Becoming a parent has been the most profound experience of my life — simultaneously the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done. As we’ve been reconsidering notions of masculinity in today’s society, I went in search of the “Modern Father.”

I was a stay-at-home dad for nine months in San Francisco before heading to grad school. I remember those first days my wife went back to work like being thrown out in the wilderness. There didn’t seem to be a map to help me navigate it all.

I wanted to capture that moment and talk to other dads about what being a father meant to them. Maybe along the way we could glean some insight about the greater state of fatherhood today.

What surprised me most from conversations with dads in my neighborhood was their desire to break free from prescribed ideas of what a father should be. It seemed like us dads just want be parents — in the moment with our kids. And maybe fatherhood now is more about throwing out gender stereotypes and just owning our own experience.

As one dad put it, “When I say the words, ‘I’m a dad,’ I feel like all of a sudden I’m on cloud nine. … It’s the most natural thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”

Owning Our Own Experience: Life as a Modern Father 15 February,2018Peter Arcuni


Peter Arcuni

Peter reports and produces stories for The California Report, a daily radio show featuring news and people throughout the state. His work has also appeared in KQED News, NPR’s Here & Now, SFGate, WIRED Magazine and The Bold Italic. Peter graduated from Brown University and earned his master’s degree in journalism from Stanford. He’s covered everything from homelessness to fires, health, the environment, arts, and Thanksgiving in San Quentin prison. In another life, Peter played rock n roll music and studied neuroscience. You can email him at:

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor