Dads Interview with Quentin Hafner

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re probably familiar with my Momma Interviews series. I’ve loved doing them and I frequently get positive feedback from readers saying how much they look forward to them.


But I feel like we’re only getting half of the story.  


I’ve been wanting to do a series of Dads Interviews for such a long time. And today--just in time for Fathers Day this weekend--I’m so excited to kick off the Dads Interviews series with Quentin Hafner!


Quentin is a therapist who works with men and couples to move past feeling stagnant and find greater peace in their relationships. He’s also a husband and father to two young boys. He’s got so much great advice to share for both moms and dads and he really brings some fresh perspective that is often missing in conversations around parenting. He also has a forthcoming book called Black Belt Husband due out this fall.


This interview is a two-parter that originally took place over Facebook Live. And the funny thing about doing anything live is that you just never know what can happen!  


It turns out that Quentin’s phone ended up dying about 30 minutes in and we were having such great conversation that he offered to do a part two a couple of days later. We picked right back up where we left off without a hitch and the second half was just as good as the first!


To keep things bite-sized for us busy parents, I kept the two videos separate. So, once you’re done with Part One, don’t forget to scroll down and catch Part Two! And, as always, you’ll find the transcripts below too.


So, without further ado, check out the two-part interview videos below!


Shareable Quotables:

Watch Part One of the Interview:

(And scroll down to watch Part Two!)

Video previously aired as a Facebook Live.

PART ONE: Interview Transcript

Catherine: 00:01 Hey there, what's going on? This is Catherine at and I'm super excited because I have a really awesome guests that I'll be speaking with today. Quentin Hafner, he's a therapist and he's also uh, a relationship coach and I know we both have a lot of similar things in common and he has a great perspective being a dad as well as a male therapist and sometimes I know that can be hard to come by so he should be joining us here shortly. So excited about that. Um, and you know, he's going to be super fun and exciting to talk to when you open up his website and the picture you see is him sitting there talking to another person with a surfboard, like they're on the beach and stuff. So I'm like, I have to ask him if he does therapy while he surfs, but I don't know, it seems kind of fun and interesting.

Catherine: 00:55 So yeah, so super excited for him to join us here. Let me just double check something and see. Um, yeah. Um, and yeah, he just does a lot of awesome things. I know he, I think it's Brazil, Brazilian Jujitsu that he does. I think it, I just thought it was his blue belt that he just got so love to find out more about that. I haven't shared quite yet, but I've actually just recently started doing um, Isshin-ryu karate. My kids have been taking it. My son's been in it for five years now and my daughter started taking it a year ago because she likes to do what her big brother likes to do and then my husband's been doing it for over a year and so it was offered for me to go ahead and try to start doing it and it's definitely out of my comfort zone, but there's quit now. So, um, yeah, so it definitely will probably have to get some tips from him about that. But. And so. Hi Quentin, how are you doing? It says it's adding, so hopefully I did it right this time. All right guys, I love technology and it works really great.  

Catherine: 02:13 Sometimes it's a little slow. So it says adding him. I'm hoping. There you are.

Quentin: 02:13 Hi.

Catherine: 02:18 How's it going?

Quentin: 02:18 Good.  Can you see me OK?

Catherine: 02:21 Yep. Perfect. Perfect. And I told you to wear earbuds and then I forgot to plug mine in. Hold on one second.

Catherine: 02:31 Like I knew I was forgetting something. Yeah. Awesome. I don't know if you heard it, but I was saying like, like I knew this was going to be a fun interview when I opened up your website and you're like sitting there with a surfboard, ready to go surfing.

Quentin: 02:48 Well it's a.... I mean I live in such a cool place, you know, and I don't, I don't go to the beach as much as I should and I've been lucky enough to have a couple of clients along the way that I want to just like be at the beach. So I'm like okay, let's do it. So it's really great.

Catherine: 03:02 Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. I do some like walk and talk therapy and I thought that was pretty fun but I don't know, going to the beach sounds way more fun just walking through the full area that I'm in.

Quentin: 03:16 Anytime somebody wants to do it, I am not going to complain. And I feel like I'm super happy to do so. Yeah, that's really great. Yeah.

Catherine: 03:23 Awesome. So, so why don't you tell us a little bit like about what you do and how you started doing it and kinda--just tell us who you are.

Quentin: 03:32 Okay. So, um, well I'm, I'm a dad of two kids. My, I have two boys. I have a, I have a just turned five year old and an almost turning two year old. So um.

Catherine: 03:32 Two years? I feel like you just had him.

Quentin: 03:49 It goes by so fast.  Yeah, he turns two July 11th and um, so I'm a dad, I'm a couples therapist and um, let's see. I have a private practice in Newport beach and I, I really work with, my practice is kind of split between working with couples and then working with guys. So I work with a lot of dads and husbands. It's kind of like a little bit of a niche in my practice and, you know, I would just say becoming, becoming a dad was like, oh my gosh, it was such a life altering experience.

Catherine: 03:49 Yeah.

