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. This week's advice comes from jazz musician Dan Forshaw, who lives in Cambridge.


I’m married to Katy and we have two kids, a girl aged six and a boy who is about to turn four.  I’m mostly self employed and work as a musician and music tutor, running my own teaching website that has students all over the world, (including one in Antartica!) 

Prominent memory from first year of fatherhood: 

The most emotional, inspiring and tiring year of my life. Seriously, your world and everything in it gets turned upside down. You will find your emotional ‘compass’ stretched beyond belief,  in a positive and negative way. 

Best fatherhood advice received:

Go with your instincts. Everyone will have endless advice, but go with what you and your partner feel is right. The other thing is to prioritise your relationship. You will both face incredible strains and may have some terrible rows but stay strong and make time for one another.

Message for men expecting their first baby:

Sleep!  And learn that your wife / partner is going to be a very different person both emotionally and physically after the birth, don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, no matter how tired you are!

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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