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'I Was A Lone Dad In A Sea Of Moms': Get To Know The Smart Parenting Dad Squad
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HALILI
  • Smart Parenting, with its fresher, more inclusive look, and bigger, bolder purpose, seeks to include dads in the parenting conversation. After all, dads are equally important with moms in raising happy, healthy families.

    In June, we celebrated the dads in the Smart Parenting Village, our online community of over 80,000 parents. We've seen more and more dads opening up and asking questions, like "Ano ang best diaper brand na hindi namumuo," or "Required ba na laging nakahubad lahat ng damit ng dolls pag naglalaro?"

    We have also been sharing stories from our very first-ever Daddy Editor-at-Large, Joey Ong, who founded DadbudPH. He's been leading the conversations on Usapang Tatay, sharing hacks para makakain sa labas with a malikot na toddler, and gets real on reminding dads, "Hoy pare, bawal mamatay."

    To strengthen the presence of dads who are involved in their families in social media, we have the Smart Parenting Dad Squad - a group of dads who represent diverse Filipino families - from traditional, to blended, to solo-parent family setups. Their mission? To help everyone navigate each other's unique parenting journey.

    Get to know the Smart Parenting Dad Squad and their stories

    We asked the Smart Parenting Dad Squad what it means for them to be part of the group, and how Smart Parenting helped them in their parenting journey. 

    'What I read from Smart Parenting truly works for my family'

    Ang Daddy Livestreamer, Jonathan Uy, is a dad of two. "I've been an avid reader of Smart Parenting articles, and I've learned so many valuable lessons not just about parenting but also relationship, finance and health.

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    A certified live streamer and content creator who enjoys mukbang, reviews and unboxing videos, Jonathan said, "What I read and watch on Smart Parenting's vlogs, I get to apply some of these and honestly,  they truly work for my family."

    PHOTO BY RONAN CAPILI

    "To be a part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad connotes a big responsibility, and that is to be a model dad to my fellow parents and followers. It has been a great privilege for me, and I am enjoying this wonderful journey and at the same, I am able to apply what I learn from my fellow parents."

    'I realized to be called a daddy is kinda hot'

    Dale Camandang, the Sizzling Single Daddy of one, said, "Being part of this family is a validation that I am a parent! I never thought that I get to represent and inspire the single-parent community. At first, it feels weird to be called "daddy" but I realized to be called a "daddy" is kinda "hot!" Haha!"

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    Hailing from Cavite, Dale is a free-spirited, casual, and chill vibe kind of a dad to his 11-year-old daughter.

    "When I was younger, I thought Smart Parenting was only for cool and rich parents, but I was wrong. Smart Parenting is for everyone who needs information and support in raising kids regardless of status. I became a single parent at the age of 26, so I have limited references and Smart Parenting was my instant go-to guide."

    'Helped me to become more confident as a dad'

    Jing Ruiz, a soon-to-be daddy of two, and The TikTok Daddy of Cavite said, "Being part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad made me realize how really exciting and fun it is to be a parent. It motivated me to do more and share my experiences to other parents and hopefully to influence them as well."

    A former OFW who now works as a part-time virtual assistant and content creator, Jing  said, "What I love about being part of this family is the diversity in every member and the fact that we can learn different things and share experiences with each other."

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    PHOTO BY RONAN CAPILI

    "While I still believe that there is no parenting manual that every parent should follow because of our differences, Smart Parenting guided me with things I did not know before, since I am a first time parent. It helped me to become more confident on myself not only as a father but also as a "DAD."

    'A huge honor, a big responsibility'

    Edroy Lim, the Daddy Host of one said, to be chosen among the Smart Parenting Dad Squad is a huge honor and a big responsibility.

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    "It's an avenue for me to share my experience as a dad and husband that will hopefully help and inspire other dads.

    Edroy, who is one of the most recommended wedding hosts in the country, said, "Smart Parenting has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of how to be a dad and husband."

    'I was a lone dad in a sea of moms'

    For JR Santiago, a Dadvocate and Girl Dad, being part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad made him realize that he is not alone.

    "[I realized that] there are other dads who are also trying their best to be involved parents and are encouraging other fathers to take a more active role in parenting. This means a lot because since I started being a Dadvocate in 2015, I always found myself being the lone dad in a sea of moms in parenting events, and it feels really good that more and more dads are stepping up to become advocates as well and it inspires me more to continue with this advocacy.

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF JR SANTIAGO
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    "In 2021, I was very lucky to have been asked to write my first article for Smart Parenting and I will always be grateful for that. I am so thankful because through that piece, I was able to share my advocacy (#InvolvedFathersHappierChildren) to a wider audience and I was given the opportunity to inspire other Dads to be more involved parents," said JR, who is a public servant.

    JR is also the co-founder of Dad Tribe PH - a group for fathers, by fathers. "I am very grateful as well to Smart Parenting because they have shown that they are great allies to parents who need a resource and a community that they can tap into in their parenting journey."

    'The right barkada is important'

    Dreus Cosio, The Marriage Coach Dad, and dad of two said, "I always love being associated with the word DAD. It's an answered prayer for me and my wife. Time spent with family is the highlight of my day. Kaya being part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad blessed me."

    Dreus is a businessowner, preacher, content creator, author, and husband of Love Cosio, who is a member of the Smart Parenting Mom Squad. "To see fellow dads living their lives and loving their families. Men thrive on having a tribe for support. Kaya the right barkada is important. This is what Smart Parenting Dad Squad gave me," he said.

