The modern day Dad has evolved beyond the traditional notion of the all too stoic patriarch. He attends prenatal classes, is present at birth, changes diapers and wakes up in the middle of the night with a pre-made bottle of breast milk for the baby. He can even take paternity leave. No longer do we live in the 60’s when it’s expected that the wife have laundry washed by noon and dinner ready by 6pm. Days of the 9-5 Dad are as passé as the wage gap between men and women. But wait, that’s still a thing. So, as evolved as we think fatherhood has become, has it really? Has the modern day dad moved from the sidelines and stepped onto the court? I needed to get to the bottom of this.
Enter Matt McCormick who is sitting on the doorstep of fatherhood. He is a successful, yet modest man who rarely boasts about his achievements unless asked. Matt is the founder of his own lighting company, Mattew McCormick Studio, and is a living template on how to perfectly marry creativity with entrepreneurship. Being a Kit and Ace ambassador, Matt represents what it means to live a full contact life. The waking hours of Matt’s day is a race against the clock and a constant reminder of how much we, people, can fit into 12 hours. So one has to wonder, will fatherhood compliment this lifestyle or will it force him to take a moment to pause?
We meet at 49th Parallel - a neighborhood hotspot for Vancouver locals and a favorite of Matt’s. In Matt-like fashion, he greets me with a warm hug as if we’ve known each other for years, despite having only met once before. With his wife due any day now his excitement is palpable and if there is such a thing as pregnancy glow for men, Matt has it.
Matt’s answers to my questions are no less surprising than they are refreshing. Dad’s have traditionally been associated with strength. So I ask Matt “what does strength look like to you?”
He tells me that “being a business owner, being a father, being a husband to my wife – being pulled in all those directions and being stretched as human beings shows strength.” In preparation for his new role, Matt tells me that he has made a conscious effort not to bring work home with him. “When I leave work, I leave work,” he says. Being present in what he is doing at any given moment allows him to take on many tasks at once. “It’s about maximizing the time you have,” Matt says. With fatherhood in the very near future, Matt’s idea of a full contact life has already evolved from having many hours in the day into using them efficiently.
Matt confesses that he has never changed a diaper before, and I must admit, this catches me off guard. My research tells me that it is normal for both male and females not to have this experience until it is their own baby. So, kudos to Matt when he then mentions he’s “looking forward to it.”
Matt is also looking forward to his role as a parent beyond the “baby stage.” Parental roles have evolved to become more of a playbook than a rulebook. Kids aren’t told what to do, but instead are nurtured with love in hopes of making them good people. Matt personalizes this premise by telling me that he hopes to give his son/daughter “a sense of adventure and feeling that they are supported to do whatever they want. For s/he to create their own path and for us to be there to support them. Ultimately, I just want them to have a safe environment to explore.”
I still don’t have an answer to how evolved the modern day Dad is. I don’t know whether or not Matt is a feminist prodigy ticking all the right boxes, or if other soon-to-be fathers share the same outlook as him. But what I do know is that Matt’s baby is going to be showered in love as Matt is “really looking forward for my heart to explode”.