GoBe Kids is passionate about fostering and supporting a strong and positive #ParentTribe and celebrating the fact that families come from all walks of life. Every family’s journey deserves nothing less than a standing ovation (and lots of hugs!). Parenthood can be challenging but the greatest reward comes from seeing the incredible kiddos in our lives thrive and grow into the wonderful personas that they will carry into adulthood. Moreover, the word “family” can carry an incredibly broad range of definitions—and part of what makes each family so uniquely beautiful comes from embracing and celebrating the rich diversity they represent.
This year for Father’s Day, the GoBe family is beyond excited to share our very first GoBe Dads Highlight: Jeffrey and Bryce from @growingupwithdads! Dedicated dads to their beautiful twins, Ridge and Larue (Rue), Jeffrey and Bryce share their family’s daily lives and their incredible journey on @growingupwithdads. Keep reading to learn more about this incredible super-dad duo!
Everything Happens for a Reason
Jeffrey and Bryce always knew that they wanted to be fathers—but as a gay couple, they also knew that their journey to starting a family might be a little different. Through a wonderful surrogate, Jeffrey and Bryce were finally able to make their greatest dream come true: have a family. However, surrogacy was not always the easiest process and both Jeffrey and Bryce had to learn what it meant to be patient and embrace the challenges they faced while moving towards that dream.
“We learned to accept the mentality that “everything happens for a reason.” We had so many surrogates turn us down because we were gay and it was heartbreaking at the time, but everything led us to an amazing surrogate and an amazing experience. Truly, if we could go back, the only thing we’d change is to not be heartbroken with all the “no’s” and know that something amazing was coming.”
A quick look at their Instagram is all you need to see that Jeffrey and Bryce’s unwavering commitment to one another coupled with their patience and trust in the surrogacy process resulted in a truly idyllic family. Their feed shows how much their beautiful kiddos, Ridge and Rue, are thriving—and Jeffrey and Bryce openly gave a lot of credit to their support system:
“We truly couldn’t raise our kids without our tribe, and we wouldn’t be a family without our amazing egg donor and our selfless surrogate. We have a beautiful relationship with our surrogate, and we’re so lucky. Beyond that, we have an amazing support system of grandparents and friends. We have a beautiful community of LGBT parents as well.”
Living the #SuperDads Life
Being a parent is not a traditional job where you have firm start and end times-it truly is a never-ending role. When asked about how they approach the “organized chaos” (in all of the best ways) that can come with family life, Jeffrey and Bryce were quick to share their optimistic insights:
“Embrace the chaos! Kids are unpredictable and as much as you plan, those plans often go off the rails and you have to learn to adapt and make the best out of situations. We’ve had family trips planned and literally the day we arrived, a kid got sick. We spent a lot of time in the hotel room instead of the beach, but you learn to make the best of situations.”
A typical day in Jeffrey and Bryce’s household starts early for both dads and their kiddos. Like many parents out there, the kids are the first to wake up (which quickly turns into them waking up their dads!).
“[We] take turns going to the gym while the other gets the day moving with breakfast and getting the kids dressed. If it’s a day where the kids have preschool, we get their snacks and backpacks packed and ready. After drop off, we usually work for the next 3 hours and get all the things done that are hard to do with the kids at home - be it errands or house projects. After school, we try to do something fun or stimulating with the kids (when the weather is good, we usually swim). Our kids are really good at bedtime and don’t hesitate to tell us they’re tired and ready for bed. Once they’re in bed, we then get to enjoy the rest of the night together.”
While it sounds like they have their everyday routines pretty well-established, both of these dads shared that it really comes down to a true-and constantly evolving-balancing act between family responsibilities and dedicating time for self-care:
“A successful week is one part planning and organization and another part of rolling with the punches and adapting as you go! We are also big proponents of self-time in order to decompress and recharge. It truly makes us better parents.”
When asked about the “must-haves” for their kiddos, these dads shared how they embrace screen time and leverage it to help engage their children in a variety of educational programming (and how it’s been a huge win!).
“For us, it’s tablets and water bottles. We know “screen-time” is an important thing and we do our best to monitor. That being said, our kids’ tablets are often a lifesaver when we really need to finish a project or get something done - and for time in the car. We prioritize having our kids watch educational videos and learning content - and for us, it’s paying off. Ridge is years ahead in math and his knowledge of space [is unreal] - he is constantly teaching us things he’s learned. And Rue has such a fun and creative mind and loves learning about animals.”
