I’m a Dad. I’m proud to be one.
I became a Dad to my beautiful daughter almost 2 years ago. I’ll admit there are very trying times but for the most part it’s an incredible experience.
Chloe was born quite quickly, it was a short labour. There are bits that my partner doesn’t remember, I, on the other hand will remember it all. Right down to the stupidly long wait at the lights on the way to the hospital. Watching her go through labour, and feeling powerless to help, admit it – back rubs are great but won’t take your mind of the pain. Not really knowing what to do, or where to stand, feeling out of place in what is really a female dominated area.
After she was born there was the relief of 10 fingers and toes, how cute everything is, and the sudden realisation that we were no longer just a couple, but a family.
We were shifted from the Birthing Ward to the Maternity Ward, and pacing the corridor at nights with her in my arms was more a way to show off, than to put her to sleep. The nurses were fantastic, they didn’t make you feel stupid for asking questions that you know they’ve probably heard a thousand times before, and there was never a feeling of you aren’t welcome here.
Walking her down the corridor, out into freedom was amazing, the 30kmp/h drive home was I’ll admit a little overdone but it’s strange how protective you can be of something that has suddenly come into your life.
Firsts are great, first nappy change, first sleep at home, first bath, cry, laugh, crawl, step, fall, tooth…the list goes on, but with each one it just permanently sets down a feeling of pride; I helped to create and mould this life.
Feeling like a twit when you realise you’ve been standing for 20 minutes at your daughter’s bedside watching her sleep.
I’ve done things without hesitation – I’ve caught vomit in my bare hands – I’ve cleaned up places and things that I never could have done before. It’s because she’s part me that it’s ok if that makes sense? If it was someone else’s baby it would be different.
It’s funny, with all the firsts that baby has, I too found there are a number of firsts as a dad. Women love to come up and see your newborn and coo and squeal and congratulate you. But frown, or are wary if you get too close to theirs. There will always be a stigma surrounding males around children, no matter how much people hide it behind smiles. You can be the most loving, caring father, and people still give you “that look”.
The first time you go into a family changing room with your daughter and people watch to see where you’re looking, the awkwardness of having nowhere to look when women are breastfeeding.
The first time you realise that Holy Crap I’m a dad, get your ideas sorted kicks in.
There are the moments in public spaces where toddlers don’t listen, and then throw a tantrum, and you just know that everyone is listening and watching you. They might not be – but in my head I can feel all the eyes on me and my daughter crying for mummy.
It is really hard sometimes being a full time worker. By the time I get home it’s dark and Chloe is usually hopping into bed. I love to read the bed time stories – but she is very insistent that it’s Mum’s job, even if the book has been read every night this week
Weekends aren’t much better, I work six days a week and try my best on a Sunday to do things as a family. But Murphy’s Law it never works out that way, and I feel kind of sad that I’m missing out on so much. I get all excited when she does something and call out and get told “Oh haven’t you seen her do that?”
I love being a dad, we actually get it quite easy, I’m told this quite often, I don’t have to get up in the night to feed her, I don’t have to try and prepare meals during the day that she doesn’t want to eat, or try and get things done around the house when Chloe is feeling clingy. Don’t get me started on days that rain. Don’t get me wrong. My partner loves being a mother, I couldn’t think of a better mother for my daughter. She has endless patience, and everything is for Chloe. But I know that it must be tiring trying to find new things to do every day.
Sitting here writing this, I look at my lounge and notice that only a few things belong to me. They are mostly toys, dolls, pink chairs, books, a dollhouse with a toilet that someone has carelessly left in the kitchen and I realise that I wouldn’t have it any other way. The fireplace is protected by a guard, the fridge, like my wall above my desk is plastered with drawings, the cupboards childproofed and impossible to get into when you’re in a hurry and then you forget to put them back on again, and it’s like Chloe knows that I’ve forgotten, fortunately she tries to put them back on, rather than opening the cupboard and taking everything out.
I’ve learned not to feel bad when she cries, because I’ve said no, or she calls out for mummy first, or she says goodnight to teddy but not to me. I’m still her dad, she’s only little and has her mind set on certain things. I still get to hear her giggles and have cuddles and all the fun things, just not as much as mum.
I don’t miss the nights when it was just the two of us. I don’t regret the arguments and the tears and the yelling over silly little things, I certainly don’t miss the hormones. I honestly wouldn’t change it for anything. I love being a dad. I love being a family.
I can’t wait to do it all again. In May
Written by Lindsay