When Osher Günsberg was preparing to welcome his son Wolfie back in 2019, the beloved television host noticed a huge gap in the market for parenting resources aimed at dads.
“I was quite disappointed because the only books about childbirth or fatherhood were very technical, and they were all written for mums and mums-to-be. Any of the dad stuff was all very technical and there were like weights involved and it was all numbers… I just got a bit fed up,” The Bachelor host tells Kiindred in an exclusive interview.
So the 48-year-old took matters into his own hands and teamed up with his good friend, actor and fellow dad, Charlie Clausen, to create the podcast they wish they had to help guide them through the wild ride that is parenthood.
Both men became dads in their forties just weeks apart and wanted a safe space to share their learnings of new fatherhood, week-by-week. DadPod launched in 2019 with the premise of the show being by dads, for dads, who don’t want to be sh–t dads.
The feedback from the listeners has made the project all worthwhile.
“I think the greatest compliment I’ve ever had about DadPod was when someone told me there was a bloke who was 28, he just got married and he was in a cafe and was really worried about having a kid but then he said, ‘I heard this podcast about these two guys talking about being dads like they sound like me. It sounds like it could be okay.’ And that’s like, the greatest thing ever,” Osher explains.
Three years on and DadPod is still going strong and helping support thousands of dads around the world as Osher and Charlie continue to shine a light on what modern fatherhood actually looks like in 2022.
“I’m a bit fed up with the fact that the only dad on our screens that, I think, is an aspirational dad is Bandit Healer [from Bluey]. All the other dads we see on television are what I call Dumb Fat Dads. ‘Oh forgot to get the insurance uhh, oopsie daisy!’ The way that masculinity and fatherhood are depicted in our popular culture is pretty sh–t,” the television host laments.
“There’s plenty of other fathers that approach fatherhood the way that Charlie and I do. I know, within my circle of friends and mates of kids who are similar ages, [they are] real hands-on, emotionally available doing as much as they possibly can, balancing modern life of two careers of two working parents. But it’s so rarely portrayed in popular culture,” Osher points out.
Getting to speak to so many experts in the parenting field for DadPod, Osher says one of the biggest revelations which has stuck with him came from Dr Anthea Rhodes, who is a practising developmental and behavioural paediatrician at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Director of the RCH National Child Health Poll.
“She said, when you’re trying a new food, sometimes you need 13 or 15 goes to get your kid’s head around it. Charlie and I were just kind of gobsmacked by that!” Osher shares.
This nugget of information will no doubt come as a welcome relief to any parents deep in the fussy food phase with their little ones.
Osher’s son Wolfie, who he shares with wife Audrey, recently turned three and the star says there’s one family member in particular he’s taking after.
“He’s a very powerful young man, much like his big sister, who’s now 18 and a half,” he says with a proud grin, in reference to his step-daughter Georgia.
As Wolfie enters what Osher calls the “threenager” stage, he’s going through a huge stage of change and growth.
“Wolfie goes to sleep and in the morning, he will wake up and it’s like when your phone says your software is updated overnight, you pick it up and go, ‘Wow a new emoji!’ He’ll wake up in the morning and go: ‘Hey, you guys, how are you going? Look, I was wondering later on, can we take the bicycle to do this? Because we can use the occy strap to put the umbrella on and go there. And you’re like WHAT? Your sense of now and not now and future planning is just something you couldn’t do yesterday,” the Masked Singer host reveals of his son’s mind-blowing developments.
Another aspect of big change is Wolfie’s sleep. Like so many babies, Wolfie was a great sleeper who self-settled and would sleep from seven pm to seven am without any disturbances.
“Audrey and I are like, ‘wow, we should immediately start a parenting blog and start selling merch because we are geniuses,’” Osher laughs.
“Anyway, two kinds of runny noses and colds back-to-back and then we go on to the Gold Coast to shoot a show and everything’s out the window. And now we’re back on the floor, getting him to bed. He can’t fall asleep if we’re not in the room.”
