Challenges and Insights from Being a Father

In the spirit of Father’s Day, we share some of the unexpected challenges and learnings of wisdom that working fathers have experienced during the unique journey of parenthood.

At the moment, the favourite pastimes of my young daughters are seemingly to push the limits with their bedtime rituals and to find ways to always break things that are brand new! Chaos has a way of reigning supreme in our house and tantrums are daily. But, despite all this there’s usually something that they do that makes me realise how lucky I am to have them.

I’m much more aware of time since becoming a father. The years are going by far too quickly. I just hope that I continue to grow with them as they grow up. All too soon, there’ll be different challenges, which I just hope I’m ready for. 

The main thing I have learned as a father is the real struggle of bringing up girls that soon turn into women. But you develop an unconditional love for your children from the first time you see them, and with each day of being able to watch their personalities grow.

When my eldest was very young, she went through the changing bag and decided to decorate the sofa with Sudocrem. I remember thinking: this is not what I signed up for!

Fatherhood has definitely changed me, for the better. It's made me much more emotional for a start, I find myself tearing at sad movies and TV shows where I'd just feel little or nothing before. I get excited to wake up each morning and hold my little girl, to nap with my newborn son and play with them both. I have a new appreciation of how difficult parenting is and admire the single parents who do it day in, day out.

I miss my kids and fiancée when I'm at work, which I am quite often so that my fiancée can stay at home to look after the little ones. Children are challenging but I wouldn't change them, they bring me so much happiness and laughter (cue funny story), like when I caught my little girl trying to eat a slug she’d found on the floor, or when we found out she can open the front door and went on a venture into the garden. There aren't too many memories we've made with our son just yet as he's only a month old, but we love him dearly, even if he decides to poo himself straight after we change him, EVERY TIME.

The thing that amazes me most about being blessed with two girls is, despite them having the same parents and upbringing, how different they are to each other. One slept through the night from three months old, the other didn’t until she was three years old. One is placid, gentle and sensitive, the other boisterous, hilarious and daring. One taught us kindness, calm and caution, and the other taught us excitement, fun and humour. Needless to say, despite their differences, both of them taught us love, patience and joy. 

I used to think that as a father, I had to be able to do everything and provide, but over the years of raising my son, I’ve learnt so much and actually, it’s okay to get things wrong. Not only are you raising a new child into the world, but you’re educating yourself. Six years in and I’m still learning something new every day with my son.

It’s also okay to talk! I realised when I had my son that I’m not the only guy in my social group that is dealing with family, work, life and child struggles. Reach out to your (parent) mates, because I can guarantee that what you’re feeling or going through… they have been there and can add some comedy value to the situation, which often helps! Soon enough, you’re having a friend reach out to you, and you’re giving them advice, telling them the horror stories, or what you went through!

Having ‘burped’ my daughter after a feed and then headed out to work, I kept getting a whiff of sour milk. I smelt my pits, checked my shirt and trousers, but couldn’t work out where the smell was coming from. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later when a colleague asked what I had all down my back that I realised the cause. My daughter had been sick over my shoulder and all down my back! Not my best moment, but we all saw the funny side – luckily I’d learned that having a baby required me to carry plenty of wipes, and so I was able to get the pack out of my car and clean myself up!