Quentin: 04:29 And so, um, I just feel super passionate about talking with other dads about that transition and like what to expect. And you know, when I, when I became a dad I was really like, I feel like maybe maybe we've kind of chatted about this a little bit in the past, but I was really surprised how hard it was and what a, what a toll I feel like it took on my relationship with my wife. And so I was thinking, Gosh, you know, it just felt like it felt like nobody was really talking about that and it felt like, um, I kind of had that experience. Like, oh my gosh, you know, maybe something's wrong with us, maybe, maybe we're not doing something right. And then I just started in and this was even, like, not even as a, not even in a professional capacity, like just talking with friends and people and then realizing like everybody was going through a hard time and I'm like, why is not like nobody's talking about this, you know, like nobody was. It was like this big secret I discovered. I'm like, this is terrible. So I like went on this really big kick where I just, I was talking to dad groups and moms groups and I was just trying to like tell everybody I could, that um what the experience was like for me to kind of try and normalize it for people. So that, that, that's been a big portion of my practice to like over the past couple of years now since my kids are getting a little bit older, we're kind of coming out of that really hard stage and it's not as, it's just, it's, we're feeling like we can breathe a little bit. So, you know, that's really awesome, you know, because now it's like, it's like, okay, we can enjoy it more. It's not as taxing. Um, so I can, I just, I know what you do for your job and kind of what your thing is. So I can, I mean, I, I just so appreciate what you do and I'm trying to help moms in that transition and parents and stuff because it is, it's, I just feel like it's the most under spoken about reality.

Catherine: 06:37 right? Yeah, yeah. Well, and so, so I see a lot of couples and I actually have a few dads that I see, which I really enjoy as well and one of the things like I'll hear from moms is they feel like their partners or their husband or whatever, like he seems to be able to get to do what he wants to do. Like he's still will work out or he still gets to, you know, his life goes on without a hitch. Right. Which I know isn't true. I know isn't true. Um, I feel like sometimes men are more typical like, Hey, I'm going to work out, I need to do that. And they'll do it and they maybe they don't think exactly the way a woman thinks. But do you have any insight or perspective on that

Quentin: 07:26 or thoughts on that? I mean, I mean, so I think, well I think it kind of depends on like the, the, the, the kind of set up that the parents have. Is it like a stay at home mom? Are you a working mom? Because I think that, that, that's a significant factor in how it kind of like, how it plays a role in all that. I think that in some ways it is kind of true, you know, I think that dads' lives are less interrupted with kids or with infants than, than moms' lives are. And I think, I think from like even from like a child development standpoint, there's kind of an appropriateness to that because I think there's like there's the bonding and that has to take place between mom and baby in the early stage. And so I think that, that, you know, that that does happen and what, what I've seen in my practice is it kinda like sets up this like power struggle between couples where they're like, well, wait a minute, why do you get to do that? And I don't get to do that. And um, and some of that I've found is kind of like a lack of--Like it's, it's really just kind of like, for a lot of Dads, this is my experience. I feel like the overwhelming majority of dads that I've talked to, they really want to be good dads and they want to be really good husbands too. They, they just don't really know what to expect. And what's different is that they were probably parented by a parent where like the expectations of relationships were significantly different in a, in a prior generation. So all the role modeling that they have to kind of go into married life or parent life. It's not that the role modeling is bad, it's just, it doesn't work anymore. It's not going to work in 2018. And so there's, there needs to be kind of like a new paradigm and a new understanding about like, okay, well what is your responsibility and how do you share roles and responsibilities and kind of what is your role?

Quentin: 09:51 I feel like once dad's kind of have a better understanding of that and why it's important, they, they really kind of get on board with it, but just they don't. They're kind of operating, you know, with a different playbook, so to speak, you know, and it's kind of like a playbook that really isn't working anymore and so it just creates a lot of frustration and I'm so I love talking to dads about that and why it doesn't work anymore because I think there's this whole like, cultural component, like sociological component and when you can kind of make sense of the timeline, like through history, it's um, a lot of dads go. "Oh, okay. Yeah, that makes, that makes a lot of sense to me. So my wife isn't just a nag, you know, she's just, she's not just like harping on me.

Catherine: 10:39 They would like to hear that.

Quentin: 10:40 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, so--

Catherine: 10:45 And I think it's like having, like, that's what I talked to them about too. It's like having that conversation, like what are your, what are the roles, what are your expectations? Then I feel like before kids, I find a lot of times things just kind get done and people fall into the things that they do and then the baby comes along and chores and tasks and all that stuff go. The amount of work that needs to be done goes up so much that it's like you can't keep doing things the way you used to. So it's like, okay, we've got to really figure out like how are we doing all this stuff? Where do we need extra help where we are talking to each other and not just assuming the other person's going to do stuff like, like.  And then I'll have dads that say like, well I don't know what I'm supposed to do, so I kind of feel like maybe she's been home. Especially in those early months, if she hasn't gone back to work yet and kind of has a system and I come home and I don't know what to do, so I'm going to just start doing something and it's probably not the right thing. So I'm like, okay, yeah, let's, let's talk about that. Like do you have any other recommendations for that, like what you suggest a couple do or dads to do to be more involved? Because sometimes I'll find like maybe they kind of wait to be invited or to be told what they should happen and they want to do it and they'll do it. They just don't necessarily know what they're supposed to do or don't want to do the wrong thing maybe.

Quentin: 12:02 Yeah, totally. Okay. So like on a, on a, on a practical level, um, and if you want I can, I'll email you this thing but like I created this excel spreadsheet and it's kinda corny but it actually works pretty. Okay. It basically just has like a list of all these different like you know, responsibilities and, and I just kind of have couples like in this stage I say okay, just sit down together and just go through this thing and figure out like who's doing what. So it kind of eliminates some of the guesswork because I think like a lot of times that's where a lot of problems happen when you are thinking, well I thought you were going to do that. And I thought one person feels resentful because they feel like they're doing more. So it's kind of like a practical thing that can sometimes spark a conversation. So if you're interested I'll send it to you.

Catherine: 12:51 Oh, I think I have something. Things I'd be curious to like compare it to that. Yeah.

Quentin: 12:58 And then like, okay. So then there's this whole other emotional thing that I think happens and okay. So I think that a lot of moms send kind of a double message to a lot of dads and the double message is kind of like Hey I really need you here but get away from here. And so a lot of dads feel really confused and conflicted about like what is their role like, especially when you have really young kids, you know, like I'm thinking like the first, like if you have somebody under under one or something.

