Tag: dads

December Chat with a Dad: Alan of OMG It’s a Girl!

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

I was born to Irish parents in England. Abandoned by my mother and then put into an orphanage and adopted by Americans. I now live in Ireland with my very long suffering girlfriend, two stepsons, my own son and daughter.

When not on twitter I’m full time carer to my autistic stepson.

I started the blog http://omgitsagirl.WordPress.com when I found out that the fourth child was going to be a girl. I envisioned it as a humorous look at living with a girl in a house of boys. So far the only real difference is there is PINK everywhere!

What were their birth stories like?

Not being with Mrs OMG for the births of the first two I can only say what I know about their births. The eldest stepson was an emergency section, by all accounts it wasn’t the most pleasant of births. Stepson #2 was 6 weeks premature. My first ever experience of childbirth was Buddy’s birth. It took all of 29 minutes from the midwife breaking the back waters to him being born! Curiosity got the better of me and I had to peek at the business and once the head was out. Mrs OMG took a seizure and things went a bit mental. I got queasy and sick, therefore missing the rest of the birth!

Little Miss OMG was an entirely different story! She took hours to arrive!! I’m not sure how many lives I got through on Candy Crush. The epidural meant there was no seizure this time and at 6.44 pm on the 9th of Feb last year my perfect little girl was born.

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What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

There is nothing that can prepare you for what life with a baby you helped create is like. Having lived with the stepsons who were four and nearly three when I moved in with their mother I thought a baby would be a breeze. How wrong was I!

How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

Really badly!! Even with two of us at home full time. (Mrs OMG has epilepsy) It seems I never have enough time. Between normal household duties, taxi between sports and school and a very active toddler there’s just about time for coffee! It’s the blogging that suffers. There’s also my habit of breaking uninsured mobile phones! As this is my only way of blogging it slows things down.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Oh there are so many! I’m such a bad parent! Buddy will do something that I should give out to him for but I end up laughing.

This one time at band camp, (well Lidl really) a recently toilet trained Buddy announced he needed a wee. I told him to go round the side of the shop. He ran out the in door. I wasn’t quick enough and they closed on me. As I hurried round to the exit I looked out the window and saw Buddy peeing against the shop window!

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Everything! But if you insist on one thing it’s watching them in those moments they learn something new for the first time. Even better if it’s something they’ve struggled with.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to go for a wee or a shower on my own again! Buddy was obsessed with the shower! He was about 2 1/2 and happily playing so I told Mrs OMG I was gonna sneak off for a shower. I nearly had a heart attack when I finished washing shampoo off of my hair and found a naked Buddy had joined me!

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Technically I am a SAHD. Back in 2008 I was a supervisor on the night shift for one of the largest bookmakers. Mrs OMG had a tough pregnancy with Buddy. She was taking lots of seizures, had to go for injections to stop early labour and eventually be glued. This coincided with Stepson #2 Autisim diagnosis. I was taking more and more time off work so in the end made the decision to leave work and stay at home as full time carer.

I do miss work and certainly miss the money, but I’ve seen every milestone. First steps, first words, school sports days and concerts, not forgetting parents evenings and extra curricular activities like football matches.

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Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

The best piece of advise I was given surprisingly came from my mother. When Buddy was 2 he was running around a restaurant one lunchtime. I was getting noticeably fraught as he wouldn’t sit down. My mother said “Relax”

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Enjoy every moment. They are only small for a short time.

THANK YOU SO MUCH ALAN! 

Do head over to Alan’s blog.  You can also stay connected with him through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ and Pinterest.

And click here if you haven’t read last month’s Chat with a Mum.

