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Owning Our Own Experience: Life as a Modern Father

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KQED's Peter Arcuni tackling a snack with his daughter on her first birthday. (Maureen Hanratty)

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.

Owning Our Own Experience: Life as a Modern Father

Owning Our Own Experience: Life as a Modern Father

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.

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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."

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