Dad’s In Charge – Meeting and Learning From A Stay-at-Home Dad, with Chris Bernholdt – RFL035

Dad’s In Charge – Meeting and Learning From A Stay-At-Home Dad– Episode Overview

Our world gets stuck on definitions. This is what a mom does, this is what a dad does. Sometimes our labels and definitions hold us back instead of giving us the freedom to be improvisational parents – parents who are free to show up to what our kids really need in the moment. Parent roles are changing – maybe it is time to lose the label of Mom or Dad and just be fine being a parent. And in this freedom we could be more aware of which parent wants to be home with the kids – and which wants to be out in the workplace? After all, our goal is to connect what is best in us in order to help get our kids ready for life.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on getting rid of parenting labels. My intention is to show that loving and responding to our kids is the purpose and ability of BOTH parents. More dads are staying home, more moms are choosing to work. Can we lose our labels of who does what and be more open to just being parents in a way that makes sense and works for our family?

Meet our guest Chris Bernholdt

Chris Bernholdt Stay At Home DadChris Bernholdt is a stay-at-home dad. A previous teacher and self-proclaimed man with abundant patience, Chris runs the household, allowing his wife to be the career woman she chooses and is talented to be. He writes the blog, DadNCharge – a practical and entertaining blog committed to empowering parents with the knowledge and creativity to raise their children.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. In a survey, there were 1.1 million stay at home dads in 1989; by 2012, that number had grown to 2.2 million; this number continues to grow.
  2. Being a modern parent, in my mind, means challenging the stereotypes of parenting to decide what is right for your kids to get them ready for life. This could be home schooling, stay-at-home dads, raising them in other countries, etc. It should be that WE choose how to raise our kids to help them show up as their greatest selves and to better understand the world, rather than just follow what everyone else does.
  3. We each are working on being the greatest version of ourselves – we are helping our kids do this as we get them ready for life. What part of parenting helps you be the greatest version of yourself – allows you to use your greatest abilities? Some moms want to be in the workplace, as some dads want to be at home. How can you have an open conversation about what is best for both parents as well as for the kids?
  4. Stay-at-home dad benefits: improved connection, expanded awareness of who each child is, ability to let moms whose passions are in the workplace be in the workplace, share a non-conventional and expanded view of parenting with kids, helping them get past restrictive labels.
  5. Stay-at-home dad challenges: being included in other “mom” related activities (play groups, school support, chaperoning), put down by other dads as not a true dad figure or less strong than conventional dads, discounted by schools as the primary child rearing parent. Eliminating the bias in favor of understanding that the parent who is best suited and most interested in raising the kids should be the one home with the kids regardless of gender or conventional parenting role, will help both raising kids and helping parents step more bolding into their best role.
  6. There is a growing number of stay-at-home dad groups starting locally because it has been difficult for them to be or feel included in “mom” group. The National At-home Dad network provides resources, guidance and an annual conference for at-home dads to meet other at-home dads, get support and build a community of modern dads more involved in the daily activities of their kids lives.
  7. A great resource, in addition to the book suggested below, is How to Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. I’ll feature this again in a future podcast but because we mentioned it during this podcast, I wanted to share it and its link.

Some question for parents:

  1. How are you looking at the role of mom and dad in your family – is there a better way to align responsibilities based on abilities and interests than just following conventional role descriptions of mom and dad?
  2. Who of the parenting has greater patience and greater interest in the daily connection with the kids, and who prefers the workplace?
  3. What bias do you notice you have to a dad showing up in a child’s play group or to an at-home dad?
  4. What ways can you expand your understanding that a great parent shows up to what his or her kids need, and throws away the labels of what moms or dads “do?”

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1.    Stop and Notice what you feel about raising kids – is it your job but you don’t connect with it, or is it not your job and you would love it?
  2.    Stop and Notice how you create labels about what moms and dads do – how will you stop using labels but choose instead to show up to what your kids and their situations require, regardless of your mom or dad title?
  3.    Stop and Notice when moms and dads are judgmental of each other – what can you do to support moms’ and dads’ choices to be the kind of parent they want and need to be for their kids?

Labels rarely serve us. They help us make judgments that are many times very hard to get past. There are some dads who are amazing at raising kids just as there are some moms who are amazing in the workplace. Labels and expectations of what dads do and what moms do  just hold us back. Instead, look at who does what best, then align the roles according to your talents and passions. Each of you will show up more significantly which will improve how you get your kids ready for life.