June Chat with a Dad: Darren of One Dad 3 Girls

If you are a British blogger or at least familiar with parent British bloggers, Darren of One Dad 3 Girls needs no introduction at all. Aside from the fact that he hosts the lovely #MySundayPhoto linky, he has won and has been a finalist in so many British Blogging awards that I’ve actually lost count!  So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is all about, read on and head over to his blog after:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

Hi, my name is Darren and I have two beautiful daughters. My eldest is 7 and her name is Aly, and Mia is 4 years old and about to start Primary School in September.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

Both of the births were different. Aly was a long drawn out affair where we were at the hospital for 36 hours before she was born. Mia on the other hand was super quick, so quick in fact that we almost had it in the hospital car park.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

Honestly I don’t think there was anything I wish I knew. No one goes into parenthood totally prepared and that’s part of the joys of it.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I’m very lucky with my work life and have a great job that means I’m home at 5pm ever weekday and have all weekends off. This is something I have always tried to do so that we enjoy time together.

How do you manage childfree time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Honestly we hardly have any free time. We have the odd day out here and there but it’s only about once a week. We’d rather spend the time with our children.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

Everyday seems to be an anecdote with my two. It’s so beautiful and nice to see them playing together and you’ll often hear them playing schools together and pretending to be the teachers with their cuddly toys.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I enjoy how each day is different. They are always coming out with new things that they’ve learnt during the day. Plus they are always so happy to see you, each and ever ytime.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

In the beginning it was probably the feeding during the nights or the nappies but it’s those times when you really bond with your children so I wouldn’t change them or anything about fatherhood.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

If I could afford it then possibly yes. The age my girls are now it would be a pretty lonely time as the house would be empty all day long.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Before they were born I read a few books and social media wasn’t really around but someone told me to take photos as before you know it they’ve grown up.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be? Just to simply enjoy every moment as they don’t stay little for long.

Thank you so much Darren!

Do head over to One Dad and 3 Girls

Click here to connect with him over at Twitter.

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a mum, do come and have a read too.

December Chat with a Dad: Tim of Slouching towards Thatcham

It’s the first day of December and it’s that special month of the year of giving and sharing and here in Chat with Mums and Dads – I feel really honoured and excited to share with you guys one of my current favourite bloggers, Tim of Slouching towards Thatcham.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

I’m Tim and I’m the proud father of three children: Isaac (who turns seven this month), Toby (nearly five) and Kara (two-and-a-half).

Toby Isaac Kara trampoline

What were your little ones’ birth stories like?

Eventful! The boys were both planned home water births. Isaac was by the book, although he kept us waiting by arriving nearly two weeks late. Toby arrived in such a hurry that I ended up delivering him myself on our living room floor a good 15 minutes before our midwife arrived. I dined out on that one for a while!

Tim Toby and Isaac

Kara denied us the hat-trick of home births. She went way beyond fashionably late – 19 days late, in fact. My wife’s waters broke at the hospital while she was discussing a potential induction. I ended up driving to Reading at, ahem, slightly above the national speed limit and got there with just 15 minutes to spare. I’ve been chasing around after her ever since.

What do you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

In many ways, I wish I’d known less. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by all the information and advice you receive from ante-natal classes, books, family and friends that it’s easy to ignore your own instincts.

I’d almost rather I’d just gone into it knowing that every dad’s experience is different, that making mistakes is part of the process and that as long as we try to do the right things and don’t drop them on their heads too often our kids will love us anyway.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It can be a challenge sometimes, but fortunately my job is office-based and allows me some flexibility so that I can catch up in the evenings if needed.

So most days I make a point of being home at least in time to put the kids to bed, and even do the occasional school pick-ups. On a busy weekday I may only see them for a few minutes at either end of the day, but that counts for a lot to me.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Not as many as we should! We’re lucky that our children have always been relatively early sleepers, so evenings are mostly are our own. Occasionally we’ll go out for dinner, mostly we’ll stay in together, but we also do stuff separately when we get the chance.

Vital as it is to have ‘we’ time together as husband and wife, ‘me’ time is also important for both of us.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

Not an anecdote as such, but I am constantly amused at the way our children absorb phrases and mannerisms both from their parents and each other.

As the oldest sibling, Isaac often takes charge and admonishes the others when they’re being naughty. He’ll do so using the same words and tone of voice that we do. (“I’m going to count to three, then …”).

Tim and Isaac

And it’s hard not to laugh when Kara tells the boys off by placing her hands on her hips, raising her voice, saying, “Boys! Stop fighting! Right now!” in a way that sounds uncannily like my wife.

