Teambaby™ for Dads
As a single mother raising a boy I used to wonder at the differences of the sexes. Why couldn't he sit still for more than five minutes? Why did he, when it rained, delight in being covered in mud from head to toe? How on earth could he eat that much and where did he put it? Being the eldest of three girls, my son opened up a whole new world. A guy friend put me onto a great book, Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph a life saver twenty odd years ago when the internet was still a baby and social media was reading newspapers in bed together on a Sunday morning.
A lot of the support and resources out there are for mums, yet research shows over 50% of men don’t feel prepared to be a father. The most comprehensive national study to be conducted on dad's attitudes to parenting was the National Fatherhood's Initiative Pop's Culture Survey and it revealed that only 54% of dads "agreed" to being prepared for fatherhood. Why isn't every man prepared? Why isn't every man supported? Lets take a look at what men can put in their tool box of parenthood to step up to, rather than step away from the challenge of being a father.
Get Local Support
If you join your local NCT classes you will find how to do all of those mysterious parental skills such as Burbing the Baby, Feeding the Baby, the deadly art form of Changing a Nappy (an essential with little boys on the art of how to avoid getting a shot of pee in the eye and little girls who need different cleaning methods). You will be able to catch the eye of another nervous new dad and before you know it, you will be debriefing pregnancy stories and curries at the local. It’s a great way to meet other families in your area and get support and help from men in the same position as you. When teaching a group of parents one of my strongest objectives as a teacher is to get you guys to bond. You are the tiger at the door of the labour ward, the one who can make her voice heard, the one who knows how to comfort her when she needs it and the one she loves and adores, (yes even when she is shouting "Don’t you ever come near me again or I'll kill you ! ")
But the classes are so much more than that, they are an investment into your family at every level. Usually it’s the men who are great at the research and statistics, gathering and sifting through data until both of you as a couple can reach an informed choice for what the best way forward for you as a family. Fully informed and fully prepared. Check out their free resources.
Shy Bairns Get Nowt
Or for those of you who don’t speak Geordie you've got to ask for what you want. Even though it’s a completely uncharted territory for most men just remember that 50% of that baby is still you.
If you are based in the UK check out The Fatherhood Institute (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, LinkedIn) and the Fathers Network Scotland (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube) they offer training, research and newsletters. Both Think Tanks are slightly different from the other and can open up whole new avenues for you to consider.
Dad info (LinkedIn, Facebook, G+) is an easy site to navigate and offers good, solid advice and signposting. You can engage on their forum and a blog dad's sharing their perspectives and experiences.
Bounty (Twitter, LinkedIn) the pregnancy and parenting club offer New Dad's Survival Guide. There's lots of practical guidance, discussions and information. It’s especially usefully for first time dads.
Not much of a reader and more of a TV kind of guy? Check out the Parenting Channel videos on You Tube. There are some real key areas that are explored here and Dad's giving the low down on their experiences. The Dad Network (found on every social media there is) created by Alex Fergurson brings together an ever- growing community of dads across the world. His Vlog on You Tube is both touching and entertaining and his Baby poo's on daddy has gone viral and a real snapshot of parenting.
Over The Pond
Our American cousins haven't been shy on coming forward about their role as fathers. The National Fatherhood Ininiative is based in the USA but they are very internet friendly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They offer downloadable E books, the Father Factor blog and a community of online support. The National Centre for Fathering offers subscription to a weekly e mail and Vlog and gives access to research and it’s really interesting to see other men's perspectives.
So Daddio, remember you rock! A real dad is never perfect but knows that
“The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.”
David Bowie Moulin Rouge
© Rachel Rafiefar
All rights reserved