The Texture of Fatherhood

June 14, 2024

Who makes the better grilled cheese? Mom or Dad?” asks my brother, uncle to my oldest, now almost 8. She grows a big grin. Her body curls up, her elbows tuck in, and her small hands clasp together underneath her chin. A few nervous giggles. The apparent answer dying to come out. Her eyes bounced between Mom and Dad. “Hmm? Mom or Dad?” Her uncle pressed again having seen that she’s conflicted with what she wanted to say against what the truth might be. Classic Uncle.

Whatever the answer, these are the moments that shape a day, build a week, craft a month, and furnish a lifetime. I desperately store moments like this away so as to never forget, but the cocktail of poor sleep, demands of each day, a home to keep, a marriage to revel, and another little one (now 3), make it hard to record. Maybe you can relate.

In a work-from-home, always-on, optimize-and-homogenize-everything world, dads and moms are at risk of missing these moments. For me, working from home is constant—from one thing to the next—switching gears is a mild understatement. The transition from Creative Director to Dad happens in seconds, other times it is seamless. I use the word integration often, the idea that life and work feel woven throughout. And so the question every parent might ask is, “How do I stay present?”

As my wife and I choose not to have more children, this question burns deeply. When is the last moment you put on a diaper? The last bedtime in a crib? The last day of never having homework? And perhaps the scariest question, when is the last time you’ll pick them up? You don’t know when these moments come and when they will eventually go. 

The best chance I think we have to be present is in keenly seeing the details. At work, you’re often going deep, editing, and remarking on details. You question ideas, edit with a red pen (metaphorically of course), and the presence of the final-not-so-final deliverables. Your eye for detail can extend past your WFH or office purview. As a parent, and maybe in some regards as a leader and a manager, I define “seeing the details” as a combination of gratitude and keen observation. And so, I encourage you to practice both.

It’s the details that make the memory and shape the story. Without them, the story I shared is simple and cliche—that her uncle asked her who makes the best grilled cheese. Without the details, you probably don’t even remember the moment. It’s at risk of becoming “a thing that happened.” How many of those “things that happened” might we all have missed? When I focused on the details, I got to share with you a little about my daughter. You got to know her quickly. Maybe you envisioned your own daughter or son in that same moment. 

Details matter a lot and lately, I have been obsessed with the details. As a dad, we seem almost inclined to aggregate. Perhaps it’s a bit of how we’re wired, to see things in broad strokes, generalizing happenings and outcomes and future possibilities. I couldn’t implore you more to focus on seeing the details. It is the details that give texture to being a dad. 

Nervous giggles turn into a proud smile, “They both are good. I like them both,” she says. What a girl.

And so, with Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I’ve asked a few G2 dads to reflect on what inspires them to be a better parent and to share some stories that add texture to being a Dad.

Taylor Pyle

Jack is the happiest guy I know.  He greets me with a smile every morning, which inspires me to give him the world and be the best father possible.

One of the most memorable dad moments I've had was from last year, when I got my first ever ‘Happy Father's Day’ from random people on the street. Those simple yet heartfelt words from strangers made me realize the true joy and responsibility of fatherhood.”

-Taylor Pyle, Sr. Manager, Enterprise and Commercial Sales

Matthew WIlliams

“I'm inspired to be a better father by my wife and kids. I love them so much and I think they deserve the best version of myself.

In October 2024, my wife went into labor faster than our midwife could get to us. My wife and I delivered our youngest daughter alone! Our baby arrived happy and healthy.”

-Matthew Williams, Software Engineer I

Jack Plouse

“Being a father is one of my proudest moments.  I strive to teach my girls to be kind, curious, and prepared in almost all that we do. We plan together, pack for trips together, cook together and each one of these experiences has a teaching moment about being prepared.

One night we went for an evening hike and when we arrived at our destination we sat down to eat the food we packed for dinner only to realize that I had forgotten it. That's when my 5, now 7 year-old, reached into her backpack and pulled out some oranges and snacks she had prepared and packed on her own.  She saved the day! 

I was so proud that all the examples of planning and preparedness were demonstrated at a time we needed them most, when dad forgot to pack our dinner.”

