To celebrate Father’s Day at BEYNEU we decided to ask fathers about fatherhood. What is it like to be a father? How has it changed their lives?
Can you say that you learned how to be a father from someone or it came to you naturally?
It came to me by itself one Saturday morning, while I was sitting under a tree, like a modern-day Newton.
My lovely wife, blossomed and fruitful as always, dropped the news, which like a juicy apple landed on my head and through my ears tickled my sleepy brain.
“Hey”, said the voice, “you are going to become a father!”. That is when I realised I already knew how I wanted it to be – active, playful, funny, cheeky and, of course, as every child should be, with a disciplined and considerate mother!
Everyday tasks came instinctively or by knowledge sharing with my wife. Emotionally, I had a good idea of the type of father I wanted to be based on role models from my childhood along with my own experiences.
What do you think is your biggest achievement as a father?
Supporting a lowly football team for the joy of the sport. It turned to my favour when Fulham won a 2nd division, 3rd place trophy (that’s rather lowly if you know nothing about football! Albeit in a full Wembley stadium) and my son thinks we are the best team in the world. Learning to be teased at school day-in and day-out from those Chelsea-Arsenal-Liverpool-ManU fans was not easy but when we win we win big. That’s an invaluable life lesson of patience, endurance, hard work, nerves and ultimately great joy!
A parent’s achievements will always be determined by the life route of their kids. In these terms, mine are too small to draw conclusions :) But from a personal perspective, I am proud of the energy levels and constructive activity time that I input into my kids’ lives as well as the fact that they grow in a happy and nurturing environment.
What do you think is the hardest part of fatherhood?
The next day…
Can you tell us how fatherhood changed you?
Raising a child in a world as troubled as it currently is, was a scary prospect. Will they have to best chance at a good education? If they fall ill will there be a system that could care and provide for him? Would my job be secure enough to keep a roof over his head and good on the table? I quickly realized my political beliefs needed to shift and I needed to be more active and vocal.
Writing my thoughts down or saying them out loud is the best way for me to see that I have succeeded in the first five years of my boy’s life. Both my wife and I are always open with our emotions and we try to talk about feelings as much as possible with him. Last year I struggled with anxiety and even took him to some of my GP appointments. He knows not every day is a good day. He knows not everyone has what he has. Some more, some less.
It’s clear this openness has worked when you see him stop in the street and give pocket money to the homeless. My heart swells with pride!!
I think back to the times I enjoyed with my father and try and do the same with Francis. Taking him trainspotting and sitting on the platform brings back memories of me and dad 30 odd years prior.
If I could give advice it would be - Always be open and talk honestly about the days where you struggle. Make the most of all your free time from the minute you get home from work until bedtime. And most of all be free with hugs, kisses and saying I love you.
As far as achievements go he’s my biggest and best and one day I hope to watch him raise his kids (should he want them) the same way. And when he has a bad day he’ll know his old man will be there for him.
Was there anything that amazed you when you became a father?
Lots of things did, but the most surprising was that I suddenly understood my own parents. What they were (or are) worried about, what they felt like sometimes when I jumped from the back of the sofa or fell from the chair. And I guess my worries will grow up together with my children.
Can you remember things that changed in your life since you had a child?
Again, lots of things changed, but one thing that changed dramatically is the time I get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening now. Before having children I would never allow anyone to wake me up early in the morning, and if they did there was a tiny chance I would get up. Honestly, when this happened I got really angry, but now I get up early and find it very healthy. I even enjoy it when our daughter comes to our bedroom at six o’clock in the morning and tells us the sun is shining already and we’ve got to get up right now.
What else can you tell about fatherhood?
I never realised I would love someone this much one day.