Revisiting The Real Dads of Melbourne


Last year, we met a family jetting towards celebrity status with their charming and wildly popular Instagram: The Duggan-Tierneys a.k.a. @The_Real_Dads_of_Melbourne. We shared their story in September 2015, and since then their followers have grown more than 400% to a whopping thirty-two thousand! We recently caught up with the Australian family to see what they've been up to since we last spoke.  

Gays With Kids: Great to connect with you again! What's new with your family and what’s going on with your Instagram during the past year?

Michael and Jarrad: We have been busy! We are both working full time now, we’re house hunting and juggling everyday life around Reid’s first year of primary school and his busy social calendar. Since we last spoke, Reid’s grandfather and our adorable firstborn Albert (a dachshund) have passed away. Reid has had to experience the passing of loved ones way too soon; however, like everything, we approached it very honestly, with love being the core message.

Gays With Kids: We’re so sorry for your losses! We saw on your recent Facebook post that getting your pet Albert was the first step in your journey to becoming dads. Can you elaborate?
Michael and Jarrad: We had each hoped to become fathers since before we met each other 15 years ago, but never in our wildest dreams did we really believe we would actually be parents. Thirteen years ago Albert came into our lives to share our love. We thought at the time that a fur baby would be our only chance [at fatherhood]. Albert had been a constant in our lives, sharing the ups and downs, the sad times and the happiest – the birth of Reid. We all miss Albert dearly; he was very special and everyone that met him loved him.

Albert and Reid

Gays With Kids: You mentioned that Reid was beginning to understand why your family dynamic was unique. In what ways have you seen that understanding grow over time?

Michael and Jarrad: We have always been conscious to introduce Reid to a large diverse group of people, with the intention for him to understand that every family is different.

Starting in pre-primary (kindergarten) this year and being surrounded with inquisitive 5- and 6-year-olds has prompted new questions when we are doing parent help at school. We are always honest with Reid, but aware he is only 6 and the entire complicated medical procedure involved in his conception isn’t something to talk about in detail yet.

We also find it challenging when Reid’s classmates ask us (detailed) questions about how he was born. Kids seem to know a lot these days! We answer with "All families are different: Some have one parent, some have two, some have no parents. Reid has two dads.” Their questions are very innocent and come from a good place; however, it’s our role to be open and honest about Reid’s surrogacy. It’s not our place, nor is it respectful to other parents, to talk about and explain such things with their children.

Gays With Kids: Have you encountered any negative pressures or reactions?

Michael and Jarrad: We are happy to say we haven’t experienced much negativity, thankfully; it’s been quite the opposite. We receive many emails, messages and even people approaching us on the street to support us for being so public with our lives. We still have a belief that other people’s opinions are none of our business. We know who we are, we are very active in our local area, and we are honest in the way we conduct ourselves on social media.

Gays With Kids: We were so impressed with Reid's stylish fashion sense! Has he received offers for his own bowties yet?

Michael and Jarrad: LOL! Reid still loves fashion, although he isn’t as enthusiastic in wearing [bowties] every day as he gets older. He still has a drawer full of them that he shares with his friends. Having said that, he’s a typical 6-year-old who goes through many obsessions. At the moment, as summer in Australia is approaching (but we’re not yet convinced), it’s sunglasses; next week it’s likely to be something else.

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