shake my baby, but like there was times where I was like, man, I could feel this buildup of something happening. 2 (34m 47s): And I just had to explore it. And I was like, 1 (34m 49s): This is, why am I so angry at a crime? 2 (34m 51s): Yeah. Like why is that anxiety 1 (34m 54s): The same different response to us? Like, I don't understand, like he's a baby. He cries like get over it and he would get so worked up. And then I remember you getting frustrated that there wasn't like more resources for men. Like they just give you this like awful video. That's like, Hey, don't shake your baby. We'll see you at a checkup. There wasn't a lot of information. It was just like, Hey, just don't do this. And everyone that watches this video, I would think you'd be hard pressed to find somebody that's like, Oh, I get that. I get why people could shake a baby. Like everyone is like, how do you shake a baby? And yet it's the thing that happens. Right. So I feel like there needs to be like more education on that, especially with fathers and like, this is going to be a very stressful transition, no matter how easy your baby is, because sleep deprivation and crying is real and biology is real. 1 (35m 41s): So just like, I guess, understanding more of like your responses that are going to happen. Because I think if you can put a name on it or if you can kind of make sense of it, like, Hey, like this, obviously it's a theory, right. To me, that makes sense. But then you can kind of like identify it and then take a step back. And then I feel like you would have a lot less of these incidences if you just had more education. Yeah. 2 (36m 2s): It was like a switch cause they're sleep deprivation. Like you're just so tired. You're automatically going to be on edge. You got a short fuse. And once I, I leaned on some of the, like the neuroscience books on psychology books that I've read in the past. And like this book sapiens that I've like in love with, I leaned on that. And once I clicked and it was like surrendering to biology and understanding that these reactions are just my a hundred thousand year old neocortex telling me that there's a threat or there's a potential threat. And just surrendering to that, all of a sudden it went away. Like it was like that week, that week that I actually like made this discovery, it went away the anxiety, the fear. And I connected even more than ever with the infant. 0 (36m 45s): I'm going to say, I think I still have PTSD from everything from pregnancy to the birth. And I think that affects things. And I think the sleep deprivation is a part of it, but I think that support network, and this is a huge topic we discuss on the podcast is such a ginormous part of it. I think men who have a lot of guy friends are still not used to discussing their feelings, you know, with his other guy, friends. And especially when dad's talked to other dads just cause they have a kid doesn't mean you're going to bond. And when I made my first real dad friend, that was a game changer for me and I met him because he was brave enough to join a moms group. And they were like, he had a fight this way in because they wouldn't let him join the online moms group. 0 (37m 27s): And I had been to a lot during my extended maternity leave. I had been to different classes and the moms kind of ignored me. Like I have the plague and I feel like I'm a pretty friendly guy, but they just wanted to talk to other moms. And I wasn't necessarily a place where I could express it's as much on me that I was feeling alone and then I needed support. So I just kind of was offended by that. And I remember times when all of this added up to me being a very patient empathetic individual and in my relationship with my wife being kind of the rational, I don't like the word rational, but being the kind of in touch with my emotions partner, I remember at the baby screaming in my arms and me being like, I just can't take them. 0 (38m 14s): You take them and walking out the door. And I literally walked out the door for five minutes just to clear my head, but I remembered going, who is this person? How did you become this? And I actually think, in my opinion, it's less to do with men as it is to do like that men are made this way or there's a fault. And then, and more to do with it. 4 (38m 37s): The fact that there's this baby 0 (38m 40s): And this entity has grown from nothing to a living being well inside of the mall. And so it knows the mom's scent and it hears the mom's voice and sounds 24 hours a day. And it's in this black cave and all it has is it senses to be able to get familiar with the mob. And as much as I could talk to the baby from the outside in the muffled way, they can't see me. They muffled hear me, but there's just not that bond. So I'm a stranger when the baby comes out and as much as there might be something magical. I remember when my baby first took my finger in the NICU and I felt like we are one. 4 (39m 17s): Yeah, we are connected. Okay. 0 (39m 19s): And we're still, this is just factual biology that he's still learning who I am. And I don't think as guys we get credit for that, we're often told that your, the dad do the equal amount of work, but the baby doesn't want me. And so I need to be okay with that. And I need to find ways to connect like when the baby's sleeping and doing night feeds. But also I think this is very racy topic, Candace. And I talked about it a little earlier, but I think sometimes the boob is used against the dad. So sometimes moms will breastfeed and they don't want to pump well, that's fine. But you're actually stopping me from having a moment to bond with my baby, by feeding them with a bottle. 