A Family Like Any Other
It’s hard sometimes to talk about the realities of parenting but not during this interview. Jeffrey and Bryce’s open honesty is a breath of fresh air when they talked about what is their top priority as parents:
“We’re pretty much just like every other family. We want our kids to be happy and healthy. We stress and worry about the same things. We keep a box of preschool art that we have no idea what we’re ever going to do with - just like most parents. We screw up and make bad parenting choices - just like every parent. We believe, just like most parents, we want to help our kids grow up to be the best version of themselves.”
They also exhibited impressive authenticity and transparency when describing how they combat those days when they feel like they are running on “parental fumes”:
“Coffee, haha. But really, sometimes you just need to take 5 minutes and take some deep breaths. There are times when we are really bad parents - times we lose our cool and yell or when we say something that we know we shouldn’t. Those are the times when we actively try to stop and tell ourselves that we need a few minutes to relax and decompress. Yes, the floor is a sticky mess because [the kids] were trying to pour their own drink and it spilled everywhere…but it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world and sometimes you just need to walk away from chaos for a few minutes.”
Taking a few moments to decompress and relax is not the only piece of advice that Jeffrey and Bryce offered to other parents. Raising a family involves being present and engaged with not just your kids, but also your spouse-and that quality time with your partner is worth prioritizing.
“As parents, it’s easy to let fulfilling your kids’ needs overpower your life and your relationship with your spouse. It’s sometimes so challenging to carve out specific time with your partner. It’s hard and can be expensive to coordinate a babysitter and plan a date night - but it’s important to be able to spend time with your partner and just talk.”
Embracing Diversity & Always Adapting
Jeffrey and Bryce firmly believe (and teach their kids) that diversity is what makes the world beautiful and that life would be boring if everyone or every family was the exact same. While they are two dads, they both openly share the same challenges that many other parents face everyday. They both worry and stress about their kids learning and growing (a universally-shared feeling for many parents). They too feel that heartbreak whenever one of their kids experiences sadness or anger. And like many parents, Jeffrey and Bryce admit their struggles in keeping their kids from arguing and teaching them how to understand the big, complex emotions they are growing into.
“That being said, we know our kids are going to face some unique struggles as they grow up. They will be teased at school for having two dads. There will be parents who don’t want their kids to be friends with our kids because we are gay. We get this. We’re just trying to raise emotionally mature and self-confident kids so that when that happens, they know how to respond and they can feel assured of who they are and our family.”
Fostering the growth and development of children into kind and compassionate humans is an enormous responsibility-mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, it’s important to remember that growth happens in stages, all of which will be unique. Both Jeffrey and Bryce understand that when it comes to their kids, embracing each stage of childhood also involves some adapting on their part as dads:
“Right now, our mantra is embracing the current stage of our kids. We are at such a fun but sometimes challenging age. They are so inquisitive and want to explore the world - but that leads to a lot of mistakes and a lot of messes.
We have this “rule” that crayons/markers are only to be used on paper - and the other day, we noticed that Ridge had written the entire alphabet on a windowsill-in marker. Honestly, it was adorable and although it broke a rule, we knew he was learning and he was proud that he wrote all the letters out by himself. It’s one of those moments where we were tempted to remove the windowsill and frame it. Now, we don’t want every windowsill in our house filled with the ABCs, but it was still cute. The same goes for how the kids are learning to put their own clothes away - and as much as we’d prefer everything to be in its proper place, we’re learning to adapt to their stage of life.”
While there were some lingering questions on whether the windowsill ended up being framed, both dads gave sound advice for other GoBe parents to just simply lean into their kids’ current stage of life. These stages don’t last forever but they do provide incredible learning opportunities for kiddos as well as moments where parents can truly connect and create some core memories with these mini humans (bonus points if you get some freelance artwork in the process!)
Thank you so much, Jeffrey and Bryce, for sharing your incredible story about your beautiful family with the GoBe team. Parenting is not easy and it’s eye-opening whenever it’s realized that other parents and families share similar challenges. This is exactly why Gobe Kids strives to foster and support parents everywhere because you are all doing the most important work there is: raising empathetic, gracious, and confident kiddos.
Keep up the great work and don’t forget to take a moment and celebrate just how invaluable that work is. You deserve it.
- Alissa, from the GoBe Team