Barack Bardo is a New Zealand born, Australian based esoteric-object dealer and artist. Barack also runs The Museum of Cryptozoology and Occult Science (MOCAOS), a vehicle for Barack to sell the various esoteric wares he conjures up from parts unknown – Such as vampire slaying kits, shrunken heads, religious idols, monsters and more!
Barack has been interested in the occult and everything esoteric since he was a child. Being introduced to religion by his mother, and other less mainstream beliefs by his father.
With Barack noting:
“I grew up in a very loosely Methodist household and regularly went to (was dragged to) church with mother.
My Father never went, he wasn’t into religion but did have a few of those lovely 70s books about ESP and other occult subjects kicking around the house.
I remember him holding up cards and asking me what colour he was holding like a Zener test.“
Wanting to know more about Barack’s art, life and work with MOCAOS, we sent him some questions to answer over email.
Read our interview with Barack below…
Name + D.O.B?
Barack Bardo, September 1976.
That makes me a new year’s eve baby.
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Lara, Victoria in beautiful Australia.
City, State and Country you’re from?
An underwater creature corpse from Barack and The MOCAOS.
Please describe some memories from the stages of your life noted below – such as concerts, art, toys, romance, comic books, school, politics, crime, religion… ANYTHING really!
* Age 5 – Beginnings:
I can’t really remember much from this time…
I do remember being conned into eating glue some kid had put in the water fountain at school and being really confused as to why someone would do that to someone.
I remember a weird medical exam by the health nurse.
I guess the thing that stands out the most was one day my teacher was reading out the year’s attendance records and congratulating the kids with the least days off. I wasn’t really paying attention until she told me I had perfect attendance.
I remember being amazed and surprised that there was a thing when you could just stay home for the day.
For the rest of my school career, I chased those days with a passion.
* Age 10 – Continuations:
I was drawing constantly and watching “Carry On” movies whenever I could get away with it.
I was never allowed comics or anything like that so it was only cartoons, TV and movies – but my parents did encourage my drawing. Lots of cars, battle trucks, spaceships.
I grew up in a very loosely Methodist household and regularly went to (was dragged to) church with mother. My Father never went, he wasn’t into religion but did have a few of those lovely 70s books about ESP and other occult subjects kicking around the house. I remember him holding up cards and asking me what colour he was holding like a Zener test.
It’s funny thinking about that now but I always guessed wrong and he lost interest pretty quick.
New year’s eve baby I guess, once a mistake…
Although my parents encouraged my art, I was always getting into trouble because of the things I drew. My Mother even had our church Minister over one day to look through my sketchbooks and offer advice. She told me he was impressed and saw value in some of the cheesy tattoo style scribbles which I thought was pretty funny.
My father had a serious industrial workshop at home and I would sneak in as much as possible and make stuff. I was really into the 80s Mission Impossible series and James Bond movies so making gadgets and kits was what I spent most of my time doing.
Around 11 years old I found Tae Kwon Do and lived and breathed that for years.
Outside of that I spent most of the time hanging out with friends so drawing took a back seat but making stuff, especially tools and weapons to equip our ninja arsenals was top priority. My old man’s borrowed spot welder was super handy for this, not that he knew.
I never really felt comfortable as a kid. I had fantastic friends which I’m still in touch with now and they always seemed much more confident and together, but I’ve always felt quite awkward and slightly set apart.
I tend to make up for that by embracing freakdom I guess but really, that’s just making peace with it isn’t it. The feeling never goes away.
* Age 15 – Getting Serious:
Buy Age 15 I was a mess.
I was having what I now know as night terrors regularly.
If you’ve ever had one you’ll know the vivid memory will stay with you for days or weeks at a time. A couple of times the terrors would continue after I woke up. Even though I was awake the things that happened in my dreams were still happening and real. It was terrifying.
I had also found music by now and another group to hang around with. Friends really help during those years and we had a tight crew.
I was a complete animal though looking back. Not a bad kid I think, just feral, just scared but I can only imagine how I came across.
All of the elements of my life so far, church, martial arts, a love of old British horror movies, my confused inner thoughts and music all combined and had led me to the left-hand path. I think this is a pretty normal story for a lot of lost young people.
I was obsessed with Laveyism and the occult in general.
