I’d planned to write a blog about Dads closer to Fathers day but my Dad, who is an absolute legend, is retiring this week and I’ve been putting together a scrapbook for him which has brought lots of dad related thoughts to the surface so why not, I’m writing it now.
It’s really a thank you to my husband for the Dad he has become to our boys and an acknowledgement of the role of Dads. It’s very easy to forget about the role of Dad within a family, and although good old Insta is doing its bit for putting Dads out there, my feed is predominantly full of Mum life and how we’re all smashing it. Well this is my bit to say high five to the Dads out there who are also smashing it.
Being a mother is such a unique, life changing experience that I think it’s easy to think you are the only one who has been through it but the blokes in our lives have had their life turned upside down just as much as us, even if they haven’t pushed a baby out. I’ve tried to ask my husband before what he used to think about being a dad before he became one, did he think about it when he was younger, is it what he imagined it would be. In stereotypical man style, “he never really thought about it that much”. I think that’s a true answer and I know when I was pregnant with our first, I sometimes used to think he didn’t realise what was coming, he often used to forget I was pregnant and I used to moan (as if, I know) that he wasn’t paying enough attention. When I went into labour I remember him saying it was a shock and he knew it would happen but he wasn’t expecting it.
Stes introduction to fatherhood was fraught to say the least, I had a traumatic labour and birth, I totally lost the plot and was really distressed and I don’t think I will ever appreciate how terrifying it probably was to be a bystander. With the terrible birth came a long and painful recovery and poor Ste, who had very little experience of babies was suddenly left to deal with this newborn, while I was laid up, crying and basically in a bit of a state. Without question he got on with it and did what needed doing, two years later he is still doing that. I know some reading this will say so what, mums have to do it so why shouldn’t Dads. And yes in theory I agree with you, but I still speak to lots of mums who do not have support from their fellas and whose men wouldn’t dream of changing a nappy or dressing their child, or even being left alone with their child.
Absolutely each to their own, this may work for some couples, but for me, I could not get through motherhood without Stes support and knowing I can rely on him to do just as much as me, if not more. The poor bloke has to go and work on a rig for three weeks, then come home and bath, dress, feed, toddlers, read bedtime stories, change nappies, spend endless hours in the garden with them. My own Dad is of the same breed. Nothing is too much for him, granted he prefers not to change a nappy but if he has to then no problems, he’ll get on and do it. I am 32 and I need him now more than I ever did, he never minds taxi driving, babysitting and bringing me bread and milk when I can’t get out the house.
So I’m thankful that I have one of the good ones and my boys have one of the good ones, thankful that we are in this together and thankful for all the things Dads do for us.
Our men have to watch us change dramatically during pregnancy, I don’t mean getting a bump; I mean becoming emotional, hormonal, sometimes downright miserable and angry. I fully admit I am no fun being pregnant, I’m boring, I moan and I want to go to bed at 9pm every night. My moodiness is of the scale, I remember one of my pregnancies being sat in the car at a shopping centre crying because I was really hungry but also needed the toilet so badly I didn’t know which to do first. I mean, men, what do you even say to that?!
Our men have to hold our hands through labour. I remember Ste shouting “Go on lass”, like a Yorkshireman during lambing season during my labour and me wanting to punch him, but if he had dared to step away for me for one second I also would of punched him. I remember being absolutely terrified and his presence was the only thing I wanted. It must have been an awful experience for him (until baby arrived of course when it was lovely), but hats off to men being birthing partners because having given birth twice I would not want to witness it.
They have to watch their wives/girlfriends lose their dignity. I’m sure my husband isn’t the only one who has been sent to the shop for all manner of embarrassing lady items. He’s seen me be sick anywhere and anywhere when morning sickness had me in its grips, my waters break, my boobs leak and far too many other things to really think he’ll ever fancy me again.
Just like mums, the good ones in life, put everyone else before themselves. They sacrifice their lie ins, hobbies, nights out and spend their days making sure little ones are happy and entertained. Ste is legendary on this front, if the boys are restless, he won’t just put the TV on, and he’ll build a skate ramp in the garden for them to ride their bikes. Yes, seen as they are 1 and 2 this is probably just as much for his benefit as theirs but it keeps them all quiet.
They shoulder all our worries and insecurities. Us mums all know we can be totally high maintenance, from mum guilt, to irrational fears, to emotional outbursts. They see it all and take it on the chin. I hear “it’ll be alright” several times a day.
They humour our fanatical mum rules. Like what coat goes with what outfit, who gets which cup and why and what order to do the bedtime routine in. The other day I caught myself telling Ste how to apply Sudocrem more hygienically, he probably thinks FFS is this what life has come to, but, bless him, he smiles and nods.
I could not ask for Ste to be a better father to the boys and a better support to me. We all know being a parent is hard whether you’re a Mum or a Dad, but there is nothing better to see than a Dad who puts his family first. It really gets my goat when I hear lads saying they wouldn’t dare feed a baby or get up during the night. Why not? Because it’s the real men that do.
I know Ste will instil in the boys the same values he has and I hope that one day, when they are grown and starting their own parenting adventure, our boys will let their pregnant partners cry on their shoulder that it’s all too overwhelming, while they are trying to watch the match. They will do emergency trips to the shop for lady items with only minor embarrassment. And if the mothers of their children are stressing that they put their finger in the tub of Sudocrem in the wrong way they will smile and nod and say “I know, it’ll be alright”.