Sunday, April 7, 2013

Celebrate Fatherhood: What It Means to Be A Dad | Guestpost by Daddy Matt Down Under

Sakura Haruka is not a blog just about celebrating motherhood. It shares the joys {& frustrations!} of parenting and of families as a whole. Inspired by my hubby's thoughts on being a dad, Celebrate Fatherhood is thus a monthly series where daddies from all walks of life share insights about what fatherhood means to them, and how we can appreciate their role in a family too.

I sincerely thank all those who took the time to guest post for me. Most of those I approached were very supportive and enthusiastic about this new series, sharing my belief that being an involved dad, and getting the dads involved, is important in building a strong family. If you have a story to share, please email me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.

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Being a Dad is everything to me and the longer I do it the more it defines who I am. I don't want Max to have an ordinary upbringing; I want it to be extraordinary. I treat it like a job and every day I pour every bit of energy into making Max's day full of love and happiness. What it means to be a Dad has changed for me over time, initially my instinct was to protect Max, over time I began to focus on injecting fun and excitement into his days and now my priority is to shape and mould him into the person I want him to be.

I try to be guided by my instincts as much as possible and pick up on the cues and clues Max leaves for me. I also reflect on my own upbringing a lot and think about my relationship with my Dad and some of the things that he did really well. Like any parent I make mistakes along the way but those mistakes are less frequent as I begin to appreciate the importance of being proactive to nullify potential problems rather than reacting to them once they happen.

Above all else it's important for me to expose Max to what I would call a 'real childhood'. That means climbing trees, building dens, making bows and arrows and generally being a boy. I hate the idea of wrapping him in cotton wool removing all potential for adventure and yes a little bit of danger. I am also a stickler for good old fashioned manners and will do my best to raise my son to know the difference between right and wrong.

Being a Dad is also about leading by example and challenges me to push myself to be a better person. I want Max to grow up with a sense that he can achieve anything and to get every little bit of happiness out of life he can. I want him to realise, as clichéd as this sounds, that you do only get one life and to get the most from it. I have this absurd notion that we will be best mates all the way through our journey and that he is going to keep me feeling young and alive.

I am appreciated very much as a father by my wife and that's very important. I know that she would rather be the main carer but she sees that he is getting everything he needs from me and trusts me implicitly. I don't always feel appreciated as a stay at home parent by outsiders, attitudes towards stay at home Dads are certainly a lot more progressive these days but I still get the odd comment or quizzical look. In the early days of caring for Max when I was still learning the ropes this used to bother me but now it really is water off a ducks back because without wanting to sound smug I know I'm doing a good job. Most importantly the fact that Max is such a happy smiley little boy informs me that he appreciates the job I do.

Parenting demands so much of you, it requires a level of selflessness that I didn't previously possess. I'm honest enough to admit that there are days when I wish I didn't have to do it but then he flashes me a smile and all that melts away. I always had a notion that I wanted to be a dad. I even convinced myself it was my calling, some people are here to be doctors, some people are here to be lawyers, some people are even here to be traffic wardens, I thought I was here to be a dad and I still do. For some people that might sound unambitious but for me it's the height of ambition.

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Originally from England but currently living in Melbourne with his wife and son, Matt Ross writes an honest, insightful and humorous blog in which he shares his misadventures as a stay-at-home parent to Master Max. He hopes that on reading his stories, other dads will be compelled to share their own parenting stories, and mums will gain insight into the inner sanctum of the male psyche and fatherhood.

Everyone has their calling to be who they want to, dream to be. Being a parent is definitely a prestigious "job" in my book. Not everyone has the tenacity, the strength, the selflessness and power to love someone other more than themselves, and to let their heart walk outside their body forever more. It may not "pay" the best, but the rewards from being a parent are definitely priceless.    


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5 comments:

Theresa said...

What a sweet post. I always love reading them from a father's point of view. I like the part about adding in fun- tree climbing, fort building, ect. I am a big advocate for getting down in the mud with the kids. They are young for such a short time, the play years should be the best we can make for them!

alissa apel said...

So sweet! My husband plays with our kids so much. I'm so lucky to have a husband that loves playing with our kids.

SengkangBabies said...

Thanks Matt for the heartfelt post, keep up the good work !

cheers, Andy (SengkangBabies.com)

mail4rosey said...

I love when dads tout being a parent, and it's so right that it IS a prestigious job. What job is more important? This is a great post!

daddownunder said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, it was fantastic to sit down a write a post as indulgent as this one, all about me and my son.