Catherine: 12:58 Yeah.

Quentin: 13:41 And it's like, it's kind of like what you were saying a minute ago, it's like, dad's tried to help out, but then they get scolded for helping out and they're in their kind of like, well I don't really know what to do, you know? And it's like. And then so, so the way they way a lot of a lot of guys cope with that is that they just start to kind of withdraw and kind of move away from the relationship not to be cold or punitive, but they just, it's like stressful for them because it's confusing. The way they deal with stress is to just kind of retract a little bit. And then the wives say, you're never home, you don't, you don't care about us. And so there's this like tension. Like I like, I, I, I don't, I don't want you to feel like I don't care about you. But then every time I try to show up and be helpful

Catherine: 14:32 I'm critiquing what you're doing.

Catherine: 16:38 Okay. Yeah. Someone posted any recommendations on how to improve transparency between couples in that reference to that kind of confusing misunderstanding of I want you here, but leave.  

Quentin: 16:52 Well, I mean like I'm curious what would you, how would you answer that?

Catherine: 17:01 Well, so I always recommend that couples like, like talk about like what it is, you know, that they want, what their expectations are because I feel like oftentimes I'll have even just personally and professionally, like you know, there's an expectation that one partner has and then the other partner has something else. So it's like well we need to have a conversation of what it is that we, that it's going to be happening, you know, and then to be able to talk about it and I think it's like if I say I'm going to do this then let me do it my way and it might not be your way, you know, and kind of like letting each other do that. So like, I'll talk to moms a lot because it's typically moms, in fact, I don't think I've ever had a dad that micromanaged over the mom about like how to do certain things with the baby at least in the beginning.  Um, it's likely the mom. Maybe, maybe I'm wrong. And so like I always recommend like let, like we each have our learning curve on how to do things and so let, let dad, let your partner figure out how to do it on his own. And if it's like the baby's crying a little bit more because he's not as fast at changing the diaper or doing whatever he's doing then like leave the room and let him figure it out. Because if you always go in there to rescue, then it's going to take them longer and then, you know, he'll feel bad. Like nobody wants to be told they're doing it wrong or be watched where they're trying to do something and you know, it's uncomfortable to them already, you know, probably if the baby's upset and they're trying to figure it out. So let them figure it out and have their way. So that would be part of my thing and it's like, you know, I want to help you, let me help you, even if it's different. And I think it's like kind of reminding that and I had moms say like, oh, I heard you, I heard you in those early weeks reminding me not to be, you know, hovering over them about how they do things. Yeah. So I don't know, I'm hoping I'm answering that question. Maybe I'm totally off base, but.

Quentin: 18:48 No, I think that's really great. No, I just, I think I would agree with that. Like sometimes I'll say to people like, you know, we have to choose, you know, you can be in charge or you can be in a relationship, you know, it's like we can't have both, you know, you can't have a servant and then still want to feel like you haven't emotionally connective relationship. So that's kind of like a confrontational way of kind of like saying it, you know, I'll usually say it a little bit softer, but you know, the point is the same, you know, and then, and then what I do too is like, because I'm kind of like, I liked it, like I'm kind of an EFT [Emotionally Focused Therapy] person. So, um, I like to help couples talk about it like from like a primary emotions standpoint, you know, and I'm helping husbands talk about their emotions instead of withdrawing.

Quentin: 19:50 Like I feel like I'm not useful here but I want to be useful. And then helping moms talk about their emotions too. Instead of being critical, helping them kinda get access to like, you know, I feel really scared, I feel overwhelmed, you know, and I, I want you to be helpful, but it's hard for me to let go. So just shifting, shifting the energy from being kind of antagonistic to like, hey we're here for each other and we both have lots of big feelings about this. And we're really on the same team together. And sometimes just a subtle shift in language could help people feel that way. So yeah, that's kind of, that's where I would go with it. Yeah.

Catherine: 20:40 Yeah. That's. Yeah. I think we're both along the same lines there. That's, you said that very eloquently. I liked how you, I liked your example. Those were good because I think it is, it's like usually what is that? What's the underlying feeling that's making me react this way? Like, you know, it's, it's, it's hard, it's the transition's hard and I think especially when you're sleep deprived and there's all this newness and you're trying to figure things out and you know, neither none of us usually really know what we're doing because it's our child and there's that anxiety that goes along with that. So I think it's like giving each other the benefit of the doubt too that we're both trying our best and like how do we support each other? Let me help you with that. And how do I, how do I help you?

Quentin: 21:25 Yeah. And I think having a, having a child is probably one of the most emotionally provocative times in your relationship. But the irony is that everybody has to kind of hunker down into survival mode and we can't talk about our emotions, you know, so um, it really I think just speaks to the need to create space to like, it's like, it's not even like an optional thing, like you have to make space to talk about that stuff because there's like this, there's like the Mount Everest of emotions happening on both sides of the equation. And if you guys don't know, if a couple doesn't talk about it, then it just starts to kind of like seep into the relationship. It starts to erode things and then, you know, it's actually pretty grim and you know, all this. It's like it's pretty grim statistics on like marriages with young children. You know, it's pretty crazy how so many of them don't work out. And I think it's because of all the things that were kind of like talking about.

Catherine: 22:25 well, do you have a recommendation of how couples should make time for this? I know I have recommendations but people get tired of hearing what I have to say with what do you tell or maybe with similar. I'm curious.

Quentin: 22:37 Um, okay. So I mean sometimes I'll tell people like that, you know, like they just have to get creative, you know, with their time.  And it's not going to be like, oh, you know, will before my wife and I had a baby, you know, we would take long drives and talk. It's like, okay, those days are over.

