PARENTS
12/21/2018 13:43 EST | Updated 12/28/2018 09:03 EST

The Best Dad Stories Of 2018

Dads were open, honest and vocal this year.

Associated Press/MARI PHOTOGRAPHIE /Instagram
Glen Wood, Carey Price, and Dwayne Johnson are just a few of the dads who made a difference in 2018.

Gone are the days of the "clueless dad" stereotype — today's dads are more involved in parenting than ever.

They're staying home with their kids, creating their own "dad villages" with daddy Facebook groups and meetups, and playing a more pro-active role in parenting. But that's not all.

Dads were open, honest and vocal about the ups and downs of fatherhood in 2018, raising their voices on everything from paternity leave and baby loss, to changing diapers and supporting their partners. And we love them for it.

Here are seven dads who made a difference in 2018:

1. This dad who sued for paternity leave harassment

Yuri Kageyama/Associated Press
In this Monday, June 4, 2018, photo, Glen Wood, a Canadian who has lived in Japan for 30 years, plays with his son at a Tokyo park.

A Canadian dad living in Japan refused to take his company's alleged harassment over his paternity leave sitting down, and his case has made international waves.

Glen Wood — who was born in St. Ann's, Ont., and is a single father to Alexander, age two — is embroiled in a lawsuit with Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Japan over his allegations that the company harassed him for taking paternity leave and eventually fired him.

Wood decided to sue last December. While the company has denied the allegations, CEO Saburo Araki told Bloomberg in July that he vows to "eradicate" staff harassment after becoming aware of "several harassment claims from employees" since he took over the role at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in April.

Wood previously told HuffPost Canada that it was a step in the right direction.

"I've come to the conclusion that I need to fight this battle, and it's important not only for me but for [my son] as well, for his future, to make sure this doesn't happen to him," he said in an email interview from Tokyo.

2. This dad who pushed for change tables in men's bathrooms

When Chris Webb was told to change his son's diaper in the women's bathroom of a Tim Hortons, he did it, but not without pointing out that it's 2018 and dads change diapers, too.

Webb, from Pincourt, Que., tweeted in August that he was "shocked and humiliated" that he had to use the women's bathroom to change his son's diaper in a Montreal-area restaurant. Often, there aren't diaper-changing tables in men's public bathrooms, leaving dads and caregivers with options like going into the women's bathroom with their babies, finding a quiet corner to change them out in the open, or changing them on the floor.

WATCH: Dads react to seeing their kids for the first time. Story continues below video.

"Getting out the house with my 1 year old and going for lunch shouldn't mean that I have to explain myself to women as to why I'm in the women's bathroom. Bringing this up to the supervisor in the restaurant I was told 'it's ok the women don't mind'," Webb wrote on Twitter.

In response to Webb's tweets, Tim Hortons released a statement explaining its new restaurant layout will include change tables in the men's bathroom.

Hell yeah!

3. This dad who pointed out that men grieve infant loss too

Rob Crussell
Rob Crussell, with his wife Kate, and son Theo. Theo died shortly after he was born.

When British retailer Marks & Spencer released a new T-shirt that aimed to help break the silence around infant loss, Rob Crussell pointed out a design flaw: it was only available for women.

"We're grieving just as much as our partners and it would of been nice to have felt included in their campaign," the U.K. dad, who lost his son Theo less than two days after he was born in 2015, told HuffPost Canada in October.

Crussell was vocal on Twitter, and he joined a chorus of others across social media expressing their concerns. "Shame you have left the father's [sic] out completely of this, next year maybe include us as we grieve too," he tweeted.

In response to one of his tweets, Marks & Spencer said they would pass his feedback about the shirts along. But also importantly, Crussell helped get the conversation about how infant and pregnancy loss affects dads rolling.