They really do grow up in our image, don’t they?

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love seeing things through the innocence of a child’s eyes. (You can tell all our kids are still young, can’t you?) We so easily become jaded and cynical as adults, but to children something as simple as a bus ride is a magical experience, and to them everything is possible. Being there to guide them through this amazing world of ours is a privilege.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike, what would it be?

The early mornings! Even now, anything beyond 6am qualifies as a lie-in. Our lifestyle has changed a lot since the kids arrived, but as a night owl it’s the early starts that I struggle with the most.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

Probably not. I’m under no illusions that stay-at-home parenting is a tough gig, and while I would definitely consider working a four-day week to free up more time to spend with the kids I’m not sure I’m cut out to do it full-time.

Best advice you’ve ever received about fatherhood?

That there is no one ‘right way’ to be a dad, which means not being afraid to do things my way, no matter how much advice I receive from well-meaning people.

Tim and Toby

And that includes my wife! I’ve learned a lot by copying her approaches to managing the kids, but last year I spent nine days on my own with just the boys and that experience gave me the freedom to experiment with new approaches. Not all of them worked but some did, and it gave me the confidence to keep doing things my way and incorporate the best of both of parenting styles.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

To relax. It’s in my nature to over-think things, and I remember being worried about getting things wrong and trying to remember everything you’re taught in books and ante-natal classes.

The reality is that nothing really prepares you for the adventure that is fatherhood. Trust your instincts more and go with the flow, because no matter how well prepared you think you are (or aren’t), the reality is always different and full of surprises, most of them pleasant (except the ones that come at the nappy end of things …) Fatherhood is a journey: spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the ride.

Tim and Kara

Thank you so much Tim!

For more words of wisdom on fatherhood, do check out his blog and follow his tweets!

In case you’ve missed November’s Chat with a Mum, click here to read.

Have a lovely first week of December!

25 more sleeps to go before Christmas 🙂

June Chat with a Dad: Ah Dad

I’m pleased to share June’s Chat with a Dad with you folks.  Here is a man who writes with his heart, especially when talking about his lovely family.   A man who also is funny as well as heart-warming.  There are many men who happen to be dads who blog out there, but not all of them I find as moving as his.

This one is aptly called  Ah Dad …

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

I blog. And I’m a Dad. And most of the time I try to make the latter my priority.

Ok, seriously. I blog because I’m a Dad. A father to two of the most amazing creatures alive. I know every Dad says that, but if you know them you’ll most definitely agree. I find myself often wondering what the hell I did in a previous life to deserve this blessing. I must have been Ghandi or something.

There’s Son who’s 13, whom I call Dude, as I am the cool parent, and Princess who’s 11. And I call her Princess for obvious reasons.

The secret to their amazingness is they get most of their genes from their Mother, whom is my greatest confidant, best friend, soul mate, life partner and the air I breathe. Fortunately for them they look like her too.

What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

Well, it was tough. There were bucket loads of anxiety, uncontrolled sobbing, a lot of pushing and shoving and a few frustrated confrontations.

And the wife had to go through labour, as well.

I didn’t pass out. Not once, and even cut the umbilical cord of Princess, as Son refused to come out of the warm, comfortable swimming pool in Mom’s tummy. He was born via emergency caesarean.

The birth of your child changes everything about who you think you are. In that moment when they place the screaming infant in your arms, emotion floods your system. A mixed cocktail of love and compassion and pride and fear…

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

How tough natural birth would be on a Dad. Some things cannot be un-seen.

Other than that, I didn’t expect to fall instantly in love with a new born human. And maybe I would have paid better attention to my own Father, who at the time of me growing up, seemed totally insane in most of the advice he was dishing out.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It’s the hardest thing to do and I’m not even sure I’m doing it properly. I don’t have a physical demanding job, but travel extensively abroad. I’ve always enjoyed doing arbitrary things with them.

For me, the most important thing about being a Father is not what you do that matter, it just spending time doing it. It’s managing a different relationship, and like all relationships, takes commitment from both sides.

