Celebrating Different Types of Dads for Father’s Day
Photo courtesy of pexels.com
Fatherhood has its own bumps and bruises, trials and (much) error and a lot of criticisms on their chosen parenting styles.
This Father’s Day, we’ve chosen some dads to share their unique stories-their strengths and weaknesses as Dads, the challenges and the victories they’ve gone through over the years with their children. It’s time to celebrate all kinds of fathers and understand that however they choose to raise their kids- they all just want the best for them.
photo courtesy of Paolo Beltran
Paolo Beltran, dad to Gabby, 9
There was a time when Gabby’s mom and I tried to make it work but we realized that it’s not just for us and that this was the best set up for our child. And it has been like this since she was two years old. The hardest part is when Gabby would have a hard time leaving the house when it’s time to go back to her mom. She would always cry and ask when will we able to see each other again.
Fatherhood taught me to be independent. I had to learn how to do everything by myself. But I am very hands-on with her. Since her mom works as a flight attendant, I attended Gaby’s school events. Through the years, Gabby was able to adapt to our situation. She is a very happy and brave kid. She now travels by herself and is now based in London with her mom. Being a single dad takes a lot of work. My situation may be complicated but regardless of the set up, I just make sure to be there for Gabby no matter what.
photo courtesy of Gab Pangalangan
Gab Pangalangan, dad to Ashley, 9
I became a dad at 20. I was in my third year of college at UP Diliman, was very active in my school orgs, and was captain of the men’s Judo sports team. As it should be when you’re young, everything was about me—I was doing things that I enjoyed and doing things that contributed to my growth as person. That all changed when I found out I’d become a dad.
I think regardless of your age, the concern of any new dad is: “Can I be the man I have to be to raise a child?” But of course, at 20, financial concerns are magnified. My mindset shifted from simply enjoying college life to getting through college as fast as possible so that I could get work and earn a living. While finishing my studies, I started doing freelance work to provide even just a little bit of income. I even remember buying meds for my wife, Trizha, during her pregnancy and realizing just how expensive the nine-month pregnancy would cost. I hadn’t even computed the cost of the actual delivery and everything after that (diapers, milk, clothes, tuition fee!), and I was already sweating bullets.
Despite those concerns, my wife and I knew we’d be okay, largely in thanks to the love and support of our parents. We were excited to start a family and though we knew circumstances weren’t ideal, we wanted to do so as best we could.
You still have some growing up to do when you’re 20. You’re figuring out what direction you want to take in life and who you are as a person. But when you’re a parent, you don’t have the luxury to dabble in self-discovery; you have a family to feed now. So that was a challenge that my 20-year-old self had to deal with: being many important things to many important people (i.e. a husband to my wife and a father to my daughter) at a very young age. I’ve made sacrifices (what parent hasn’t?), but I know they pail in comparison to the sacrifices my wife has made. And we’ve always had a happy life, so I have no reason to complain.
With my first-month’s pay from my first full-time job, I had a full-size wooden bed made for our daughter. That was a small victory for me. Another is when we paid for Ashley’s tuition in full for the first time, since it was her grandparents who paid for her tuition in her earlier years. Ashley is now an honor student, president of her class, and is a very happy and outgoing kid. We’re able to give her the best-quality education and the best experiences. At the end of the day, we live full and happy lives, and that’s a huge victory in itself.
For new dads, hang in there and take nothing for granted. As cliché as it sounds, enjoy every moment with your baby, because before you know it, you’re baby will all grown up. Seriously, take more photos and videos of your kid; try to immortalize those precious moments before they’re gone.
Another is avoid the road to self-pity. Thinking about what you’re missing out on or on the sacrifices you’re making won’t help you make more money, won’t make you better at your job, and won’t make you a better dad. Or worse, it might lead you to resenting your wife or your child. Instead, submit yourself to the role of provider for your family and that will set you in the right path.
And finally: Don’t forget about you. Becoming a dad doesn’t mean letting go of everything and every activity that makes you happy or makes you who you are. Yes, you have to make sacrifices and put your family first, but you don’t have to sell all your guitars or give up your triathlon training to become a good dad. You’ll have to cut back on these things for sure, but don’t phase them out completely. In the long run, your child will take comfort in knowing that his or her existence didn’t stop you from pursuing what makes you happy.
photo courtesy of Jerico Baliza
Jerico Baliza, dad to Yesha, 8, Uno, 4 and Alonzo, 2
I was a late bloomer. Never had real relationships in high school or college. Got ‘basted’ a lot because I never really had a mentor on how to court girls. So, when I was starting to earn, I lived the life of a yuppie single. Started to date a lot, thought I had a lot to prove to myself with so-called conquests. I was living the life of a single guy.
