Fatherhood has changed profoundly over the past few generations, and Kier Gaines — a "dad vlogger" who runs a YouTube channel chronicling his young family — is certainly the epitome of a "millennial dad" who is equally involved in parenting his 2-year-old daughter Emery with his wife Noémie.
In a recent video, which has already amassed more than 505,000 views, he admits that this road to modern fatherhood is not pristinely paved, and he offers up advice to hopeful dads that is so courageous and insightful, even longtime parents are sharing it across the internet as gospel.
"The men that were a generation before us got raised by the men that were a generation before them, and those men didn't really know warm love."
"A lot of young men, particularly young Black men, hit me up being like, 'Yo! I can't wait to be a dad, I can't wait to be a father," he says in the video as he carries his daughter on a walk through a neighbourhood. "I love that because I think the men that were a generation before us got raised by the men that were a generation before them, and those men didn't really know warm love."
He says he felt like he owed it to these young men — who may see only the "cute" videos and photos that he posts online — to tell them, "like, bro, this is hard!"
Becoming a parent, he says, "exposes things about you that you don't know about yourself," before adding how it's a "huge emotional undertaking if you do it the right way."
Gaines, who is also a therapist, advised that young men should "go see somebody about your past" before becoming a father.
"Go see somebody about the trauma that you've endured throughout the course of your life, and start healing," he says. "Because if you don't heal from that? You'll have all this and you'll never be happy."
His video also serves as a reality check that it takes effort to be a good parent — and partner — long-term. "We put in an immense amount of work to make this thing happen," he says. "Man, we do it every day!"
To drive the point home, he ended with perhaps the best metaphor for creating a loving family: you can't "just pour water over a lady and a baby and have a happy family overnight — this ain't oatmeal, man!"