This week the brilliant dad feature is Andrew.
He is a 32 year old Helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force, and is currently taking advantage of 100 days Shared Parental Leave.
It’s still rather rare for a pilot to take this leave and so people were very curious how he would get on with his MANternity, this being the reason he started the MadDadSkillz Blog.
He has been astounded by its positive reception. The blog is light hearted and funny because the truth is that, while certainly a challenge, the chance to be completely mentally committed to his children is fantastic. Thank you to Andrew for taking part.
1. Have you always wanted to be a dad?
Yes. I grew up with a younger brother and 4 younger cousins next door. I’ve always enjoyed playing with children and I was one of those guys who wanted his own football team of offspring. My wife has spent ten years talking me down to a more manageable number! We currently have a son who is about to be 4 and a daughter who is 9 months old. So more of a mixed doubles team currently.
I was one of the earlier fathers in my peer group and so I’ve answered this one a lot. I tell people it was an incredible experience to witness, especially as both births were so different. Holding that little warm body when they are merely seconds old is a heart warming moment.
However I didn’t have the “I will change my crazy ways” epiphany that some men describe. Maybe because I was ready and looking forward to this stage in my life or maybe I didn’t have many “crazy ways” to change.
3. What have been your most rewarding experiences so far as a Dad?
Seeing my son be such a sweet and kind soul. He has been the model of affection towards his newborn sister and he will randomly get his mother’s attention just to tell her he loves her. The other day he asked his mum to move her long hair behind her ear because he likes her face. He’s going to be a real charmer. I like to think he gets that from me but I suspect my wife might disagree!
Perhaps it sounds cliché but I don’t think there is a better feeling in the world than a proper hug from a three year old and, thankfully, I get a lot.
4. What are some of funniest moments to have happened to you as a dad?
I have a whole post dedicated to the hilarious potty training related incidents we experienced. I think my highlight was getting a running commentary, at full-upset-toddler volume, on my son’s bowel movements while crouched down in an airplane toilet cubicle with the Fasten Seatbelt light flashing at me.
The second was when I tried to explain to him why he needed to lie at Legoland if we wanted to go on the Lego horse ride. He was 3, he needed to be 4. I had prepped him and tested him and it seemed we’d be good. At the front of the line the lady asked “And how old are you, young man?” There was a pause before my son confidently blurted out “7!” Evidently he thought if we were lying it was best to lie big! The lady and I found it hilarious. He got to ride the Lego horse.
5. Have there been any situations with your children that you have found difficult to cope with?
I’ve had to really think about this one. The answer is no, I don’t believe so. I was deployed for 12 months of my son’s first 18 months. That was hard on my wife, and me to an extent. But I was at work, keeping busy and sleeping regularly, plus I didn’t know what I was missing at that stage.
The most challenging has been this period of Shared Parental Leave, trying to balance my desire to play with the kids all day against the need to progress the household chores. A fair bit of my blog deals with my increased appreciation for what my wife does/did during the early years.
I want them to own their own lives. I want them to take the paths and make the decisions that bring them happiness and contentment. I don’t want them to be content in a “lack of ambition” sense but in the sense that they will look around themselves, and in the mirror, and be proud of who they are and what they are doing.
That said, if they truly want their father’s everlasting love, one will be a Professional Wrestler and the other in a Heavy Metal band!