0 (40m 3s): I wanted my wife to breastfeed as long as she was willing, but I also was very eager for her to stop because I knew it would put us on a little more even ground. And whenever she would try to boob him to bed, it was like the second she would move, he would scream. And it's a lot easier to put him to bed with a bottle then to get him off the boob. There's just something intrinsically connected. That alienates me from the experience. I remember one night I rocked my son. I refuse to give up and wake my wife. It was my night feed and he was screaming and I closed the door and I rocked him on a ball for an hour straight saying you're safe, you're safe. 0 (40m 42s): And I think it's a key word now because now he's almost two and you're safe. Works for him because I literally, that night I did not stop. But I remember that things were different after that night. It was almost like something in his brain said, you didn't give up on me. I screamed at you for an hour and you stayed, you pass the test. And he just let down his guard just a little bit more with me, for sticking through and getting them to sleep and not going and getting mom that night. And it's like, a lot of moms wouldn't allow that my wife was the deepest sleeper on the planet. So she wasn't even aware that it was 4 (41m 17s): Right, 0 (41m 18s): But just like a lot of moms would come in and go, just give them to me. And I feel like fighting through, made me feel a little more like a hero and gave us that moment to connect in. A lot of guys just don't get that for various reasons. And then we blame and create shame for them in the fact that they're not having the most patients and they're not connected. Like there's something genetically wrong with men, but I think we have to take circumstances into account. Yeah. I think fathers need to find those small wins as soon as possible without that like positive feedback, you can get down on yourself and that's an issue in life and shame is such a big thing for men in general. I think a lot of times when you're not discussing your feelings, you're silently thinking maybe there's something wrong with you. 0 (41m 60s): So finding at least one person, you know, that dad friend I found just being like, Oh, you had that happen too, is such an amazing thing to realize we are all so flipping similar. If we just take a time to talk to each other about, 1 (42m 17s): Or some of my good resources that you would give to new dads, like to find dad, friends, he is obviously like Facebook is riddled with mom groups. Like you can like there's hundreds and thousands of them everywhere and like meet ups. And I think that it's probably a lot harder to find like daddy groups. So like how do you search and find them? 0 (42m 37s): So I have not successfully found a lot of actively involved and groups and those that, that I have found to be honest with you or activities the dads can do with their kids, with other dads, but they're not focused at all on feelings or vulnerability or discussing common situations and common emotions. That's why I created the podcast. I feel like even with a lot of the podcasts out there, they're starting to be more and more dad podcasts. But I think that one of the reasons we've kind of struck a cord is because most of the podcasts out there for dads or like we are men, we like adventure and we are fathers and it's like, it's not really touching on what a lot of the dads need. 0 (43m 22s): I heard one podcast where it's like a guy being like I'm goofy and I'm, I don't like my getting that much, but I'm a dad. Hey, Joey Lawrence, what's your favorite book to read to your kid. Cool. Thanks for coming on. Like we try with the podcast to go deep and to talk about the feelings and to try and express that. And I've always embarrassingly. I read a dad book early on. Someone said to me, I will not name it. It was like very pseudo machismo. He was like, if you want to be a girl, you can set up a date night and you'll probably get laid from it. And you could talk about your feelings with your wife and things you're excited about. And it was just like, you could tell by the dedication that he was a very sensitive guy, but he was trying to put this on because he thought that's what other men would connect with instead of being brave enough to just express what he was actually feeling. 