Lifestyle | June 06, 2023

The Most Important Job

By Rory Coulter
The Most Important Job

They may be the founders of Ned, but their most important job is being dads. We chat with proud papas Ret and Adriaan about fatherhood, going all in on dad fashion, and the experiences they can’t wait to share with their kids.   

Ned: Pop culture has given us so many memorable dads. We have Clark W. Griswold*, Frank Costanza, Homer Simpson . . . Who’s your favorite fictional dad?  

Adriaan: Amazing question and even more amazing that you already listed Sir Clark Griswold. There’s truly no other fictional character that captures the essence and ambition of dads than Clark. It’s less about the outrageous moments and more about the dad-like nuances - whether it’s his refusal to ask for directions or his overattachment to recreating nostalgia for his family. Brittany and I hosted our first family Thanksgiving this year and even though Mikko was still in her belly, I caught myself channeling Clark more than a few times. 

Ret: Definitely Clark Griswold! I can absolutely relate. No matter how hard us dads try, things will go wrong, comedy will ensue, sometimes drama, and it can feel like there’s a big joke being played on you. In the end though it all works out and it’s ALWAYS worth it. 

Ned: Dad-style is having a real fashion moment right now. You could call it a renaissance. Who’s your dad style icon and what’s your favorite dadcore trend?  

Adriaan: For the last few years, I’ve been gravitating towards retro styles - sweater polos, camp collar shirts with wacky prints, and materials like terry cloth. While I wish I could say I pulled it off like Don Draper, I guess I’d have to stick with the National Lampoon’s theme and go with someone like Cousin Eddie. 

Ret: Right now, I’m kind of going with a safari guide vibe, maybe a little Indiana Jones. I like the classic, masculine, well-traveled look. 

Ned: They say kids are perfect mirrors. What has fatherhood shown you about yourself? How has being a dad changed your perspective on life and how you show up in the world? 

Adriaan: If a whole 4 months of being a dad has taught me anything… It's to smile more and just take in the moment. Mikko has been all smiles for the last few months and embodies this beautiful unencumbered presence. So if I’m having a stressful day (or not) and I catch him staring and smiling at me from across the room, it stops me in my tracks. I smile back and it makes everything else feel trivial. 

Ret: Play more. 

Ned: If you ask me, not enough attention is given to dad's wellness. How do you stay centered and grounded as a busy parent? What advice do you have for other fathers out there?

Adriaan: I’d be lying if I said I have it all figured out, but the one big change I’ve made since becoming a dad is getting up really early. I typically wake up at 5:30am, which gives me the time and space to do some breathing, have a workout, then hangout with Mikko while Brittany gets some time for herself. It’s totally unrushed and I get a few quality hours before heading to the office. 

Ret: I get out there and do the things I love! Most of these things take place outdoors and beyond where my wife and daughter want to venture. My wife, Denise, is great about encouraging me to go, and to do so guilt-free. She knows that when I come back, pack my gear away and give myself a good rinse, I’m a better husband and father. She also wants our daughter to see her father pursuing his passions and taking care of his well being. Far too many family men I know don’t feel they have the same option or that the guilt would be too great. My advice is to talk with your partner, let them know how important it is to you, and find tradeoffs. 

Ned: What’s your favorite tradition from childhood that you want to pass on to your little one? What experience are you really looking forward to sharing with them when they’re at the right age?

Adriaan: I’ll have to say ‘bed birthdays.’ It’s a really sweet tradition that I grew up with and that Brittany and I have already adopted for each other. On your birthday, you’re woken up by your family with a song, a pastry, and birthday presents. It makes your whole birthday, from the second you wake up, super special. And as for what experiences I’m looking forward to sharing with Mikko, it’s definitely summertime in Finland. I spent every summer there as a kid and there’s something so magical about the midnight sun, Finnish countryside, and Nordic activities like fishing and foraging. 

Ret: All my best memories took place outside; building treehouses, exploring, riding bikes, catching fish… I hope Sienna will find as much joy outdoors as I have. I look forward to a multi day raft trip with Sienna ASAP! 

Ned: OK, I’m ready, lay it on me. Give me your best dad joke!

Adriaan: How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it!

Ret: Kid: “I’m hungry.” Dad: “I’m dad.” 

Ned: *guffaws*

*Mark your calendars for National Lampoon's Vacation 40th Anniversary! Catch Clark W. Griswold and fam back on the big screen in theaters July 16th and 19th. Next stop Walley World! >


DAD'S LOVE . . .

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