Daniel Bernado started attending Birthsmarter's Dad's Meet Up just a few months into his wife's pregnancy. Over the last three years I've witnessed him becoming a father, becoming a stay-at-home father, navigate a career shift, and show up time and time again for himself, his son, his wife, and the father's in our community. I am so excited that we'll be co-facilitating the New Dad's Survival Group starting June 6th and wanted to take a moment to let Daniel introduce himself to our community!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, what was your work life like before kids, what do you do for fun?
I'm a 40 year old father of one, currently living in New York City. I grew up just outside NYC in the suburbs, so NYC has always been my base. My wife and I love to hike, climb, and camp, and we also love the culture of a city where art, music, and all different walks of life come together with common passions. Life before kids was a focus on building my career and growing my coaching practice and focusing on self-care to be the best version of myself possible. Now I run men's emotional intelligence groups and group coaching sessions.
What made you decide to become a stay-at-home dad?
I became a stay at home dad because our son was growing quickly and my wife's maternity leave was coming to an end. My new approach for my coaching practice was still in its infancy and my wife had a full time job where she's compensated very well and has excellent health insurance, so we decided it was best for me to stay at home to build a bond with a parent for the first 2 years or so.
What were some of the best and worst parts of your time at home?
The worst times being a stay at home dad are the moments when I lose my patience with my son and I forget that he's developing key aspects of his self, and also can't communicate with me exactly what his needs are. Those situations sometimes make me feel as if I'm failing.
The best moments are when I simply watch my son simply doing things in life -- feeding himself, playing on his own, speaking clearly about his needs and wants, and honestly, watching him sleep peacefully because I finally get some time to myself (and with my wife)!
How do you think being at home influenced your relationship with your son?
He and I have such a strong bond. Also, when we see family, they often comment on how easy he is to have around, how much of a great listener he is, and how well behaved he is -- so I know the things I focus on teaching him at home are having a positive impact on how he is with others.
How do you think being at home influenced your relationship with your partner?
My wife definitely has some resentment for me since I'm home with our son everyday, but overall we both see the larger picture of why I'm home with him, and that brings us back to a place of understanding. There isn't much time for my wife and I to grow our relationship, but we do our best to connect, have important conversations, and also to have fun together, too!
What do you wish you knew about parenting / babies / fatherhood before you had kids // what advice would you give to a new dad?
When a human is born, they have over 400 of their own personality traits innately inside them once they come out of the womb, so while parental influence is important, it isn't everything. I need to remind myself of this everyday. Fatherhood in itself will have its imperfect moments, so embracing the mess and understanding that I'm doing my best is another thing I'm constantly telling myself.
Advice for other dads is to try to let go of the typical male game plan, and go with the flow. Humans are unpredictable, and babies even more so! So be easy, enjoy the present -- sure have some ideas, but be flexible with the game plan.
What's the difference between a coach + a therapist? When would you refer out?
There are several differences between coaching and therapy but the main difference is coaching is present and future focused, while therapy tends to be past and present focused. In coaching, the idea is essentially this: "OK, you've made it this far, now let's expand your vision and challenge you to grow even further!"
How can people find you / work with you for coaching?
My website is www.coachdanielbernardo.com
Want to hang out with Daniel and I?
Sign yourself or your partner up for our 4-Week Virtual New Dad Survival Group. Learn more here.