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Fatherhood in the 21st Century: Dreams and Nightmares

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: Dreams and Nightmares

Something happened when my daughter was born.
Something so subtle, that I didn’t realize it until today (over two years later).
Something so intense that it excites and frightens me at the same time.

It’s one thing, but it has two affects.

This one thing (I’m still not sure what to call it — maybe it’s just fatherhood in general?) makes my dreams brighter and my nightmares darker.

My dreams have never been so aspirational, so high-reaching, so…BIG. My dreams go far beyond me. (Even in marriage, my dreams were heavily related on what Erin and I become together, so it still feels inward-focused.) But my new dreams for my daughter are bigger than I ever could have imagined. I want the best things for her, and I realize that many of those “things” are actually intangibles, like an excellent education and equal opportunities and chances to be whatever she wants. And I’ll do whatever I can to set her up to experience the life lessons that will help her become something great.

I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted anything so badly as the future I want for my daughter.

But I’m also realizing that my nightmares have never been more troubling. I never had to consider protecting my daughter from hate speech and bullying or unfair expectations because of her gender or what to do if someone were to try to sexually assault her. There is a deeply primal, lizard-brain response when I even get the notion that my daughter may have to endure difficulties in life because of the evils in the world, and I pray that I never have to deal with those emotions in real time.

I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted anything so badly as to protect my daughter from harm.

At the same time, I’m not naïve. I don’t want to shield her from everything. I think it’s a good life experience to go through a bad relationship and experience the highs and lows of life. I want her to see the bad and to teach her how to respond and rise above. Yet another big dream.

Maybe this is just a part of fatherhood — one of those things that other parents don’t talk about much (like seedy poop or neck cheese).

Or maybe it’s just completely experiential and you have to live it to know it.

Either way, I can’t imagine life without these big dreams and scary nightmares, and I wouldn’t go back for anything.

“You’ve Taken to Fatherhood”

“You’ve Taken to Fatherhood”

I was at a tux fitting last weekend for my best friend. I’m his best man.

Afterward, we went to a restaurant with his father, his fianceé, her father, and another groomsman.

I’m in the middle of my cheddar ale soup and one of them says to me, “You’ve really taken to fatherhood.”

Then someone else says, “You’re a natural dad.”

“Wow! That’s so nice! Thanks for saying that.”

^^That’s what I didn’t say.


Impatient, Millennial Dad

Impatient, Millennial Dad

I’m five months into fatherhood.

The days are long.
The weeks are short.
My sleep hasn’t yet recovered.
And I love every minute.

But, though Claire is constantly hitting milestones that are advanced for her age, I want her to be older now. (more…)

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: I Missed It (Or Did I?)

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: I Missed It (Or Did I?)


When I first got a camera phone, I ruined several experiences for myself. I was so caught up with documenting concerts or family gatherings or things I saw on a walk that I didn’t get to enjoy them.

What’s worse? I never looked at any of those pictures after I took them.

So when Claire arrived, I told myself that I would document what I could when I wasn’t disrupting the moment and leave the rest to my memory. But I wasn’t convinced that I would stick with it.

This past weekend, that was put to the test. (more…)

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: How Google Keeps Me Sane

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: How Google Keeps Me Sane


The first day I was a father, everything was easy. I got to stare at the baby while the nurses took care of her. If I had a question, the nurse had the answer.

When we got home, it wasn’t horribly difficult to take care of the baby. I was a champ when it came to changing diapers and holding the baby. But when I had a question, there was no nurse around to provide an answer. So I turned to Google.

Before I explain a bit of modern obviousness, first let me explain the mindset of a new parent. (more…)

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: To Tech and Not to Tech

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: To Tech and Not to Tech

I believe this is an exciting time to be alive because of the new technology that is becoming available. Technology has a huge affect on my daily routines, so it only makes sense that I would use it with my daughter.

Big Brother Father

When Erin was building the baby registry a couple of months ago, it was hard for me to get excited about pink bedsheets and cute blankets. So when it came to the baby monitor, I was on top of things.

I went with the video monitor that has two-way audio, shows video in the dark, and plays music. We’ve only had a couple of opportunities to use it so far, but it’s been a lot of fun.

Daddy, Daughter, Data

Sprout Baby+When Erin and I got home from the hospital, there were tons of things we needed to keep track of—is the baby eating enough, sleeping enough, pooping enough, etc. After a couple of days without much sleep, we could hardly remember what we named our daughter let alone when we last changed her.

So I went searching for a solution and found an app called Sprout Baby+. It helps us keep track of everything important with the baby, and it shows us patters with data maps. You can see some of her diaper changing information on the right. (more…)

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: On Sharing My Daughter

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: On Sharing My Daughter

Claire Lorrenne PhilpotMy daughter was born nearly two weeks ago. It was one of the happiest, most exciting experiences in my life. So, like any new dad, I posted updates on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

While that shouldn’t be a shock (it’s what most new parents do these days), I don’t plan on posting tons more pictures of my daughter.

My decision doesn’t have to do with me trying to protect my daughter, which is a fairly common concern. I just figure that if someone wanted pictures of her, they could get them from my wife’s (or in-law’s) social media accounts.

And I’m totally fine with that. If someone really wanted to get a hold of pictures of my daughter to see how cute she is, they could find them.

My decision has to do with oversharing. (more…)