O’Loughlin, Bruno’s Pop On Fatherhood

Alex O'Loughlin, Hawaii Five-O'

At eight months pregnant, swapping parenting notes with Alex O’Loughlin at ‘Hawaii Five-O’ Season 2 blessing | Photo from Tannya Joaquin

Your children will ground you. Not as in punish, although a case can be made for that.

No, I’m talking about giving you a reality check, to keep you in check. Seriously. No one can burst your bubble faster or more innocently than your kids. They’re the great equalizers.

Let me give you some examples to illustrate what I mean.

In the spirit of Father’s Day, I will stick with some memorable exchanges I’ve had with two famous fathers.

Take Hawaii Five-0‘s leading man Alex O’Loughlin. I interviewed him back in 2012 one month before his youngest son Lion’s birth. He was excited, saying, “I’m going to have a little kamaaina baby.”

He also described parenthood as his most demanding role, with the wise comment: “Being a dad is the greatest, hardest job in the world. The only job that’s harder is being a mom.”

I caught up with the actor and new dad a few months later and asked him if his family grounds him. His candid response stuck with me: “Hell yeah. I walk in the door and get handed a baby, which is what I want, but essentially within minutes I’m pretty much guaranteed to be covered in urine, feces or both. If that doesn’t ground you, what will?”

He has a point there.

That grounded feeling for fathers goes both ways. Bruno Mars’ dad, Peter Hernandez, has every right to boast about his superstar son’s success, but he tempers pride with humility. In fact, he was concerned about how he would come off during our interview talking about Bruno’s climb up the charts. He even called me twice post-interview to reiterate his concerns. I found it endearing.

Most parents brag about their child like he or she is the biggest star in the universe. His son truly has achieved superstardom, and he’s playing down his accomplishments. Despite everything Bruno has achieved, Hernandez said, “When I look at him and look at his eyes, the window to the soul, I still see my baby boy.”

Even when his baby can buy him anything in the world, it’s not a mansion or material possessions that Hernandez wants.

He says: “He said to me, ‘Dad, where do you want a house, condo on the beach, Kahala? Rolls, Cadillac?’ I say, ‘Son, I don’t want nothing. Just take care of your brothers and sisters.'”

Spoken like a true dad. Feet firmly planted in the ground, even when his son is one of the hottest stars on the planet.

Happy Father’s Day everyone, especially to my husband, Alan, father of our two beautiful children, my awesome dad, Douglas Boyd, and amazing father-in-law, Al Joaquin. Our kids are blessed with the coolest granddads in the world!