I started Fatherly with Simon Isaacs as a digital lifestyle guide for men entering parenthood. As Simon was having his first child, he noticed that there was a complete lack of useful, engaging resources focused on helping guys navigate this next phase of their lives. At the same, as an early employee at Thrillist, I saw that the men we were talking to everyday were looking at parenting through a new lens, one that embraced technology, well-made products and an expectation that this experience would be shared more or less equally with their partners.
We selected the five fathers below because we recognize that while there isn’t one über-dad to which all men aspire, each of these guys has a little nugget of wisdom to share, informed by his own personal and professional experience.
“I never allow myself to get used to spending time away from my son, no matter what. I can be anywhere in the world and I’ll make sure I’m home on the weekend. If I have to be in Tokyo on Thursday, I’m on a red eye and home by Saturday morning. If I’m spending two weeks in L.A., I’m home Saturday and Sunday and go back Monday morning. Because if you get used to being away, then it’s like, ‘Well, I handled seven days. I can handle 10.’ And [the gap] gets wider and wider, but seven days for a kid is like two weeks. They look at it differently, and I’m very conscious of that.”
— TyTy Smith, co-founder Roc Nation
“One of the things we do as dads is, we want our kids to have everything they want. And one of the mistakes we make is that we just go to Amazon and order it. The cool thing about being a creative father is that my daughter feels like if something should exist, we can manifest it. We don’t necessarily have to buy it.”
— Bre Pettis, founder MakerBot Founder and 3D Printing Pioneer
“A miracle of miracles, I think I’ve actually gone two days without looking at my phone—I rarely answer it either. For me, that’s one of those important things about just getting along in life and doing your job properly: If you focus absolutely on what you’re doing, then you’ll do the job well and efficiently and know you’ve done your best. I provide the same advice to my kids when I’m with them. If I’m not there 100 percent, I’m not going to achieve what I want, and neither are they.”
— Nigel Barker, Fashion Photographer
“When you start training, don’t compare yourself to your world record 20s. Just try to train every day for 30 minutes. You have to make that commitment and maybe it’s going to suck, but it doesn’t even have to be high-quality: ‘Did I go downstairs and work up a sweat or not? It’s a 1 or a 0, did I do something today?’ Be consistent before you’re heroic.”
— Kelly Starrett, Crossfit Pioneer
“As a father, you want what’s best for your kids and sometimes they don’t get it. You want to be able to explain that to them. And you love them, but you also have to discipline them and make sure they do the right things. So, it goes both ways. You have to be there for them and support them, but not give them everything—they have to earn it. That’s what the marathon teaches you: patience.”
— Meb Keflezighi, 2014 Boston Marathon Champion