How Aussie dads are changing the rules on fatherhood

Most men will tell you that there's no right way to be a father. What works for one dad, one might be a nightmare for another.

But what they will all tell you is that fatherhood changes you, your life will look different (and mornings will start earlier), but it's a change you would never undo.

Executive Style spoke to three very different fathers, to get their insight into the chaotic, rewarding and unpredictable experience of being a dad.

"My teenage daughter helped me be a better dad."

Name: Corey Grech

Occupation: Owner, Meat Brothers Food Truck

Kids: Ieshia, 14, and Jarli, 18 months

Corey Grech is quick to admit that he feels like he's getting a second chance at being a first-time dad.

A father-of-two, Grech was just 23-years-old when his daughter, Ieshia, was born.

"I was a kid myself when we had Ieshia, we didn't have any money at all, I was in a little bit of debt," Grech, now 37, says.


"I was so busy trying to keep the family together and keep us afloat, that I lost myself."

Eventually, Grech split up with Ieshia's mother, though he remained a part of his daughter's life and it's lucky he did.

When Grech's new partner fell pregnant, the Gamillaroy man turned to his teenage daughter for tips on how to be a better dad.

"She taught me how to be patient as a parent, how to be more responsive, I am a better father to my son because of what she has shown me," Grech says.

Despite having had two vastly different experiences as a father, when Grech sees his two children together, it all feels like one family.

"Jarli and Ieshia are so close, she is such a proud big sister, and he adores her," says Grech.

"We don't see her every day of the week, but wow much time we get, we take and we don't dwell on the time we miss."

"My Father's Day present to myself is a vasectomy!"

Name: Jake Smyth

Occupation: Owner, Mary's and Mary's Underground

Kids: Luna Wolf, 4, and Spike, 2

Don't get the wrong impression, Jake Smyth loves being a dad, but he's maxed out on having more babies.

"My Father's Day gift to myself this year is a vasectomy," laughs the hairy restaurateur behind Mary's burger empire.

"My wife Ali had a difficult second pregnancy, so we decided to stick with two."

For Jake, the lane change from battle-hardened hospitality worker to father-of-two had to be instantaneous.

"My lifetime before kids was late nights, smoking ciggies, drinking beers until three o'clock in the morning, then roll into the next day and do it all over again," explains Smyth.

"That paid dividends when I became a dad, it's shitty hours too [laughs], but there was no way it could continue."

Whiles Smyth's job still requires long hours and the occasional party - "I can bring the fire when I need to, but it just doesn't happen often," he teases - it doesn't measure up to the feeling he gets from being a father.

"The moment you first lock eyes with your baby it's without peer, it's the best," says Smyth.

"But it ain't happening a third time."

"We had serious FOMO!"

Name: Joel Ruiz

Occupation: Brand director, Hublot

Kids: Eliott, 8, Luna, 4, and Savannah, 2

Every social circle needs one couple to blaze a path to proper adulthood by becoming the first to have kids.

They are the brave unsung heroes of the world, but with great responsibility comes serious FOMO [fear of missing out].

"We were among the first to have a child in my group, so I found that I saw my friends less," admits Joel Ruiz, Australian brand director for Hublot watches.

"That changes things; you have to do a lot of solo navigating as a couple."

While your friends have frozen margaritas, you're pureeing pumpkin.

"My fiancée, Barbara, and I still got invited to parties every weekend, but it wasn't easy for us to attend, so we had this FOMO factor," says the 45-year-old.

"But after some time and with the arrival of more kids, we didn't feel that anymore; you naturally became a different unit, we preferred to stay home rather than go out."

Now the father of three wouldn't trade a day at home with his family to attend even the swankiest of soirees.

"My joy is now having a good time at home with my children."