Over time though I came at odds with much of which had interested me. Of course, I still felt like the world around me was unjust, unfair, and biased, the typical complaints really, but the nihilism of some of the circles I travelled in didn’t match my ideas of the world or of living.
My roots had instilled in me an instinct of building, renovating or restoring, yet few around me seemed to share these ideas.
It’s often the case that those who are able to look past social constructs also sadly read solve et coagula (“dissolve and coagulate”) as burn it all down. Inspect, learn and recreate is never quite dramatic enough for angry youth.
All I saw was self-destruction so I spent a huge amount of time trying my best to keep most of my surroundings at arm’s length.
I definitely felt trapped but certainly wasn’t equipped with any skills to get me out…
I guess this is a tough age for so many people so I doubt this is unfamiliar to most.
By now I wasn’t doing anything creative apart from music but the idea of sculpting was growing.
As much as the prospect of producing was attractive it was the need of alone time to do the producing that became the thing that sold me and I started a few projects.
A vampire slayer’s kit from Barack and The MOCAOS.
* Age 20 – Young Adult:
By 20 I had begun climbing out of the ghetto that I was in.
My friendship group changed again.
Through some school friends I met a chap and we moved into a flat together. Through him (I don’t tend to meet people) I met and became loosely associated with the local activist scene. We called ourselves rent-a-crowd. We all attended each other’s protests, shared and swapped signs and pulled resources.
This period was still populated with damaged people but they used their evil powers for good and they made a difference. I really needed that direction then, it made the most of my natural tendencies and I wouldn’t have been here now without it.
I was mainly interested in NORML “The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws” which was quite big in NZ then. I met some amazingly smart people during that time who’ve continued to have a positive impact on my life.
Around this time, I also had my first piece in a local gallery. It was an inverted wooden cross mounted on a rebar stand with a metal demon climbing it. Terrible and very cheesy. I called it “the lamp” because it was a lamp.
Coming from a working-class family it was hard to shake the idea that everything had to be practical, even art. Making a sculpture that had a purpose was, in my mind, a necessary compromise.
It would take many years to rid myself of this idea.
About this time I was made redundant from my job so I moved out of my flat, back into my parent’s place and went to computer graphics school.
* Age 25 – Adult Mode:
It was a tough time being a student.
I’d never been this broke before and my mental health was at it’s worst in years but I learnt a lot.
At the end of the course I got a job at a local TV station as a Master controller/transmission operator and spent my spare time building props and writings film scripts. I was spearheading an independent film production which ended up being one of the most talked about productions on the local scene. By the time we entered into the funding race we had a huge crew and talent list including many major names.
I spent most workdays in a dark office at the far corner of the building surrounded by TVs and VTs (big old BETA video tape recorders/players) pushing buttons and queuing ad breaks. Occasionally I would work as a camera operator as well and sometimes I would do both jobs at the same time, I’m not even kidding. I would drop my camera at the end of a link, run from the studio through reception and into the master control room to switch and back again after the commercial break. I can’t believe that now. Thankfully, this didn’t last. TV jobs are terrible, and I am in no way cut out for office work.
At the same time another small NZ film maker was in the funding race that year as well and despite what I think was an impressive production for a bunch of newbies, we were no competition. For the next few years Mr Jackson and Lord of the Rings sucked the nipple of NZ on Air dry and us like many other film makers moved on.
Despite our loss, this project is still one I’m most proud of. Punching above your weight is not easy but if you do it long enough you’ll be surprised the ripples you can make.
Ten years later the CTV building would collapse in the Christchurch earthquakes. Everyone working there except one news team would be killed. Some of the folk I worked with had left by then, but many were still there. That is still such a strange thing to think about.
After I left I went on to a small business course, set up a company structure and spent the next few years working on various businesses that never really got going. Eventually I became bored with being poor and went to work at another gas station.
* Age 30 – Meanderings:
During our film production I stumbled upon a first edition of the book “Talks with a devil” by P.D. Ouspensky and by now I was obsessed. I can’t think of anything more cliché than a creative rambling on about a Russian philosopher, but I was instantly hooked on the book. I still own this copy and recently acquired the US first edition as well.
