Learning To Be A Dad & Getting It Wrong

I’ve been nervous about posting this, because no man likes to admit he’s a shit dad.

I’ve learned so much on my journey already, I’m surprised that my head hasn’t exploded! One thing that stands out is how much of a better dad I could have been. I’ve gone through life thinking I was an awesome dad. I’ve tried my best, being pretty much self taught. I never really had a father figure growing up. My mum did the best she could and I’m grateful for that, there was my sister and brothers dad who was awesome, but at the time he knew no more about being a dad than I did, but he stood by me for years after he and my mum split. My mums husband now who taught me life skills and about being a man. And my grandad who taught me how to be a gentleman. But I never really learned how to be a dad. A proper dad. I winged it really, the whole time. I did what I thought my kids wanted. Sure my five kids will say “I was awesome” and I’d be inclined to agree with them. But was I really though? Could I have done more? Can I still do more? Bet your arse I can.

My father fucked off when I was three years old and when I decided to track him down in my twenties, he palmed me off with a fake mobile number. His loss I thought. Slightly gutted though. I tracked him down again in my late thirties to discover he’d died five years previous of prostate cancer. I don’t know still to this day how I feel about that. I would’ve liked the chance I think for an explanation. But that chance will never come again, so just gotta crack on I guess.

The last four years have been pretty dark for me as you’ll know if you’ve been following this blog. PTSD has brought me to my knees and nearly destroyed everything around me. I sunk into depression too. I’m fighting my way through the fog though and I’m emerging into the sunshine. I’m smiling again, and life is fantastic! And this is what is spurring me on to pass that smile on to my kids once again.

I want to make it clear at this point, that I’ve always tried my best, or what I thought was my best at the time. Sticking a story CD on instead of actually sitting and reading a book to them. That’s not being a dad. That’s copping out.

Just being there isn’t enough I’ve learned recently. I’ve done a helluva lot with all my kids. But not enough. I’ve always tried to do the right thing which more often than not was the wrong thing. Given them space when they really wanted a cuddle. Given them gifts when all they really wanted was to talk. Given them freedom when all they wanted was love.

I’ve discovered that if I’m smiling, my kids are smiling. If I’m happy and jokey and laughy then so are my kids. It’s funny that it’s them that have taught me this, in a roundabout sort of way. Sure things would have been easier for me had I had a dad to learn from, but all I really needed to do was get my own head out of my own arse and listen to the kids. Then I would have learnt.

I usually claim proudly that I’m an excellent dad. But I’m not. I just thought I was. Shit we all think we’re the best at something don’t we, until your mate says you’re rubbish at that thing. Then you take a step back and you either agree or knock him out. Well in my case, I agree. But now I know, I’m changing. I’m changing the way I am as a dad. And it feels fabulous!

I hope in the future, I can be a better dad to my kids. I hope I can be the daddy they’ve always yearned for. I have faith. I have faith that I will be that dad.

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