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 One -Tim Atkinson
We begin the Dad Interviews Dad Series with Tim Atkinson (and Dad!) from BringingUpCharlie.co.uk
Tim has been Cision’s Number One “Daddy Blog” in the UK on numerous occasions, has won Blogger of the Year and Best Blog Writer awards, and is even archived in the British Library!
His book “Fatherhood – The Essential Guide” is available through Amazon, has a 5-star rating, and covers everything from pregnancy and the first few hours to the first three years.
No doubt many of you will be familiar with Tim’s very approachable style and thought, “Tim seems like the kind of Dad I could go down the pub for a pint with”. Well, that is exactly what I asked him to do – head to the pub with his father and talk about a few family truths.
Tim and his dad obviously have a good level of banter together. I really enjoyed reading this as I feel like I’m right there watching a father and son jostle with each other.
Tim & Dad
Men don’t really ‘do’ talk, do they? I mean, they say a lot but it’s hardly more than noise most of the time. Or is that just me? Ah well… Anyway, sitting down with my dad to chew the fatherhood fat was challenging, but rewarding as well as something of a revelation. And in the best traditions of political interviews, we ended up answering the questions we wanted to be asked (rather than the ones Andy had asked us!).
How do you remember feeling when you found out you were going to be a father?
Tim: “I’ve been a dad now three times (still am, if you know what I mean) but that all important moment when you first find out life is going to change forever is still indelibly etched on my memory. The feeling was similar to that stomach-lurching, frightening but at the same time utterly thrilling feeling you get at the top of a rollercoaster. Yes, this is great… but it’s also scary. How did you feel, dad?”
Dad: “Well, very happy obviously – we’d been waiting a long time!”
Tim: “High, was it? The rollercoaster?”
Dad: “You could say that, yes. And a long way to the top.”
Tim: “Ok, that’s enough euphemistic eulogising for one interview.”
What’s your favourite story about me as a kid?
Dad: “What, printable you mean?”
Tim: “Yes, suitable for public consumption.”
Dad: “Ok, pinching the Minister’s specs whilst you were being baptised.”
Tim: “What, actually taking them off his face?”
Dad: “Yes, you didn’t seem fazed by the water-splashing (back to the fairground rides again!) but you were fascinated by his specs. I seem to remember you removed them very carefully – but very deliberately too. You seemed to know what you were doing.”
Tim: “Probably rehearsing for half-a-lifetime of spec-wearing myself!”
Ok, Dad, on to the parenting stuff itself. I’ve written a book about it (as well as a blog) so everyone can find out what I think a dad should do. And a lot of that, I must say, is stuff I’ve learned from you.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a father?
Tim: “Parenting is nothing if not challenging and I’m sure – how can I put this? – I must’ve represented something of a challenge as a child?
Ok, then… Wait!
You were just drawing breath?
Ok, then dad…?”
[REDACTED] Dad says the most challenging thing about fatherhood is “Any situation when I have felt that I was not able to be as helpful as I would have wished”.
Tim: “Isn’t that right, dad?”
Ok, gag removed!
Which phase of parenting have you found the most enjoyable and conversely, which was the hardest?
Dad: “It might be cliched but helping your children to fulfill their dreams has got to be the most enjoyable aspect of parenting. And the hardest thing for any parent is a child’s illness.”
How do you think parenting has changed between your day and mine?
Tim: “Obviously things have changed a bit since ‘I was a lad’. Is what I do radically different from what you did? And what your own father did?”
Dad: “I was brought up at a time of transition just after the period when it was widely considered that children should be “seen and not heard”, my father was quite strict but also very fair and a good pal. I suppose you’re more relaxed now – you can afford to be because children are given much more scope to participate in their own upbringing, as it were. It’s ironic that children are treated with more respect and freedom in the home at the same time as their ‘freedom to roam’ has largely vanished.”
Tim: “That’s certainly true. I remember disappearing for the entire day in the school holidays, getting stuck up trees (I think you had to rescue me on one occasion, remember?), re-enacting test matches with friends and generally doing what boys do on days when you wake up and the sun is shining and looks set to shine all day. I can’t imagine Charlie doing the same thing nowadays, which is sad. Plus ça change (The more things change)”
What do you think is the most important thing a father can give his children?
Tim: “All in all we both agree that although so much has changed, so much that matters is still (and probably always will be) the same. A good dad – as well as a good mum – is one that gives children time. Children are like clockwork toys, really – you wind them up (spend time with them, talk to them, inspire them) and their imaginations take flight and they’re off on their own, exploring the world and themselves and coming back eager to tell you about it all… and then for you to ‘wind them up’ again!”
Thank you, Tim for taking part. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I think that is some sound advice at the end. I’m sure other people will let you know what they thought by tweeting you @Dotterel or on your Facebook page.