Antonio Pangan, MD

Dr. Pangan is a dad of 10- and 6-year-old children, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and the medical director for primary care of the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while your wife was pregnant and how did you overcome it? It was difficult to just be a husband at home and a physician at work. I didn’t overcome it; I just accepted it and tried to be both at different times. Expectant mothers need support and love. Their bodies are changing so rapidly, and it changes their appearance and their identity. Expectant dads don’t go through the same struggles, yet it’s important that we try to be positive and attentive and understanding during the changes in pregnancy.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? Kids are different. They want so much to make their parents happy, but sometimes our expectations surpass the child’s capabilities for their age. This can cause stress on kids and the entire family. Learn to cherish the small steps kids take as they grow, and not be in such a hurry to get to perfection!

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? We get so focused on getting everything right, and yet we all know that there are always imperfections in our lives and in our days. This happens in kids’ lives, as well, and I have learned that the mistakes and the errors we make are a great opportunity for learning and help to foster strong coping skills. Instead of fixing what’s wrong, sometimes kids need to learn how to adapt and live with what may transpire in their day.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? Spending time with your children. Make the time, be present, and be involved. Engage yourself in fatherhood.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? Change the order:  It should be marriage/relationship, kids, and then career. If you want to be a good father, then it starts in this order. If your relationship with your significant other is in good shape, then your relationship with your kids should be good. Your career is also important, but you’ve got to find a balance. The years pass quickly as a father; you have to make it a priority so you don’t miss this time!

Dr. Pangan’s Q&A

How do you discipline your kids?