I do think that as the adult in this specific relationship, we should always make the first move.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Our kids are older, so we do more things together as a family without having to fall within the boundaries of feeding and nap times.

The wife and I seldom feel the need to spend time alone, as we normally talk, reminisce and do other things we love when the kids go to bed. I suppose as they get older, and go to bed later; we might require specific arrangements to get away from them.

Nonetheless we usually have a date weekend at least once a year.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little one(s)?

The fact that I call my son, Dude and he reverts with Dad, which might seem pretty obvious, but English not being our native language, makes this form of greeting quite special. We also tend to quote “Whatchadoin?” from Phineas and Ferb, which is our favourite show.

Princess thinks I’m her hero. What more could a father ask for? She likes sitting on my lap, even though she might be technically too big for that sort of thing. I’m not complaining.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Having kids.
Having someone love you unconditionally.
Having someone whom I love unconditionally.
Having someone teach me more about myself every day.
Having someone who makes me want to be a better version of myself.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Not being able to own a Ferrari, because some consider it impractical for a family of four. I don’t think a Ferrari with a roof rack, with two kids strapped on it, will fly with the authorities.

But being away from them, and feeling that gigantic hole in my heart as I sit on a plane, that is the one thing crappy thing about being a dad. You know those moments when you realise part of your essence is missing.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

This one is easy. No. Never. Not in a million years. Not if they paid me a gazillion dollars. (Wait that might persuade me… Any takers?)

I’m a Dad, which is the male form of a parent. And we all know men cannot multi-task. If I had to manage everything that happens in the daily life of my kids, I’ll go insane and probably murder someone in the process.

There is a total misconception of the “idle” life that stay-at-home parents have. And in our house, the wife is the glue that keeps everything together. The fact that she’s a teacher as well, only emphasise the statement I made in question 1.

Besides I don’t like hard work. And looking after kids for the whole day; seems like very hard work. I do love them though…

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Don’t kill your children, it’s considered a crime.

Kids are just small humans, waiting to grow into adults, so as parents we should learn to listen to them. Allow them to have a voice, an opinion, so that you have the opportunity to guide them in forming a better one.

And love your wife. (For she might be reading this.)

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

 Don’t stop at 2. Have more kids. And have patience, sh!t loads of it.

Thank you so much Ah Dad!

Now head over to his blog, it definitely is worth a read!

And certainly worth a follow over at twitter too.

I’ve linked this post-up with #PoCoLo

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All About The Flowers

As I’ve mentioned, my husband and I aren’t big on Valentine’s Day.  Last year I baked a cake and we ordered a Chinese take-away.  This year we talked about having our own fruit de mer, but when my husband said he’d have to go out first thing in the morning to get the seafood fresh, I tried to convince him that it wasn’t worth it.  But he was adamant, not knowing that fresh seafood was not the only reason why he wanted to go to the shop first thing in the morning.

He wanted to get us fresh flowers and apparently, during Valentine’s Day, the lovely fresh flowers are known to disappear real fast and if you buy them mid-morning all you’ll ever get are left-overs.  Come to think of it, this may be the reason why I never got any roses on Valentine’s Day, not that I ever complained or that it mattered.

So there he was along with other husbands/boyfriends rushing to get the first blooms and all they found were crap ones.  When they asked a member of staff, it turns out that the delivery van was late! I found that funny, of all days, he was late to deliver the flowers on Valentine’s Day!  He probably just made a side-trip to deliver his flowers to his wife/girlfriend.  Anyway, seeing the disappointed/panicked faces of the bewildered husbands/boyfriends – the same staff took pity on them and told them that there were actually about five fresh bouquets at the garage.  Before she even finished her sentence, my husband was out in a flash.

To make the story short, he got the best two bouquets from the bunch.  Of course I was really touched, I finally got my lovely red roses, but what really, really, made my Valentine’s Day is that he didn’t forget his daughter.  You see, little T loves flowers too.  I guess she sees her dad buy me flowers every now and then.  She once told me “I want Dada to buy me flowers too” I told her I’m sure he would oblige if we asked him.  I’ve been meaning to, but keep forgetting.

