Monday, 1 September 2014

Episode Thirty Four: Be Human

Hey team, long time no see!

I haven't written for a while because I've had a crazy Winter. We've had stomach bugs, the flu, floods, rats in the ceiling, glue ear and everything in between. All in all, I've been living a very human life and this is what I want to talk to you about.

 A few months back I wrote about how my plan was to go from a 'How To' blog to a documentation of what I've been doing with my children. I was hoping to inspire you along the way. Unfortunately over the last few months it's felt like I've just been keeping my head above water. My baby girl hasn't been sleeping at night and either my wife and I end up sleeping in her bed or she with us. My youngest boy needs his second lot of grommets, has just started school and can't hear a thing. My oldest boy is struggling at school and not getting the support he needs. My wife and I are exhausted and so we haven't done many amazing things with our children. I barely have time to jump on the trampoline after work or play Lego before dinner. That's about the extent of what I've done with them. It's not that I've been neglecting them, I just haven't done anything Instagrammable, blog-worthy or pinnable. What I'm really trying to say to you, is that I've just been human. I'm no superhero. I'm no Father of the Year. I'm just a busy Dad trying to do the best he can. Sometimes that's all we can do. And guess what? That's OK.

What I've been trying to practise in between the book reading and the swing-pushing with my children is being real around them. I've talked to them about my feelings, my struggles, my guilt and my worries. Not to scare them or to upset them, but to show them that I'm human. I always tell people that my own relationship with my Dad started off with me thinking he was Superman, growing up to be a teenager and realising he was just a human, the becoming a parent myself and finding he was super human. I think there is danger in portraying ourselves as infallible and indestructible to our children.

I like to think that I'm raising healthy children by painting a realistic picture about what it means to be a Dad - and a large part of that puzzle is just being a human trying to find your way. I often tell my oldest son that I don't exactly know what I'm doing. I tell him that he reaches the milestones first and thus he is the testing ground for my parenting. Sometimes I will make a decision or discipline him and a day later come back and change my mind or apologise. I explain to him that I'm learning as I go along and I make mistakes. It's important to me that he knows that I'm in control of his parenting and that no matter what: all my decisions and actions come from a place of love and growth. But it's also important for me to show him that I'm just a guy who had kids. Nothing more, nothing less.

I think that sometimes we put up a facade when we're dealing with our children that gives them a false sense of who we are. This can extend to the people in our lives: our work colleagues, our wives, our family. Sometimes it can really ease the stress and the expectations that we put on ourselves (or rid the expectations we think people hold of us) by showing the people around us that we're just human and there's nothing wrong with that.

Have fun!

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