Andrew Jones has been on a mission to be the best dad he can be since the moment he found out his wife, Angela Jones, was pregnant. To him, being the best dad isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being intentional, honest and present. And it’s about not going through the journey of fatherhood alone.
“Fatherhood can be lonely, but it definitely doesn’t have to be,” Jones says. He started the Conscious Fathers Society as a support group for fathers as they navigate the depth of their roles. So far, Jones is growing that community through social media, in-person get-togethers and his apparel line that specializes in branded T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.
“Being a conscious father means making a conscious decision every day to have intentional and purposeful interactions with our children, families and friends,” he explains.
Jones is a steel-building consultant who works for Great Western Building Systems in Aurora.
He describes his seventeen-month-old son, Elijah, as a miracle baby. He and his wife of him were trying to conceive for almost two years before they got the news that Elijah was on the way. It was a decisive moment for Jones, as he took a hard look at his life from him and what he needed to change in order to be the role model he wanted to be.
For Jones, part of that shift meant coming to terms with his own struggles with substance dependence. He credits his wife, family and a few like-minded dad friends as his support network to him, but says that he had to also make the decision for himself. “That was really where the conscious part started for me,” he says. “I had to remove the barriers that were preventing me from being a conscious father. I wanted to start working preemptively.”
Still, addictive behaviors can come in many forms, Jones continues. He noticed how he became increasingly preoccupied with money as he strove to provide for his growing family of him. After his son’s birth, he sought to find a better work / home balance because he wanted to be emotionally available for his son in the days and years ahead.
“To be the best version of ourselves [means removing] all distractions that take precedence over how we choose to lead and guide our relationships,” he notes.
And while Jones is proud of the changes he’s made, he knows there will be continued challenges, and that’s where he hopes the support network created through the Conscious Fathers Society can help. “In today’s society, unfortunately, there’s a taboo around really talking about the struggle of being a father and a spouse,” he continues.
Through the Conscious Fathers Society, Jones has fostered conversations about these topics. Initially, the group was primarily on Instagram, but in the past few months, some members have started meeting for monthly dinners. It’s a chance to talk, sell, share experiences and build a community.
“Everyone’s story is going to be different,” he explains. “Some dads struggle to cope with stepping into fatherhood…some struggle with substance abuse or how their fathers were. Some can’t seem to put their laptop down.”
But despite different journeys through fatherhood, the ability to consistently make choices remains the same. “It’s not the Perfect Fathers Society,” he adds. “There’s not a single perfect person out there. But you can always make the choice to be better.”
In addition to the Conscious Fathers Society, Jones also created an apparel brand for the group that he wears as a symbol of his dedication. It started as a singular T-shirt he created and wore to remind himself of his goals from him as a father. Shortly after, I have expanded the brand by working with Faculty LTD to sell T-shirts, hoodies and hats, as well as sweatpants and jackets. There’s even a limited-edition design, where part of the proceeds go to victims of the Marshall fire.
“It gives this sense of pride,” he notes.
The shirts have also opened up conversations with men Jones has met around town. Jones recalls meeting a man at the airport who shared his own story about being a father and going through a divorce. And that’s exactly the point, Jones explains. “[It’s about] creating that space for really anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new dad, or a dad with teens or a grandfather,” he says. “Fatherhood is always going to keep evolving. It’s just really hard to talk about.”
In addition to providing listening ears and personal experience, Jones keeps a list of resources on the Conscious Fathers Society website. The links include ParentSmart Healthline, Food Assistance, Center for Recovery and Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance. Jones hopes to someday be able to donate proceeds from the apparel line to some of those organizations and to work with professional counselors to help provide resources and support to families in our communities. And he hopes to make the brand his full-time job.
But for now, he’s focused on increasing the number of fathers who attend monthly dinners and just being available online for those who need to talk.
“We all struggle and all feel like we can do better,” Jones says. “We don’t have to do it alone.”
To learn more about the Conscious Fathers Societyvisit his Instagram or send Jones an email at [email protected] The next monthly dinner will be held at 5:30 pm Tuesday, March 15, at the ViewHouse, 7107 South Clinton Street in Littleton. To shop apparel, visit theconsciousfatherssociety.com.