I had paid little attention to anything in the occult world for a long time but in the years after finding that book I was inspired once again. Eventually that led me to begin buying books locally and importing from the US and UK and selling them online. My collection was already fairly large by that stage despite it being mostly ignored over the previous few years, but it grew a huge amount over the next few.
I really enjoyed my day job but I felt an urgency to do more, maybe be more, maybe achieve more, none of those things are really “it” but I knew I wasn’t in the right place. I was very comfortable in most ways but almost haunted by a feeling that I needed to be doing something else.
Eventually I cut a day back from my day job and worked three days a week photographing and listing books and four pumping gas. Creatively I was making music, still pondering film projects, a little photography and dabbling in personal art projects.
While I was at graphics school, I had a piece in a second group show but after driving to the gallery opening I couldn’t get out of the car. My anxiety and depression had me trapped and despite driving around the block a few times and sitting in a parking spot for what seemed like an eternity, I just drove home and I thought, away from art forever.
After this, the idea of exhibiting any creative fruits was never considered so these current projects were only personal and mostly low key.
In the latter part of this period the deaths of too many close friends and family had also worn me thinner than ever before. Around this time my lady and I decided to take some time off and head off around the world for a look. I had never been out of NZ by this stage but within a matter of a couple of months we had seen parts of South America, Turkey, Egypt, India, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Thailand.
The trip had a big effect on both of us I think but Egypt and Istanbul battered my soul. Turkey for it’s instant attraction, fascination and bizarre feeling of having known it before and Egypt for it’s reflections. Egypt was reasonably safe at that stage, not safe enough to walk the street alone with a known tourist hostage scene but we did and we met ourselves many times.
Most of us born in “developed countries” grow up with some sense of being privileged and lucky but seeing this first-hand is something else. I wasn’t shy to the world’s poverty in the least but there was a magic to the timing, sights and impact which touched me perfectly and far more than the brutalities of India.
I already knew how lucky I had been being born where I was but I learned how responsible I was for the issues in other places. I saw the result of western pillaging and consumerism, but it wasn’t really western. It was mine.
I returned to NZ destroyed and rightfully so.
Life became a lot more confusing over the next few years with this as a foundation. The sense of needing to do something grew while any ideas of what that might be became increasingly fractioned.
My mental health declined to the point of having to leave my job leaving me with nothing but time to try and answer this.
* Age 35 – Fully Formed:
By now global fuel prices had butchered the international book trading scene, at least at my level. Online shopping was huge and postage costs were sky rocketing.
I was still making music and distilling industrial volumes of backyard vodka.
I also began playing with clay.
My lady decided to pursue a P.h.D. so we packed up the house and with some relief on my end, left. We landed in Nottingham, England in September 2010 and after a few months I was working with an amazing group of people at a local independent gallery as well as working as a cleaner at Nottingham University.
On our jaunt around the world one of the many things I discovered about myself was I am an active relaxer. I find it stressful if I’m not very busy. This had turned playing with clay into a quite a few pieces by now and as soon as I could I began buying tools and art materials in Nottingham.
We had moved with 20kgs of luggage each and were supposed to start a new life there so it was a slow process.
The gallery had initially been a place to ask around for work and try and get to know British life but the inspiration, mentorship and motivation I received there not only made the idea of creating art safe again but also valid. This was the first time I’d felt this way and to this day I can’t imagine how I would have found this idea anywhere else.
The process of making art is so similar to many other jobs in so many ways but it is also mystified by bullshit pop culture ideas, movies, TV, books and in turn it’s so very misunderstood, especially where I came from. So many of the people I know these days still assume artists are all waiting around to be discovered or become famous or sell their first million dollar piece. It’s hard not to laugh hearing some of the comments at times although I do understand where they come from.
Around this time I found moulds and plaster.
After a year in Notts my lady had finished her Masters and we moved to Exeter for her to begin her P.h.D.
Exeter was a tough swallow after Notts. It took forever to settle in and find work but eventually I was picked up by a cleaning company.
We did all sorts of jobs including the student accommodation turn over and a couple of sensitive government installations. The pay was good for full time staff but I was on a zero hour contract. That meant no sick pay, no overtime rates and no blood pay and that was the clincher.
The company had a contract with a major public housing corporation for attending evictions, hoarders, and deaths. You would be amazed at how many people die in public housing over a UK winter and more so at how many don’t get found for quite a long time. Weeks, my longest was 6 weeks.