4. These dads who are passionate about fatherhood on the 'gram

It's been a tough week. After getting back from #NewOrleans, it's been nothing but sick kids here in Casa de Palmer. Monday and Tuesday it was my eldest. Yesterday and today my youngest. Originally, it was meant to be a week off so I could finish preparing for the keynotes I'm giving at #Parenting101 this weekend, but as you can see... with parenthood, not everything always goes to plan. So there'll be no haircut. I haven't even started PACKING for my 11 AM flight out west. It's been a hectic week, and once upon a time, I'd have been a LOT more stressed about it. But one of the MANY things parenthood's taught me is ACCEPTANCE. Accepting that I'll often need to reprioritize on the fly, because it's family first above EVERYTHING. Or accepting that I can't ALWAYS do everything on my OWN, especially when I need the help of our neighbours to watch one of our kids while I rush to go pick up the other. It's a season of personal growth as I work to establish a rhythm that works for my life and lets me stop comparing myself with everyone ELSE. It was actually something @Brittlestar helped me realise during our flights home from the #Dad2Summit — at any given time, it's going to feel like the problems we have RIGHT THEN are the WORST thing in the world. But ultimately, if you give your time and energy to the RIGHT things — the people you love and the things that give you life — you're going to come out okay on the other side. So this is me, warts and all as I make the most of the little time February's giving me to do my thing. Maybe I'll figure it all out—maybe I won't. But in EITHER case, you know what? I'll wind up EXACTLY where I'm meant to be. Casey out. #parenthood #fatherhood #Dad #Daddy #cuddle #son #mixed #Black #BlackIsBeautiful #fatherandson #sick

A post shared by Casey E. Palmer (@caseypalmer) on

Dads take pictures, too!

When most people think about high-profile parenting influencers on social media, they probably envision, well, moms. But there's a movement afoot among Canadian dads who are putting their voices, faces and photos at the forefront.

"Guys can be passionate about fatherhood and tell their story online, too," Calgary dad and radio host Buzz Bishop told HuffPost Canada in October. Bishop rounded up his picks for the Canadian dads to follow on Instagram, and they consistently put out funny, heart-warming and very real content about dad life.

Some accounts might be a little rawer than what one might find on popular parenting Instagram feeds, Bishop noted, but he thinks they're authentic views of what being a dad is all about. Check out the 14 dads to follow here.

5. This dad who encouraged other men to take paternity leave

MARI PHOTOGRAPHIE
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and daughter Liv, 2.

Carey Price's daughter was born two weeks after the Montreal Canadiens finished their 2016 season, which gave him an opportunity many new dads can't or don't take — to spend several months at home with his new baby, Liv.

In June, the NHL goaltender urged dads to take paternity leave so they can have the same experience, and teamed up with Dove Men+Care as part of their campaign to champion paternity leave globally.

"It's important that dads take the opportunity to develop relationships with their children," Price told HuffPost Canada in June.

As part of the campaign, a study commissioned by Dove Men+Care found that while 73 per cent of Canadian men say they believe men should take equal parental leaves as women, spouses or partners of Canadian fathers take eight times more time off to care for their new child.

Price acknowledged that men face judgment about gender roles, as well as a financial burden if they don't have paid paternity leave. But it's so important to be there — not just for your child, but for your partner, he said.

*applause*

6. This dad who talked about the challenges of working dad life

Justin Trudeau/Facebook
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Facebook cover photo.

Being a working dad isn't easy. Even when you're the prime minister.

In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened up about the juggling involved in doing his job while also raising his three children with his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Xavier, 11, Ella-Grace, 9, and Hadrien, 4, still grumble when he has to travel for longer stretches, Trudeau said in a radio interview with morning show host and longtime friend Terry DiMonte.

"We're trying to figure out: OK, which nights are you home for dinner, and are we going to be up to the lake on the weekend, or am I arriving late?" Trudeau said. "It's all trying to keep a little bit of predictability and normalcy for the kids."

While we often (and rightly) hear about the challenges facing working moms, it's nice to hear a dad — even a very high-profile one who, yes, has some help with the child-rearing — talk about the struggles dads have, too.

7. This dad who's a real rock

There's already so much to love about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But then in June the actor and professional wrestler posted a photo where he was feeding his girlfriend Lauren Hashian while she was breastfeeding and everyone's collective hearts melted.

"Mama ... has her hands full nursing/feeding Baby Tia, so I'm feedin' mama her dinner. My pleasure. So much respect to her and all mamas out there holding it down and running things," Johnson wrote on Instagram.

Johnson, who has three daughters, has consistently embodied that being a doting dad and supportive partner is a show of strength. He's shared photos of him doing skin-to-skin with his newborn, letting his toddler paint his face and make fart noises in his arms, and getting his nails painted.

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