We heard him park up in front of the house, still in our pyjamas, Little T and I watched him from the window.  When I saw the flowers I said to her “Dada has bought us flowers!  It’s for you and me”  Her face broke into the sweetest smile and when he came in, I quickly said “Dada, thank you for buying me and Little T flowers“.  And winked at him, just so he’d know that I was going to share my flowers with her, not knowing that she had her own!   So here she is, smiling for the camera with her tousled hair and first ever bouquet.

My husband said “I just wanted to be the first one to ever give her flowers”  Wasn’t that sweet?  She was ever so pleased and even asked me if she could arrange the flowers herself.  I let her.  Now her beautiful flowers are in a vase in her bedroom.  She likes to look at it and say “I love my flowers!”

As for the fruit de mer – it was absolutely delicious!  Never mind if we didn’t talk about anything romantic and instead ended up talking about history.  Actually we were talking about Hilary Mantel’s multi-award winning book “Wolf Hall” which I haven’t read and he liked.  He mentioned about how Cromwell lost his wife and two daughters in the sweating plague at that time.  What was sad about this is that he never really knew his youngest daughter and his only memory of her, is a little girl in wings (which he made for her) and refused to take off.  He never even had the chance to have her portrait taken, so there was nothing for him to remember her by, except that one memory of a little girl in wings.  It broke my heart.

This post is linked up with PODcast’s What’s The Story.

And the Oliver’s Madhouse

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Memories of my Father

My Dad wasn’t your typical Dad.  Maybe because he had me and my older brother at a really young age.  They both just graduated from University when they had us.  They were like kids playing grown-ups with two young children, which wasn’t really bad at all – I remember loads of fun and laughter.

Holy Week was serious business in my maternal grandmother’s house.  Us kids weren’t allowed to be boisterous during the Holy Days, even though we weren’t really expected to take part in the fasting and praying, playing noisily was a big no-no.  My Dad knew how miserable we were, so he used to take us to the beach with our other cousins and there we were made to run around and scream like loonies as loud as we can.

He took us camping and also built us a tree-house and his version of a Wendy house for me.  During the week though, we hardly saw him because he was busy playing grown-up and was working like any regular Dad with a 9-5 job, which always extended till late at night.  But during the weekends, he always took us to parks and played football with us.  Once in a while, he would even take us to listen to his friends sing at a Folk House near our home.

He was (is) a very intelligent man who was a scholar all through-out his schooling and graduated of course, with honours.  I inherited my love of books from him – he was (is) never without a book.  He was the only Dad I knew who answered all your questions without even thinking much.  We used to call him a walking dictionary/encyclopaedia.  We were taught English at a very young age and would mix it with Tagalog or our local dialect which used to exasperate him.  He would tell us to use one language at a time and speak it properly.  He said it was important not to ruin the language by speaking Taglish (a combination of English and Tagalog).  If we were to speak English, to speak English only.  If we were to speak Tagalog, speak Tagalog only – never to mix.

He was a hippy, who cut his hair and traded in his sandals for leather-shoes, as expected of a “responsible” Dad.  But now that he is retired, I’m happy to say that he has traded back in his sandals and has grown his hair long again, even though it is now more white than grey – much to the embarrassment of my mother.

The last time my daughter saw my Dad, she was only about five months old.  Yes, she does see him and speak to him whenever we Skype.  I wonder what she thinks sometimes Who is this man with long-white hair and whom my mother insists I call Lolo?  He is rather funny.  Yes, my Dad also has a weird sense of humour.

Happy Father’s Day Dad – I really miss you!

and

Happy Father’s Day too to my daughter’s Dad!

She is one lucky little girl to have him as a Dad.

I’m a lucky woman too

to have my Dad as my Father =)

June Chat with a Dad: The Secret Father

Here in the UK, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 16th of June, so in honor of Dads, instead of doing my monthly Chats with Moms, I’ll be doing a June Chat with a Dad instead.  And my first feature is a really cool and funny Dad who is known in the blogosphere as the Secret Dad.  If you want to know more about him, read on and then head off to discover the secret life of this Dad on his blog.