Catherine: 22:56 Unless that's the only way the baby sleeps.  

Quentin: 23:01 You know, I just, I just tell couples like to just look for like any moment, you know, it can be like, okay the baby is sleeping, we're going to grocery shop, we're going to go take a walk around the block, we're going to go for a drive. Because I think what happens is a lot of people are waiting for the right time and there is no right time. It doesn't exist anymore. It's just about, you know, just using kind of what you have. And, and, and I know that like my wife and I, we, you know, we, we stayed in therapy and that was like, so helpful too because therapy became, and this is not a sales pitch for therapy, but I'm just saying for us it was like our, our moment in therapy every week was the one time like for 45 minutes that we would have these really great conversations and it was enough to just kinda like get us over the hump because, because outside of that it was very hard to find that very intentional time. Now that our kids are going to like having someone. Yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Catherine: 24:01 I was going to say that like almost that accountability. Like okay we have to make the, we have this appointment set, we have to make this time for us.

Quentin: 24:08 Right. And of course in therapy we would talk about all the things that we would avoid outside of therapy. And it was wonderful. We needed that because we're too tired to do it otherwise. And in therapy it just of like it helps foster that. So wait, what, what are your rights? How do you tell couples to do that?

Catherine: 24:24 Yeah, very similar. Like, you know, I'm, I've said even if you can do like quick, like a daily check in with each other I think is important. Just to be able to listen. Like how's the other person doing to feel like you're on each other, the same side with each other. Um, and I mean ideally it's always face to face, but sometimes I know it can be hard, especially if one parent's going into work and they're switching off. Sometimes I get parents that they're not home at the same time. It's like well have a phone call and like talk to each other, you know, not the ideal way, but if that's what it takes but just kinda like check in to see, you know, how can you know what's going on? How are you feeling, how are you doing, what, you know, do we need more support?

Catherine: 25:03 Like what do you need, you know, and just, you know, finding those ways. Like when the baby goes down, like that's when you're doing, you know, maybe that's when you're hanging out with each other, not with your phone, you know, or like ideally not watching a movie, but then I'll tell parents too, like, I mean that's not, I usually recommend not doing a movie because then you're not talking to each other, but if you are so tired, like maybe you are sitting watching a movie together but like sit next to each other on the couch without your phone too. So yeah, that's a very similar thing. So it's like finding the small ways and then eventually it gets better and you know, if you can schedule those weekly date nights in like, I think that's really important to hopefully start getting that in there even if it's a short, like a short period of time. But um, until you can do more and more, but making that a priority, like your relationship. So how do you as a dad, a husband and you know, you, you're employed and stuff, how do you balance everything?

Quentin: 26:08 Oh Gosh, that one's tough because I'm probably not that good at it. My wife would say that I'm not that good at it. I try though. It's like a work in progress. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, I, I don't know. I think that, oh gosh, that's really tough. So I would just say that something that I feel like I keep learning again and again is that I have to be, I have to just be very intentional with things and so like for me to have a really great marriage is not going to just happen and I, I have to be diligent about like creating space in my mind for that and, and, and physical space too.  And so, you know, sometimes that means like something else is going to give, you know, something, you know, I'm not going to see clients, I'm not going to take phone calls. I'm, you know, I'm not going to, you know, do this thing with my son or something. Um, so, you know, if I was going to be really honest, you know, I think that in from the front, if I put my life into three categories from like being at my job than being a dad and then being a husband, being a husband probably takes third place. I don't want it to take third place. I, I would, I would tell everybody that it's the number one to me, but just like everybody else, you know, I'm not immune to just falling into that mindset like Oh, things are okay. It's not that, you know, we'll be okay. Like just kind of getting a little bit complacent. And so I am really working right now on just being more intentional with things, creating space for things and I'm just being very proactive instead of, Oh yeah, you know, like I'll get it, I'll get around to it when it happens kind of thing.

Quentin: 28:15 So that's, you know,  when you, when you, when you say the word balance, that's kind of what goes. That's what I think about, you know, I think about how to balance and how I'm not really good at it. You know, and something that I think about.

Catherine: 28:30 Yeah, well and I think it's sometimes something needs more attention than the other and I feel like being, you know, we're both self employed and we both have kids and, and partners and so it's like I feel like those, the kids and my business need attention because they can't take care of themselves. Whereas my husband can take care of himself like pretty well. So I feel like that's one of the reasons I think the relationship piece gets neglected because on some level it seems like it can function okay without me because he can function without me, but our relationship clearly can't. So it's like it is like how do we keep being intentional and how do we set, you know, like we try to set time aside all the time but I always know when we need more of it because our interactions with each other get a little bit snippy or, or he drives me crazy in little ways but hopefully it doesn't get to that point. But I know it's hard not to when you're doing all these other things. So thanks for your honesty on that because I think it's a real struggle for a lot of people. So

Quentin: 29:37 Yeah, you know, and like the, the other thing that comes to mind too is like, you know, I think that with, with uh, with a business, because I kinda like, I'll, I'll, I'll give guys I work with a hard time about this because they'll tell me I work so hard for my family. It's like the classic thing that guy say and I'm like, yeah, I like, Dude, stop it. That's not why you work so hard. You work so hard because you're really good at it and you're competent and it makes you feel good, and you derive a lot of your self worth from your employment.

Catherine: 30:12 I love that. Yeah.

Quentin: 30:13 That's why guys work so hard because it feels good and whenever we're doing something that we're really competent at, whether it's a hobby or an interest or an employment, whatever it is, we do more of it because it makes us feel really good. And, and I think that relationships, there's like a converse effect there too. Because if relationships are, if, if it's, if you don't get like that immediate satisfaction and reward in interacting with your partner, then we don't feel competent and then we don't want to do it as much.

