I’ve been a dad for 18 months, so that obviously means I know everything about parenthood. Obviously.
So ahead of Father’s Day, let me share some of that indisputable wisdom.
Spoiler alert: Like Jon Snow, I know nothing. But I’ve learnt a few things along the way.
- It’s more stressful than you think. No matter how hard you think it’s going to be, it’s harder than that. Being a dad is relentless, and you don’t have to love every moment. You’re always worried about your kid, and there’s always something going on that will make you stressed. Always.
- It’s more expensive than you think. Brace yourself and gird your wallet. Having a kid is expensive. The bills rack up fast. School fees, nappies, clothing (they grow faaaaaast!), food, formula, outings. Having a kid is worth every cent…but they are a lot of cents.
- It’s more rewarding than you think. We’ve raised a girl who loves reading, because she has a mom and dad who love reading. We’ve raised a girl who is strong and independent and a leader (she’s NOT bossy – and if you ever call her that, we’ll fight). We’ve raised a girl with an awesome vocabulary and who learns who quickly. We’ve raised a girl to understand that consent is vital and that you can say no to something and, within reason of course, that thing won’t happen. It’s been a lot of effort and a lot of conscious thought that got us to this point, but it was 100% worth it. Because it is so, so rewarding.
- It is more tiring than you think. You will want to switch off and just have a day or a night or a weekend or a few years off from your kid at some point, because they are exhausting. They don’t stop, they are endlessly inquisitive, they have not learnt fear yet so nothing is too dangerous to attempt, and they will run you ragged. You will want – nay, need – a break from time to time, and that’s okay.
- It’s more trial and error than you think. You’ll never learn everything about being a dad. Ever. What you think you know now will suddenly change a few days later, and when you think you’ve learnt the new thing it’ll change to something else. No two scenarios are the same, even if they seem identical. What works today will flop tomorrow. What flopped today will work a charm tomorrow. Kids are weird, and you’ll never totally get it. You’ll learn and you’ll adapt and you’ll try just about everything – and somehow, maybe by more arse than class, it’ll all work out.
- It’s more wonderful than you think. There is no accomplishment, no achievement, no anything that can compare to what it was like to hold Alice on the day she was born – and it’s a feeling that hasn’t gone away since. They’ll do things that make you love them so deeply and make you so proud of them you won’t know what to do with yourself. Being a dad is incomparably great.
- It’s more fun than you think. The joy – deep down in my heart joy – that I get from Alice is second to nothing. I’ve never thought that chasing a kid around a lounge would be so fun, that making up nonsense songs while changing a nappy could be so much fun. Parenting is hard, but it’s so much fun.
Everything that you think being a dad is, it is – but it’s more. It’s MORE fun, MORE intense, MORE awesome, MORE challenging, MORE expensive, MORE everything than I could ever have expected. And it’s bloody brilliant.
Daddy Father’s Day.