0 (44m 13s): And I think it's hard to find a lot of resources like that. So we created the podcast for that reason. And we also are working on something that will be announced soon. That is for dads to be able to find other like-minded dads. But there are very few groups like that out there. I will say we, have you ever heard of the dad? It's a, it's a dad meme account on Instagram. They have over a million followers and I've always been very much against dad names and kind of dad jokes. And I feel like its like the opposite of vulnerability. You don't make a joke about it, but I just had The the founder on for an interview. And it was a beautiful interview because I realized not only as he just liked me, he is a very beautifully vulnerable and in touch with his feelings dad. 0 (45m 0s): But simultaneously there, our dad name's out there that are negative, but that's not what they do. And I think I always dismissed them. And when I started to kind of dive in and research, I was like, Oh, there was this meme of Joey and Phoebe from friends and Phoebe's like go to bed. And he was like, and she was like, go to bed, go to bed. And then Joey says, can I get a glass of water? And I was like, Oh my God, that's what my son does every night. It's like his excuse to not go to bed. 1 (45m 28s): And I was like, it made me feel not so alone. 0 (45m 31s): And I feel like sometimes just that can make a dad not feel alone, you know, searching for dad names. And I'd never thought that would work for me. So I feel like you find what works for you, but I think slowly but surely we're getting more and more resources, you know? And hopefully we'll announce soon our new project that's going to help with that. But I agree with you. It doesn't exist completely right now. And I hope that 1 (45m 56s): Yeah I do too. And we kind of touched a little bit about balance and I guess like score keeping. So that was like probably some of the biggest advice that I got. I can't remember where I read it or who said it, but it was essentially saying like, no matter what, the workload is not going to be 50 50, like there are going to be days where one of the parents is just pulling more weight and that's fine. So where are you getting to trouble is kind of like keeping a scorecard and saying, you know, well I did this many feeds or this many diapers and this many naps and then getting a little bit angry at the partner that maybe wasn't there as much that day. And then on top of that, you're also juggling your career for most people. 1 (46m 38s): So as like, I guess from like your experience, what would you say is like a good way to kind of like achieve or strive? I should say strive for balance. Cause I feel like balance is always something that we're just trying to get. 0 (46m 51s): Absolutely. I think there's two answers to that. One is flow and one is almost a separation of church and state. So my wife has tried many times to take over bedtime. She sees how much I live it and she's like, maybe I'll do bedtime tonight. And it's like, no, that is mine. You know? Like, and I feel like that is something a lot of times parents try and co do things. And I think that's dangerous because when my wife takes on a lot of responsibility, I don't fight her anymore. I just walk away. I'm like, okay, you're going to do the diaper. I'm not going to fight through the diaper. You know what I mean? And then she's like, why aren't you helping? And it's like, cause doing it. So I feel like if there's things that I'm responsible for, then no, one's going to take that away from me. 0 (47m 36s): And I feel like it's an important thing to discuss with your partner. What things are you and what things or me and its like the separation of power. So if I'm always doing bedtime and bath and post dinner, then my wife knows when dinner's done she's off. She can do whatever she wants or whatever she needs to do. And we don't F around with that. And there's just certain things I'm responsible for laundry. I'm responsible. I mean there are no real gender roles in 2020, I'll talk about it. But its like, we all just kind of fluidly do whatever it is that works for us as individuals. And I think that flow is such a huge part of my wife, never worries about diapers. 0 (48m 17s): I ordered the supplies. She always knows that when she opens that drawer, there's going to be diapers there. The laundry is going to be fresh. His dog, he is going to be cleaned. We have like six doggies to make sure. And it's just, she knows that that's not something she has to worry about. And I know that I don't have to wake up with him in the morning. I know that she'll handle that whatever's happening. She handles breakfast and those things take a weight off and they helped to help as co-parents to stop doing the tick for tat because you each have your own things you're responsible for. And if you agree to them early on, you're going to be like, Oh I think you need a little more on your plate, you know? But I think that you can help each other sometimes when, if I'm on a call and I'm doing work in late and she needs to do bath sometimes. 