Suggested Resource:

Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal – Confessions of A Stay At Home Dad – by Scott Benner

Life Is Short For Stay At Home DadsMEN: Ever wonder about stay-at-home dads? What in the name of testosterone do they DO all day with those kids? I mean, are they really men at all, or are they some strange, invasive alien species, sent to Earth to defy and destroy all gender stereotypes?

WOMEN: Ever dream about stay-at-home dads? Do they really wash clothes, pick up after themselves, take great care of your kids, and have dinner waiting for you when you get home? There must be horrible, secret downside that they don’t warn you about, right?

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal provides a rare glimpse into the natural habitat of this most mysterious and splendid of creatures, the North American Stay-at-Home Father (Paternus domesticus). Learn what motivates a man to pursue this noble occupation. Discover the countless joys and periodic sorrows that come with raising a family.

Witness the life and family of Scott Benner, author, activist, humorist, and 12-year stay-at-home dad. When Scott’s daughter, Arden, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two, his world took a sharp turn, but his positive outlook on life did not waver.

Scott’s colloquial wisdom will warm your heart while it challenges your ideas about parenting and gender roles in today’s household. Written from a truly unique point of view in a style both poignant and playful, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal is an honest portrait of the modern family.

How to Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud Of Who They Are, With Rick Clemons, RFL019

How To Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud of Who They Are – Episode Overview

You were born awesome. This isn’t just some feel-good talk. This is a fact. You were born with unique talents, strengths and passions – your identity is yours – and whatever you got is just right. On a planet of over 7 billion people, your uniqueness is your built-in performance and competitive advantage – the way to find your way in life. You are unique on purpose. But to tap into what is great about you first have to discover it, then develop the courage to embrace it.

As the saying goes, “be an amazing original, not an average copy”. Our world constantly tells us who to be – to look, act and think like others – it wants us to be copies. What if, instead, we were able to be who we truly are, and were able to help our kids do the same? Imagine how it would feel to bring to today’s world that thing or things that only you can deliver?

Being proud of who you are means you must discover who you are, then accept and embrace it – whatever it is. In this acceptance, you allow yourself  to then start to sort through life for the places that really fit you – not the ones that other say you should connect with. It’s your life – you must own it and act as its leader – this comes only after you know who you, accept it and be proud, regardless of what others say.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on discovering who we are – down deep. And my intention is to help parents learn to be true to who they are so they then can guide support and coach their kids to do the same. You can’t live a great and amazing life pretending to be someone else.

Rick Clemons being proudMeet our guest Rick Clemons

Rick Clemons is a talented life and identity coach, speaker, podcaster, author and blogger. He is the host of the Coming Out Lounge podcast, author the soon to be released book, Frankly My Dear, I’m Gay – A Late Bloomers Guide to Coming Out and of 2 other upcoming books, is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Your Tango and Healthy Gay He is the creator of the .1 Project, an awareness that we are 99% alike and 1% different – and that we should embrace this difference. As an openly gay coach and dad, Rick coaches others in self-acceptance, getting past limitations, authenticity and embracing our uniqueness and differentness. See the links for more on Rick.

Guest Links:

Episode’s Key TakeAways

  1. You have to do your own work to discover who you are. Once you discover what makes you different, unique and amazing, it is then up to you to live it. This is where parents are tremendous help to kids – to help them discover and embrace who they are, so that they show up right, big and interested in their lives.
  2. One-size-fits-all parenting doesn’t work. Modify how you parent with each child to help them connect with and find their own uniqueness.
  3. You already have everything you need – the right talents, passions and strengths – for you to have your great life.  Can you be open enough to see what you have, and courageous enough to live it? This is for both parents and kids.
  4. The greatest negative voices about us come from ourselves. We let the outside world influence what we think of ourselves. What if we were able to give ourselves and our kids permission to be who they are – with no other requirement? How might this change how you approach your life – and how you help your kids approach theirs?
  5. Give your kids permission to create their own blueprint, roadmap for life. Watch when you successfully guide them and when you are pulling or pushing them in your direction.
  6. Celebrate your kids’ differentness whenever possible. Honoring it creates a safe space for your kids to be who they really are.
  7. Security and stability are not key in your kids minds (these are in our minds as parents); what is in their minds is curiosity, adventure and exploration. This is how they discover who they are and start to find their place in their world.
  8. Millennials are most fearful of not having the freedom to be who they really are – they are most afraid of needing to blend and be like others.
  9. Ask more than tell with your kids – it creates the ability to get your kids minds to sort through information, to share their perspective and to create the safe space to discuss things. In the absence of this, they may not deal with what they feel makes them different until it becomes urgent or a problem. A high number of teen and young adult suicides come from kids being unable to discuss and deal with their uniqueness and differentness.