My no blood money contract (sorry, blood money is double time for anything that comes out of the human body) made me the first person to call when this happened, and I would spend the next few winters with a smell in my nose you just don’t get out.
Often I would know I was working by what was on the news. I can’t say I stomached this well but it was a job.
During one particularly nasty call out I found a two inch square black and white photograph of our not so recently departed client sitting on his mothers lap as a child. I know this by the description written on the back.
This chap’s life had gone very wrong at some point and I imagined him holding this photo and wondering when and how this had happened. He had turned into a very bad man and ultimately found a very bad end. Myself and my colleague double bagged his entire existence and erased it in the company furnace so his family would never have to see the contents of this flat, but I kept that photo.
Someone else will have to throw that away one day.
While doing the cleaning gig I had set up an online store called The Order of the Old Bones selling occult and fantasy style craftwork and artifacts. I was producing art and craft using water-based and epoxy clays and was moulding and casting them for sale using silicones, resins and plasters.
As well as selling online I was attending local art markets with some friends and had a couple of smaller pieces in group shows.
Eventually I landed a better job, still as a cleaner but at the Uni. I would never have to look at a person puddle, nor carry out the carpet it was stained into again and I would be forever grateful. Back in the metal scene all those years ago we would joke about stuff like this. That’s called privilege and posing folks.
While in the UK we travelled as much as possible. From Exeter airport we could get to the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam in 40 minuets for a hundred pounds and from there, anywhere in the world in a day, so we did.
I learned a lot more history and anthropology over this time and inspiration and motivation was ever present in our surroundings of this ancient motherland.
The Order of the Old Bones was becoming something, but it wasn’t clear to me just yet. I knew that fantasy and imagination was what I wanted to send out into the world but I still felt the idea wasn’t completely formed. My main focus was fine art and that was chewing most of my subconscious but TOOTOB was growing quickly.
By now time was up for us in the UK. My lady had earned her P.h.D and was applying for jobs in every corner of the globe. We packed up our lives once again, hedged our bets for a destination or at least, an easily accessible port and sent everything we owned to Melbourne, Australia.
A few short mornings later we were sitting in the restaurant of an Amsterdam hotel having breakfast and making the most of the free wifi and my partner had a job offer right where we had hoped. We flew to NZ for Christmas, got married a couple of weeks later and by the end of January we were sleeping at the Quest on Lonsdale.
* Age 40 – Adult Meanderings:
After an exhaustive search, even to the point of hunting more bloody jobs, I was working at a shipping company. Moving countries is an expensive hobby, so is getting married so it took a while to get on our feet here in Australia.
We had settled in Moonee Ponds and as soon as I could I was setting up my workspace. By now the vision for my craft had grown quite a bit and I started my FB page, an Insta and a new online store under The Museum Of Cryptozoology And Occult Science, or MOCAOS.
Since being here I’ve taken part in a few exhibitions and markets but online sales is still my primary income with the USA, UK and Europe being my main customers. I sell very little in Australia comparatively.
We now live about 40 minutes west of Melbourne and I’m currently building a new larger workshop and studio for craft and fine art production.
(I say this all day every day while working. I normally work on up to 20 pieces at a time.)
“Be carful what you wish for.“
“No gimmick is still a gimmick but no games is no games.“
Art and MOCAOS Questions
When and why did you first become interested in everything creative?
… and any pivotal artistic moment(s) / influence(s)?
I’m not sure if this was what got me going at the start but at maybe 5 or 6 years old I did a crayon drawing at school that was selected for the Ministry of Education art collection. I can’t remember what it was, a bird I think, but I was surprised anyone cared about it. I’m sure it was binned at the end of the year but my family made a big deal about it and that felt nice so I guess that could have been a start.
I’m a big forgery fan. Mark Landis is an amazing modern forger and has a fantastic story. He also posed as a priest and I really respect that. Priests dress really well.
I would have to say my favorite forger is Shaun Greenhalgh. I honestly think there will never be another talent like him. The man mastered so many materials, he is nothing but an honest to goodness artist.
Fine art wise I am absolutely in love with Emil Alzamora and Richard Stipl. I might be their biggest fan. They are easily the best living sculptors in my opinion.