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

My professional life has largely been as an emergency humanitarian aid worker (which means I get deployed in international disasters like floods and earthquakes). When I was much younger I did some incredible jobs such as working on a farm (superb), working in a high performance car manufacturing business (brilliant) and on the conveyor belts at a chicken factory (cold).

My three favourite people on the world

My three favourite people in the world.

My daughter is 3 and my son is 15 months. They are both incredible and quite different personalities. I love them both dearly, and differently. My daughter is a force of nature – beautiful, charming, charismatic, funny and loving at best. And at worst a screaming banshee of emotional turmoil. My son on the other hand is a chilled out little soul, perfectly content to play on his own for hours on end. He is so quiet we often forget where he is. In fact where is he…….?

What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

I am actually in the process of writing a blog about the birth of our first, my daughter, because it was such an incredible experience. The arrival of my son was a very different affair. My wife went into labour on Boxing Day and had a beautiful, straightforward water birth. It was such a calm experience after the craziness of my daughter’s birth. I often wonder if these birthing experiences had an impact on their early personalities (see above).

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

That it would be really hard work. I mean REALLY hard work. I actually doubt that there is anything that could have truly prepared me for how challenging it can be – except perhaps for attaching a pneumatic drill, with no off switch, to my hip and carrying that around for 4 years.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

With great difficulty. While I am in the UK I have become better at keeping my work hours fairly reasonable so I can be back in time to get the dinner ready / help with the dinner, play with the kids and take them through the bedtime routine.

However I travel a lot with work and that is a real process of negotiation between my wife (who also has a professional career), my company and the rest of the family.  This leaves very little time for me, which if I am being honest I often do find hard to reconcile.

How do you manage to arrange child-free time with your wife/partner? Do you have date-nights?

While having children cemented our relationship and bought us closer together in many ways, having children has also negatively impacted on our relationship in many other ways.

There is often little opportunity to connect in ways that we used to. A lot of our day to day conversations are very pragmatic and centre on logistics and planning. We rarely have time to check in with each other on an emotional level and talk about hopes, fears and dreams like we used to. Sleep deprivation can be tough for everyone too, and it can make the smallest things seem like major obstacles.

However, we are just starting to get out again now that the little one is a little older. Up until recently we hadn’t been out together on our own for about 2 years. The thing is I found that I didn’t really want to. By the time I was getting any spare time, I was just using it to catch up on jobs around the house, personal admin or simply catching up with sleep.

Recently though we went out to a rock concert together which was great and we have found a trusted babysitter, so we are hoping to get out some more in future.

Any favourite anecdotes about your little one(s)?

I am generally a pretty good, organised and hands on father, with strong emotional intelligence that can cook for, look after and nurture his kids.

However…..

My favourite anecdote is describing the look on my wife’s face when she walked into the room after a calming and reflective week away on a residential leadership course.

She came home (unplanned and hours early I must add) to find toys, cushions and books strewn everywhere. She came in to find my daughter head first in the laundry basket, cackling and laughing as she was throwing clothes out all over the floor. She came in to see my son screeching and head banging the wall to relieve teething pain. She saw me burning dinner in the kitchen. The smoke alarm was going off. The room was thick with smoke.

Even though I was in the middle of it, the look at my wife’s face made me realise that to her it probably looked and sounded like a war zone. Her face was a picture, and to this day it still makes me laugh to think about that.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love the moment I walk into the house after a trip away or a day at work.

My daughter will be the first to come running, arms pumping furiously, huge dimpled smile, curly hair bobbing. She will crash into my knees, sticking like a limpet to my legs and screaming with joy.

My little man will come crawling soon after, head down, hands slapping on the floor, little bottom waddling like a duck, big gummy grin, squealing with happiness, arms outstretched imploring for a hug.

I literally get bowled off my feet with a tide of pure, sticky joy.

It is at these moments that I’m reminded that fatherhood is the most important job in the world.

It is these moments that I want to last forever.

If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I dislike having lost my old self; the old me who used to stay fit and healthy playing soccer three times a week; the old me who used to cycle everywhere; the old me who used to go running; the old me who always had time for people; the old me who used to be so spontaneous and carefree; the old me who used to be an excellent friend, son, husband and brother.