0 (49m 1s): So be it. But at the end of the day, it's like, I think the more specific and articulate you can get about who's responsible for what the better that's great advice. 1 (49m 12s): I kind of do that. I feel like sometimes, especially with bedtime, we both try to do bedtime routine and then sometimes it's just like not feasible because someone has something to do or someone that needs to start dinner or otherwise we're not going to eat until 10 o'clock at night and I'm going to be exhausted the next day. But yeah, I think like having like solid, like you do this all the time, I do this all the time and then it's not something that you're like actively worrying about and then who's going to do it today or tomorrow. And it's just like easier just like you said flow. 0 (49m 41s): Yeah. I think two that I have found just studies as a human being, but specifically as a dad over the past year and a half of it, plus that the schedule and structure is very important. And I used to think, Oh no, if you buy a home and, and you get things too structured, life's going to be boring and I'm settling down and I'm an old man now, but nothing is boring about a baby. Nothing's boring about a kid and, and it never will be. So I think that for me, the more secure cemented things that we have, the more that we allow for the freedom to have fun and let go. And Surrender, it's, Surrender can't happen if everything is always in chaos. 0 (50m 23s): And so I feel like for me, the more that he goes to bed at a specific time every night, he tries to nap at a certain specific time. He knows mommy is going to be there for this meal. He knows daddy is always going to be there for bath. It's like things will come up and he'll be in a mood, but that makes our lives easier. And I think we fight it sometimes because we don't want to be stuck to the schedule. And you can very, of course, you're going to have to vary a little here and there and certain days. And I think it's important to be able to fluctuate, but it's important to keep some sense of structure because it gives them in a world where they are powerless and they don't have words to express their feelings. It gives them some sense of control. 0 (51m 4s): And I think that that is sanity for us as parents. And we tend to fight it because we don't want to get boring, but you know, society tells us not to have too much structure, but I think as a parent, it's crucial for our sanity. 1 (51m 18s): I think so too. And I think once we got like really strict with our schedule, like we have like a whiteboard and we have the whole day like mapped out like feeds and naps and bedtime. And if we aren't like being mindful to that and if we like go, you know, an hour or two late past to NAB or to past like a feed, then all hell breaks loose. So I mean, I totally agree. It's almost like an oxymoron, but its like the more rigid you are with like those very important things and more freedom you have during like the wake hours, for example, or at night. And then you have like a more rested, happy baby 0 (51m 53s): And more rested, happy parents to know. I think that what you've just said, his interesting to the balance of rigidity and flow, I think it's beautiful way to discuss Parenthood because I think so many of us say, Oh, well you need a specific bed time, but I don't believe in seven o'clock every night, I believe in between seven and eight every night, if it's past eight, I f****d up, you know, if it's before seven, he's going to fight me. But between seven and eight gives us a flow to, okay, you want another book? Okay. You're having a rough day. Okay. You're really tired. We're going to go to bed right at seven Oh five, but it's like, you've got to have some flow in there, but you still have to have some sense of order. 0 (52m 33s): And I think that, that, it's a weird balance that I think it's crucial. I think that the order and like the rigidity kind of feeds the flow because as soon as you develop the order, as soon as you develop the schedule and the habits, then you kind of submit that two years from conscious and then you don't have to think about, you can allow yourself just be like, okay, well I know something's missing or I know to look at schedule. I know to look at the white board and say muscle memory. Also that muscle memory kicks in, which allows you to be more flowing and be more present in Surrender like you said, I think that that balance allows you to enjoy the time with your family, which in quarantine, we all desperately need. 1 (53m 13s): <inaudible> just more 0 (53m 17s): And you can go down a rabbit hole. 1 (53m 23s): Kevin has a two year old. So do you have any like daddy? 