Dad pens viral post to former 'childless self'

PHOTO: A dad wrote a viral post to his former self. PlayTed Gonder
WATCH News headlines today: Nov. 22, 2019

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There's probably a lot you've learned along the way -- wisdom you've gathered that you wish you could share with your former self.

Ted Gonder, a father of three, did just that. And his resulting Facebook post addressed to his "my childless 24-year-old self" went viral.

In it, he offered tips on how to be a "supportive partner," including to "change EVERY diaper you can."

Gonder told "Good Morning America" he was prompted to pen the post, which now has 54,000 shares, after the birth of his third son.

"I was lucky to spend several weeks on paternity leave. In between changing newborn diapers and playing with our 1 and 4-year-olds," he said. "Those few weeks provided a chance to reflect on how much I've learned on the beautiful battlefield of parenting in the first few years. My incredible wife has birthed three kids in 5 years and we've co-parented every step of the way, so a lot of my biggest learnings have been about how to be a supportive partner before and after birth."

"It's been hard for me to find good dad advice along the way," he said. "So I decided to write about what I'd tell the younger version of myself."

His wife, he said, appreciated the post.

"We've talked about many of these points with friends over the past few years, so I think she appreciated me sharing them in writing," he said.

Thousands of people have reached out to him about the post, Gonder told "GMA."

"Encouragingly, the most common comments have come from women tagging their male partners thanking them for being 'their rock.' I think this says something about a growing group of men today who have the courage and strength to think beyond their traditional male role toward how they can be a true 'family co-founder' with their wife," he said.

View this post on Instagram

Working on upping my dad photography game. Third boy is hiding in my chest pouch.πŸ‘ΆπŸ’€ It's funny...I dig this photo. A lot! Makes me beam with pride and gratitude.πŸ˜ŠπŸ™ But to keep it real I gotta share that most of the morning was dedicated to scrubbing on my hands and knees a white kitchen that got inundated in bulletproof coffee when the one year old hit "PULSE" on the blender with the lid off in the single second when I reached to help the newborn before closing the blender and making the god damn coffee.πŸ˜³β˜• But hey at least all that cleaning was a good chance to work on my shoulder mobility (scrubbing) and hip mobility (squatting). πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» And more importantly, moments like these really remind you to not take yourself too seriously. I mean, wtf else was I going to do with Sunday morning at 6am? Scroll Insta on the toilet? SMH...πŸ™ŠπŸ’© Anyway, eventually got the chance to decompress with this dope workout. 10 rounds: 400m run 10 strict pullups 20 strict pushups And was very quickly reminded that I have lots of work to do on running conditioning. πŸ˜… Before that I did a test just for fun of max reps strict ring dips. I hadn't touched this test (rested) in a while and was frustrated for a few months of no progress. Kept capping at 11 reps from January through May so took a few months off focusing on other exercises. Well, today I hit 16! That's after starting at 4 (very unstable and trembly) reps last October when @franzilovesmonday ordered and hung them in our house. Onward.

A post shared by Ted Gonder (@tedgonder) on Sep 1, 2019 at 12:29pm PDT

But there was a darker side to the comments too.

"I think a lot of people also shared the post because they're outraged that so many women go through pregnancy, birth, and recovery totally alone when their male partners could be doing more," Gonder said. "Many reflected on how a lack of supportive partner during this crucial phase planted seeds of resentment that ruined their relationship and family later."

While he wouldn't change anything about the post, Gonder has had some further thoughts he would add:

"Initiate the conversation early about household roles -- breadwinner or homemaker or both," he said. "Take the pressure off your wife to explore what role each of you wants to play as you become parents. Relieve the topic's tension so it doesn't explode on you later. Push each other to think about a family vision, considering both of your desires equally, then work backward from that shared vision to plan how you'll manifest that reality together."

And finally, the 29-year-old dad said: "Don’t listen to people who say you’re ruining your life by having kids young."