Fatherhood in 200 Words #21 - Andy

This is the part of our fatherhood series where we asked dads to share a little about themselves, their most prominent memory of their first year of fatherhood, the best parenting advice they have received and a message for dads-to-be. Each answer was limited to 50 words and you find them here unedited and as given.

About:

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I’ve been married to Beccy for 23 years and am a dad to two fast-growing girls (Finley aged 13 and Morgan aged 10). For my day job, I help run events and conferences. Most mornings before school you’ll find Finley and I on the South Downs walking our dog, George.

Prominent memory of your first year of fatherhood:

We read the books and went to the classes but nothing prepared us for the moment when we arrived back from the hospital and realised it was down to us. Friends and family became so important as we realised that we could not do it alone.

Best fatherhood advice received:

“If things don’t go according to plan, you aren’t a failure”. We live in a culture where we are encouraged to over-plan for something that is ultimately very different for each baby. The danger of setting rigid expectations is that we feel a failure when they don’t quite work out.

Message for men expecting their first baby:

Everything happens in phases. At first you think each phase will last forever – but it rarely does. Like most dads, I’ve encountered happiness, fear, gratitude, loneliness, anger, joy, guilt and many other emotions in equal measure and intensity. It’s all part of this crazy rollercoaster ride that is parenting.

 

Fatherhood in 200 Words #10 - Dave

This is part of our fatherhood in 200 words series where we asked dads to share a little about themselves, their most prominent memory of their first year of fatherhood, the best parenting advice they have received and a message for dads-to-be. Each answer was limited to 50 words and you find them here unedited and as given.

About:

My name’s Dave Steell, I'm the leader of a community called One Church Brighton and I’m engaged in lots of transformational projects that serve the city.  I’m also dad to Jake who’s 15 and laughs at stuff as though he was 6, and Reya who is 12 but behaves like she’s 23, and I struggle every day with the wonderful task of trying to be a good parent.

Prominent memory from first year of fatherhood:

The first year of parenting seems like a distant memory and I know it must have contained sleepless nights, messy nappies and all that stuff, but I remember very little of it, other than wishing I could have it all over again!

Best fatherhood advice received:

Easily the best advice I have ever received about being a good dad happened on a long walk, where all best advice is given in my experience, and it was from a friend who didn’t have any kids at the time but she turned out to be spot on.  She told me that even with the best intentions you cannot decide what you want your children to become, you can only create the atmosphere for them to flourish in and allow them to become who they already are.

Message for men expecting their first baby:

If you’re about to become a new dad I’m very envious of you!  My encouragement to you would be to make sure that you don’t wish any of the time away, even and especially the tough stuff because that’s where your character and the ties of relationship with your child will be most deepened.  It’s the oldest cliche in the book but time will fly and when these days are gone, they’re gone.

Opinion: Fire your work! Why it's important for dads to think about how work fits with family life.

Opinion: Fire your work! Why it's important for dads to think about how work fits with family life.

There is an interesting contradiction in the way that the 'traditional model' of parenthood has changed in our society. 

Traditionally dad goes off to win the bread while mum stays at home to nurture the children. Dad may contribute at times but clearly the nurturing and raising of children is primarily the woman's job. For a long time women with children were restricted - the arrival of kids also signalled the end of their career as their world narrowed down into a small child-shaped box.

Happily, women are no longer expected to 'just' stay at home or give up their careers. There is not the pressure that a woman with a child can 'only' be a mum. More and more women are working as well as caring for their child. While things could be better and there is still progress to be made it's great that women have more freedom than they previously did. 

It's interesting that we haven't seen a similar transition for men...

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