Teenagers: All I know on a post-it!

I know nothing about teenagers. I was one once I think but aside from that I know very little about their strange, seemingly anxiety producing lives. 

But parenting doesn’t stop when they become teenagers, in fact, I am almost certain it gets harder. 

With that in mind, I read a wonderfully interesting blog this week that I wanted to share with you all from Jeff, a Father to a daughter. Jeff was guest posting on “The Dad Squad” which is another blog I would highly recommend you add to your reading list. 

 So sit back, feel uncomfortable, cringe and remember that we’re all going to make it guys. (This confidence is purely based on Jeff so he is to blame if not!) 

Happy Reading! 

https://thedadsquad.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/dads-what-you-can-expect-from-a-teenage-daughter/

The Difference Between Pj’s and Day Time Clothes

I don’t know the difference between bedtime Pj’s and Day Time clothes

I don’t know the difference between bedtime Pj’s and Day Time clothes*

*Citation: I am reliably informed by my wife.

In my defence… Ah forget it, I know she’s right, I don’t think I have ever dressed her in clothes that are appropriate in relation to where the earth’s daily rotation has got to. But this leaves me with 3 potential conclusions.

1. I am genuinely incompetent and incapable of dressing a 1 year old.

2. It is physically impossible to determine the difference between daytime and bedtime clothing.

3. My wife is playing one long prank on me and will tell me I’ve got it wrong no matter what I dress my child in!

I love my wife and value my health and wellbeing so far be it from me to declare the answer to be option 3 but I refuse to accept answer 1 for the sake of my own dignity!

Far be it from me to beat a dead horse and while I realise I am opening myself up to potentially accurate observations that I’ve spent far too much time thinking about this- I wanted to put forward my theory on the subject.

The Older Your Child Gets The More Blurred The Lines Become.

It probably isn’t a penal offence to dress your child in inappropriate clothing for the time of day but it definitely could be grounds for marriage guidance. (I do wonder whether marriage guidance offers a guide on what constitutes as day time and bed time clothing? If not I shall be asking for my money back and pressing charges around the trade descriptions act. Call yourself guidance? Huh!) But it is definitely easier to do when they’re a baby. I has dressing a baby down to a fine art.

Morning clothes- Baby Grow
Bedtime Clothes- Baby Grow
Baby Is sick- New Baby Grow.

The whole process seemed a lot simpler!

Time rolled on and clothing developed but was still organised by some clearly defined rules of engagement.

Day Time- Variation pretty clothes that often had cute or misleading slogans on. (I have the best daddy ever was one. Maybe “Daddy these are day time clothes” would have been more appropriate.)

Night Time- Baby Grow (welcome back my old friend.)

The problem now is that the baby grow is being phased out in favour of various two piece clothing items that could quite easily in this Dad’s opinion be used as day time clothes.

The sick joke in all this though, is by the time they were phasing the baby grow out of rotation, I had only just about mastered how to put the baby grow on! Have mercy on me world!!!

Alas maybe these mysteries are not to be known in this life or maybe the whole thing is one sick joke sent to confuse and disorientate parents. Maybe even, dare I say it, I’ve spent far too much time and mental energy considering it? You decide.

… Now… Where did I put that baby grow?

Reflections On Moving Home and an Update

Why do I do it to myself? Moving house!

Recently, I have moved house. It remains one of the most stressful things I ever do in my life (considering the football team I support, that is saying something!) During the moving process, I left myself a week to move things over and the took one final day off work when the “big van” came! A stressful and I am pretty sure life shortening process for all concerned.

Before I go into that thought I wanted to give you all a bit of an update on the blog. We don’t have internet access until May 5th and therefore the posts are going to be infrequent for now. But while you are waiting there are active Facebook and Twitter accounts in the following places:

http://www.facebook.com/foreverbeingdaddy

@foreverbeingdad (Twitter)

With an instagram account to follow soon!

You can also email me on manupmediaoffical@gmail.com. There are a number of exciting projects coming up down the line so email me there if you’d like to be added to a mailing list.