Catherine: 30:13 Yeah.

Quentin: 30:53 And it's the same thing with kids too. It's like I can play with my kids and I can interact with them in a way that is like, oh my gosh, you know, it's so life giving and they love me and they're just like, Daddy. And you're like, yeah, it's totally, it's totally propping up my self worth, you know, it makes me feel so good. And then I interact with my wife and she's like, yeah, you know, like, what time are you going to be home because we have to do this and this and this. I'm like, oh, that doesn't feel as good, you know? So I'm like, okay, I want to avoid that. Right. So I think like we should, we, it's important to kinda like see it under those, like in that way to, you know. And so like, because I think the more, the better we get at interacting with our partners, the more competent we feel and then it'll be a more rewarding experience.

Catherine: 30:53 And we want to do more.

Quentin: 31:46 We want to do it. Exactly. Yeah.

Catherine: 31:48 Yeah. No, I love that. I love that. That's excellent. Um, what, do you I have a couple other questions for you? I know we're kind of getting short on time here, but what do you feel like is your greatest lesson you've learned as a dad?  That's a hard one.

Quentin: 32:10 That is a hard one. 

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Watch Part Two of the Interview:

Video previously aired as a Facebook Live.

PART TWO: Interview Transcript

Catherine:  00:01 Hey there guys, that's Catherine at Happy with Baby Dot Com and I'm so excited because I'm doing part two conversation with Quentin Hafner at therapist and relationship coach and hopefully he will be joining us shortly. Um, we had a great conversation on Wednesday and he really shared some great insights and great perspectives coming from a dad's perspective. I'm also a male perspective that sometimes I think we don't hear enough about, so I was really excited to be talking with him and his phone died while we were on the call and we talked about, oh, do you could email them to me because I'm going to be putting this together and posting it on my, my website and then he's like, well what if we do another one? So I was like, yeah, that's a great idea. So here we are on Friday. The what day is it?  Not sure. I don't see him yet, so I'll just keep chatting and hope he's able to join us. Yeah, maybe. There you are. Okay, perfect. I'm adding you now.

Quentin: 00:01 Hey.

Catherine: 01:18 Hi. How's it going?

Quentin: 01:19 Good. Good to see you again.

Catherine: 01:22 Yeah, good to see you.  I'm glad we're able to do part two.

Quentin: 01:26 Yeah.  This was awesome. This is a little Deja Vu. It's great.

Catherine: 01:29 I'm just a different location. I'm at home today, so hopefully my daughter is in the background so we'll see if we end up with a guest, I'm hoping. I'm hoping not,

Quentin: 01:40 I hope. I hope she comes in. I hope she interrupts you.

Catherine: 01:45 she's good at that. So yeah. So. Perfect. So did you have any thoughts or anything you wanted to say before we kind of jumped back in with more of my questions or.

Quentin: 01:55 Um, I guess. No, I just, I was really thinking about our conversation last time and it was really, it was just great to talk with you and just, you know, hear your thoughts and perspective on things and um, I feel like I get to have these conversations with clients a lot but not enough people like you. So it's fun to talk about it.

Catherine: 02:12 Well, and you know, it's kind of great because I was, I was working on Wednesday and I had a few sessions after our conversation and I was like, I was able to use some of the things we said,

Quentin: 02:12 Oh, cool.

Catherine: 02:22 --that you had said, and I'm like, oh this is what I need to do this more often because I think like, you know, how you can use to the way you say things and the information you put out there and then it's nice sometimes somebody says something, you're like, oh yeah, that's a, that's a good way to say it or that's it. That's a good perspective to have. So I mean I think it's important and I like that you're able to lend that male perspective too.

Quentin: 02:45 Yeah. Okay.

Catherine: 02:46 Yeah. Yeah. So I had started to ask you when your phone died, like what was the greatest lesson you've learned as a dad? And then you said,

Quentin: 02:56 I'm very sorry that my phone was like, really?

Catherine: 03:00 I love that, that's life right though.

Quentin: 03:02 Well it's like on Facebook on this, I can't see the battery power. So I was just doing our thing and then it just went black and I was like, uh oh, that's not good. So

Catherine: 03:14 It's like, welcome to parenthood.

Quentin: 03:16 I know, I know. I'm like, okay, that's not very professional then. Oh, well thank you. Thank [inaudible]. Then we can do. Right, right, right. Okay. So what was, I'm sorry, will you say that? What were you, what were you asking?

Catherine: 03:34 What is the greatest lesson you've learned as a dad?

Quentin: 03:37 Mm.  Oh Gosh. There's like so many, so many to choose from. I, I think that what I keep coming back to you for me personally is the need to just kinda slow down and I, you know, like I have kind of the personality where I can kind of like move at warp speed and um, and sometimes I really just forget that my kids don't really move that fast. And um, my oldest son, Levi, he's five now, um, and he's kind of, he's at the stage where he just really wanting more of my time. He was wanting just more of my presence, more of my mind and I'm really having to just like, be super mindful of that. Yeah. Because I just, I, I'm, I'm kind of like in that stage of where I'm, I, I'm kind of becoming more aware of these precious moments kind of slipping by and um, and so I just keep, I just keep coming back to the need to kind of like slow down like that, like to be more present, to be like less irritated, you know, when he wants to like be with me.

Catherine: 05:08 Because I have other things to do.

Quentin: 05:08 Yeah. And it's like, it's horrible, but like sometimes that's just the way it is. It's not really what I want to do. But then I'm, then I'm like, oh gosh, you know, like there's going to be a point in time really soon where I can't go back. I can't go back and redo all this and you know, it's kind of like one of those like, um, you know, nobody's ever going to say on their deathbed that they regretted spending. They regretted spending too much time with their children. But they do regret working too much and you know, not doing that. So, um, so I just think slow down. Yeah. Yeah. What about for you, what do you, what, what comes to your mind?

