We have two wonderful, young children (if you don’t count our three Dachshunds). My fatherhood journey began in November 2007 and it caught me almost entirely unprepared. I had a number of preconceived ideas about how to deal with a baby boy and I was forced to abandon them, one at a time, as it became clear that the rational theory was very different to the confusing, frustrating and frequently panic-stricken reality that I experienced in those early months.
What I learned is that being a Dad is perhaps more about dealing with my own fears and insecurities than anything else because I was virtually incapable of starting to become the father I hoped to be to my son until I dealt with my own stuff first.
By the time our daughter arrived in December 2010 I was enjoying my time with our son and was pretty apprehensive about going back to the beginning. Aaron was talking, walking and had figured out the TV remotes. He had his iPod Touch figured out and could feed himself. Faith was, like any newborn, helpless and suddenly in a strange, confusing world. Even though I had been there with Aaron already, it was still an adjustment for me.
Life with our daughter is different to those early months with Aaron. The confusion and panic is, well, not gone but I’m definitely more comfortable with her than I was with Aaron. People with more than one child often comment how different their kids are but I didn’t realize how different Faith is compared to her brother and those differences just enrich my experiences as a Dad. I can appreciate them as developing individuals and enjoy my learning experiences that much more.
My fatherhood journey has only just begun. Most of the time I try to be mindful of my stuff when it gets in the way of being a better father and I aim to avoid making the same mistakes. I don’t always succeed and probably fail more often than not but that seems to be the idea. Being a parent is as much about growing up ourselves as it is about giving our children better lives. It’s about growing together, I think, although that is a lot harder than it sounds.