But back to moving…. (Groan)
During the process of moving on that final Wednesday, the entire house got torn to bits. Our bed was in pieces, the sofa came in three bits (who knew?) and the entire house looked like a scene out of a horror movie (Minus the blood and guts of course!)

During moving one load of boxes out of the house I noticed my little girl was crying sat in the middle of the floor. Now she is 1 and doesn’t speak aside from mistakenly calling the dog “Dad” occasionally. But I am convinced the reason she was so distraught that day was because her world, her stability, her reality was coming apart around her.

It made me think….

Stability is so important for young children. She doesn’t care whether she lives in a 20 bedroom mansion or a 1 bedroom flat, but she cares for normality, for stability, to know she is loved and cared for.

Life gets complicated sometimes doesn’t it? But this horrific and stressful moving process gave me a chance to think about how important making sure I am there and I am consistent is to my little girl. After all, we are quite literally her world!

Losing Your Child

Today, I nearly lost my daughter!

Well… ok… I didn’t really nearly lose her, more she made a radical big for freedom and daddy had left the back gate unlocked. Before I knew it she was out the gate, down the path and by the car. Thankfully rather than continue her bid for freedom while daddy emptied the car of what my wife refers to as our “Love Seats” (Don’t ask, I have asked why, she answer made zero sense and therefore I am working under the assumption that I don’t need to understand) she stopped to eat the gravel stones that make up the car park behind our new house! (Yes folks, she is most definitely my daughter!)

She was returned to the living room and mummy was informed that our child had decided the big bad world was a place she felt comfortable exploring. Mummy made some unconcerned “ohhhh” noise and all seemed to be well.

So all is well that ends well.

But it did set me thinking. Right now, she can’t really do any damage or get anywhere because one of the two of her parents has a general idea of where she is and what she is up to at all times. Actually losing her would be traumatic, but is also extremely unlikely to happen.

What is far more likely, and is much more worrying, is that over the next 18 years (and probably longer) I need to be constantly on my guard not to lose touch with my little girl. I never want to lose her emotionally, that she becomes closed off and distant. I know during the teenage years, things are going to be particularly difficult in that area and therefore it is vitally important that I invest emotionally in her now. Right now, I am laying the groundwork for our many future years. Right now, I need to remember who my priority is and make sure I invest my time, love and energy into her.

The reality is however, that is particularly difficult. When she’s 15 months old she is cute, chatty, destructive, able to remove clothes from baskets but seemingly incapable of returning them when she is done. It is actually, extremely easy for me to just let life happen, rather than to be deliberate and intentional about my relationship with her.#

I will definitely tell you the story of a time she was very young and we did genuinely nearly lose her, but this time in a medical sense. I always told myself when she was very poorly that I would never take her for granted. And yet, so often, I do!

Gentlemen, Ladies, Mums and Dads. May we be intentional with our little ones, and lay the groundwork for a lifelong friendship, when our immediately parenting duties are done!

The Most Important Job Title You Will Ever Have

I will be honest, I have a stupidly ridiculous job title! I actually don’t even write my full job title on my internal emails at work because it’d take up so much space people might think it was a paragraph. My job title also doesn’t really reflect the reality of what I do, which potentially makes it entirely useless (One hopes this is not the opinion my boss has of me as an employee, never mind the job title.)

The idea of a job title is to explain what you do in your employment. Well, I think that is what its supposed to be but sometimes I think it might just be to make me feel a little more important than I am.

I once worked in a job where they changed our job title, made it sound much more impressive, but the job itself never actually changed. One Friday I left as one job title and arrived on the Monday to a new one. But nothing actually changed about my day to day tasks and my motivation or self worth was definitely not impacted by what they called me. (And to be honest, till the day I left, we still called ourselves the older job title, so the branding exercise never exactly worked.)

I have some other titles in my life though, and these tend to be more important.
I am a friend
I am a brother
I am a son
I am a husband
I am a father!

I read a blog post this week by Mitch Teemley on his blog “The Power Of Story” where he told the story of challenging a young man that he wasn’t father to his multiple children if he didn’t support them.
See Post Here

This is a brave and a provocative statement. I wonder how many of us really think about being a father as a job? A job title? A role?