Some question for parents:

  1. Do you embrace your “differentness?”  How can you encourage and support your kids’ “differentness?”
  2. How can you be okay with allowing your kids to be who they really?
  3. How is your fear of our world stopping your kids from being who they really are?
  4. Could you ask your kids these questions:
  5. If there were no judgments who would you really be?
  6. If you knew the impact you could have could change the world, how would you act?
  7. How can I help you be courageous enough to think your own way?
  8. How can you see that what makes you different is what makes you great?
  9. How can I create a safe space for you to discover, understand and accept who you really are?
  10. Can you allow and support your kids to be different than what society tells you – could you accept them as gay, wanting to follow a different (or no) faith, move to another country, think about a career that isn’t in line with your thinking?
  11. What needs to change in you as a parent to be able to accept and support your kids as they are, not as you need them to be?

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1.    Stop and Notice one thing that is different and unique about each of your kids. What are you doing to help them see, develop, accept and embrace it?
  2.    Stop and Notice when your fear of the world is holding your kids back from discovering and living who they are. What can you do to address this fear?
  3.    Stop and Notice the change in your kids when they are encouraged, supported and accepted to be who they are. How does this make you feel as a parent? How does this make your kids feel?
  4.    Stop and Notice how the world constantly tells you who and what you should be – and that it does it to your kids. How will all of you trust your own voices more than the loud voices of others?

We are each born just right – we get what we get – and what we get is enough to be amazing in life. To access this, we have to get better at accepting and being proud of who we are, then to create the safe space for our kids to do the same.

Suggested Resource  – Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley


This is a masterwork from teacher, author, and featured speaker Mike Dooley. As the next step beyond his immensely popular Notes from the Universe trilogy, and his follow up, Choose them Wisely, this book contains even more enriching wisdom for living an abundant, joyous life.

Mike Dooley knows that we create our own reality, our own fate, and our own luck. We’re beings filled with infinite possibility—just ready to explore how powerful we truly are. Manifesting the magnificence of our dreams isn’t about hard work, but rather about belief and expectation. These principles transcend belief, realizing the truth about our human nature.

Your dreams are not accidental, nor inconsequential. And if someone were tell the truth about life, reality, and the powers we all possessed, would it be recognized? Our lives are full of adventures—and not exactly the sky-diving, mountain-climbing variety—but something better. Readers will laugh, applaud, and be inspired by Mike Dooley’s wit and wisdom.

This is a great book for parents to remind them that they and their kids are filled with infinite possibilities – if they just discover, accept and live who they really are.

How to A Mindful and Modern Dad with Dr Josh Misner, RFL018

Mindfulness expert Dr Josh Misner joins Jay to share how dad’s roles are changing and how to have the courage to be a modern dad – one who is mindful and chooses how he wants to show up as a dad to each of his kids. The same wisdom applies for moms.

How To Be A Mindful and Modern Dad – Episode Overview

Do you think a dad is supposed to be the tough guy – the John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis type of hero that can battle with the toughest of foes, to be a hero to their kids?

What plays in your head at any moment is a voice of how to act as a dad. This voice may sound like your parents, your teachers, the news, a grandparent or even a neighbor. Those little voices come in and dictate how to be a dad. Well, maybe at the time you heard them they were useful, but how some of what you know about being a dad is now outdated. To be a modern dad means first means you are mindful – present, aware and tuned in. When you stop and notice, you tune in to new information that helps you determine as a dad (as a parent) what to do next that will help inspire happy, successful and responsible kids. This makes you open to whatever you need to do instead of following your default behaviors or the stories about what dads do that play in your head. This is what makes you a modern dad – one committed to showing up strong and right for the immediate situation – and in a way that makes sense for your kid, not concerned about what others may say about you. This is the definition of a modern dad.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on dads. My intention is to help them realize that their roles are changing – and you control this change; you have the ability to define how you want to parent.