I also really dig Miura Etsuko, Richard Disley, Jon Payne, Bo Bartlett, Sam Jinks, David Lynch, Emil Melmoth, Sucklord, Obvious Plant, Shen Shaomin, Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst, Darla Jackson… man, I could go on forever.
For those at home who may be unaware – what exactly is the ‘The Museum of Cryptozoology and Occult Science’?
… and care to explain your involvement with the Museum?
MOCAOS is currently the banner under which I sell my craftwork, but the goal has always been to open a museum of cryptozoology and the occult here in Melbourne. I’m slowly working towards that now.
I believe fantasy and imagination are the building blocks of thought, problem solving and abstract thinking. In this respect I produce fantastic, obscure, mythical and often misrepresented items for folk to enjoy, look upon and ponder. Everything from Ancient Aliens paraphernalia to zoological specimens, from lies to religion.
Anything you can’t find that inspires wonder or fantasy, or demands critical thinking or investigation, I want to make.
Apart from making everything, my main role is to curate the museum. I think I’ve so far managed to maintain a balance that has ensured the collection hovers in a space between fact and fiction, and dreams and reality.
I am extremely proud of this as it is a fine line I work hard to maintain.
A taxidermy Feegee Mermaid from Barack and The MOCAOS.
Please describe your usual artistic process – from initial idea, to creation, and eventual completion?
I have two lists in a note pad app on my phone. One for MOCAOS and one for art. Every idea I get goes into one of those lists. I’m always looking at them and adding notes to each project.
Some eventually get deleted but some get made.
If it’s a historical artifact I find as much reference as I can, photos, measurements, descriptions and study and print the stuff I need, hang it up on the wall and get to work. Often with these I’ll tweak them a little.
My Venus of Willendorf is exactly 10% larger than original just for display purposes.
My Baghdad battery is exactly the same as the original in every way but I have added terminals to the top of the copper tube because the original artifacts never had them (because they were never really batteries).
If it’s an original piece like a taxidermy or specimen, I’ll decide on the size, mount or display that fits my “story” and typically that will inform the size and best materials to use, or if I need to mould and cast it.
From there it’s just making an armature and get busy.
That’s the best part of keeping a list of projects. You never need to wait for inspiration, you just need to do the labour. Once you start that you just pay attention and the work informs the work.
Without counting I would expect there to be somewhere between 80 – 100 projects on the MOCAOS list currently.
The inspiration for the Museum is quite wide so I like to have a little balance in releasing items. If I have too many artifacts, I’ll do a taxidermy. If I’ve done too many large pieces or one offs, I’ll do something I can cast.
I want to represent as many sectors of my favourite topics as possible but none too heavily at any one time.
Finishing a piece is always a bizarre thing especially for a product I will keep in stock all the time. Sometimes the final product can really sneak up on you. Other times you really have to try a few different things but again, the work informs the work so you just have to do as you’re told and you get there eventually.
Although I do quite a few one off original pieces I spend a huge amount of time casting and painting stock so I only get to work on new pieces between fine art projects and maintaining stock levels. I can go weeks at a time and not be able to work on new Museum projects. It can be a real drag at times and a little annoying for people waiting on a project I may have spoken about or shown WIP pic of but keeping existing items in store is at least 80% of my job.
Any projects you want to hype?
I’m struggling to keep my stock levels up at the moment so no thanks haha!
If people wanted to work with you, have a chat or buy some of your art – how should they get in touch and were should they visit?
I’m always keen for a chat and networking so feel free to hit me up or follow me on any social media. I have a FB page facebook.com/museumofcrypto and an Instagram @MOCAOS although I don’t really keep up with Instagram much.
I always have new things coming out and post when I do but my FB is where you’ll find more news articles, academic papers, stories and documentaries about topics I find interesting. These are difficult to post on Insta so things there are pretty slow. I don’t even think I have a hundred follows there…
Speaking of which, a little word for younger artists out there:
These days so much emphasis seems to be put on follower numbers. Don’t fall into that trap. Your followers won’t pay your bills, buyers will. Concentrate on selling your art, not social media numbers. I’ve lost count of how many “how to increase your social media reach” podcasts I’ve skipped.
I know heaps of artists with massive social numbers that never sell a thing. For me it’s never related.
