Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

Image of . Marine Capt. Joseph Tortorici is pictured here with his wife, who is also a Marine, and their six children.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Marine Corps Capt. Joseph Tortorici, a father of six, knows a lot about being a military dad.

And he's got a slate of recommendations for new fathers. For example, he says, a tactical bag makes for the best diaper bag out there.

"A backpack with tons of pockets is way better than anything you will find in a store for kids," he said.

More broadly, Tortorici says new military dads should know that the military parenting journey "is an adventure."

"I thought that I had it figured out – I still don't. Every single day has been a learning experience and it has been important to realize that," he said.

Tortorici, who is married to an active-duty Marine, said that being a dual active-duty couple makes him appreciate everything that spouses do in a unique way.

"As you go on through your career, always remember that the spouse you chose (and who chose you), as well as the children you were both blessed with, have it more difficult than you do," he said.

"When we deploy or even go to the field, our lives become simpler, while theirs become more complex: In addition to missing their husband and father, they are missing someone who should be helping to shoulder the burden that military life places on kids."

He explained the importance of understanding that "children don't conceptualize time in the same way that we do, so while we might see a son or daughter who has grown a little taller or learned how to do something new while we are gone, they might see you as someone who doesn't know them, because you've missed huge portions of the time that they have had on this earth."

As a result, he recommends "taking the time to get to know the people who your kids are growing up to be." And he encourages other fathers to remember that your kids are not service members and, unless you're like him, neither is their mother, "so take time to make an effort to not treat them or talk to them like they are."

After all, "they will be there for you after you take your uniform off for the last time," he said.

"Love your kids. If you didn't grow up in a good family, be the dad that you wished you had growing up," he said. "If you don't know how to do that, ask for help."

Knowing that military parents are often away from home, he recommends: "When you are home, be present."

That doesn't mean just being physically there, he said.

"It means being there to support your kids and their mom, no matter how tired you are, or what you have to go back to when you get back to work," said Tortorici.

"It is imperative to give them the time that they so rightfully deserve, but don't get enough of."

He acknowledges that being a military parent is tough and requires a "ton of work," but one of the most important things you can do for your kids is to love their mother.

"The stats are out there…being a good father plays a huge role in children's development," he said.

In terms of support for military families, it's important to understand that no single program is going to do it all for you.

Still, "the most important thing is human interaction," he said. "If you are struggling, and you need support, the first place I would go to is to my unit chaplain."

Chaplains are there for service members, and "there is no struggle that a good chaps has not either directly or indirectly seen before," he said.

Chaplains have myriad classes available, including programs for new parents that he recommends attending, "even if you don't think you need it."

They are aware of many other resources and can refer service members to programs they feel will best fit their specific situation.

"If you need more than what the chaplain can support, your Military and Family Life Counselors are also a great resource," he said.

Fortunately, he has always had support from his leadership.

It Takes a Village

"I have always been blessed with amazing commanders who recognize that for a Marine to be most effective at work, they have to have their families taken care of as well," he said. "They've been extremely supportive of my role as a parent."

He said that being open with his command allowed his leaders the opportunity to be helpful.

"Having six children and a successful active-duty spouse, I have also had to rely on my subordinates," he said.

"Being open with certain subordinates about the challenges of balancing work and taking care of my family has created an environment where they also realize the importance of their own families to their success as Marines."

You also may be interested in...

10 ways to support holistic heart health

Article
2/26/2021
picture of a heart running on the treadmill with the words "healthy heart for body and soul. ten ways to support holistic heart health"

Tips for a Total Force Fitness approach to keeping your heart healthy

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

Good oral care requires lifetime commitment

Article
2/25/2021
Military health personnel, sitting in front of a group of children, showing them how to brush their teeth using a stuffed animal

Children’s Dental Health Month focuses on the importance of developing good oral hygiene habits at an early age.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Total Force Fitness

Eating disorders hinder optimal health and TFF nutrition concept

Article
2/25/2021
a picture of the produce section at a grocery store

Disordered eating lessens Total Force Fitness.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

Proper diet, sleep, exercise, and joy key to heart health

Article
2/24/2021
Military personnel working out at the gym

Heart health is crucial to service members’ readiness throughout their high-stress careers. Working to achieve that takes self-discipline and moderation, but also joy, integrity, and social interaction

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

How do you mend a broken heart? It usually fixes itself

Article
2/23/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask, gets his heart checked out by military heath personnel

'Broken Heart Syndrome’ and ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome’ are very real phenomena. Spiritual and social fitness can help mitigate both.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

Training for a healthy heart can improve overall health

Article
2/22/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask exercising in the gym

Service members must be heart healthy to perform optimally throughout their military careers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health

March 2021 Toolkit

Publication
2/22/2021

March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month, with the goal of increasing traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness and improve health care providers’ ability to identify, care for, and treat all those who are affected by TBI. A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, 430,720 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The toolkit also contains information on patient Safety Awareness Week, National Nutrition Month and many other graphics and messages you can use for holidays and observances during March.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury

Navy Lt. stresses importance of being proactive during winter training

Article
2/10/2021
Marines march during a cold weather leadership course

MCMWTC is the "real deal."

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Winter Safety | Heart Health Toolkit

A ‘holistic framework’ for Total Force Fitness through 2021

Article
2/8/2021
Three military personnel, dress in gym gear, exercising with medicine balls.

Total Force Fitness is being re-introduced in 2021 by all branches of the military, to include an emphasis on holistic training that goes far beyond physical fitness.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Sleep and TBI

Video
2/8/2021
Sleep and TBI

Sleep disturbances are common for service members and veterans following a mild TBI, also known as concussion.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Total Force Fitness

USU launches into 2021 with Team Wellness Challenge

Article
2/2/2021
Four women, wearing masks, holding onto a simulated brain

Every New Year brings resolutions to change or improve our health, fitness, attitudes, or habits.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

COVID-19 presents challenges to heart health, physical fitness

Article
2/1/2021
Four military personnel, wearing masks, running on a track

Because of COVID-19 shutdowns, the overall health of both military personnel and beneficiaries has taken a hit over the last year.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Heart Health

TFF: A holistic approach to health and performance

Article
1/29/2021
Silhouette of man climbing a hill

Total Force Fitness encourages Service Members to look beyond traditional fitness approaches to boost their performance.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

Religious support team deploys to help frontline healthcare workers

Article
1/28/2021
Two military personnel, wearing masks, standing against a wall

Military chaplains and religious affairs specialist deploy to support our military medical providers responding working on the frontlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Recommended Content:

Spiritual Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Social fitness can impact overall health and readiness

Article
1/28/2021
Five Cyclists riding on the road

Social fitness, one of the total Force Fitness framework’s eight domains, is an important element to holistic health.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Social Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: June 17, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.