With Father’s Day just 2 days away, we thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into the dudes behind the Rebels. Meet Jeff and Anthony – Aleks and my partners in parenting crime respectively. They’re hard-working, loyal, adorable (even though they drive us mental from time to time) AND they’re awesome dads (we may not tell them that enough!). They’re also good sports, which is evidenced by the fact that they willingly agreed to participate in this little science experiment of ours – no bribery required.
So now, allow us to introduce to you: our men.
MEET THE REBEL PAPAS
You’re both proud papas to babies who were born via emergency c-section – we’re dying to know – what goes through a dad’s head when he’s bearing witness to his wife being cut open in order to safely bring his child into the world?
Jeff: Once it came to the point that we had to have an emergency c-section, I became numb and it all just came to a head! All that we were waiting for was suddenly being ripped away from us in fast forward; it was all very nerve wracking. But once I was lead into the operating room it was different – all was calm and orderly, and we had a great surgeon with a solid sense of humour (just ask us about all the 4/20 jokes in the OR). The last thing I remember was him asking me to come around the curtain to watch, at which point Aleks grabbed me by my shirt and said “SIT!”. So I sat.
Anthony: It was a total shock to the system and I was not prepared for it. You feel helpless – you can’t help but think of the worst and there is nothing you can do to help. When it was all over, I remember having a newfound respect for doctors and what they do on a daily basis. Also witnessing Nikita sacrifice her body that way was pretty amazing. I use a lot of cliché sports analogies… so I may or may not have called her a “warrior”.
Dad’s tend to get a bad rep these days; what “Dad Stereotype” annoys you the most?
Jeff: None, because we come out on top in each scenario. If we can’t change a diaper right, the job gets taken away from us.
Anthony: I don’t really concern myself or even think about stereotypes. I have real life things to worry about everyday.
(Editor’s note: Woah! Must be cool being a dude!)
As dads of boys, your most important role is to teach your sons what it means to be a man. What traits do you want them to associate with masculinity?
Jeff: Self respect and respect for others, an open mind, kindness and generosity. Lots of powerful traits that I think are lost on today’s youth. I think this will be a very difficult world to navigate so I want to make sure he’s set up.
Anthony: From the day my first son Beau was born, I started a notepad called CHARACTER – ultimately the traits I want to teach have more to do with being a good human being, respect, tolerance, leadership.
What’s the most memorable lesson your dad ever taught you?
Jeff: Chivalry and Ethics. I remember when I was young my father always told me to treat my mother and every woman with respect. I might have not always been true to this fact growing up, but I never harmed a woman or let anyone around me ever do it. To this day, I open and hold doors for ladies as well the elderly. I watched my father run his own business, and how he carried himself, and I couldn’t figure out what made everyone around him love him. Years later it dawned on me after many conversations, that he carried himself with a certain self ethic that wouldn’t waiver, no matter how easy it could have been to lie, cheat, or steal. I want people to talk about me the same way after I walk away, as they do to my face.
Anthony: Obviously your dad teaches you a lot, but the one thing that sticks out is sportsmanship. I played a lot of sports growing up and he always engrained in me to play the right way not show anyone up; be respectful. He coached me a little bit as I kid I remember one time as a seven-year-old we were beating a team pretty badly – at a certain point he called the team in and explained to us that we had done enough scoring and that the kids on the other team probably didn’t feel really good at that point. That always stuck with me throughout my entire my playing career.
Grossest thing you’ve encountered, courtesy of your spawn:
Jeff: Watching my son take a dump on our newly carpeted WOOL stairs. He just looked at us and had at it! It was on purpose and he knew what he was doing when he asked to get naked.
Anthony: Just a few short weeks ago our youngest son, Rocco, projectile pooped in our bed and all over The Rebel Mama herself on a glorious Saturday morning. You can’t imagine someone that tiny could poop with that much force.
Think you could ever take on the role of stay-at-home-dad?
Anthony: Absolutely I could. Realistically, the boys would have to be a little older though. If it was possible financially, I would love to spend my days with them… but I’m sure after a few weeks I would probably wonder what I was thinking.
What’s one thing you wish someone told you about before you had kids?
Jeff: How absolutely insanely crazy it all really is. No one told me how unprepared I was no matter how prepared I actually thought we were. Things like witching hour, sleep training, regressions, whisper fighting at 4.30am… No one gives you the dirty details. And DON’T Google everything!!
Anthony: What a mental grind it can be. It tests you at every corner – your patience, your will. There really isn’t a day off. Plus you are the example for your children and they watch and mimic your every move.
What’s it like being shacked up with a Rebel Mama?
Jeff: Aleks is tough. I guess her growing up in a very tight knit family setting made her somewhat of a drill sergeant?! She is a confident woman, very quirky, and an organizational juggernaut about how her household is run.
Anthony: It’s been quite ride and we are just getting started in many aspects. When we first started dating, Nikita was just 22 and in university still, so I’ve seen her grow so much. I am really proud of her and the Rebel Mama movement. We are pretty lucky to have her in our home.
You guys are old dad-pros now; What words of wisdom do you have for new dads who are shitting their pants about the whole fatherhood gig?
Jeff: UM… Do not EVER tell your girl to “man up” in pep talk style when she is having a moment of weakness. Worst idea ever. Learn how to become a sound assistant, especially at the beginning, and buy yourself a notepad so you don’t forget anything – or else you’re in shit and heading right back out! Never EVER tell her you are hungover from the night before – it will be a hard morning on diaper duty, and don’t bother telling her you had a hard day at work… it doesn’t cut it anymore.
Anthony: Don’t let your highs get too high or your lows too low. Everyday is different and will present a different challenge. Try and stay even keeled and enjoy the ride – there is nothing like this parenting gig; it’s the absolute best.
What do you love most about fatherhood?
Jeff: Those small moments when Oscar turns to me and says “Hi Baba” with that cute ass mischievous smile. All the day’s craziness just melts away.
Anthony: Everything! I can’t put a price on the things I’ve learned about life and myself since becoming a parent – it’s made me a better person. It can be completely maddening and frustrating at times but nothing I’ve experienced in life gives me the feeling I get when my son calls me “daddy”.
Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Rebel Papas out there (including our own original Rebel Papas and of course, these wonderful goofs that fathered our children… WE LOVE YOU!)
Photography by Aleksandra Jassem