It occured to me recently that despite writing all manner of father and son content for over a year I have never addressed the most fundamental question; what does it mean to be a Dad? So without further ado I will put on my serious hat and try to do it some justice.
What it means to me to be a Dad changes often. In those early days I saw my role as a protector, overtime I felt that it was my job to make sure his days were full of fun and love, then I realised it was my job to teach him good behaviours and now I understand that I need to be doing all of those things each and every day. I’m not interested in Max having an ordinary upbringing; I want it to be extraordinary.
I try to be guided by my instincts as much as possible and pick up on the cues and clues Max leaves for me. I also reflect on my own upbringing a lot and think about my relationship with my Dad and some of the things that he did really well. Like any parent I make mistakes along the way but those mistakes are less frequent as I begin to appreciate the importance of being proactive to nullify potential problems rather than reacting to them once they happen.
Being a Dad is also about leading by example and challenges me to push myself to be a better person. I want Max to grow up with a sense that he can achieve anything and to get every little bit of happiness out of life he can. I want him to realise, as clichéd as this sounds, that you do only get one life and to get the most from it. I have this absurd notion that we will be best mates all the way through our journey and that he is going to keep me feeling young and alive.
I am appreciated very much as a father by my wife and that’s very important to me. I know that she would rather be the main carer but she sees that he is getting everything he needs from me and trusts me implicitly. Attitudes towards Stay at Home Dads are certainly a lot more progressive these days and whilst I still get the odd comment or quizzical look, I feel overwhelmingly accepted. Most importantly the fact that Max is such a happy smiley little boy informs me that he appreciates the job I do.
Above all else it’s important for me to expose Max to what I would call a ‘real childhood’. That means climbing trees, building dens, making bows and arrows and generally being a boy. I hate the idea of wrapping him in cotton wool removing all potential for adventure and yes a little bit of danger. I am also a stickler for good old fashioned manners and will do my best to raise my son to know the difference between right and wrong.
Parenting demands so much of you, it requires a level of selflessness that I didn’t previously possess. I’m honest enough to admit that there are days when I wish I didn’t have to do it but then he flashes me a smile and all that melts away. I always had a notion that I wanted to be a dad. I even convinced myself it was my calling, some people are here to be doctors, some people are here to be lawyers, some people are even here to be traffic wardens, I thought I was here to be a dad and I still do. For some people that might sound unambitious but for me it’s the height of ambition.
As always linking up with Jess at Essentially Jess