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LifestyleDAD’S THE WORD: ISSUE 2

Pledging never to let slide our utmost appreciation for the Family Alpha, we’re keeping the conversation going with more fatherhood stories, daily inspiration, words of wisdom and all round awesomeness … And here is round two of Dad’s the Word: A place we can all take a little something from, whether that’s how to wind down of an evening, or when to set aside some time solely for games and giving the other half a welcome break!

Seb
First Time Dad

How do you bond with Santi on a daily basis and what is the most important thing to you both about bonding?

From the beginning, it was really important for me and my wife to make sure Santi could take a bottle, even though we wanted to 100% breastfeed him if possible. We were really lucky with this and whilst my wife would pump each day in order to build a stash, we had enough for me to give him his last feed of the day before getting him to sleep. Getting my own chance to comfort him and watching him at his most peaceful has been really rewarding. The routine has now grown to include bath time just before where its great to see him enjoying playing before settling him down.

I could not have anticipated how important this was going to feel for me, I worried I had become a little possessive over this task at first but now Im super glad I stuck with it. Ever since starting I have not missed an evening yet, and I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.

 

Your favourite quote?

“Life is what happens to you
while you’re busy
making other plans”
– John Lennon

Johan
Alex and Alexa Dad

How did you feel before you became a dad and how do you feel now? Is there anything that you didn’t expect to feel or surprised you? 

Before, I struggled a bit with arranging what is most important in life. It easily became work, family and friends. Then you float between those and try to give an equal amount of time and energy to everything and everyone. But in my case I always felt a bit bad as I always wanted to give more than I had time to. After becoming a dad I think one significant thing is that all of a sudden you need to care for, play with and be with your kid. Thats impossible to prioritise away. It adds a certain calm in life that has helped me focus better. The feeling is obviously fantastic watching him grow and become more of a person each passing day.

 

How do you bond with your child on a daily basis and what is the most important thing to you both when spending time together?

We have breakfast, get dressed and walk to daycare each morning. We stop on the way and watch birds, point at different kinds of cars and buses. Then the routine of dropping him off at daycare is very much the same in detail each day (at his request) – tried to change it a few times to his disinclination! It feels good to repeat that routine each morning.

 

What’s your tip for giving mum a break? 

We have sort of a silent agreement of who is doing what at home in the evenings. It’s built in so she gets a break while I clean up after dinner and prepare his bed for the night. Generally I think it’s important to do your own thing. If she suggests that she wants to meet friends (lately over Zoom…) I’m always happy for her to do that.

 

What did you find the biggest challenge of being a first time dad and how did you overcome it? 

Giving time and focus to him during times where you have a lot of other things on your mind. I think that has become easier over time.

 

How have you dealt with the pressures of fatherhood during COVID-19? 

My son’s mother works as a doctor. For a period she left her regular job to work in a Covid Intensive Care unit. Naturally, that scenario wasn’t something we would have expected 2 years ago before our son was born, and it did feel unfamiliar and somewhat unsettling, but all went well, and we knew it was absolutely the right thing to do.

The feeling is fantastic watching him grow and become more of a person with each passing day.

Simeon
Co-Parenting Dad

How did you feel before you became a dad and how do you feel now? Is there anything that you didn’t expect to feel or surprised you? 

Before I became a dad, I looked at life as if I was the only one that I was accountable for, so if I was to wake up one morning and feel like I wanted to book a flight out of the country, I could do exactly that, and nothing would stop me. After becoming a father to a little boy, I suddenly became accountable for someone else. I understand that the decisions I make could affect him in more ways than one, so I have to be very conscious of my actions; I have to think more than once about anything I do. There were quite a few things that surprised me – one being that I never thought I would enjoy changing nappies. I absolutely enjoyed it and loved seeing my boy smile and laugh at me while I was doing it. I also saw it as bonding time, as I would be talking to him about what was going on and he would be communicating back with baby talk.

 

What was the biggest challenge about being a first time dad? And how did you overcome it?

There were quite a few big challenges that I was faced with as a new father. One of them was my ego and learning to put it aside, whenever it came to absolutely anything to do with my son. This meant being present and thinking at all times, from if his mother and I were going through personal issues, to having disagreements on the steps we needed to take in order to discipline our son in the best way possible. I’ve learnt to overcome these challenges with time and have become more mindful; I practise yoga and talk to family & friends when it comes to seeking advice. This has helped me to develop as a dependable & supportive co-parenting father, each and every day.

 

Your favourite quote?

The one quote I will pass down to my son is the same one that was passed down to me.

No matter what you are going through, you must make sure that you put it aside side and not let it intervene with you being there 100% for your child.

Lee & Carl
Daddy and Dad

 

How did you feel before you became dads and how do you feel now? Is there anything that you didn’t expect to feel or surprised you?

As a married couple, we agreed early on that having children was something we were both keen to explore. Having gone through the initial adoption process, we knew this was the right decision for us, and felt it would allow us to fulfil our desire to be Dads and to provide children a happy and loving home. A year down the line since placement, it feels so natural and rewarding. We have our good days and bad days like any other parent, but we could not imagine our life without them. Being Dads is amazing, the pride and love we have for them is out of this world. What really surprised us is how they instantly became a part of our family and made our house a home. What also surprised us is just how important the milestones are, they are magical; losing a tooth, new school shoes, first hair cut. They’re all memories we can cherish.

 

How have you dealt with the pressures of fatherhood during COVID-19?

Before we discussed our approach, the schools had already educated the children about COVID and got across the key messages. This put our minds at ease and allowed us to concentrate on how we would support the children during lockdown. As one of us is a clinician working on the front line, we were aware of the potential impact this could have. When the schools closed their doors, one of us worked from home and schooled the children. Later down the line furlough meant our focus could be on the children entirely, allowing structure to be built into the day, but we agreed early on that the time at home would be positive and fun. Joe Wicks started the day, followed by creative play, maths and reading. Unfortunately for the kids, Daddy fell ill, later followed by Dad, both testing positive for COVID which caused some anxiety to the children. We quickly reassured them, though, that with rest and care whilst isolated, we would be OK and fight the virus. Friends and family supported us with the essentials. Having a key worker in the household meant that the children were able to attend school, once we were better. This provided the much needed structure and normality we all needed. I am so proud of the kids; they have coped so well, taking it in their stride and loving being back into a routine at school.

 

Favourite quote?

Listen to Daddy & Dad, and trust us. Why? Daddy and Dad know best. We have years of experience!

 

 

 

 

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