Patrick Duffy and Juan Luque Duffy are the parents of four beautiful children, Lorenzo, Lily, Liam, and Leo. Patrick works as a board certified physician assistant in dermatology, and Juan works as an architect in the Bay Area. Featured www.gayswithkids.com, the dads also share their lives on social media as “2 Dads + 4 Kids”, which chronicles their journey of parenthood, from building picnic tables to celebrating Father’s Day with four kids. Juan and Patrick recently married in Tampa on April 18, 2015.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
Juan: At first I was a little skeptical and afraid to build a family without the presence of a mother or a female. I had to profoundly search for an answer before I decided to become a father. Even when I know that being gay is totally OK, I still had in my mind the idea of a traditional family as the only possibility. Then, one day I had this “aha” moment when I visualized my own mother as something other than a female. I realized that the love, admiration and respect I had for my own mother has nothing to do with the fact she is was a female, but everything to do with her quality as a person and as a parent. Her love, dedication and care don’t depend on her gender or sexual orientation. In fact her sexual orientation never was something that affected me in any way. To be honest, as any other child, I wouldn’t even want to know anything about my parents’ sexuality! That was the moment I realized kids don’t need a father or a mother or both in order to develop; what they need are good parents, period. Then I was ready to be a parent, ready to give all my love and experience and care without expecting anything in return. There are days when I feel that I receive so much more from my four children than I give. Parenthood is the richest and most rewarding experience I have ever had.
Patrick: Watching these four amazing human beings grow. I sometimes sit back and think to myself about what an amazing life I have. I am so grateful that I am able to experience fatherhood. It’s rewarding to see the children hit milestones: their first smiles, first laugh, first steps and the first time they said Daddy.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Juan: Even though I am a horrible singer, I love to sing for them, play an instrument and make them dance. I love drawing for them and seeing their amazement in their eyes. Sharing playing time with them is hard because I am always tired but when I do, it’s just magical.
Patrick: Travel. I believe traveling is always a learning experience.
What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
Juan: Communicating with four toddlers (we have a 3-year-old singleton and 2-year-old triplets). Understanding their feelings and teaching them to be peaceful and content is the hardest part. There is always drama and the rivalry and competition between them for my attention can be draining for all of us.
Patrick: For me, worrying if I made the right decision or not.
What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
Juan: My parents, mostly. They raised seven children and they have been together for 50 years. They are the perfect couple to me. My partner Patrick is an amazing father too and he teaches me more that I want to admit.
As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
Juan: Being a father of triplets plus one is a huge responsibility. I don’t have weekends or holidays. The job never ends. I work from home so I am with them all the time. I never get to leave the job as a father and disconnect. However, I always feel I could do more. I always feel they deserve everything I do and some more.
Patrick: I take my responsibilities as a father very seriously. I think sometimes too seriously. I am constantly worried I may have done the wrong thing or made the wrong choice.
What advice would you give other fathers?
Juan: Forget about being right or thinking you know everything about been a father. Nobody does. There is no book, manual or professional that has all the answers neither. Search for answers inside yourself and trust your instincts. Remain teachable. It’s ok to make mistakes and don’t try to be perfect.
Patrick: Love your children and spend as much time with them as you can.
It is often difficult to balance a career with spending time with your family. How do you deal with this and make time for them?
Juan: It is very challenging to keep balance; in reality I don’t think balance exists. Do your best and try to enjoy everything you do. Leave the phone and computer alone! I know it’s not easy but that is where most of your free time goes.
Patrick: It is extremely difficult for me to balance career and spending time with my children. I wish I could spend every day all day with my children. When I am at work I give a 100 percent to my job and when I leave work I give a 100 percent to my kids and family.
What is something people don’t know about you?
Juan: People don’t know I do make a lot of mistakes, that I never wanted to have children or to be a dad. That I never finished reading a complete book about parenting. That at one point, I thought my children will never love me the way I loved my mom.
Patrick: I am a hoarder! I have clothes and shoes from 15, 20 years ago that I just can’t get rid of even thought I don’t wear them.
What is your biggest fear?
Juan: I fear something bad happening to my children. I have nightmares of them being in danger. The enormous amount of courage you get when you become a father is equal to the amount of fear and vulnerability you will have for the rest of your life as a parent.
Patrick: Dying and not being able to watch my children grow up. I am crying right now thinking about it!
What makes you happy?
Juan: My children laughing, when they listen to me, when they see me with admiration, when they kiss me and tell me “I love you, dad.”
Patrick: Watching my husband playing and engaging with the children. I love to sit back and watch the five of them sing, play, love and learn.
Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
We love to take them for walks in places with a lot of people, to show them off because I am so proud of them and they are so beautiful. We love to take them to The Florida Aquarium because is such a beautiful and safe place to be. We love taking them to the beach too.