-Jack Plouse,  Senior Product Manager

Alex Lenane

“My daughter inspires me to be a better father. Seeing her emulate how we act, talk, and view the world has made me look at myself and really think about what image I am projecting to others.

I love riding bikes and try to ride with my daughter as much as possible. It is so fun riding with her because she is so excited looking at the world pass us, and her comments are great. It’s knowing she enjoys what I enjoy and it's something we can do together.”

-Alex Lenane, Sr. Systems Administrator

Mitch Osborne

“Being a father has shown me just how vital quality time is for a child's growth—a gift from my spouse's work in mental health. The joy in Adeline's eyes when I shut down my laptop to hear about her day is priceless and speaks volumes about the benefits of a flexible work policy at G2.

Knowing the simple act of being present and engaged with Adeline creates meaningful connection and growth, it gives me something I can contribute to her development, daily. These precious moments are irreplaceable and inspire me to be a better father.”

-Mitch Osborne, Director, Business Systems & Revenue Operations

Jack Shuff

“I'm inspired to be a better father by all of the fathers in my life. Be it trading notes with the other dads about best ways to support, encourage, and mentor or thinking back to the moments that have stuck with me about my own father. It's about bringing that experience and knowledge in a useful way to my daughters to help them grow in whatever direction they wish.

All my dad stories are too hard to boil down, which I suppose is a reflection of parenthood in a way. I love how my daughters have taken their own spins on my often-times deranged sense of humor.”

-Jack Shuff, Software Engineer

Syed Rahman

“My parents inspire me to be a better father. Their selflessness and sacrifice during my upbringing motivates me to give my children the guidance that I know my mother and father would want them to have.

My kids would want me to mention how we play Avengers and Spiderman every night before bed.”

-Syed Rahman, Head Of GTM Analytics 

Hayata Nakamura

“My dad was always there when I needed him. Now that I'm a father, I often wonder how he managed it all. Thankfully, G2's hybrid work model helps, but I'm still human and often exhausted with many responsibilities. When I feel like shouting ‘NO’ at my boys, I take a deep breath and think about how my dad would handle it.

The patience (especially the Japanese patience) my dad had, is what I'm trying to embody. I have to be calm before I can expect them to be calm, which isn't always easy, but it's a skill I want my boys to learn to be successful.”

-Hayata Nakamura, Sr. SEO Specialist

Palmer Houchins

“My own dad inspires me. He’s a three-time cancer survivor actually, let’s call it 2.5x as he’s currently battling and beating leukemia. He gave me the blueprint that I want to follow for my two boys: professional, successful, and serious, but also involved in his kids’ lives. From Boy Scout campouts to swim meets, he was always there, balancing a career with dedication to his kids. That’s the model I want to follow.

Last week, we transitioned our three year old to a real ‘big boy bed’ with instructions that he needs to stay in the bed all night. The other night at 4 AM, knowing he was disobeying, he proceeded to go to the bathroom, grab his little potty, walk up our stairs, plant himself in the middle of our room to prove to us he was only leaving his room to use the bathroom. Classic stuff.”

-Palmer Houchins, VP, Head of Marketing at G2

Marty Duffy-1

“Other men in my life inspire me.  I look to peers who I connect with to keep me inspired and accountable.  I am grateful for friendships established and communities I'm a part of to help. You don't have to look far to find other parents putting in the hard work to put family first.

My faith also inspires me. My faith has a strong theme of adoption at its roots, and being an adopted father of three, I look there for how to model my own parenting.”

-Marty Duffy, SVP, Product R&D Operations

The Texture of Fatherhood G2 Creative Director Mike Puglielli shares what the ‘texture’ of fatherhood looks like from the POV of a working dad with three daughters, and highlights inspirational quotes from other G2 fathers in honor of Father’s Day.
Mike Puglielli Mike Puglielli is the Director of Brand and Creative at G2. He’s led brand, creative, and design teams for nearly a decade across leading B2B tech and B2C DTC companies. Notably, Mike led the first rebrand at Mendix, the #1 low-code app development platform, then acquired by Siemens for nearly 800 million. Mike is the owner and founder of Small Giants Publishing, an award-winning independent children’s book publisher. Mike is also a children’s book author and illustrator with his debut book Ouva Hugs a Star, an award-winning children’s book that empowers young girls to explore STEM careers.