Fathers

Fathers

There are many types of fathers, ones that adore and love their children others that would rather be at the gym or out with their mates having a few drinks or socialising.

I guess I always thought I would be with a man who idolises their children. My father wasn’t always around, he was often never home on a weekend choosing to go play bowls and after work on any given weekday he would come home, shower, change and go to the local RSL and be with his mates to drink and play snooker. He also played snooker in competition a few nights per week which meant he often had quite late nights resulting in us not seeing him as he left for work at approx 6am weekdays as he worked in the local sawmill.

My parents broke up when I was 11 so for me to remember my dad never being around, not only breaks my heart but shows me that from a young age he wasn’t ‘present’ in our lives.

I get that he worked to financially support the family however I don’t believe he ‘needed’ to go out socialising every afternoon after work nor every weekend. I don’t actually remember doing anything as a family with both parents and my older sister and younger brother. I think the only memory I have of a family unit is going camping with a few other family’s one year when I was about 5 or 6 years old, sleeping in tents, bathing in the river and having to use a ‘pit toilet’ which was basically a hole in the ground. Mind you I still enjoy camping but have not used a ‘pit toilet’ since that camping trip when I was only 5 or 6 years old.

Throughout my childhood I always thought and wanted a family that was a ‘unit’ don’t to speak. I saw many of my friends with their family’s and wanted to feel included and I guess was a little jealous that their dads were around and spending quality time with them and doing things as a family.

I know that some men find it hard to bond with children and I certainly understand that some men are just too selfish to spend time with their children that they believe it’s the mothers role to raise the children and run the house whilst the support financially. I also understand that majority of fathers are the main financial supporters therefore work longer hours. No disrespect to working mothers here, just making reference to my upbringing.

My dad was the kind of dad that as children, we were scared of. He was the disciplinary of the house although he wasn’t around much he was all too happy to raise both his voice and his hand at us for even the smallest things like not washing the dishes properly or being a few minutes late home from school. I guess he got this trait from his parents as I remember distinctively his mother chasing my sister and I with an electric jug cord threatening to ‘belt’ us with it as we were 5 minutes late home from School. Both our parents worked and majority of the time we were home alone after school until our father got home at approx 5pm or we had to go to his parents house if either of our parents were going to be late.

These days most fathers are still the main financial income however I also believe that most fathers still want to be part of their children’s lives. Many of my friends have wonderful husbands and partners who are actively involved in their children’s lives. This may include helping with dinner time, bath time, bed and also play.

I also have a handful of friends who’s partners / husbands dont do much with their children. They work late – by choice or go to the gym after work to avoid having to help with the children at dinner or bed time. Some fathers even choose to be out late and only come home after the children are asleep in bed.

These kind of fathers break my heart.

Why do they not want to spend this special time with their little ones?

I understand that children can be hard work but they are also so rewarding
and Children are so young and innocent for such a short period of time why not relish in any time that you can have with them?

Do they not cherish these little things? Or do they just not want part of it?

I once had a male friend say to me ‘I’m not a hands on dad nor will I ever be’ he then Proceeded to say that he and 2 of his other mates are the same and that their wives knew this prior to marrying them and their wives should not expect them to help out with the children. Quote ‘it’s just not in our DNA’.

I was taken aback and quite disgusted that he would say such a thing. Who says this, that isn’t a complete prick?

I would have loved my father to be around more and spend more time with me. Perhaps this is why I do my everything for my little guy and love and cherish every moment with him. I would never ever want him to think that I was a non existent parent. I will also make sure that I’m also very hands on with my daughter who is due in approx 3 months.

This then makes me think, why do men go either way with their parenting style?

Did they have terrible fathers which is why they feel they can behave this way also or that they think being non existent in their children’s lives is normal?

Or perhaps their fathers were that non existent that they are over compensating and being such hands on wonderful fathers to ensure that their children will not think of them in such a way?

There was once an article I read in a newspaper about fathers that suggested there are 4 types.

Enforcer Dad, this is the old-fashioned disciplinarian who is not involved with the day-to-day care of children, but sets clear rules and reprimands.

Entertainer Dad one who sees himself as the joker within the family, and chooses to be the friend rather than a parent.

Useful Dad, willing to help out with day-to-day childcare and household tasks, but still taking his lead from his wife.

Fully Involved Dads, these dads are equally involved with the daily running of the home and family, with the mother and father roles interchangeable.

Can you be both a parent and a friend to your children?

I know a few dads that don’t spend a lot of time with their children but spend a lot of money on them. This isn’t something I agree with as I don’t think gifts equal love. I understand it’s an expression of love however I don’t think anything can compare to your father actually spending quality time with you. Time doesn’t cost a thing but it’s so valuable.

I think yes you can. Children need direction, discipline and love but I think that they will respect you more for being a disciplinary rather than a friend when they are mature enough to understand.

I know that I’m the disciplinary with my little guy. His father works late most nights so I do all the dinner, bath and bed every night. Even on a weekend. I therefore am with him 90% of the time alone and have to be the disciplinary. It can be tiring as they are long days but I actually enjoy doing these things for and with my little guy. I get that this is a sacrifice that my husband makes, missing out on time with our little guy and it saddens me but I am trying my best to raise him the best I can. To raise him to become a gentleman and also a kind, loving, respectful person. He calls me his best friend but I also know that with his tears from the time out and being disciplined he still loves me and hopefully will respect me.

My little guy is 2 and is still learning and asserting himself but I believe in leading by example and if I can be a good parent, I’m hoping I raise good children.