Posted on August 10 2016
Name: Justin Upton
Spiritual Age (How old do you feel?): Depending on the day, either 25 or 60
Location: H-Town, TX
Occupation: Senior VP, Product Development
Kid(s): 2 girls. Finley (4 yrs) and Margot (18 mos)
How would you describe your personal style? For my job, I work in the banking industry chalk full of men in black suits. I try to push the envelope on what is deemed “acceptable”. Outside of work, I’m typically seen in a combination of surf and street style.
What qualities and characteristics embody a Modern Father? When I think about what I was raised to believe fatherhood was, I think of being the provider…the bread-winner. Now that I have had my girls, I know it is sooooo much more. I want to be their rock. Someone they can always come to for anything, no matter what.
How would you describe your parenting style? I want to say that I am a chill, laid back dad. I don’t know if that is true. I always have to be busy with the girls…whether it is crate digging, taking them to the zoo or just running errands on the weekend. I DO love co-sleeping though, even though it makes being a husband more difficult…but your learn to get creative to solve that.
How has becoming a father changed you? Becoming a father has made me a much more emotional person. Before having Finley, I couldn’t tell you the last time a tear fell from my eye. These days it is not uncommon to find me sobbing on a return flight home from a business trip, watching Gerard Butler in Chasing Mavericks.
Best/Worst parenting moment so far? Best - Our first real family vacation. Just us. We spent a week in Playa Negra, Costa Rica in December. I went their as a younger man, with friends and it changed me. I wanted to share that with my 3 girls. It is one of those places where you have no obligations. You truly can do whatever you want. We spent the days exploring nature, relaxing outside, chasing iguanas, and swimming (sometimes naked).
Worst (Part I) - The fam was taking a trip to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. My only job in getting us ready entails packing our carry on bag which includes the iPads and headphones for the girls, a bottle and binky for Margot and their favorite stuffed animals for napping. I packed it…then left it on our kitchen counter. In heroic dad fashion, I pulled out my wallet and told Natalie to go buy all new stuff at the airport. Disaster diverted.
Worst (Part II) - Now for the good stuff. While Natalie was correcting my aforementioned mistake, I made a breakfast run. I picked up coffees, some fresh fruit and a single serving of milk to fill Margot’s bottle on the plane. As we were taking off, Natalie fed Margot her bottle (which she sucked down). A few minutes later, Margot was fussing and saying she needed more “baba”, so Natalie handed her to me and smelled something strange. As I reached for more milk, I realized what the smell was. Yes, the milk I just purchased and fed to my baby was over 2 weeks expired. I will let you imagine what happened the entire 3 hour flight, but it ended up with 3 used plastic bags and Margot in a poncho.
What are your hopes for your child(ren)? Passion. I want them to have passion in everything they do.
Favorite thing to do with your kid(s)? Anything outside. Both girls love to feel the breeze in their hair and grass/sand beneath their feet.
What empowers you as a father? Its mostly the little moments, like hearing your kids laugh, wearing them around in the Moby, putting them down for a nap and dancing…we love to dance.
What do you want your legacy to be? I want to build something that lasts. I used to think that meant a company or something having to do with work. Now I think bigger.
What fears do you have pertaining to being a father? I fear the girls growing up. While I want them both to experience everything this life has to offer, I loathe the idea that won’t always be able to scoop them up and smell them whenever I want.
Who is your role model? First and foremost, my wife. She is the most amazing person I have ever met. Her capacity to love and be such a dedicated mother and wife is inspiring. It truly is astonishing to see one person give so much of herself to other people. Second, my parents (both biological and in-laws) have shown me what marriage and being parents are really about.
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