“But you’ve got to remember that no learning is ever in a straight line. And essentially, he needs to learn how to get himself back to sleep again. And he’s doing really well, he no longer gets up in the middle of the night,” he says.
Osher may live his life in front of the cameras, hosting some of the country’s most popular shows including The Masked Singer and The Bachelor but just like the rest of us, the father-of-two is still trying to figure out how best to manage screen time with his little one.
“It’s a tough one! Far out man, if you need 10 minutes where you’re pretty sure that kid is not going to stick a fork in a power point, throw him your phone and give him six minutes of Bluey... if you’re by yourself, that’s sometimes the thing you have to do and be okay with that,” he shares.
The DadPod host also has a game-changing tip for when it comes to turning off the TV.
“It’s like everything you learn with a toddler is just don’t take them by surprise. I go, ‘Okay when this episode is over, this is what’s going to happen.’ When the episode ends, then the pleading will begin but then it’s always about getting to the yes as quickly as we can. ‘What we can do is we can do this, or what we can do is we can play with that, or what we can do is I need you to come outside and help me with this.’ Quickly moving to here’s the thing we can do.”
Osher is fully on board with doing whatever you need to do to get through the day. Even if that includes a Bluey marathon (we feel ya!).
“Honestly some days if I’m by myself with him and you’re just cooked because you’ve had 47 minutes of non-consecutive sleep, mate 18 consecutive episodes of Bluey? Fine! As long as it’s not every day, just do it,” he says of embracing the survive not thrive mentality of those more challenging periods of parenthood.
The star also isn’t afraid to admit that having young kids puts a lot of pressure on your relationship but he has some wise words of wisdom to anyone else feeling the strain – it’s not forever.
“It’s foolish to think that it’s always going to be amazing, because it’s not all chocolate-covered strawberries, and balcony sex, it’s hard sometimes. And you’ve got to appreciate that, and it doesn’t last forever,” he says, in reference to those picture-perfect Bachelor dates he so famously gets to narrate.
“I think we’re doing as well as any other couple that does at this point. You know, we get hit with a challenge and then we’re knocked around for a second and when we rise to them, we figure it out.”
Indeed Osher says his wife Audrey, who he met on the set of The Bachelor in 2014 and married in 2017, is his greatest inspiration.
“I just take all of my lessons from her. She is an extraordinary mother.”
Osher has always been open and honest about his mental health and admits that as the birth of Wolfie approached in 2019, he decided to get back on his medication. It’s a decision that he says has changed the course of his life for the better.
“As the birth approached, my thinking got more and more rigid. I started to get shorter and more difficult and became a lot harder for me to change direction and, or see a situation from a different point of view. And Audrey just took one look at me and said: ‘I need you to go back to your doctor and get back on meds because I need you to be around cause this isn’t going to be okay.’ The next day, I was at my doctor and I was back on it. And thank God! Meds are interesting because they just give you the space to do the work.”
When it comes to managing his mental health, Osher credits exercise, writing and gratitude as the key ways he keeps his mind strong.
“Gratitude is a really big part of it, and to try to be as present as I possibly can. One of the most wonderful things I got to do with Wolf early on was walk around the block with him, just naming everything. We went to this Montessori school and one of the teachers said, ‘All the words you give them now, they’ll use them in a year. Just give them language.’ We’d walk around and I’d say, ‘It isn’t a tree, it’s a Melaleuca. It’s not a bird, it’s a magpie. It’s not a flower, it’s a frangipani. And just by taking a 15-minute walk around the block, naming everything with Wolfie, being that present, it’s an extraordinary thing!”
Being present is perhaps the biggest lesson Wolfie has taught him.
“You just don’t want to miss him. There’s no email, there’s no Instagram picture, there’s no tweet that is more important than that moment. You don’t want to not be in that moment.” “Understanding that they’re literally only going to be this small, this size, this attitude, for this day. Tomorrow will be completely different. So if it’s cute and adorable, you better enjoy it. Because by this afternoon, it might never happen again. And if that doesn’t draw you into the joy of the present moment, which is really all we’ve got is this moment, then I don’t know what will.”