A unique perspective for the Mothers on Mothering column this month, from a father, in honour of Father’s Day.
Richard is my husband and father to our three children – Elsa, Felix and Monty – he works in recruitment, and lives with me in the Cotswolds countryside, where he is never happier than tramping about the garden with the children, and a cold beer, sweeping up leaves, muttering about the ‘bloody chickens’ and chasing after Elsa.
My little Munchkins are… Amazing and infuriating all at once – usually straight after each other. It’s amazing seeing them grow and develop personalities, but then they start to have an opinion, or a say in things, like negotiating for 10 minutes over which cup should be used for water….no, milk….no, water…
Birth was…Better for me than it was for Emma – and it made me feel helpless not being able to do anything. Not especially something I would look to repeat (my phobia of needles accounted for the majority of this).
No-one ever tells you that…Twins were a possibility…
I couldn’t have survived the first three months without… Beer…and of course the support network of family and friends. Mainly for Emma, as I was back at work. The regular coffees, chats, baby groups, and all the extra help at supper and bed time. This was especially important with Elsa, when I was gone from 6am-8pm during the week. I’m not sure anyone would have survived without all of our friends and family.
I wish I’d known before that… Twins were a possibility…no, only joking. Just how much life changes. I would have appreciated the freedom, sleeping, disposable cash that I had before children. But, I also wish I could have known how amazing it is to have children. They give your life purpose. Do I miss the sleep/money/freedom? Sure, but only every now and then. In the main, children are amazing – when they first recognise you, as they explore their hands and feet, sit-up, crawl, stand, walk, talk…everything.
It used to drive me mad when people said… How is your child getting on with talking, walking, sleeping, potty training? Comparing their development to others, or what they thought the standard time frame should be. Every child is different and unique. Let’s keep it that way. Pretty dull world otherwise. Everyone gets there in the end.
The best present anyone ever gave me was….Three babies. For all the difficulties and problems we may have, Emma still delivered three healthy babies. As someone who likes to worry, I am only too aware of the challenges of conception, pregnancy and birth. I feel very lucky to have what we have.
The most important that I’ve learnt is…Don’t argue with a three year old. You WILL lose. And, even if you don’t, you do. The humiliation of having to apologise to the (now sobbing) three year old just isn’t worth the hassle.
I worry about…Errrr….everything. Literally. Emma loves it.
I wish…The world was a nicer place. Maybe I would worry less, maybe I wouldn’t.
Fatherhood is….Amazing and life changing. I look back at the person I was before children, and everything was orientated around me and designed for my enjoyment – and yet, I don’t think then that you get to enjoy life in its entirety. Living for others and experiencing things through their eyes is extremely rewarding.
Work is…Currently, an escape from nappies, crying, holding and rocking. It’s also what makes our life possible. I probably spend too long working, but I am very fortunate to mainly work from home. If I need to help at 3pm, I will. If I need to work at 8pm when they are asleep, I will.
I want my children to know that… everything I do is for them (and Emma), and with their best interests in mind. I may not always get it right, but I try.