I distinctly remember sitting beside my wife's hospital bed starting this site.
What a strange place to launch a website, right?
I was looking for my next thing. I was itching to do something new and big, and I loved writing. And although I screwed up as a father more often than I didn't*, I also loved being a dad of my little boy, Elliott.
* Exhibit A: Never, ever, tell your three-year-old that the green light on the ceiling is from the smoke alarm that lets us know if there is a fire. Because then he will have nightmares that the house is burning down.
My wife was stuck on hospital bed rest two years ago waiting for our twins to arrive. It was an insane time (and that's considering we didn't have two babies to deal with!). She spent the day being stuck to monitors and having nurses poke her all day. I raced from daycare to work to the hospital to daycare to the hospital to work to home to the hospital with my son to home to put him to bed and leave him with his grandparents to the hospital, where I'd spend the night on a futon (still way more comfortable than the you-can't-even-leave-the-bed situation my wife was in).
Somehow, it was ideal for launching a site. I had a lot of dads, in real life and online, who kept saying they wished they had more help, or that they didn't have a good place to read about stuff that related to them, or who felt lost as a new dad. As a new dad, I had read so much, oh what's the phrase I'm looking for ... hot mess pandering garbage ... from sites that catered to moms and would talk at dads, not to them. And those dad advice posts would commend guys for just showing up, and say things like "Try to change a diaper every so often, your wife will appreciate it!" Which made me want to roll my eyes so hard they'd fall out of my head.
Dads can do so much more. And moms should expect so much more. I've seen dads who stay at home with their kids while the mom works. Dads who have no issue taking multiple kids out to the movies. Dads who handle nap times and doing their daughter's hair (I've got a long way to go on that!) and who fight all the stereotypes we've seen and heard for years.
Instafather is my effort to add one more voice of support out there for all the dads who want more — and who wouldn't mind hearing from someone who gets it and who will be honest with them about the struggles we face as new fathers. And I've really enjoyed seeing how many moms connect with what I'm writing, too because they want the dad perspective. That makes my day.
There are some posts that really seem to have struck a chord with all of you!
Yes, Your Pregnant Wife Should Get a Push Present: The amount of daily hits I get on this post is ridiculous, really (Thanks, Pinterest!). I had no problem getting my wife push presents for delivering our kids. Some people think that's ridiculous, and let me know as much. Others see it the way I do - that it doesn't take away from the miracle of childbirth to also do something nice for your wife. It's not greedy. It's gratitude and appreciation. (She even got me something!)
What They Don't Tell You About Being a Dad: Two months after Hannah and Quinn arrived, we went through an unbelievable ordeal that to this day we still can't mentally process. Quinn, freshly home from the NICU, needed CPR after she stopped breathing and spent a week in intensive care after being flown to the hospital in the middle of the night. That seems like a decade ago. It seems like yesterday.
A Birth Story: My Twin Girls Arrive: If only for this line: "When you see a baby's foot hanging out between your wife's legs, you know things are strange."
A Brutally Honest Talk About Why I Had to Disappear as a Dad Blogger: The thing about going through such an ordeal, and then have three kids three and under on top of regular life stresses, is that you don't get a moment to breathe. And that led to me having to take a break from Instafather, among other things, for awhile. I could not believe the reaction and outpouring of support and I-feel-you's I got after writing this post. It was heartwarming to hear as much as it reaffirmed why I should be doing this in the first place - we all need to support each other.
I'm very, very grateful for all of you who have read these past two years. As my children get older - the girls turn 2 in April and Elliott turns 4 (FOUR?!?!) in May - I'll be evolving what I write about as I get further away from the newborn years and firmly into the toddler years. But regardless, I'm still focused on helping new dads feel more confident, and reminding them they aren't alone. As I wrote at one point, we've all been peed on.
In the coming months I have a project I'm working on that I couldn't be more excited about. I know this because I talk to my wife about it all the time, which I'm sure she just loooovvveeess.
I'm writing a book, "The New Mom's Guide to New Dads."
Why write to moms when Instafather is about dads?
1. Moms make up a huge share of readership. I can take a good guess that in general, that's because moms are more likely to seek out and be open to read parenting sites. I get a lot of "I'm going to share this with my husband!" comments, which cracks me up as I imagine that conversation. "Babe, there's this Instafather guy that says you need to change diapers all night!"
2. Because I've noticed a lack of information available about helping dads mentally tackle fatherhood; this really came to light after my wife did such a great job helping me through my own mental setbacks as I dealt with depression ... I wanted a way to help moms better understand what dads might be going through that we aren't great sharing.
I'll keep you updated on the book progress! Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to keep tabs on the book launch or have questions or want to tell me that's the most godawful idea you've ever heard.
Thanks for reading!