Dad Interviews Dad Series – MadDadSkillz
Since becoming a father, I have been able to relate to my own dad in a different way than before. Instead of the usual Father-Son dynamic there is now an element of Dad-to-Dad understanding, a shared experience.
As a Dadblogger I enjoy commenting on and analysing my own parenting style but I haven’t previously spotlighted the parenting I received. I thought this might the case for other Dadbloggers too.
So, in celebration of Fathers Day 2017, I asked some of the top Dadbloggers in the UK & USA to sit down with their own fathers and see how, or if, parenting has changed much in a generation. I sent them a list of suggested questions and then let conversation flow from there.
A different interview from a different blogger will be released each day this week on MadDadSkillz.com
Dad Blogger Four – Rich from Daddy and the Poo Monster
Rich is a Northern fellow who is fairly new to the parenting game but brings a raw freshness to his blogs about it. He writes from the heart. One particular post called “Baby’s First Kiss” stuck me as how I’d written a very similar piece called “Daddy Guilt: To do stuff or get stuff done“. Both our posts take you on the journey to the end of a man’s tether before being rescued from the abyss by the delights of our little boys. It was nice to see that these are common thoughts that all us new Dad’s share.
Rich & Dad
1 How do you remember feeling when you found out you were going to be a father?
I thought to myself, this is going to be a game changer, being early 30s helped, not being a kid gives you a little more of a balanced outlook. Being a planned decision to have kids also helped.
Strangely I felt really calm about the situation which I think was a bit odd to be honest. Did any of your mates at the time have kids? I was pretty much the first one out of my mates to have one…
Quite a lot of my friends had kids, they all seemed to get married at a fairly early age, one or two out of necessity. I suppose that must have been pretty daunting, being barely out of nappies themselves, but I have to say, I felt very calm about being a parent, looked forward to it in fact.
2 What is your favourite story about me as a kid?
I remember a time when you needed a nappy change, “OMG” did you need a change? For some reason which escapes my mind, mother was not around, so I put my game face on and got stuck in. Needless to say babies love to squirm around during said operations, and you were a good squirmer, everything was covered in doings. You somehow managed to get it all over your hands and arms, so I picked you up under the arms with the intention of washing you down, Then it happened, both hands covered in doings smacked straight into my face and mouth. Lovely, you nearly didn’t reach your 1st birthday, however I soldiered on and your still here, so I must have done something right.
Ha, there have been a few times when I have felt like throwing the baby in the bin and keeping the nappies! It’s good to know that he inherited the ‘awkward baby to change skill’ from me! One of my highlights so far was the little guy trying to force his teething giraffe up some poor woman’s backside! Did I ever do anything in public that made you cringe?
Another story springs to mind when you were just a toddler. It did not involve me directly however. Your mother had you on an outing to some farm or other, and whilst looking at some cows, in front of a substantial amount of people you asked the question “ mam why has that cow got four penises”. The answer apparently was not forthcoming.
3 Which phase of parenting have you found the most enjoyable and conversely, which was the hardest?
The 2nd part of the question is probably the most obvious answer for most new parents, lack of sleep and constant tiredness in the early months, particularly bad if you work shifts. The most enjoyable part is a little harder, if pushed I would have to say, watching you grow into what you have become today, somebody that I am proud to be able to call my son.
I can relate to the lack of sleep, I am like a zombie during the week, I’m guessing that won’t get any easier when the wife goes back to work this week! How did you survive the sleep deprivation?
There is no answer to this, you just try to take turns seeing to the little one during the night, and grab sleep when and where you can find it. It is hard but the breakthrough will eventually happen, ( a full night’s sleep ).
4 What has been the most challenging aspect of being a father?
Knowing when to give advice and when to stand back and let you learn from your mistakes. Trying as best as you can to give you space to make your own decisions, and hopefully you knowing that we’re behind you in the decisions that you do make.
I think for the most part I recognise that you let me make my own choices but always offered your opinion on decisions. I would like to think I won’t shelter my boy from things but support him through tough times. Is there any time where you wish you had done something differently or offered different advice?
I can’t recall a time when I’ve thought I shouldn’t have let that happen, I don’t think there have been many major catastrophes to contend with.
5 Do you think you changed when you became a father?
I would like to think not, but I suppose it must have changed me in some way, after all you are now responsible for another persons life, and you must take into account how your actions will affect them.
I don’t feel like I’ve changed too much to be honest, other than going out for a drink now seems like a terrible idea! I would much rather spend the time with family than go on a night out. I have also become much more aware of how bad everyone is at driving, especially when the boy is in the car! Did any of your hobbies / interests change?
I still got to do most things that I had done in the past, a game of Golf, the occasional drink with mates. Your mother or myself used to stay in if the other one wanted to go out, you’ve just got to accept that’s what has to happen.
6 How do you think parenting has changed between your day and mine?
Basic parenting skills have changed marginally I suppose, there appears to be much more information, help and advice available than there was 30 or so years ago.
Annoyingly still no baby manual though! I think everyone wants to tell you how to raise the baby and are outraged at various things. Did that sort of thing exist when I was a bairn?
Yes it certainly did, whether required or not. Most of the older generation of the time were quick to point out “you’re doing that all wrong”.
7 How do you think we differ as dads?
I don’t think we do differ too much. I would like to think that I gave to same attention to you, as I see you giving to your child.
Yeah, I’d agree with that, What was Grandad like as a dad? I’ve always been intrigued but never asked!
My dad while not an alpha male type, left most of my up-bringing to my mother, that’s what happened in the forties. He was around, but used to work quite long hours so maybe couldn’t spend as much time as he would have liked with me. That being said we did go on holidays and days out where we played ball games etc. Times change, and things move on, new generations and new perspectives.
8 What do you think is the most important thing a father can give his children? (Is it his attention? A listening ear? Discipline? etc)
That’s a hard one, I think honesty and integrity must be up there, and to let them know that your door is always open, no matter what. Armed with these things hopefully everything else will fall in place.
Sound enough advice, I guess I’d be able to better answer this over time! Is there anything you did differently with me than with my sister?
Nothing radically different, but not surprisingly, she was more under your mothers influence, so I take no blame nor credit there.
9 Is there anything you would go back and change in your parenting style?
I don’t think there is, You appear to have turned out to be a fairly balanced up standing citizen, if I say so myself, so as I said earlier, I must have done something right.
10 Do you have any fatherly advice for me?
Not really, from what I can see you’re doing fine, However there is one thing that I really must say, DON’T LET HIM GROW UP TO SUPPORT SUNDERLAND.
There is literally nothing to worry about on that score!
AMEN to that, see I knew I’d brought you up right.