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J.J. Watt Shares the 1 Thing He Wishes He Knew Before Becoming a Dad

J.J. Watt Shares the 1 Thing He Wishes He Knew Before Becoming a Dad

J.J. Watt knew that becoming a dad would be a lot of work and he’s sharing what he wishes he knew beforehand.

“It’s a good and a bad thing, but the amount of time and energy required,” J.J., 34, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his partnership with Dawn. “Everybody tries to tell you. My brother [Derek Watt] has two kids … I’d ask him, ‘Hey, can you come on this trip with us?’ And he’d be like, ‘I have two kids.’ And I’d be like, ‘Well, yeah, you can just leave for a weekend.’”

J.J. explained that once he and wife Kealia Ohai Watt welcomed their son Koa, 15 months, in October 2022, he understood Derek’s hesitancy to leave the kids behind for a weekend getaway.

“You can’t just get up and go do whatever you want. You have a human being to take care of,” he shared. “But I think on the same side is the amount of energy that they give you and the amount of life that they give you. It is the coolest thing ever to see that youthfulness and to be reinvigorated by that energy.”

While J.J. noted that fatherhood can be “tiring” and “time-consuming,” it is also the “happiest” and “greatest” thing to happen to him.

After welcoming Koa, J.J. announced his decision to retire from the NFL following the 2022 season. The former defensive end played with the Houston Texas for 10 seasons and the Arizona Cardinals for his final two. J.J. confessed to Us that Koa’s arrival was a “big part” of his retirement.

“I want to try and be the best father that I can be, and I know that takes a lot of time and energy and commitment,” he said. “Football also takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment. And I had a great career. I’m very proud of it and had a lot of fun, but I’m really looking forward to and enjoying being a dad.”

J.J. Watt Shares the 1 Thing He Wishes People Told Him Before Becoming a Dad 605

J.J. Watt.
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

As J.J. gets to spend more time with his little one, he’s noticing that Koa has picked up on the Watt family’s love of sports. J.J.’s brothers, Derek and T.J. Watt also played in the NFL for the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburg Stealers, respectively.

“He’s a big boy, so I would imagine he’s going to be all right at football. So I definitely will encourage him, but whatever he wants to do,” J.J. said. “I think for me, the benefit of sport is so, so huge. The learning, teamwork, discipline, work ethic, how to handle winning and losing and those emotions, how to overcome adversity. We’re really big on that.”

In addition to bonding with his son over his love of sports, J.J. has also brought in another staple from the Watt household: Dawn dish soap.

“I’ve had dawn dish soap in my house since I was a little kid. Now I have a kid of my own,” he told Us. “He makes a mess. We clean it up with Dawn.”

Fans can go to to claim a free bottle of Dawn Platinum EZ-Squeeze and enter for a chance to visit J.J. in Arizona. He’ll even do your dishes while you and your friends watch a game.

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“They watch a game. I wash their dishes,” JJ promised. “Should be a lot of fun.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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