I told my dad about my blog over Christmas and he promised to have a read. It wasn’t until we spoke this week that I realised how much times have changed since he was in my position. Being a dad has always meant the same thing, but so much has altered with regard to most other things: namely, dads talking about being dads.
After reading through my stuff, my dad gave me a ring. It’s a bit of a funny one really, we are really close but we haven’t actually spoken about the “being a dad” stuff – except for the obvious “how is the baby”, “how’s Lis getting on with it?”, “are you excited?” – we haven’t talked too much about what being a dad entails. I guess nobody really told him what to expect and he did a good job with me (I think anyway!). His dad never talked to him about what to expect (in fact I don’t think he talked to dad at all) so short of asking about the baby, we never really get on to the topic of fatherhood…
That’s when our little chat got quite interesting. Out of nowhere, dad started talking about when him and mum were expecting me. He told me that he was literally clueless when I arrived. He had to learn the ropes pretty quickly and 28 years and 2 months ago, “there just want the help you lot have to day.” I’m pretty sure he means the internet. My dad was involved in everything from the start, just how I hope to be, but there was some very negative social stigma about being too involved as a dad. In 1988 when I came into the world, things were a lot different. He had a few days with me before having to go back to work and my mum was left literally and proverbially holding the baby. All of this seems so strange to me because having children (although biologically the same – of course) is so, so different to how it was then.
Today dads are able to be more publically involved with their babies. Some of the social stigma surrounding fatherhood is being abolished and slowly, society is seeing dads as equal in terms of parenting abilities to mums. Maybe it is something to do with Instagram and Facebook? I don’t know but the rise of the internet has given dads much more of a voice. Not only that, in terms of paternity, dads now have equal rights to mums. I think it’s amazing when dads stay at home and look after the baby. I secretly wish I could but logistically, it just wouldn’t work (hint, hint for next time Lis if you’re reading).
While we were talking, dad said how much he liked the blog. It was strange for me to hear him open up about how he felt all of the same things as I was talking about on The Honest Dad when I was on the way. The difference, he said, was that in 1988 dads didn’t really talk too much about their babies coming. He said that short of a diary (so old school) there want a way of recording feeling like this either. It was so nice to actually hear him talking about when he was expecting me and my sister. It is sad to think that men were far less inclined to talk about fatherhood years ago. The world is a funny place and people conform to strange things.
It is mad how much the times have changed. I’m buzzing about being a dad and I’m so happy that I can actually talk about it without worrying about being branded negatively. In a time of disillusionment and Donald Trump, at least there is some light in the world.