I guess it is about coming to terms with the death of my old lifestyle and the old me. I have read that you need to set time aside to mourn the passing of your old self when you have children, and equally set time aside to celebrate your new role as a parent; and I think that is true.

However I still have to come to terms with the fact that the old me has gone now. In truth it has taken a lot of time for my own expectations, and those of others close to me, to adjust to this new reality – the reality of fatherhood.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-dad would you take it?

I love my kids, really I do, but no, I couldn’t do that, not at the moment. It would drive me insane! I wouldn’t rule it out in the future though and I would like to reduce the hours I currently work, so I get to spend a little more time with them

Best advice you’ve ever received about fatherhood/parenthood?

The best advice I ever heard, and would like to share back is simply to trust your instincts. By all means read books and listen to advice and opinion, but at the end of the day there is no one who knows your child like you do. You are THE world expert on your child. That is a powerful and empowering statement, when you think about it.

I also wanted to share the best thing I ever heard about being a parent. As an eternal pragmatist (and optimist) I know this following statement may sound a little pessimistic (to some readers) but it truly spoke to something inside of me.

“Neither the good times, nor the bad times, will last”

That statement has got me through some pretty dark times, particularly around the arrival of my second child, when I was getting NO sleep and my day job was becoming incredibly stressful. It helped me reflect that it wasn’t forever and that it was just a phase. I saw light at the end of the tunnel when I accepted this.

And it has also been good to reflect on this statement during the lovely times, when everything is perfect, because it has helped me to live in the moment, take nothing for granted and enjoy everything while I can, while it lasts.

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a dad what would it be?

Quite practically I think it would be to give my first child (my daughter) a little more space, and to pay attention to her body language with a little more mindfulness. It was only after 3 months that I started to realise she was giving me important information through her body language.

Up until that point we had struggled with what we thought was a colic-y, temperamental, emotional child. In hindsight, we probably misread a lot of her cues, and she might have simply been tired. We (think we) got it right with number two though……..

Also a key reflection is probably that I should have liked to have become a father a little earlier. At 38 I was quite old to be a first time father and it breaks my heart to think my father never met either of my two little ones (he died just before my daughter was born). I know he would have loved them, and they would have loved him.

I also would have liked to have become a father a little earlier because not only would I have been able to deal with the lack of sleep much better (I had incredible stamina in my late twenties and early thirties) but I realise that my time with them is precious, and I want to spend as long on this planet with them as possible.

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Thank you so much The Secret Father!

Dads are the best!

As I was lying in bed last night, I suddenly realized that I might be alienating Dads because of my Interview with Mothers section – that isn’t my intention of course, especially since I think Dads are the best, especially Tamsin’s Dad.  I once said to him that he was born to be a dad.  I’m not just being biased but some men are born to be dads and some are just – well, not.  Just as, some women are not born to be mothers and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t make them a bad person, it’s just the way they are.

PicMonkey Collage

See, he does EVERYTHING with her.  At the beach, he’d patiently go rock-pool exploring with her, or just sit with her and wait for the waves to tickle her toes.  And at home, he’d get down on his knees and really play with her.  Not just mindless playing which I admittedly am guilty of doing sometimes.  But with actual plots and dialogues with all the toys – example:  The Octonauts are on a mission to save the Cloud Babies! (all Cbeebies characters by the way) – that sort of thing.

What I want to say is, I would love to feature Dads too.  Perhaps, in the future I will.  The truth is though, I don’t really know much Dads.  I’m struggling enough to find mothers I know, what more with dads?  I could bully my husband for an interview and then what?  I will have to think about this.  Any suggestions?

You know you’re married to an English man

when your two-year-old daughter’s answer to the question “Where do you live?”  – answers:   the pub!

Back story:  To give me some peace and quiet, my husband, when not busy with work takes Tamsin to playgroup and he along with other dads and their own kids (usually just one or two) go the pub afterwards. We have a lovely pub nearby with a nice garden where the kids can play.  Other than that, he hardly goes.