    READ ALSO: 'Anything Hidden Is Forbidden': Helpful Ways To Build Security In Marriage

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    An active member of the Smart Parenting Village, Dreus adds, "The interaction in the Smart Parenting Village is very helpful. Sharing without judgment. Empowering and learning at the same time. Smart Parenting is very generous, too, to open the platform as a big support group for all the parents out there. Kaya it is helping our family when it comes to receiving and giving value, while getting tips from other parents."

    'An ideal dad is wholistically gwapo'

    Alfie Tulagan, The Stay-At-Home Dad of Pangasinan said, being part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad entails responsibility and accountability to be role models for fellow dads.

    "Dapat kaming mga Dad Squad ay mga "gwapo," hindi lang sa pisikal na aspeto kundi maging sa spiritual, emotional at financial aspect. That's the ideal Smart Parenting Dad Squad goal - wholistically gwapo!"

    READ ALSO: 'Bawasan Ang Inggit' Plus Other Tips From Real Dads On Managing The Family Finances

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    A former TV reporter and college instructor, Alfie is now a full-time law student and a financial advisor. He has two sons and is happily married to a neurologist.

    He adds, "Gustong-gusto ko talaga ang #SPConfessions. Nakakatulong talaga sa akin 'yun para malaman ko ang pinanggagalingan ng mga misis. Bakit sila masungit, mabait, nagpapaganda, hindi umiimik, hindi masaya, mga ganyan. Napag-uusapan kasi lahat ng yan sa Smart Parenting Confessions."

    'Find success in raising our family despite differences'

    For Julius Bayoneta, The Hands-on Working Tatay, being part of the Smart Parenting's Dad Squad made him feel a sense of belongingness and social inclusion.

    "I am happy and thankful that I am still able to realize my potential and that I share a purpose with Smart Parenting dads and moms," said Julius. 

    READ ALSO: How I’m Trying To Be A Good Dad Even Though I Grew Up Without One

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    He adds, "There is no 'one-size fits all' approach in parenting, especially because every parent and child is unique. But in Smart Parenting, we can find success in raising our family amidst uniqueness or despite differences. Smart Parenting offers principles that guide me (as a parent) and provides different guardrails that help me bring those principles to life."

    Julius, who said he's afraid to become a father because of his tough childhood, has two kids: an 8-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old baby girl. 

    'The content I consume has a non-judgmental vibe'

    "I never imagined that I'll be part of anything like this, but I'm truly I'm grateful for the opportunity  to be in the Smart Parenting Dad Squad," said JPaul Hernandez, a dad of one, and The Spiritual Coach.

    "When I was younger, I was afraid I won't have a good marriage, or be a good father. Through the years, I slowly overcame these fears and invested in myself as a person. What I realized is that if I'm broken, I can't ask my wife or child to fix me. Instead, I needed to be the best version of myself so that I can have a happy family."

    A Catholic lay preacher and an entrepreneur, JPaul said, "Being part of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad gives me a chance to bring hope to other men who are afraid of commitment, who grew up with trauma, and who are scared to be a dad."

    PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HALILI
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    He adds, "Today's life is tough. Smart Parenting has helped me become more confident in raising my family as a first-time dad facing life's difficulties. Smart Parenting has made me feel that other parents like me are on this journey. The parenting content I consume has a non-judgmental vibe that I learn from."

    'Learn new ways how to approach my child differently'

    Boom Domingo, The Pilot Dad, said he feels very lucky to be a part of Smart Parenting Dad Squad.

    "It means that I have enough influence to share with other dads like myself my own experiences of being a father to three adorable children. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect father but you can always aspire to be the best one for your children by listening to them and giving them your most precious time. Being a part of the Smart Parenting family made me want to be a better father for my children more."

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    A fitness enthusiast, Boom likes biking and the outdoors. "I've known about Smart Parenting ever since I was a teenager. I never got to read it not until I was a parent myself, of course. I was curious if I was raising my children right, but then I realized that there are many ways to skin a cat. Other experiences can be applicable to yours but may not be for others. So it's crucial and important to understand and listen to your children's needs before taking action. I was able to learn new ways on how to approach my children differently."

    'A wider point of view of what we already know'

    "Being a part of Smart Parenting's Dad Squad means a lot to me as a father of two," said Mark Bello, The Cyclist Dad of one from the Province of Abra. "The community is so helpful that I am able to educate myself more towards being a dad. I don't think that I'll ever be an expert on this role, it will always be an improving self-development."

    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MARK BELLO
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    A working dad and a bike shop owner, Mark said, "Smart Parenting's influence to my family gave us a wider point-of-view of what we already know. The shared experiences from fellow parents taught us alternative approaches on how to deal with family life. It inspires us to do better, to create and keep a home love-filled."

    'Smart Parenting helped me from the start'

    For JC Lasam, the Student Dad from Cagayan Valley and the grand winner of the My Smart Parenting Story contest, their journey with Smart Parenting journey started from reading articles.

    "Smart Parenting helped me from the start. My wife and I started reading articles from the Smart Parenting Facebook page that could help us understand what happens during pregnancy, and to prepare us prior to meeting our dear Juancho," he said.

    PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HALILI

    He adds, "In a way, we became less anxious and just more ready to welcome our newborn despite the pandemic and all the restrictions. After birth, we still turn to advices from the page, as well as the Smart Parenting Village, for real-life experiences from new parents like us. I know for a fact that I became more updated on new trends and learnings on parenthood which I use on taking care of my baby, as well as my wife."

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    A former seafarer who is now taking up Dentistry, JC said "I am grateful for Smart Parenting for guiding me to be a great husband and an even greater father."

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