Tanel Jappinen, also known as “TJ”, is the proud husband and new father to a baby girl that just turned one year old. He’s the host of the Brave New Father podcast, which is #1 on iTunes in the Kids & Family category.
Originally from Europe, TJ was recruited for a sales internship in his second year of university to come to the United States. In this role, while he held for 11 years, he sold educational books to families. During his time with the company, he met face -to-face with over 20,000 families.
“I got to know the families, their priorities and what their goals are”
He says the families he met with had all kinds of different backgrounds, including rich and poor.
“The most inspiring families that I had a chance to meet with were the ones that really lived their family life intentionally. They knew what their values we’re and they structured their life around them.”
TJ considers himself a Diversity Dad because he’s new to fatherhood and just trying to figure things out himself. Being a Millennial himself, it’s very encouraging to read how this generation of dads is suppose to change the core of parenting styles.
“A lot of the dads I know do have the intent to be a lot more involved than their parents were”
For a big part of his baby’s life, he says he worked “crazy” hours, often totaling over 70 per week. Four months ago, he decided to leave this job and stay home with his daughter.
TJ discovered that it wasn’t easy to stay at home, as the need to chase his career goals and provide for his family was so ingrained in him. Needing to do something else, besides staying at home, he decided to start the podcast and share his
own fatherhood journey with others.
He feels that seeing his daughter’s most primal human emotions playing out, without filters, has been the most exciting part of being a dad. He says she’s been able to express her own wants and needs, in her own way.
“It’s kind of like a learning experience for her,and us as well. She really doesn’t have any hidden agendas to her actions. She’s as pure as can be.”
His biggest challenge has been learning that it takes a lot of patience to work with little ones, and things don’t always go to plan.
“It’s still tough. I’m reminded of these challenges everyday, but I haven’t had any days without being thankful that I have this tiny human being in my life.”
He says that quitting his job and becoming more comfortable with his sensitive side have been his proudest moments of being a dad. TJ has never considered himself an emotional guy, but says that something changed when he first heard his daughter’s heartbeat during an ultrasound.
“It’s important to be vulnerable as a parent, especially as a dad”
His biggest obstacle was getting the courage to leave his job to stay home.
“I think the fact that I had the courage to make this step for my family, makes me feel good about my own fatherhood journey. Becoming a parent changes your goals and your dreams.”
One piece of advice he can give is to take care of yourself and the relationship with your spouse. He shares that at times, he and his wife haven’t prioritized their own relationship.
“I think it does start with the man in the mirror. Just taking the responsibility and focusing on things I feel are important”
“It takes conscious effort to come through and show up as a husband as well”
“I strongly believe that one of the biggest things that dads can do for their kids, is to love their mother unconditionally”