2 (53m 26s): Oh man. So the biggest thing on my mind when it's like one of those things where like I'm partly excited about it, partly like dreading it is schools as like actually picking the schools, like introductions to people that like caregivers while they're at school, like all the above, everything that has to do with like bringing our child to care of some complete strangers I keep. But yeah, it's just like something I keep processing. And again, like I'm excited about it because it's, I feel like it's going to be a cool challenge to make those decisions and like figure out to people and all that kind of stuff. But then also dreading it because the world's lost its damn mind for one. And like you just don't know who people are, what they're like end game is what kind of social issues that we're pushing on the children these days or anything like that. 2 (54m 17s): It's just such a weird time. I guess it's more magnified now than ever before, because it's always been an issue which is now it's like on the forefront of, 0 (54m 27s): I feel like a lot of these things are definitely harder in theory, when I wasn't a parent yet, I was like, well I do not ever want a nanny. I don't want someone else raising my child. And then with the extended paternity leave, it was very important to me that I was there with my kid. Like, why am I paying someone else to be with him? When I sanity wise, I need to be with him. I will say that it took us a year to even hire a freaking babysitter. We never would go out. It was a terrifying thing for us. And we finally had, we let her parents watch him once in a blue moon and a few friends watch him, but that was just terrifying to me. 0 (55m 7s): And it was because my wife threw me a surprise birthday party that we actually ended up. She convinced me to have a babysitter one night just because of that reason, which I didn't even know why it was so important to her, but we interviewed okay, 2 (55m 19s): Before we finally settled on one, 0 (55m 21s): It's terrifying. I'm not going to lie. It is. I don't know how to make it easier to accept, to say that. Although school is very confusing for absolutely every parent in the world right now, because of what's going on in our world, I will say there's nothing better for them than being able to assert their independence outside of your presence. So it's as important for them as it is for you to establish yourself because let's face it. You will be an empty nest or one day, you know, eventually they will leave the home. And I always joke to my wife, we have to start adapting our hobbies. Now, you know, what are we going to do when he leaves? 0 (56m 2s): We don't have that many years. Should we start playing chess? Like, should you practice photography? What is it that we are going to do? Because I think that we tend to, this is our world and that makes sense. But he needs to be able to be his own person outside of us. There's a baby in our complex, this is too much detail, but he's the same as my son and my son runs and, and is very vocal and he is a charismatic individual, but he starting to jump Andy as of a month or two ago, this kid was still crawling. And I feel like its because the parents kept him in the stroller consistently and shielded him from anything. 0 (56m 46s): It was made their lives easier, but they were trying to keep him safe, but we can tend to hold our kids back a little. And I feel like there's nothing better than giving them the opportunity to go and hang out and be wild with some other kids. Let's face it. They're not learning that much in preschool and in daycare, they're just learning to interact with other kids. So allowing them that freedom is, is important. So I think that's what I held onto when I finally sent them to daycare for a little like, okay, this is for him, terrifying for me. I'll get some sanity during it. I'll rediscover my independence, but also he needs this as much as I need it. That's great advice. Well, yeah, I know you have a hard stop. I really appreciate your time. 0 (57m 28s): Your perspective is awesome. Can you tell our listeners where they can find you? Yeah. You can find us on Instagram at DILF podcast. You can also look anywhere where you find your podcast. You can just look for the DILF podcast. You can also search for me. Kevin Seldon and yeah, I feel like we'll be announcing soon, some other cool things that, that Dale is going to be launching. But my biggest piece of advice to the parents at home is find other parents that you like. There's no bigger saving grace and then opening your circle to another perspective of an individual who also has a kid around your age and who you like, because it just shows you another way to do things and it gives you someone to vent to and it makes you feel like you're not an a*****e when you have a tough day and when you're frustrated and it just makes life easier. 0 (58m 22s): Awesome. Well, we certainly appreciate you using your voice for good and all that after that you're putting into Fatherhood and Fatherhood thank you so much. Kevin thank you so much. I look forward to talking more in the future. All right. Have a good night. Thank you. Bye bye. 1 (58m 39s): That's it for this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have the time please rate and review and you can always hit subscribe to stay up to date with our latest episodes. I hope to have you back.