Being Dad: As Told by the Dads of Indianapolis Moms


“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” – Former president Barack Obama

Today we celebrate the father figures in our lives. We are grateful for all of them – the dads, partners, spouses, grandpas, father-in-laws, uncles, step-dads, the friends. And since each journey and experience is different, we asked the dad of Indianapolis Moms to share what fatherhood means to each one of them. Here are their stories.

There is literally no better feeling in the world than walking through the door after a long day at work and being greeted with hugs and excited smiles by my kids. Being in their presence grounds me and allows me to relax in ways I never knew before. It gives me a feeling of pure joy I have never experienced.

Before my children, my work and career defined me— it drove me in pretty unhealthy ways. Now my role as a dad is what I care about most. The opportunity to love them and support their development as successful, happy, kind people is the greatest privilege ever. This experience has shown me a love I didn’t know existed in this world. A kind of love that is life changing and so unbelievably rewarding.

Justin Ohlemiller, husband to contributor Chelsea

Being a Dad has brought out the big kid in me. Through the tears and laughter it means being a friend, mentor, and teacher to the most amazing miracle known to man. I wouldn’t trade being called “dad” for anything in the world!

Jame Schregardus, husband to contributor Lauren


Fatherhood is one of the greatest blessings we are offered.  It enables us to be a better protector, provider, caregiver, role model, and friend.  Fatherhood is being the one to push your child to learn, grow, and stretch their limits, but also being the one to catch them when they fall.  Fatherhood is the little things, like only putting hot sauce on half your food in case someone else wants to “share”. Being a father is wanting all the things you’ve wanted for yourself so much more for your children.  Fatherhood brings so much meaning to everyday life.

George Vauter, husband to contributor Paige

Father’s Day has become a day for me to reflect on my own fatherhood. With a 3 year old, Fatherhood is simply about growing his little brain. There is nothing that I love more than when he is telling me a full thought about what he learned or did that day. My day screeches to a halt when he’s got a new development to tell me about.

Dustin Shaffer, husband to contributor Amanda

Being a Dad to me means unconditional love and being powered by coffee and fatigue. I wouldn’t trade being called Dad for anything in the world because these two people mean the world to me.

Steven Beaven Jr., husband to contributor DeAndrea

Being a father is special. You’re blessed with receiving the greatest responsibility life can give you. While it’s physically bringing a life into this world, it also adds life to yours. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes is a joyful experience. While challenging at times, fatherhood is exponentially more rewarding and something I hope I never take for granted. Being a dad is the best.

Tony Schmidt, husband to contributor Krysten

Fatherhood allows me to pass on the values and experiences that I learned from my own dad.  I enjoy walking into my son’s room every morning and hearing him yell “dada” and I love the way my daughter gets the biggest smile on her face when she sees me.  Being a dad is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s not always going to be “sunshine and roses” and there will be times that you will have to tell your kids “no” or give them the time and space to learn their own lessons as they go. But at the end of the day, my kids know that I will always be there for them, no matter what.  That’s what being a father means to me.

Ryan McDonald, husband to contributor Janelle

People always tell you that kids grow up fast and that you should treasure each moment. That’s sometimes hard to do, but when I force myself to think about how great life is in this very moment, it really makes me take note of how lucky and grateful I am to get to experience fatherhood. At this moment, the best thing about having a 5 year old is watching his personality blossom and seeing him discover interests and passions that are his own. With my 1 year old daughter, that bond between father and daughter is truly indescribable. I’m loving the moment we’re in, but also looking forward to the journey of guiding my children as they grow up.

Aaron Sutter, husband to contributor Kelly

Fatherhood. It’s the greatest honor.  Almost the instant I became a father to Reya, my life changed and it happened again with Maxwell. My family became the “how” and the “why.” They are why I work so hard, how I keep pushing to go higher. Even through tough days, I find a way to smile because of my babies. They are my reason. Of all the things I’ve ever wanted in life, at the very top of the list was to be a wonderful husband and father.  So this life, every single day, is my dream come true. These small people… they’re mine! I have no bigger job and no greater honor. My children represent the greatest accomplishments I will ever have in life.

Antoine Demmings, husband to contributor Roleen

When I found out I was going to be a father, I was excited and nervous. It felt like my life was going to be turned upside down forever, with the life I had known being no more. It certainly changed, but I can only think of positive effects it has had for me. I can only attribute this to God giving me joy through fatherhood. I am thankful that I get to experience being a father with my wonderful kids and wife supporting me.

Jordan Roark, husband to contributor Emily

Fatherhood has been a beautiful struggle. It has been a great journey of learning about my children and in turn learning a great deal about myself in how I interact with them. There is such a joy being called “daddy” and to receive the smiles and hugs, the feeling cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. I appreciate their innocence and curiosity. It challenges me to see the world with imagination and from their perspective. I am glad I am a father.

Thabani Matshazi, husband to contributor Paula