Second to that, I wonder how many of us take more pride in our employment job titles than we do in the title of father?

I have to be honest here, there have been many times over the past month when I have been sat at my desk in the evening, considering going home, but feeling the pressure of the work I needed to get done. Sadly, in that moment, the pressure of a beautiful and mouthy little 1 year old and a loving wife (the mouthy one is the 1 year old, the wife will slap me if I don’t clarify! The 1 year old will try and poke my eyes out whatever I say, it’s her thing!) waiting at home for me. In that moment, my priorities were shown to be what they are. Am I a father first or a (insert long self important job title here) first?

Being Daddy is not a 9 to 5 job. It also pays appallingly! It has challenges worse than any boss I have ever worked for but at the same time has provided more joy than finishing that wretched spreadsheet ever could. Y’see, scary as it might be at work I am an employee- at home I am:
* Daddy
* Dishwasher
* Role Model (Poor Child)
* Reader of stories about nut brown hare (don’t ask)
* Someone to cuddle
* Someone to affectionately stick your fingers up his nostrils
* The most important man in my daughters life.

Dads… remember when it feels difficult and it feels like everyone would be better off if you went to the pub, being daddy is the important job title you will ever have. You make more impact in those moments cuddling your child that you ever will on a spreadsheet.

Always and Forever Being Daddy!

Why THIS Blog, and why now?

Forever being daddy is about something massively important. Being a Dad. But why write this blog? And why write it now? Here is the answer, you might be surprised?

Welcome to “Forever Being Daddy.” This is a place you are welcome and a community passionate about fathers and the roles we have in the little lives who depend on us. But before we get into the nitty gritty, I wanted you to know why this blog has come about and why start writing it now?

Since I became the father to a beautiful little girl, it has become apparent to me that fatherhood is a massively misunderstood, poorly encouraged and an extremely difficult job. Part of the misunderstanding of the role of a father seems to be shown in the films and TV shows we watch. How many times have you seen a bumbling useless dad, getting confused, forgetting what he’s doing and ending up making a comical mess of the whole kit and caboodle (yes, that is an actual word, I googled it!)

What really surprises me, is not only do men and women find amusement in such a character, but often us fathers do as well. We like to poke fun at ourselves, have a bit of banter and play the role of the bumbling dad, trying to get things right but getting it so wrong.

I really want this blog to engender that sense of fun. That irreverent humour. The comradery of incompetence (I like that phrase, it can stay!) But I also want us to be aware of a critical danger to our lives and by extension our society. Y’see while we like to smile and joke with the rest of the culture at our role in the world. If we’re not careful, it can step beyond a joke and we can start to believe it. So many and so often are the jokes about the bumbling and useless dad that we start to personify the role. We can start to live down to those expectations and even worse, we can give up, give in and use that image as an excuse not to man-up, stand up and be daddy!

So why now? Why the dickens not! The more I talked with my fellow Dads, the more I spoke to Mums about their partners and the more children I saw without a Dad in their life the more I realised that I want to encourage Dads that their role is not just important it is essential! You do not get to walk away from your responsibility as a father, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to. With all that in mind, I started writing a book, and the upshot of writing the book came this blog. I want this to be a place where we can encourage one another, where we can learn to be supportive, where we can have fun, poke fun and mercilessly deride each other with the underpinning of “hope!” It’s time we took our role as fathers serious and I would love you to join me!

You might not be a dad…
Mum
Friend
Wife
Partner
Child
Professor of iconography at Bristol University (I made this person up but if you exist, please introduce yourself)

No matter who you are, what role you have, what gender you are, I hope here you find the information and insight to support those you love in their roles and dads. Maybe, this person isn’t taking their responsibility seriously? Then I hope this is a place where you will find out how to encourage him, challenge him and frankly advise him to be like the rest of us a man-up! Trust me, we all need to man-up now and again!

So welcome to this blog. Please comment, read (possibly not in that order, that won’t be helpful) share on social media and most importantly, start these conversations with the men in your life who are either dads or one day wish to be dads.

Lets change our culture

Lets change our lives

Lets impact our children

Lets have some Men Behaving Daddly

Forever Being Daddy