Catherine: 05:53 Well, I can relate to that a lot. Like my youngest just turned five and so today was our, is our last Friday, so I'm doing this so we just spent all morning together. It was super fun. It's our last Friday before my son gets out of school and then she'll be in kindergarten next year. So we really had a great morning and making that time and she's like, mom, you're, you're lots of fun. And then she also told me I know a lot of stuff, so that's really good. I feel like I have to record her saying that. So like into five years from now, what I know nothing. I'm like, you used to think I knew a lot, but I think it's, yeah, it's slowing down and being, I think that being present piece because it's so easy to be distracted by all the other things that we have to do. And um, and I feel like they don't really need a lot of our time, they don't need us to have hours of undivided attention they need, they need like shorter periods of undivided attention where we're not distracted by our phones or work or doing chores around the house or whatever it is, you know. And so I think that's, I think that's a really. I can totally relate to that one a lot.

Quentin: 07:06 No, I'm really glad that you said that too about the time, like the quantity of time because sometimes it's, it's, it's easy to, to, um, to feel kind of burdened if that's the idea in your mind. Like, oh my gosh, like I can't give up a whole half day or something. It's so true though. It's like I think like a very, a very intentional, um, 10 minutes is better than a distracted half of a day. Right. And um, I don't, I don't know if you kinda like tell couples that too. But I have, I often tell couples that too, you know, because sometimes like, especially with babies, you know, they're like, oh, you know, we can't go on date nights and stuff. I'm like, you don't even need to do that. You know, it's like, if you can do that, that's awesome. But like you can, you know, it's not really a quantity issue because sometimes like with young kids like you just can't do that so you can find like 10 minutes and, and um, and just really have like a quality moment and that is very like life giving. It's very, it's very sustaining to the relationship. And so I think it's the same principle with couples and kids.

Catherine: 08:18 Yeah, I think it's, yeah, we don't have to. I think it's, you know, like I said the other day, like turning off our phones, like doing, taking away all the extraneous stimuli and being like that person, just having a conversation and, and being with them. And I'll tell parents like, especially like that, you know, when you're coming home from work and that can be kind of crazy and chaotic and there's all these things to do and the kids want your attention and all this. I'm like, if you can stop for that, you know, maybe even just five minutes, five to 10 minutes and get down to their level and do what they're doing and let them know like, okay, then we're going to, this is what we have to do, we have to get ready for dinner, maybe do this. But you can them that attention for those few minutes that can really take buy you a lot of time to do the other stuff. Yeah. Because then they're like, okay, yeah, I got to meet you. And so I mean sometimes it works really well other times, depending on the situation. Maybe it doesn't work as well. But, um, I think it's like giving them that attention and focus on them. So

Quentin: 09:16 yeah. Yeah. No, that's really great. Yeah.

Catherine: 09:21 Well what is. So my other question is what's one piece of advice you'd like to give other dads? If there's one?

Quentin: 09:29 Yeah. One piece of advice to give other dad's, um, gosh, okay. So I'll just kinda go with like what comes to my mind. So yeah, I think that um, I, I, I, the way I kind of want to answer that is like I feel like the best gift that we could give our kids is to have a really stable relationship with their mom and if you're married that that applies if you're married or if you're divorced. So it's kind of like, so often I think that the relationship that we have with our partner can frustrate us to the point where it starts to kind of impact the relationship that we have with our kids. Yeah. And so, um, I, I dunno, I just, I kind of feel like people need to be reminded of that, that it's, it's kind of like, you know, if, if you don't, if you don't care enough about your partner to learn how to communicate well, well then just do it for your kids because they are the real beneficiaries anyway. Right. And you know, it's not like a, it's not like a, like a guilt and shame thing, but it's like if you really love your kids, you didn't want to do that because it really, it really matters. And so, you know, it's like, and it doesn't matter if you're, if you're married or if you're divorced, because I think it's, it could happen, it could get it's, it's applicable to both scenarios.

Catherine: 11:10 Absolutely. Absolutely.  Yeah. No, that's great. What, like, so what would you say to a couple that's like really struggling to communicate? I mean because that's usually for me, I don't know about for you, but when couples come in to me that that's usually the thing they say we don't communicate, which then means a lot of different things and looks different. But is there like, like where do you start with that? Like we're like, if a couple says to you, I'm really struggling with communicating or um, you know, my wife never listens to me or I never listened to my wife. I don't know, do they say that? But yeah, usually we like to blame the other person.

Quentin: 11:50 Of course, of course.

Catherine: 11:50 We all do.

Quentin: 11:56 You know, it kinda, it's, it's a little bit of kind of what we saying when we were talking the other day, I think about like what the way I like to do that stuff to kind of like from the, um, from like the EFT [Emotionally Focused Therapy] perspective, really just helping people communicate their, like primary emotions kind of thing. And um, and, you know, the, the cool thing about that that I think a lot of people may not know is that like, it's so learnable, you know, and it's like, it's so, it's so, it's so learnable. It's so fixable. And I think sometimes maybe people feel like, oh, like I just don't know how to do that. Maybe other people are born with good genes and they know how to do that. And it's like, no--

Catherine: 12:39 Or they had good examples of how to do it.

Quentin: 12:42 But even if you have bad examples you can totally relearn that, you know, and there's some really great things. So, you know, I just, I, I like to just tell people that it really matters. And um, and it's not, it's, it's, it's something that is kind of solvable, you know, you can, you can really learn. It's like a very learnable skill to learn how to communicate well. And, and even if your partner isn't willing, you know, I think it's important to remember too that you can change the whole thing by just doing it well yourself, because--

Catherine: 12:42 That's a good point, right.

