Let's Hear it for the Dads - Part II // Featuring the Miraculous Michael Lanahan
Posted on 18 June 2016
Our first "Let's Hear it For the Dad's" post, featuring the talented TV & Film editor Rob Torres, is still our top-viewed post. With Father's Day on the horizon, it was fitting to feature my husband, the incredible Michael Lanahan. He's an amazing dad to our precocious 3-year-old and has made many sacrifices for this family.
Like many of our friends in creative industries, we went the unconventional route: Mike would be the one to stay home, while I returned to work. I had a steady position as a Design Director with a company I'd been with for 7 years. Mike was an actor. He would book great jobs, but it was not a reliable source of income, plus my job offered insurance.
Finley’s first year was possibly the most difficult we have ever faced. My husband didn’t feel up to the task...not physically or emotionally. And yet every day, he showed up, and every day he did better, became more confident...found more things to do with her. I can guarantee my daughter is the better for it. I know she will select a good partner one day, because she's had great modeling of what a father and husband should be.
Read Mike's Interview:
Introduce yourself and your daughter:
Hey there! I'm Michael Lanahan, and that gremlin sitting on my shoulders is my sweet babboo Finley Rose. She just turned 3 a couple months ago. I can't believe she's THREE (cuz it feels like it's been 5....)
Describe parenthood in 5 words or less:
Unrelenting. Fatigue. Patience. Pride. Fatigue
What was one thing that surprised you about your role as a dad?
How hard it is. No one can prepare you for that. I was the stay-at-home dad, & I’d always wanted to be. The reality of that experience was so far removed from what I’d imagined (& I didn’t imagine it would be rainbows & unicorns & rainbow unicorns). I literally can’t even use words to describe how hard it is. It’s the reason there’s such a strong unspoken bond between sets of parents. That nod you give the other Dad from across the park that says, "I know."
Nothing will make you truly appreciate your Mom & Dad, like having a child of your own. And nothing is better payback for them, than watching you raise that child. ;)
Describe your hardest day in fatherhood, thus far:
My daughter was a somewhat difficult baby, so the joyful moments of child-rearing were few and very far between those first two years. I can’t think of a single day, but I can vividly recall some of the hardest moments. Weeping on the floor of the bathroom in the middle of the night because I didn’t think I could do this anymore. The terror rippling through me, as I heard the loudest horrible scream, & turned to realize Finley had rolled off the bed. Dropping her off for the first day of Daycare, realizing no one was more devastated to leave her than me. Any day she wanted me or asked for me, and I couldn’t be there.
Describe your best day as a dad:
On my 3rd Father’s Day, I decided to take Finley to the Zoo for the first time. Angela had to work, so it became a special Daddy-Daughter day. She was so full of wonder at the animals she was finally seeing in real life. We're still at that precious point where we get to experience things with her for the first time. We had so much fun, it was just a great day. We didn’t get to see nearly all the animals, it’s was hotter than hell, and completely exhausting. But I’ll never forget how special it was. Probably a pretty good metaphor for fatherhood.
How has fatherhood affected your self image?:
I’m certainly more confident. That comes from having been thrust into so many scenarios with my daughter, and having to figure it out by myself. That’s not to say that I now embrace unusual scenarios or difficult situations. I really don’t, but now I KNOW that I can handle it.
I’m also so much more comfortable and confident in who I am as a person. Jury’s out on whether that’s fatherhood or just something that has come with age. (That’s what ya get for being older when you have a kid!).
As the father of a little girl, has your worldview been affected at all? If so, how has it changed?
Of course! I wouldn’t say that it has changed – I’d say it’s been enhanced. I was always sensitive to the needs, and influences, and role models of little girls, but now I find myself actively seeking them out, actively building a framework for empowerment that often cuts against the ways previous generations were raised. Not to mention the way I see other little girls being raised around me. I choose my words and ideas so carefully now. When I slip-up, and I do, I feel like an idiot – but I’m learning too. Evolving too..
It's such a different world now for women, & progress is coming by leaps and bounds (although not fast enough!). The struggle is to keep up, so I can raise her to be smart, strong, & proud of who and what she is.
What is one life hack / dad hack you can share with other parents?
I have a life hack of sorts: Don't forget about your marriage. Kids and work are so encompassing, you can take it for granted. In 16-18 years, that kid is going to be out of the house, & you two will be all alone again. So make time for yourselves away from the kid(s). Get a babysitter, & go out on dates. You chose each other - keep reminding your partner of that. (The side benefit is: you kid will see how a loving marriage is supposed to look!)
What do you hope your daughter learns from you?
I hope I can teach her to be funny, kind, funny, polite, helpful & funny. I want her to learn to do all kinds of different things, and to stick with it if she’s not good at first. Most of all I want her to learn how to follow her passion, and work hard to make that passion manifest.
What do you want most for Finley?:
All the stuff a parent wants: To love and be loved. To feel supported, and know she always has someone to talk to. To have a great group of friends who appreciate her. Most of all, I want her to be herself. To be authentic, without any regret.
If your future self could talk to you now, what would he say?:
"Was I always this good-looking?”