Lakewood Dads Celebrate 10th Episode Of "Better Off Dad" Podcast

Matt Bixenstine (right) and Tim Dewald, co-hosts of the Better Off Dad Podcast, posing at Madison Park with their kids.

Months into their respective stay-at-home journeys, Tim Dewald and Matt Bixenstine have reached a milestone they did not necessarily plan for: ten episodes of the Better Off Dad podcast.

The thirty-something fathers and Lakewood residents launched their production six months ago as a passion project to embrace progressive parenting while developing a platform to help others in their journey.  Better Off Dad aims to offer dad jokes, self-deprecating learning moments and a fresh take on topics ranging from parenting to childhood development to progressive family issues.

Now 10 episodes into their podcasting careers, and having garnered more than 1,000 streams, this dad duo has had time to properly reflect on their transition from cubicle to caregivers, and they’re convinced neither fatherhood nor podcast were ill-conceived.

"When we started this project, I figured I'd spend a lot of time talking without anyone actually listening to a word I said - so basically just like parenting," said Tim. "But we've gotten a great response from dads and all kinds of parents that just want to share stories and a laugh. I knew it would be cathartic recording this podcast, but I've been so excited to see a community build as well."

Tim and Matt began recording in Tim's attic last summer and have since covered everything from childbirth (episode 4) to traveling with kids (episode 5) to insufficient paternity leave policies (episode 8).  In episode 9, the duo took on the particularly taboo topic of the urologist and shared personal experiences with infertility and vasectomy.  Each episode features coverage of topical news and updates on their ever-changing children. 

Several episodes thus far have included enlightening guest interviews.  Keeping it local, they first interviewed a fellow Lakewood stay-at-home dad who, when time allows, is developing a virtual reality video game that incorporates his autistic son's drawings (episodes 4 & 5).  Then the cofounders of Fathering Together, an online network that provides a space for dads to ask questions and support one another, shared stories from managing that community (episode 6).  A Florida-based listener shared his experiences as he prepares for the birth of his first child, contrasting it with his time serving in the Navy (episode 8).  The latest guest, in episode 10, is a user experience researcher for a leading producer of children’s products who offered insights into her role and the company’s design process.  Now the question is who will be next?  They are intrigued by the possibilities.

"For me, this really started as an escape of sorts. Stay-at-home parenthood can be isolating, especially during a global pandemic, so I view Better Off Dad as a form of personal therapy," said Matt, who met Tim through their work with LakewoodAlive.  "But we've since discovered that we have some semblance of chemistry and that our production isn't intolerable, so we might as well keep on blabbering and see if we can help normalize this notion that dads can serve as outstanding everyday caregivers to their kids." 

The Better Off Dad Podcast is available wherever you stream your podcasts, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.  Learn more by visiting betteroffdadpod.com and follow Better Off Dad on Instagram and Facebook.

Alyse Lamparyk

I enjoy all things Lakewood, especially walking my basset hound through Madison Park.

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Volume 17, Issue 24, Posted 10:15 AM, 01.05.2022