In Australia, Father’s Day falls annually on the first Sunday of September. The origin of a special day to honour fathers and celebrate fatherhood was introduced by the United States – of course it was! “A woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother’s Day celebrations and planned a day to honour fathers early in the 20th century. The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910.”

This Father’s Day, we asked ION directors Matt, Rhys and Vince to shed some light on the other side of their lives and talk about their experiences as Dads.

Matt McIlwrick with Mason. Father and Son Matt McIlwrick

Children: Mason William McIlwrick – 10 ½ months old

What does being a Dad mean to you? Being a Dad to me means loving this little creature unconditionally, it means turning up every day and creating the best life I can for my boy and providing a loving environment that he can grow and thrive in.

Favourite part of being a Dad? I love coming home to see the big smile on his face when I walk through the door. I love seeing him grow each day and become his own little checky self. The happiness he brings to our family no matter how tough a day we have had is something I will always be grateful for.

Least favourite part of being a Dad? Some of the nappies I have had to change makes me question how that possibly can come out of such a small human!

How do you stay motivated to train even when sleep deprived? Becoming a parent is a big shock to the system. I found that setting realistic training targets and being flexible depending on how I’m feeling helps me through each week. If I have a night without sleep, I may substitute a hard strength day with a big walk but I make sure I always do some form of activity each day no matter what!

Are you managing the chaos of a baby with work life? They go hand in hand! I try to keep things structured but unfortunately that’s not life. I find it best to be flexible at home and at work as each day is so different. I have learnt to be very patient in everything I do and not stress over things I cannot control.

Has becoming a Dad changed you? Becoming a father has made me appreciate life just that little bit more and I never knew I could love something so much. I feel a great responsibility to teach my son about life and I am so privileged to be in the position to help mould the person he will grow up to be.

Any advice for future Dads that you wish you knew before? Have no expectations! There are many “experts” out there and I would say just do what feels right for you and your partner. I admire my wife for what she does for our son and I have no idea how she does it! As a father I found that being there and being as supportive as possible goes a long way and all the small things help. Keeping the Mrs as stress free as possible like keeping the house tidy, cleaning and cooking goes a long way in keeping things smooth sailing.

How do you think health/fitness/training affect your role as a father? Keeping fit and healthy has gone a long way in helping with the early stages of fatherhood. I have been able to cope with the extra stress involved with a baby as well as running a business. Throughout my professional sporting and fitness career, discipline has always been a cornerstone to everything I do, and it is this discipline that has allowed me to stay on top of my fitness. This has given me the opportunity to be at my best both physically and mentally for my family.

What is your approach to health and fitness with your children? In today’s day and age, technology is very accessible for children and seems to be keeping them inside for longer. Some of my fondest memories were from kicking a ball around at the park with Mum & Dad and I want to reciprocate that with my son. I want him to pick the outdoors over video games and pick a healthy lifestyle over a lazy one. I will do my best to incorporate health & fitness in everything we do and think it very important not just for my family but for society as a whole to embrace this with young children.

Rhys Pritchard. Father of 3. Rhys Pritchard

Children: Noah (6 years), Beau (4 years), and Cleo (8 months)

Best thing about being a father? Watching your kids grow and develop into their own “little selves” each day. It’s still surreal to think I am raising kids and contributing to their development into adults ????

What is your favourite show with the kids? Billy Madison. Probably not the most kid friendly but the boys think it’s hilarious and don’t pick up on the innuendo!

What will you be eating on Father’s Day? Pancakes. Lots and lots of pancakes!

Favourite family activity? Playing at the park or watching a movie on the lounge with a big bag of popcorn.

Biggest job as a parent? To guide, educate, protect and love unconditionally

How do you think health/fitness/training affect your role as a father? Training and general health is my currency. With this currency I am building as much “wealth” as I can to ensure the kitty is reflective towards my physical fitness and my kids. There is nothing better than chasing a ball, climbing a hill or riding a bike and feeling “for for the task” It also keeps me grounded and allows me some form of sanity!

What is your approach to health and fitness with your children? “You are who you surround yourself with”. I want my kids to think of physical fitness like they do brushing their teeth. It’s part of their daily routine. It comes without question. It’s just something they do. As long as they are moving daily, then I’m happy. I think it’s in their veins!

Any final words? There is no greater privilege than being a father. It is a gift I cherish and am forever grateful for. To me, Father’s Day is a celebration for my kids, more than me to thank them for the gift of fatherhood.

Father's Day Furbaby and VinceVincent Wong

Children: Eden The Staffy

What does being a Dad mean to you? Making sure she gets fed, experiences things and doesn’t die.

Favourite part of being a Dad? Unconditional love and watching her develop.

Least favourite part of being a Dad? Cleaning her poop and pee.

How do you manage the chaos of a baby with work life? I bring her to work.

How has becoming a Dad changed you? Can’t just do things for myself and have to consider where doggo is at all times.

Best thing about being a father? Cuddles and a buddy that doesn’t know the challenges of the real human world we live in.

Favourite meal with the kids? Steak!

Favourite activity? Playing Tug and Fetch.

What is your approach to health and fitness with your children? Eat well and stay active!

ION Training

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