Make quality work ready to hang and buyers will find you no matter your stats. Keep your art alive in the real world, not online.
The best place to check out my items for sale is probably Etsy or the photo galleries on my FB or Instagram. If you see anything you like you can check the prices on Etsy and DM me on any platform for availability.
I use Paypal for sales and ship anywhere in the world. Most of my sales are through DM so don’t be shy but it is a lot quicker to check prices first on Etsy. If it’s not listed there please ask and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Favorite artists, musicians and writers?
I’ve listed quite a few artists already so music wise, I dig a lot of stuff I guess. Weird time signatures tend to do it for me so anything like that. My two-year-old daughter is a big Thompson Twins fan at the moment so I listen to them a lot if she is around otherwise normally hardcore or metal of some description and a bit of goth rock.
As well as occult books I collect first editions of Michael Marshal Smith and all his pseudonyms; Dennis Wheatley and a couple others.
I also collect and really like strange instruction manuals. Homemade firearms, the manufacture of psychedelics (I love chemistry), I might stop here actually…
Odds and Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
I believe we live in the best time now. There’s lots of things I’d love to see but most of them happened in dangerous times or places. I’m pretty convinced that if I was around to see the construction of the great pyramid, I’d probably be strapped to a rack for being poor and stealing an apple and being whipped.
I’ll take now over any day.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
Like most people I had a few different phases, but G.I. Joe were my largest infatuation. I wasn’t really into the whole Joe mythology, but I use to use them to re-enact TV and movies. Blake’s 7, star wars, ninja movies. They had such a diverse look to their 3.75” figures that they were perfect for anything story line.
I find these days if I am producing an art figure in a toy style, I’ll go for the same feel that type of injection moulding has. Late 80s was a special time for quality materials and solid construction in the toy industry.
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
I think for a lot of people drugs are quite often a way to learn to play again but that is more often than not instantly replaced with chasing that bigger high. Not that there is anything wrong with being high. Just wanting to get fucked up shouldn’t have to be justified but habits form faster than we often think.
There’s not a junkie anywhere who didn’t start out thinking they had a handle on it.
I’m well sober these days but go for your life. I support total drug reform. Just no habits, no meth, whatever floats your boat and don’t put anything in your body you can’t spell.
Also, if your partner is cool with you getting fucked up but maybe not so keen themselves, that doesn’t mean they get a kick watching you do it all the time so make sure they get their fun in too.
Having said that, I think there are doors everywhere and you can find them in many different ways. Do what you gotta do…
Who was your 1st crush?
…and why were you so infatuated with them?
Morticia Addams played by Carolyn Jones. God damn, what a stunner.
She was so pretty and stylish but also very kind and graceful. She also let her kids play with explosives. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to play with dynamite.
Does sex change everything?
EVERYTHING. Not always for the worst though haha.
It’s good for your health.
Do it a lot. Once you’ve done it a lot, do it some more. Breath as deep as you can when you orgasm and make lots of noise.
Never fuck someone you don’t like. The best sex is always with someone you love.
I’m a little excited just thinking about it. I’ll be right back…
What are the top 3 items you own?
My wedding ring
My art supplies
My copies of Talks with a devil
Sorry, I think I might have cheated there haha.
In a battle between the following mythical creatures: a werewolf Vs. a gang of rowdy fairies – who would win and why?
[Please draw the battle in all its violent beauty!]
I can’t believe you asked me that. I’m terrified of Werewolves. They are easily the most disturbing creatures to ever be.
I much as I would like do I don’t think I’d even be able to make one. I certainly couldn’t do the horror justice but I do happen to have one of those bothersome little fae hanging right here at the museum.
A nicely preserved example of a parva alatum ligum mediocris.
Quite harmless but terrible on local crops.
A faerie corpse from Barack and The MOCAOS.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
My last dream was terrible. Fuck.
The weirdest dream I’ve had the last few years was riding in the back of a van with Rich Disley and Danny Carey in the front driving hahaha, I’m not even joking.
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for?
These days I just want to be a good Dad. It’s a tough job and you always second guess yourself.
Having kids is an important choice. You choose to put everything else second and intentionally raise another human. Nothing is more important to get right or at least try.
Other than that, maybe working hard or my new beard.