Guest blog by Hayley‘s husband, Jimmy
I love being a dad. Why wouldn’t I? I’m the proud father of two healthy and happy boys, Austin and Alfie. I’m pretty sure they even think I’m cool. That’ll fade in coming years, so I’ll milk it for now.
The other day, Hayley asked what I love about being a dad. Straight away, I think about all the great things and how my life changed for the better, nearly five years ago. But, it’s not all beer and Skittles. In fact, I only enjoy the occasional beer and absolutely no Skittles… because they’re a choking hazard for our little guy, Alfie.
All dad jokes aside, I’ve found there are plenty of highs and lows about being a dad:
16 highs and lows of being a new DAD
1. HIGH: Putting an old wig on and scaring the crap out of my boys. What is it about a wig that’s so scary? I have no idea, but it gets results. LOW: Consoling my kids until they’re ready to go again.
2. HIGH: I don’t sweat the small stuff nearly as much as I used to. A bad day at work can be insignificant when I think about coming home to my boys. Unless of course, when I get home they’re acting like Gremlins… I want to jump straight back in the car and listen to Jeremy Cordeaux and Leon Byner solving Adelaide’s problems on 5AA. Not sure if this is a HIGH or LOW: Being a dad means I listen to talkback now.
3. HIGH: Anything my boys create. My Fathers’ Day tie is possibly the best yet, because it’s functional too!
4. LOW: All of my fears and emotions have been amplified since becoming a dad. My heart doubled when Austin was born, then doubled again when Alfie came along.
Now, there’s a lot of room for other people’s pain too. It doesn’t matter if it’s friends, family or someone I don’t know; when I see people going through the unimaginable, I really struggle to process it.
I also look at the heart-breaking things my dad and Hayley’s dad have had to deal with in their lives. I question whether I’d have the strength to cope if ever faced with what they’ve been through. I guess being a dad means projecting an image of strength for those around you, even when you’re feeling shit-scared too?
5. HIGH: My kids think I’m a handyman. Yep, I’ve changed a few light bulbs and done “stuff” outside. My dad was the same — totally had me fooled into thinking he could fix anything! LOW: Having to admit defeat and calling a tradie.
6. LOW: Surfs are much shorter and less frequent. I’m also way more cautious after a couple of big scares in the water. HIGH: When I push through those fears and have a good surf, it’s the best feeling in the world. I love driving home from Victor Harbor with coffee in hand and the feet heater cranking, to see Hayley and the boys.
7. HIGH: Photoshop gives me “the power” to turn Austin into all of his favourite villains and heroes: Kylo Ren, Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Dash from The Incredibles and John Snow (his mum’s favourite character). He’ll stare at these pics for hours.
8. LOW: I hate buying the kids lots of lame toys. HIGH: Getting my old stuff out of boxes, including posters Hayley put the kibosh on years ago. ADDITIONAL HIGH: Seeing other dads and their amazing collections from when they were kids. Like one very cool dad, Anthony, has an insane collection of Star Wars toys in their original boxes. He actually spent a lot of money to send this old stuff out from his home in the UK, just so his two boys (and I) can play with it!
9. HIGH: Getting to watch all of the classics I loved as a kid, like The Thunderbirds, The Muppets, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Star Wars. HIGH: Getting to watch all the movies I never would have. Can’t believe I had never seen Beethoven or Home Alone 2 before I became a dad — brilliant movies! LOW: Seeing the same bits of each movie OVER AND OVER AGAIN… but never the end. I still have no idea what happens at the end of Bee Movie, Minions, Richie Rich or Garfield.
10. HIGH: Kicking ass on skill testers and giving my boys credit for the win. LOW: My boys take it for granted and think you get a toy every time you put money in.
11. LOW: How they see me. Austin’s drawings are a serious reality check — I’m not very tall and I have a big nose. HIGH: I love it when he adds lightsabers, just for the hell of it. ADDITIONAL HIGH: He’s obsessed with villains, so he often draws me as Luke and himself as Vadar. Even though it would make more sense the other way around (roles of father and son are reversed), I don’t complain. I always wanted to be Luke!
12. HIGH: Pancakes for dinner. I’m not a bad cook, but sometimes it’s more about putting a smile on my boys’ faces, than filling them up with nutritious food. LOW: They always ask for them.
13. LOW: I always contradict myself. “Don’t fill up on junk before dinner”, I say as I’m ploughing through a bag of potato Thins.
14. LOW: Since becoming a dad, my biggest weaknesses have been exposed. For me, it’s temper and time management. Now, I really understand how kids can push their parents to breaking point.
15. HIGH: Regular Sunday morning coffee ‘n’ park sessions with my mates and their kids. The mums tell themselves (and each other) they need this time to catch up on sleep. I pretend to agree with this “mum logic”, because this is a great way to stay in touch with my mates. LOW: I barely get to speak with my mates, because we’re all chasing around after our kids.
16. LOW: My four-year-old son gets stuck into me for taking too long in the bathroom. Dammit, I’ve become that dad! But, I won’t ever be the dad with the newspaper.
Moustaches used to be enough for your kids to think you were cool. Now, I realise you need to work a lot harder to become a great dad. For me, a big part of it is dominating skill tester machines all over Adelaide.
The other part is making the most of every day with my two boys. It won’t be long before they’re all grown up and no longer have time to eat breakfast with me every morning, watch Muppet movies over and over again, or let me put an old wig on and scare the crap out of them.