I know a lot of guys who are Dear Dads but through my limited time of being a Dad of four years I have never really held an in depth conversation with another male adult about being a Dad. Mums do it by default, sometimes it’s outside of their control as the first thing people ask are “how’s the kids?”… I’m not saying that Dear Dads don’t do it, but in my world it’s not the norm.
My wife asked me how my day was the other day and I responded “I spent all day talking about Jades toilet training”. I was met with raised eyebrows. She knew I was joking. Not because I don’t talk about it, sometimes you can’t shut me up, but in the world of dads it’s not at the top of our social discussion list. This is not saying that dads don’t talk about it. I have learnt some cool tricks about being a dad from other dads, but our social network for fatherhood hints and tips is not as abundant as mums.
I’ll admit that sometimes things happen and I have absolutely no idea how to handle it or even know who to discuss it with, bar my wife. It would be good to get a Dear Dads perspective, but we don’t always feel comfortable picking up the phone saying “my child is having a total melt down what should I do?” As opposed to “my car won’t start, where’s the first place to look?”. It really is a weird situation because once I or another dad starts talking about being a dad, the ideas flow. “Your kid did that? Try this it worked for me” or “wait till he starts walking, then you will understand the need for good cupboard locks” etc.
Once I get into a convo with another Dear Dad about the quirks of fatherhood it’s always a pleasant and usually informative conversation. Where I can, I impart knowledge to soon to be dads and act like a sponge to those dads who have gone before me. Any tips and tricks for dealing with the mega melt downs, back chat, stubbornness etc etc is always welcome. Which after these conversations I always walk away with the exact same thought. No one and I mean no one, except maybe SuperNanny on the BBC knows what the hell they are doing. We are all “winging” it and anyone who tells you otherwise has rocks in their heads.
Even from raising the first to the second child, is worlds apart. My two while they look like twins have the personality difference of Jekyll and Hyde. How I think they will react to a situation is usually only 50% correct, though as they are getting older my guessing is getting better. I read a lot about parenting and even in the parenting self help books (despite their glorious claims) it’s a best guess because just like a finger print, every child is different.
So if you see a Dear Dad in Bunnings or out and about, don’t just talk about the local cricket team or how “work” is going, try your luck, he may just chew your ear off about being a Dear Dad.