Our 365th Dad in the Limelight is Chris Sandahl. I want to thank Christ for being a part of the Dads in the Limelight series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
I published the award winning book, Babies Can Smell Fear last year before Father’s Day. Since then I have been on multiple lifestyle shows talking about the book and being a dad. I also speak at dad/men conferences.
I am truly blessed. I married up which means my wife is a hottie and my daughter has an amazing personality. My daughter loves to dance, swim, sing, and watch wrestling with her daddy. Her favorite wrestler is The Rock. My wife HATES wrestling which is her only flaw.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
When I was 18 years old my main goal in life was to have 1million dollars in the bank by the age of 30. When I turned 30 a few years back I truly wanted to punch my 18 year old self in the face and tell him to set more attainable goals. The point is I was really focused on making money until my daughter was born. She became my number 1 priority and I had to make some major changes.
Advice to new fathers would be that bonding with your newborn is different than it is for women. Moms carry the baby around in the womb for 9 months, feel the baby kick, and deliver the baby…they are automatically bonded to the child. It can take a little while for dads to have that moment where they truly feel like a dad. It took me 6 months, but believe me once you get that moment there is no turning back.
Balance is a key word in all of my speeches. It is so key to live a balanced life. At first I thought I had to spend every single moment with my daughter but quickly realized that was probably not the best thing for either of us. I have learned to balance my work life, limelight life, family life, and social life. It has been challenging but not impossible. My advice would be to prioritize everything. Family is number one for me. So I have to make time there before I can make time for anything else…like wrestling!
I have been blessed to have the opportunity to speak with many dads because of the book and speaking engagements. I have talked to new dads, old dads, granddads, and any other form of dad. I have never heard one dad say, “I wish I spent less time with my kids.” Every dad I talk to says spend as much time as you can with your kids because it goes so fast. That is the number one takeaway I have gotten.
Being a father has been the best thing to ever happen to me. When I was in high school I played basketball and we would travel 3-4 hours to play a game. I always told my parents they didn’t have to go because it was so far and they had to work the next day. Every time I saw them in the stands cheering me on. I never understood why they had to make EVERY game. Now as a father I realize, there aren’t that many games. Kids grow up quick. They are still your kids, but there aren’t any more recitals, or track meets, or plays. I am going to miss all of that stuff when my daughter is grown so I better make damn sure I don’t miss any of it now.
The best thing I ever did was write the book Babies Can Smell Fear. I reread it not because I am so proud of my work, but to relive that first year as a dad. I basically chronicled all of the fun stuff that happened to me as a dad and that allows me to reflect on all of the memories from that first year. There are too many great experiences to list, but the day I took her to her first UT Longhorns football game was pretty awesome. I loved watching her cheer on daddy’s Longhorns, watch the cheerleaders, and munch on pretzels and M&Ms. Then at half time she said, “Daddy, I am bored. Let’s go home.” Best half of football ever.
If you have any questions for Chris, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!