Meet our Guest Dr Josh Misner

Josh Misner being a modern dad photoDr Josh Misner is an award-winning communication and leadership professor and mindfulness researcher. His research focuses on the impact of mindful presence, or paying careful attention on purpose, particularly with respect to fathers and their families. A husband and active father of four, Josh teaches methods to savor each and every moment with the intention of playing an active role in children’s memories tomorrow. He founded the Mindful Dad Project, a collaborative community effort aimed at reconnecting fathers who desire a deeper connection with their children. Find out more at

Guest Links:

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. As dads, we have a lot of expectations of how to be with our kids – they come from our history and many of these expectations do not help us in today’s parenting.
  2. A modern dad is simply a dad that is present enough in the moment to see what his kids need, and courageous enough to deliver what works best for the happiness of his kids, without considering what the conventional wisdom of “what dads do.” See the article, “On Being A Man.”
  3. Conventional dad behaviors are those we heard and saw from our parents. They were parents in different times. Their guidance and focus may not be useful today, to your kids. Be open to changing whatever needs changing to be the dad your kids need.
  4. Modern dads challenge the status quo. They are more concerned about doing the right thing for their kids than looking good for others. They disregard the question, “what does a real dad do?” They know that a great dad is the one who tunes in, pays attention and cares enough to show up to his kids in the way they need him – stern, tender, guiding, listening – whatever will matter most. See my article “The Softer Side of Dads.”
  5. Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. It requires us to be in control of ourselves enough to look at the moments and events of life as information (not judgmentally). From this place, a saner, calmer and more thoughtful dad (and mom) can consider and then choose how to respond.
  6. Mindfulness prepares dads to shift from reacting (going with our autopilot behaviors) to responding (we approach our actions with attention and intention).

Questions for Parents:

  1. What behaviors do you have with your kids that are not that productive – that come from what conventional dad behaviors tell you – but you do them any way? Which ones will you start to change?
  2. How can you develop the courage to be the dad you want to be without caring what others say? How will this help your kids learn confidence?
  3. How would you define being a modern dad for you? Moms, how can you help dads be confident in developing their own definition of what it means to be a dad today?
  4. What can you do to show up more present and aware to what is going on with your kids to determine what to consider and ultimately choose to be a great parent?
  5. How can you become less judgmental with your kids – and see what they do as information – then use it to sanely, wisely decide what to do next?

Tweet this:

Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1. Stop and Notice you as you parent. What is effective, what is ineffective?
  2. Stop and Notice how your kids respond to your parenting? Does it connect with them and help the to be accountable, responsible and happy?
  3. Stop and Notice what you think it means to be a dad. How will you write your own definition and not be quick to take on the definition of others?
  4. Stop and Notice when you are not listening or not paying attention to your kids. What is stopping you? What information are you missing? How could being more aware improve your relationship with your kids?
  5. Stop and Notice how you and wife/partner parent. How do you support each other to be your unique and your best selves, not stuck in some other definition of what it means to be a mom or a dad?

Parenting is tough. The best parenting comes when we show up mindful, present and tuned in to our kids, non-judgmentally, so we can then assess and decide how we want to show up in this moment. This changes everything about parenting.

Suggested Resource

Mindfulness For Beginners – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness for BeginnersThe practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play-and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.

Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness within mainstream Western medicine offers a book that you can use in three unique ways: as a collection of reflections and practices to be opened and explored at random; as an illuminating and engaging start-to-finish read; or as an unfolding “lesson- a-day” primer on mindfulness practice.

Beginning and advanced meditators alike will discover in these pages a valuable distillation of the key attitudes and essential practices that Jon Kabat-Zinn has found most useful with his students, including:

  • Why heartfulness is synonymous with true mindfulness
  • The value of coming back to our bodies and to our senses over and over again
  • How our thoughts “self-liberate” when touched by awareness
  • Moving beyond our “story” into direct experience
  • Stabilizing our attention and presence amidst daily activities
  • The three poisons that cause suffering-and their antidotes
  • How mindfulness heals, even after the fact
  • Reclaiming our wholeness, and more

The prescription for living a more mindful life seems simple enough: return your awareness again and again to whatever is going on. But if you’ve tried it, you know that here is where all the questions and challenges really begin.

This resource includes a complete CD with five guided mindfulness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn, selected from the audio program that inspired this book.