Quentin: 13:16 You're, yeah, your action is going to have a positive. It's gonna likely create a positive reaction. It's kind of like a, you know, the, the chain of events kind of thing. So a lot of people get stuck in that, well, you know, my partner is not doing it, so I'm not going to do it and it's not, it's not the right way to look at it because you know, just one person doing it well could really be transformative.

Catherine: 13:39 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's a really good point. I like that. Yeah.

Quentin: 13:45 Do you have, what's your advice for moms?

Catherine: 13:48 Well, usually the pretty similar to. Exactly. Yeah. Like I say that to people, you know, because I see, you know, the moms come in themselves and I do have dads that come in but, and I'll say like, if you start doing it differently, there are gonna they're gonna react differently to the way you do it. So, um, it's this. Yeah, I think it's part of it's like I'm going to do it because I want a better. I want to have a better relationship, better communication I think. I think it's frustrating and it's hard when you feel like the other person isn't trying, but.

Quentin: 14:24 Yes, totally. Totally.

Catherine: 14:26 So. Okay. So then. Yeah, go ahead.

Quentin: 14:28 No, I was just going to say, you know, of course it's so frustrating when the other person isn't trying. And then there's this other aspect too where I think we just just want to feel good. We want to like lay our head on a pillow at night and just feel good that we tried and we did everything we could do, you know, because there's something really satisfying about that too. Even if even if someone else isn't as willing or open to the idea, you know, we just always feel better knowing that we did what we could.

Catherine: 14:58 Right. And sometimes I'll, I'll encourage them like try to find, try to understand like where are they coming from, you know, like ask some questions to see what's, what's happening to them that if they are really upset or that they are responding a certain way because usually there's like more underlying to like, and if we can kind of understand our partners' perspective, sometimes it makes it easier to keep trying and doing what we have to do and I don't know if you can. They're doing yard work like right outside my window. I don't know if you can--

Quentin: 15:34 I can't hear it., no.  It's good. Yeah, that's a really good point. You know, and I think you've, I'm sure you've had this experience working with couples is that like if you start understanding how people feel, you're like, wow, like you guys actually feel the same thing, you know, like at the, like at the end of the day, like your both feeling these basically same feelings. Um, and that's kind of usually how it always is, you know, like, so it's like, okay, whatever it is that you're feeling, you can almost guarantee you that your partner is kind of feeling something close to that.  Because it's never, it's usually not really ever one sided and I guess that's nice to know because you know, hopefully we can have empathy or something like that.

Catherine: 16:14 Right, right. Absolutely. That's weird.

Quentin: 16:25 Is she, is your daughter coming in?

Catherine: 16:27 Hold on one second.

Quentin: 16:28 Sure, sure, sure.

Catherine: 16:30 Thank you. I was like, what happened here.  Somebody delivered a package and she went out to get it.

Quentin: 16:30 That's awesome.

Catherine: 16:30 Okay. Home life.

Quentin: 16:30 Facebook Live. Yeah, this is live.

Catherine: 16:48 Little glimpse into. She's very independent and likes to do things on her own. So. Okay. So, so here's a question that I have. What would you tell other moms or what would you like all moms to know about dads?

Quentin: 17:08 Oh, okay. So.

Catherine: 17:12 That's a big one I think.

Quentin: 17:14 Well I'm going to be kind of like a defender of Dads for a second.

Catherine: 17:14 Yes. That's what I want.

Quentin: 17:21 I feel like dads get like a really bad rap and I feel like the media has done such a horrible job like in, in, in general, kind of making kind of a satire of, of dads and husbands. And I think that there's like a, there's like this cultural feeling that is kind of like floating around somewhere that, you know, dads are incompetent and inept and deficient. And I just feel like things couldn't be further from the truth. And I think it, I think it makes for good TV sitcoms. But I think in reality it kind of paints a picture of men as being these like just incompetent people that um, I think is really starting to kind of like, erode the self esteem of the collective group of men.  And so, um, so I guess what I, what I, what I would want moms to maybe reconsider or reevaluate is if they, if they might even be, if they might have some of those ideas in their minds too and so really challenged themselves and to really maybe question some of their own beliefs and paradigms about what they think about their husband and maybe how some of these things and media kind of support that inaccurately or even unfairly. So, I mean, I, I feel like the guys that I work with, and I can say the same thing about women too, you know, I feel like, you know, most people are, you know, really want to do a good job, you know, and their hearts are really in good places and they want to do it well and they're doing their best and sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not good. But their motivation and their intentions are really good and you know, so um, I just feel like guys get an unfair bad rap. And I think sometimes moms are not, they're not immune to kind of like falling into that thought process. So just kind of like, just challenging their own paradigms of how they think about that stuff.

Catherine: 17:21 Yeah. Yeah.

Quentin: 19:58 Does that make sense? Like what I'm saying, you kind of see that a little bit.

Catherine: 20:00 I do and I often tell moms like let dad figure it out. Like it's, there's a learning curve for each of us and so if he's, if he's doing something by him, do it and let him figure it out and it's probably not going to be the way you're doing it. And that's perfectly okay. Like it shouldn't be the way you're doing it. Let him, you know, and, but if you're always correcting or telling him or micromanaging him, you think he's going to stop doing this stuff and then you're not going to have that partner and you're going to get more resentful. So let him figure it out. I mean I think it's good to talk about like, Hey, I tried this and this seems to help, you know, unless there's like harm being done, which typically there's not. Then there's really no reason to like to tell them how to do it. But the other thing, and I hear this from mom too, so I kind of, and I'm not feeling I have to defend moms from what you're saying because I do see that and I know not all moms do that, but also the frustrating for Moms is like, well dad can do anything and he gets all this praise and glory, you know, for like, you know.

