Willow Hoods On The Journey Of Fatherhood

Molave Community Marketplace’s Willow Hoods On The Joys Of Fatherhood

Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez. Art by Bea Lu

Willow Hoods has tried many hats on throughout his lifetime: musician, bartender, clothing brand owner, barber, and educator, to name a few. But of the roles he played in his lifetime, being a father is the most transformative. In a personal essay, Willow shares his journey as a father with Vogue Philippines.

Becoming a father isn’t just about adding a new title; it’s a full-on transformation. Before my little one arrived, my life revolved around chasing personal bests, climbing the career ladder, and hanging out with friends. But fatherhood slapped a whole new dimension on my identity. Suddenly, I wasn’t just Willow, the ambitious go-getter. I was Dad, a role with immense responsibility and a purpose that filled my heart to the point of bursting.

Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez

It’s funny how fatherhood makes you realize your identity isn’t set in stone. It’s more like a living thing, constantly evolving. Being a dad has turned me inward. I’ve had to re-evaluate everything from my beliefs to my daily schedule. Now, patience, empathy, and resilience aren’t just buzzwords; they’re the tools I use to navigate this wild ride of fatherhood. It’s pushed me to face my shortcomings and become the best version of myself, not just for me, but for my kid who looks up to me with those wide, trusting eyes.

Let’s be honest, balancing fatherhood with a career can feel like a three-ring circus. Here in Cebu City, I juggle my ventures – WWORKSHOP.STUDIO, the barbershop, the consultancy, and Molave Community Marketplace – all while keeping the dad flame burning bright. I used to be all about chasing excellence and innovation, but fatherhood introduced a new priority: my child’s well-being and growth. This meant rethinking my approach to work. Flexible hours became my mantra, and delegation became my best friend. All to make sure I’m there for those special moments, the ones that zoom by in a blur.

Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez

There have been sacrifices, sure. Missed opportunities, tweaked career paths – all because family comes first. But looking back, these decisions were a no-brainer. Childhood is fleeting, and those giggles and wobbly first steps? Irreplaceable. Interestingly enough, fatherhood has also been a career booster. It’s made me a time management wizard, a master prioritizer, and it deepened my empathy – all skills that translate beautifully into the business world.

My wife’s unwavering support has been crucial in this balancing act. Her strength and understanding have allowed me to pursue my professional ambitions while ensuring our children receive the love and attention they need. By managing various aspects of our home and providing emotional support, she has enabled me to focus on my ventures with the reassurance that our family is well-cared for. Her insights and feedback have also been invaluable in shaping my business decisions, ensuring that they align with our family’s values and goals.

Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez
Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez

But fatherhood’s impact goes way beyond career wins. It’s been a catalyst for immense personal growth. It’s pushed me to face my fears, embrace vulnerability (hello, diaper duty!), and develop a patience I never knew I possessed. The sleepless nights, the deciphering of toddler tantrums – they’ve all been opportunities to learn and grow.

One of the biggest areas of growth? Emotional intelligence. Tuning into my child’s needs has made me more in touch with emotions, both theirs and mine. This newfound emotional awareness has spilled over into all my relationships, making me a more empathetic and compassionate person. Fatherhood has also highlighted the importance of self-care. To be the best dad I can be, I need to be mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. So, I’ve embraced healthier habits like exercise and mindfulness practices. Taking care of myself isn’t selfish; it allows me to be a stronger, more present dad.

Photograph by Emmanuel Ybanez

Every day, I’m aware of the legacy I’m building as a father. My actions, values, and choices will shape my child’s world. This awareness pushes me to strive for excellence in all aspects of life. I want to instill kindness, integrity, and perseverance in my child. By living these values myself, I hope to provide a strong moral compass to guide them on their journey. And most importantly, I want to show them the importance of chasing their dreams, just like I continue to chase mine.

Fatherhood is a multifaceted adventure, a constant dance between love, work, and self-discovery. It’s a role that demands constant adaptation, reflection, and growth. Through the challenges and joys of raising a child, I’ve discovered strengths I never knew I had, redefined my priorities, and grown in ways I never imagined. Fatherhood hasn’t just enriched my life; it’s made me a better man, both personally and professionally. As I continue on this amazing journey, I’m committed to being a present, loving, and supportive dad, always striving to leave a positive and lasting legacy for my child.

As told to Daphne Sagun.

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