FATHER-HOOD

Aussie dads are a diverse bunch. From stay at home hubbies, to on-duty working fathers, dads make up 20% of our population, and are more involved in parenting than ever before (WOO to the HOO). It’s no surprise that engaged fathers create all sorts of benefits for their kids and subsequently, their wives, so three cheers to our dadfolk who are changing the world and changing the nappies!

We chat with the three ripper dads who grace the cover of KIDDO mag this issue, about how they prepared for the life changing role of fatherhood and what advice they would pass on to dads-to-be.

Brad Symes

Age: 34
Kiddos: Harper (5) and Charlie (2)
How has fatherhood changed you?
I don’t think fatherhood has changed who I am at the core. I’m the same person I’ve always been and still very much hold the same values and outlook on life. Fatherhood does, however, help to put a lot of the little things that you used to worry about into perspective. I remember thinking that I needed to have 11 hours uninterrupted sleep to play a good game of footy, now if I pump out more than 5, I feel lazy for having overslept!
How did you prepare for parenthood?
Danielle and I were really the first of our friendship group(s) to have kids so we didn’t have a lot of “new parent” friends to draw advice or inspiration from. We both come from amazingly tight-knit and supportive families though so we got plenty of advice along the way on that front (for better or worse). We did read a few books in the lead up (and I use the term ‘we’ quite loosely) and Save Our Sleep was the pick of the bunch. It isn’t the answer for everyone but it definitely was for us.
How does your parenting style compare to that of your own dad?
I don’t think I differ too much to how my dad goes about things. A lot of people judge a parent’s success by how well their kid turns out, so under that logic I think my dad has almost done the perfect job, haha! My dad was disciplined enough with me that I always knew he was the parent but kind and supportive enough that I also knew I had a best friend. I hope to strike the same balance with Harper and Charlie.
What is your favourite thing about being a dad?
It’s those rare moments when you are all at home together, both kids are being adorable, nobody is fighting and there’s actually nowhere else in the world you’d rather be.
What are your 3 top tips for new dads?
– Look after your wife. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being a new dad is all about how to take care of your child. If you can support your partner and ensure that she is enjoying being a new mum, then parenting together should be a breeze.

Nick Lawrence

Age: 30
Kiddos: Frankie (1) and another on the way
How has fatherhood changed you?
I’ve become more patient and less selfish. Although I have a way to go, I understand that I now have someone who I am responsible for.
How did you prepare for parenthood?
Luckily for me, my wife Lucy was incredibly prepared and researched so I was able to learn so much from her, and still do. We did a hypnobirthing course through Kate at My Private Midwife. This was incredibly valuable and educated me so much on not only the beautifully natural birth process but the health system as well. I found the internet to be a dark and scary place, however, I was able to get a few tips from Raising Children, a government resource.
How does your parenting style compare to that of your own dad?
As I’ve grown older, I found myself with more and more similarities to my dad. My dad worked two jobs when I was young to ensure we would be fine. Although I didn’t know it at the time, he taught me a valuable lesson on parenting; to serve without acknowledgment or recognition.
Differently, I am trying to spend as much time as possible with Frankie and form a really secure attachment, something I probably don’t have with my dad. We are trying to allow space for emotion, both happy, sad, and everything in between.
What is your favourite thing about being a dad?
Watching Frankie learn and find joy in everything!
What are your 3 top tips for new dads?
– Learn as much as you can about the birth process before the baby comes. Be involved, and support when needed.
– Spend as much time with your baby as you can and develop your own special relationship.
– Try not to stress. Babies are resilient and if you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.

Joe Godsell

Age: 35
Kiddos: Eve (3), Zac (9 months)
How has fatherhood changed you?
Fatherhood changes everything! You now have something that is more important than yourself and that is amazing, but also really hard. I’ve become more disciplined with my time at work because it’s more precious. If I work late, I miss a few hours of my child’s life! I am now closer, but also more distant, with my wife. We share two young children which is an unbreakable bond, but sometimes we don’t talk about anything deeper than whose turn it is to change a nappy… I miss that.
How did you prepare for parenthood?
We attended pre-natal classes at the hospital which helped a lot. It’s basic stuff, but it gives you the confidence when it is for real. The main help for me was having friends and siblings who have been through it before, people who really understand what you are about to go through and will tell you exactly how it is. The good, the bad and the hideous!
How does your parenting style compare to that of your own dad?
It’s probably the same, we are quite similar characters although I am a bit quicker to the boil than he is. My dad was always around, always kind and enjoyed to laugh. I try and emulate that as much as I can, but I take my parenting skills from both of my parents.
What is your favourite thing about being a dad?
Play time; especially outdoors. Seeing my kids laugh and being out in the fresh air is absolutely amazing. I work in an office all week and when I get home it’s straight into dinner / bath / bed, so any time that we can go to the park or pool is fantastic. Also, seeing them grow, physically and mentally; it makes me immensely proud when they do something new.
What are your 3 top tips for new dads?
– Never underestimate how hard it is for the person who stays at home with the kids.
– Accept the fact that your life has changed and don’t try and fight it.
– Tell your partner you love them and work as a team.

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