Quentin: 20:00 For babysitting.

Catherine: 21:07 For babysitting. Yeah. So it's like what, like what do you say to that? Because I, I see that that could, that can be really frustrating.

Quentin: 21:14 Sure, sure. Yeah. You know, I think it, it's kind of similar. I think it's kind of a little bit of the opposite thing. I think that there are like, I think there's like there's some cultural things that I think we have to fight against and I think it's on both sides of the equation because I don't want dads to get praised for babysitting. That's like saying, you know, like you hear that a lot, you know, and like I think you hear that from like maybe the other generations more maybe. So maybe that's like really the big takeaway for just like to think about it as like there's a, I think there's a lot that we get kind of influenced by, you know, culturally that I think we just have to be like mindful of and just kind of question and analyze and just, you know,

Catherine: 21:14 Clearly, this has gone on too long for her.

Quentin: 22:12 What is, what is she saying? Is she--

Catherine: 22:12 She, well, she's really--

Quentin: 22:19 She's upset that you're doing this?

Catherine: 22:21 No, this package is really important. She's like, well, what name does this have on it? I think she's hoping it has her name on it.

Quentin: 22:21 Early birthday present.

Catherine: 22:28 We'll talk about that later. Yeah. We're already talking about for they birthday present and hers is in April. So you know.

Quentin: 22:28 Priorities.

Catherine: 22:39 Exactly. Yeah. No, I think that's good. Yeah, I think that's true. And I think that's another reason why we have to keep communicating with our partners about what, you know, what's happening, how are we feeling, you know, each of us feeling about things so that we're staying on the same page and that we have like our expectations, you know, our, the other person knows that we can't be disappointed when they're not met, you know, like, and not like they're always going to be met, but that we can keep talking about that.

Quentin: 23:09 For sure. And just like making space for that. That is such an important thing. Without, without that it's like, it's going to be really tough.

Catherine: 23:16 Yes. But I like, I liked that piece of that you said, that--pizza?--piece that you said about it does, it can be short times, right? It can be 10 minutes that you're, that you're spending with your partner if you can't get those date nights in. Or I'll tell people like if they're napping or you know, they're in another room playing, like sit down and have a talk with your partner. Like check in with each other. It doesn't have to be a big extravagant thing. I mean those are nice too and I highly encouraged them, but until you're able to that like find the, you know, uninterrupted moments that you can get in there.

Quentin: 23:50 Yeah. Because that if you can just do a bunch of that, like we're going to be golden.

Catherine: 23:55 Because that adds up over time.

Quentin: 23:56 It really does. And often it's just enough. You know what I mean? It's like getting a snack I guess. I think I'm hungry so I'm thinking of that. It's like having a snack.  That's pretty, that's satisfying. I'm good.

Catherine: 24:10 Yeah, that will tide me over for a little while and then we'll have to do, I'll need another snack but least for a little awhile.

Quentin: 24:16 Yeah. Yeah.

Catherine: 24:18 Well I don't want to take up much more of your time, but is there any like anything else like you want to end on or any thoughts or anything? I've really enjoyed having this conversation because it's, I think it's a good reminder of how. Because I feel like we have very similar thoughts and perspectives, but then there are also different and I think it's, I mean it goes, you know, men and women and we struggle with the same things as parents. It might look a little different or we might say it a little bit different, but it's, it's the same stuff.

Quentin: 24:49 No, it's really great to talk to you about this stuff because it's like, I really, I really do like hearing your perspective and um, yeah, just kind of Nice to get out of like my own thoughts about because I kind of just, you know, it's like I have the same kind of thoughts like Oh, there's a different thought. That's really great. So I, I have a book coming out. Can I plug this book?

Catherine: 24:49 Yeah. Please do.  

Quentin: 25:10 So, um, I wrote a book and it's like, it's in editing kind of right now. So it's supposed to be in print in September. It's called Black Belt Husband and it's a marriage book specifically just for guys.

Catherine: 25:10 That's awesome.

Quentin: 25:22 Yeah, I'm really excited about that and I'll keep you posted on that as well.

Catherine: 25:27 And I remember I started saying this when we started talking on Wednesday before you came on about how, is it you have your blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Quentin: 25:36 Exactly. Exactly.

Catherine: 25:38 That's pretty awesome.

Quentin: 25:38 Yeah. So the book, basically the idea of the book was kind of like using jiu jitsu as like a metaphor for marriage. So I kind of compare the two.

Catherine: 25:48 I like that.

Quentin: 25:49 Yeah, it was fun for me to write it. So it was like, it was really great. So I'm excited to see it come out.

Catherine: 25:53 Well that's, that's good. That's good. I bet it's going to be great. I can't wait to, I can't wait to check it out. So yeah, we'll definitely put a plug in to that and like I said, I'm. So we'll edit this on my website and then I always do a transcript because I feel like I have those parents that don't have time to listen to videos, so you can read through it and so we'll have that and so we'll have links to that, all that for you.

Quentin: 26:17 Awesome. So awesome. Super Fun to chat with you.

Catherine: 26:22 Well, it was fun chatting with you too. Thanks for taking the time.

Quentin: 26:25 I'm glad this worked out for round two.

Catherine: 26:26 Yeah, me too. Me Too.

Quentin: 26:28 And get, get to. Hi. Hi. That was awesome. Yeah. Okay, well have a great weekend. We'll catch up soon.

Catherine: 26:40 Okay, you too. Bye.


About Quentin Hafner:

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Quentin is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Newport Beach, CA where he specializes in couples therapy and working with Dad’s and husbands.  

Quentin lives in Orange County with his wife Hillery, and their two boys Levi & Samuel.

You can find Quentin at


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