VIP dads

At motherinc we feel every day should be Father's Day so we caught up with four well-known dads at different stages of fatherhood.

Modern dads spend more time with their children, are more likely to change their work hours to accommodate fatherhood and are more involved in the raising of their kids than ever before.

Almost one in three Australian fathers access flexible working arrangements to help them care for their children, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

And One in five men with young children are now either working part-time or not in the labour force at all (by choice), according to research by the University of Canberra.

At motherinc we feel every day should be Father's Day and in honour of this most important celebration we have caught up with four well-known dads at different stages of fatherhood. Many of you know Mark Holden as the scathing judge on Australian Idol. But the critic is also a devoted dad to 12-year-old Katie. Country singing legend James Blundell is father to two boys, Briar, 8 and Travis, 5, while Channel Nine's Today host Karl Stefanovic has three children, Jackson, 8, Ava, 2½ and baby River, 10 months. The last of our celebrity dads is new father Ryan Moloney, best known for playing Jarrod "Toadfish" Rebecchi on Neighbours. When he's not at the Ten studio in Melbourne, Moloney is the doting father to nine-month-old Erin.

Mark Holden

Older members of motherinc will remember Mark Holden as a 1970's carnation-carrying teen pop idol with hits such as I Wanna Make You My Lady. Before he became a judge on Network Ten's top-rating Australian Idol, Holden was a hit-making songwriter working with The Temptations and later as a record producer based in Los Angeles. The devoted father to 12-year-old Katie says he enjoys nothing more than simply hanging out with his family.

What was the biggest shock about becoming a dad?

The instant deep connection I felt.

What has been the biggest belly laugh you've had with Katie?

Watching Razzle Dazzle (Australian mockumentary about rival dance schools) as a family on DVD.

What has been the greatest lesson you've learned through your kids?

That love is real.

What do you do with your kids that your dad never did with you?

We spend a lot of time together doing all kinds of things from going to and from school , going to movies, travelling , and just plain hanging out.

Karl Stefanovic

Karl Stefanovic has been at the helm of Channel Nine's Today show for two and a half years after replacing longtime co-host Steve Liebmann.

During his time as a news reporter, Stefanovic has been involved in bringing us coverage of the devastating NSW bushfires of 2002, the Canberra bushfires in January 2003 where 400 homes were lost and was part of the team reporting on the Bali bombing. He also received a Queensland media award for Best Media Coverage for his work on the Childers Backpacker Hostel fire in 2000. Stefanovic lives in Sydney with his wife, Cassandra Thorburn, and three children, Jackson, eight, Ava, two and a half and baby River, 10 months.

What was the biggest shock about becaming a dad?

Sleepless nights and losing the freedom you had when you were single. No one ever really thinks dads suffer sleeplessness as well as the mum, but believe me they do!

What has been the biggest belly laugh you've had with your kids?

My day with the kids is constantly filled with belly laughs but the best times are when they are trying something new. Our baby River can grab stuff but hasn't learned to let go yet, and the frustration on his face while he's trying to figure it out is a classic.

What has been the greatest lesson you've learned through your kids?

Definitely patience. Dealing with kids is very difficult unless you're prepared to put in the time and effort. Another thing is that no matter how hard a day you've had at work, it's all relative when you come home and see your kids.

What do you do with your kids that your dad never did with you?

Because I have really weird working hours I get to spend a lot of time with my kids during the day, which my father was never able to do with me. A lot of dads leave for work each morning at 7am but I'm fortunate to have that time with the kids. I'm around on weekends, can do the school pick-ups and just have time to hang out with them, which is great.

Ryan Moloney

Ryan Moloney has become synonymous with his on-screen Neighbours character Jarrod "Toadfish" Rebecchi who he has played for more than 10 years.

Initially Toadie was meant to appear in just one scene but by 1996 the popular character had nabbed a recurring role. The 26-year-old actor lives in Melbourne with wife Alison and baby daughter Erin and will celebrate his first Father's Day this year.

What was the biggest shock about becaming a dad?

The amount that one little baby can pooh! It just keeps on coming.

What has been the biggest belly laugh you've had with your kids?

Erin has just learnt how to crawl up stairs, so I found it hilarious to find her crawling on our coffee table.

What has been the greatest lesson you've learned through your kids?

You've really got to love, cherish and teach them all you can. They are a direct product of you, good and bad, so you have to try to stay a few steps ahead and decipher their actions, so you can point them in the right directions. Hopefully. So I guess the biggest lessons have been humility, understanding and leadership.

What do you do with your kids that your dad never did with you?

I read with her, sing and dance too.

James Blundell

James Blundell is one of Australia's most successful country music singers.

He has had nine albums, nine Golden Guitars, an ARIA and has just released his new album Ring Around The Moon (through Revenge Records). But his proudest highlights are his two sons, Briar, eight and Travis, five.

What was the biggest shock about becaming a dad?

Realising that from one moment to the next your children grow and evolve...just when you get used to them being a particuar person, new interests and experiences develop their personalities. Sometimes it's hard to keep up!

What has been the biggest belly laugh you've had with your kids?

Watching them put on a performance in their pyjamas just after breakfast and egging each other on, and believeing that they are the funniest act in the world. Once they get the giggles, it's pretty hard not to join in.

What has been the greatest lesson you've learned through your kids?

That every day is a fresh start.

What do you do with your kids that your dad never did with you?

Take them with me at every opportunity...school gets in the way a fair bit, but time spent together on the road, or on the family property in Queensland is always incredibly rewarding for each of us. We get to know each other a little better every time and watching the boys become friends as well as brothers is completely fulfilling.
 
Banner