We often hear the phrase: the woman behind the man. But what about the man behind the woman? Especially when that woman is a fast growing star on the Insta-mama scene?
We’ve been wondering just that ever since we caught a glimpse of Noam Dekel on Dikla Goren (aka, Girl Plus Two)’s Instagram feed. Dikla’s handsome husband can often be spotted juggling several (or all!) of the Israeli couple’s 3 kids, and we can only imagine how much he’s wrangling behind the scenes to help make it all look so effortless…even when we know it can’t possibly be.
It turns out this Brooklyn daddy is truly as hands-on as it seems. Noam tirelessly supports his wife while she pursues her dream career, and he balances his real estate development job and caregiving on the daily. Which is why we thought he’d be the perfect fit for our BabyBjörn #dadstories series, featuring fathers who are not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. Often literally…while babywearing.
Below, Noam talks about the juggle familiar to so many corporate dads who want to truly be present in their children’s and partner’s lives, and gives us a glimpse into what life looks like when you’re the man behind the mom on everyone’s Instagram feed.
What did you think fatherhood would be like before you had your first baby and how has the reality matched up to that?
I always wanted to be a dad, but I didn’t really know what to expect before our first baby, Yuli, was born. I knew it would be exciting, hard and rewarding, but not how exciting, hard, and rewarding. The reality was much stronger and more powerful than what I had envisioned, as far the hard work and responsibility. But the priceless moments definitely made it worth it. There’s nothing I like more than hearing my kids say, “I love you Aba!”
What does being “present” as a father mean to you?
It means a lot to me. I see many friends who are very busy with their work and the regular routine. Luckily, I get to spend more time with my kids than the average person. In my eyes, it’s very important for your child to have a father figure, and I always remembered looking up to my father to teach me the important things.
Is it hard to unplug from the responsibilities you have at the office?
It’s very important to unplug from work (even though it’s hard sometimes) because the kids want to spend time with you and they need your full attention. It’s also nicer to listen to them instead of checking my phone every second, so I try to do my best in this area, and if I forget, they like to remind me.
What’s your typical schedule during the week/weekend with the kids?
From Monday through Friday, I take the boys to school and daycare and Dikla picks them up. Usually, I take our oldest son Yuli to swimming and tennis class, but in the past couple of months, Dikla has been doing so because I have been really busy with work. On the days that I’m free for lunch, Dikla will pick up the kids from school and take them out to the park for lunch, and I will join them for a little bit. When we all come home in the evening, I usually play with them for a little and then get them ready for bed.
My weekends are mostly spent with the kids. It’s a time for us to kick back and relax, even though it doesn’t always feel that way. We usually spend the day all together making breakfast/brunch. The kids love to make French toast with Dikla, or Shakshuka with me, every weekend, even when we are on vacation.
Why is getting out and about with the kids so important to you?
Because if we don’t, they will go nuts indoors and drive their parents crazy! I like to travel lightly so I can be flexible. I don’t really like strollers, especially the huge double ones. The BabyBjörn Carrier One is so comfortable and it even looks good! It’s definitely much easier to maneuver when we have our little princess in the BabyBjörn, while the boys play in the playground.
How are you and Dikla a parenting team?
We are really trying to share to load. I’m sure sometimes one of us ends up doing more than the other but generally, I take the mornings: waking up early with the kids, getting them dressed, feeding them breakfast and taking them to school. Dikla is not a morning person so we let her sleep in the mornings. On the other hand, Dikla takes care of the night shifts with Romi, which usually entails waking up two or three times a night.
What’s it like when Dikla isn’t around and you’ve got all 3 kids?
It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, I enjoy the alone time with them a lot. I try to play a game that everyone can enjoy together or do an activity that they all can be part of. This is especially hard to do because each child wants your full attention (and all of them are under 6 years old!).
Dikla’s Instagram feed makes parenting look so beautiful….but are there days you wish your life wasn’t on camera? How do you draw the lines between private and public?
Parenting is a beautiful thing indeed, and you are correct, sometimes I do like a break from the “camera.” But you get use to it, and above all, I’m supporting my wife, so if that’s what I have to do, I will keep doing it with a smile.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a father-to-be?
Always be calm and cool regardless the situation. Never freak out.
Original photography by Ren’ee Kahn-Bresler for Well Rounded.
Check out BabyBjörn’s #dadstories here, then share your own on Instagram (or get the dad in your life to share his!) using the hashtag #dadstories. Don’t forget to tag @wellroundedny and @babybjorn_us!
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