Dad pens viral post to former 'childless self'

He's learned a few things about being a supportive partner.

October 18, 2019, 2:58 PM

Parenting. There's no set of rules.

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.

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."

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