When I met Lu, I knew about Yesha from the onset, I was ok with the situation, probably at that time I was not thinking of anything that would lead me to settle. I just knew I liked Lu a lot. But I’m ok with Yesha from the start as she was adorable and endearing. Siguro if there was an adjustment, it was when we were dating and we had a little baby with us in toll. I kinda enjoyed the idea of being a ‘family’ so to speak. Dun na yata ako nagstart magka-direction. There was little to no resistance from Yesha. She was only 8 months old that time when I met her and Lu. More of the resistance came from Lu’s Mom, moreso from her sister. I understand because it is natural to be protective after what happened to her.
photo courtesy of Jerico Baliza
On having two more kids
Honestly, our first reaction was, “hala nadagdagan na agad!” I was starting to climb the corporate ladder so-to-speak and I was thinking of the added pressure of having additional kids. At the end of the day, I remember someone telling me – Its all a blessing. Later on in our lives, baka I would have wished that I tried making more kids. Hence, I would not change a thing.
Being a step dad, you will inevitably be answering curious questions like pertaining to how Yesha came about. But thankfully, my parents and my own family were very supportive of my decision. Never did they question it or suggest any idea that might be consequential to this.
I never considered myself as a stepdad. Blood or not, Yesha is my own, from the day we met, and till the day I die. Nobody will take that away from me, and from her. The bond was there from the start. The relationship we have is not in any way different from my two boys.
I grew up with my dad always being away because he is an OFW and my mom being a hardworking employee to make ends meet. So we grew up mostly with relatives or household help. I guess the best thing now is that I am able to spend time with them. Since I work at home most of the time, I usually get to bring or fetch them from school. I get to experience how to bathe them and prepare their meals or milk. I am there during vaccinations or doctor’s check-up. School activities requiring parents I usually am present. (I got to even do a scrapbook with Uno – the only dad there doing scrapbook while they were mostly with their moms) I closely attend to their homework and review sessions before exams. Best thing that happened this summer, Yesha already memorized the multiplication table and Uno fairly knows his addition at 4 years old. Thanks to flashcard method I remember my dad doing the same thing to me before.
Being a stepdad should never be an issue. During this day and age, when people are very accepting of unique relationships as same sex marriages or LGBT rights. Being a dad is actually a privilege. Once you have accepted the role, there are no ifs and buts. I am a father in every way and my kids call me PAPA, PAPAJec, PAPAPs. Simple as that.
photo courtesy of pexels.com
*Marco Reyes, dad to *Gino, 11
* To protect the privacy of certain individuals the names have been changed.
I was about 16 years old, playing for the La Salle Greenhills basketball team, it was a big thing then. I got to meet a lot of people, and with people came attention. The type of attention I really did not know what to do with. I felt the pressure to seek new things, different things. I came from a conservative family so I started leaving the house by sneaking out whenever I could. This often led to the wrong crowd, doing the wrong things. This led me also to having a relationship, which none of my family approved of. Being rebellious, I fought for it until I got what I wanted. Before I knew it, my partner was pregnant. I was a few months away from turning 18, when my son was born and I named him after my first best friend.
Before the birth, I was scared. It kept me up at night. I was not at all excited. My family didn’t talk to me for months. I couldn’t see my partner since I was not allowed to do so. Not a single “I’ll be a good parent” entered my mind during the wait.
The biggest obstacle of being a young father is growing up. What’s hardest is growing up against your will, and I had to do it fast. Giving up most of everything to make ends meet. Knowing that you will live a different life than all your friends, that things will never be the same.
During summers, I would work. During the night, I’d do acoustic sessions for milk money (this went on from High School to College). But the biggest deal for me was that my son never got to stay with me. That alone was the biggest obstacle in my situation. Knowing that I worked my butt off day and night, blood, sweat and tears yet I would never be able to come home and sleep next to my son.
Even if things didn’t go as planned, I managed to have a good relationship with my son regardless of the situation. I get to hear the word “dad”, with the sweetest I love you’s and I miss you’s. This gives me the assurance that my son knows what I am to him, his father.
To all the young fathers, I must say that any man can have a child, but not all men can be a father. You must decide fast if you will be the former or the latter. Should you ever choose the latter, you must know that it gets better. It’s gonna be the hardest route, but it will always be worth it. It will make a man out of you. And the happiness you will experience will never compare to anything else in this world.
Always listen to your child as soon as they can express themselves. You may think what you’re doing is right, but chances are… you could be wrong. Explain everything as much as you can to your child so they know both sides of what they want, what you want and what you think is best. Hear them out. Don’t be afraid to be honest and more than that, be patient enough to explain everything that you can. Because one thing that helps your relationship with your kid is honesty and transparency. Your kids should never fear you. They should respect you. You should be their best friend, their spine, their hope, and their role model. No secrets. This way, they know how to treat everyone around them for the future, because we, as parents are the benchmark for everything they will experience or deal with when the time comes. Lastly, always remember to tell them that you love them even if it’s hard to show at times. You must be their hero. Nobody else will love them as much as you do.
There is no definite measure of what a good dad is. But all dads need a positive and supportive community who will assure them that they are doing enough for the family and that their chosen parenting style is accepted rather than judged. How about you, what’s the unique story of your Dad? 🙂