Brilliant Dad Feature Week 122

This week our brilliant dad feature is Chris McGuire and he blogs at Out Of Depth Dad, which I recommend you check out. You won’t be disappointed.

He is a writer and stay at home dad to his one year old son Sam, and he lives with his partner in Devon.

His blog is called The Out of Depth Dad because he says he often feels like he is in over his head. Chris says it’s not easy this ‘Dad’ thing! How right he is!

Thank you to Chris for taking part

1. Have you always wanted to be dad?

I’ve always wanted to be a dad, yet somehow I expected an amazing transformation to happen to me – that would make me ‘ready’. I thought one morning I’d wake up and feel like a ‘proper adult’ and know that I was ready for fatherhood. That (unsurprisingly) never happened. As such, I didn’t feel ready when my son Sam arrived. But if I’d waited until I felt 100% prepared I’d have been 90 and still unsure. I’m learning that nobody is really ready for the responsibility that being someone’s dad brings. You just get on with it and hope for the best. I still look for an adult when things get tough – then realize that person is me!

2. How did you feel when your children were born?

The birth of my son was simultaneously one of the best and most stressful days of my life. Sam was premature and the labour was tricky, ending in a C-section. We spent around a month in neonatal care with him after his birth – which was hard. It did however give me such a respect for the amazing work done by the NHS. Outside of the fear and dawning sense of responsibility, I felt awe. How could my partner and I have created something so wonderful? My son was and still is the most precious gift. I try to remind myself of that when he wakes me up in the early hours!

3. What have been your most rewarding experiences as a dad so far?

It’s amazing how rewarding even small things can be. Sam’s first smile, a real smile not wind, came at the perfect moment, after a tough period. It was like an oasis appearing in a desert – making all the tough times feel worth it. Similar feelings came with laughter and all the little developments he’s been through. Recently Sam has learned to clap. Suddenly “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” feels like a proper song. It’s so nice to see how pleased Sam is in his own progress.

4. What are some of the funniest moments to have happened to you as a dad?

A lot of things that have happened to me in Sam’s first year only seem funny retrospectively. At the time they were either stressful or frustrating. That said, looking back I do laugh a lot. One incident that comes back to me again and again was when, changing Sam’s nappy, he did an explosive poo that went EVERYWHERE. With one hand I was holding him, while I moved furniture and scrubbed the walls with the other. I had an idea I might look back and laugh, but at the time I was nearer to crying. Tiredness does that to you…

5. Have there been any situations with your children that you have found difficult to cope with?

I’d say the most challenging element of fatherhood so far has been the tiredness. I don’t function well when sleep deprived, so learning to power through (with the help of a lot of coffee) has been a struggle for me. I do need a lot less sleep now, but still fantasize about lie-ins and endless sleep. I’m determined to pay back the favour when Sam’s a teenager. I’ll be waking him up early every day! I might cry and demand milk too!

6. What are your dreams and hopes for your children?

My hope for Sam is simple. I just want him to be happy. I don’t mind how he achieves that. Children, in my view, shouldn’t be vessels for the fulfillment of parents’ dreams. They are their own people who must follow their own paths. Whatever path Sam chooses to take, I’ll support him, as long as he’s happy. – within reason.

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