Happy Father’s Day.

Hi dads it’s Father’s Day and to mark the ocassion my good friends at The positive planner have set a Father’s Day challenge it’s very simple you choose four of the following questions in the photo below. You then make a one minute video. I have done that and the video is posted on my twitter and Instagram. I will also post the video at the end of this blog. I however with the kind permission of The Postitve Planner have been given permission to write a blog using all of his questions so here goes.
What is your proudest moment as a dad?

I have lots of proud moments with both of my kids so it’s hard to pick one moment that stands out I have one for each of my kids. Andrew is younger so for me the little things make me proud his first steps stand out the most to me I had wanted him to start walking for months and it seemed like it would take forever but one day he stood up and walked and he hasn’t stopped since.

My proudest moment with Elizabeth involves my Christian faith, I try not to be to strict with the kids as I don’t want them to be scared in to going to church or one day hate it so much they resent us for taking them or forcing faith on to them however we do as a family go to church, we study the bible, we pray and we do tell our kids what we believe about Jesus. One day I was having a hard day both kids had been playing up and PND getting me down, I snapped at Elizabeth to shut up something I shouldn’t have done I hugged her immediately and told her I was sorry daddy was a bit down. Her words were the words that made me the proudest daddy ever . “It’s ok dadddy can we pray together? We can ask god to help.” 

What were your expectations of fatherhood?

Ok this one is easy, I thought fatherhood would be a piece of piss. I thought I would have my baby, we would be complete. I though it would be easy.. if this is your first time to my blog read all my posts to see how wrong I was.

What Is your fondest moment?

Another easy on this will be this photo it’s Elizabeth holding Andrew for the first time nearly two years on they are still partners in crime. 

What was your most shocking dad moment?

Ok well we were in Hastings last year at Combe haven holiday park, there was a competition were you had to put your child on a tommy tikes rocking horse and run with them across the dance floor to a cone and back the quickest person one a snap band we were winning that… I was last up I had 5 seconds to beat.. Go 1…. 2….. we reached the cone we were going to do it……. 3………. 4……. crap my pants were falling down I was going to fall we had to win this so I pushed elizabeth and that rocking hoarse as hard as I could……..,5….. we had done it we had won I looked up just at the moment that elizabeth flew off the horse…. oppss oh well we won… 

What have you found the hardest?

Adjusting to being a dad and developing PND was the hardest, I struggled to bond if you have been on my blog before you will have read all about it if not spend some time having a look around.. 

Apart from that I found it hard not seeing my mates as much I had responsibilities now. That leads me to the next question.

How has it [being a dad] affected your relationship with friends.

I haven’t lost any friends over it however I was one of the first in my group of friends to have kids so there was a lot of times I couldn’t go out, I also chose not to go out as much all my friends understood but I found myself not being invited out as much. When most of them became dads we started going out more again. They understood how hard it was being a dad and finding time for friends.

How did you cope with the stress of parenthood?

Not very well at all I struggled to bond with Elizabeth, I developed PND and got very ill.. it took me a long time to learn to cope with the stress.. I learnt some days you will cope better than others and when you have a bad day just take a breath and focus on the good.

So that’s all the questions complete. Thanks to The Positve planner for all these question and letting me answer them all, why not pick just four questions and make your own video post it on twitter and Facebook with #fathersfeeltoo.

Here is my video

Make sure you follow me @thepnddaddy on twitter and instagram. And follow the Positve planner on twitter and instagram ‪@Positiv_planner ‬on twitter and instagram too.

Not Just an ornament in the corner

So I have announced Me and Mel are expecting our third baby and couldn’t be happier about this, since me and Mel found out in April we were going to have a baby one thing really had me anxious and if I’m honest out of all the anxieties I get during Mels pregnancy this one is still one of my biggest anxieties. That anxiety is becoming just another ornament in the corner of the room.  

Let me explain a little of what I mean when I say this, for most dads this won’t need much explanation as you will have all been there, it’s that horrible feeling of sitting in a chair whilst your midwife or health visitior has a long in depth conversation about “your wife’s” baby or at least that’s how it feels at the time. If your a dad expecting your first you will have at least one moment like that, although if your at the birth and your lucky enough not to have had this moment don’t decide that the time is now to be an ornament in a chair as your wife will most probably squeeze your balls so hard you won’t be having anymore kids.

You definitely won’t feel like an or ornament at the birth or at least you shouldn’t. The times I am talking about is all those little appointments that you get dragged to before and after birth. Usally it will be with a midwife or health visitor who will be talking about mum and baby.

At this point I want to make it clear I am not slagging any midwives or health visitors off, they are doing an amazing job on a limited budget and everything they are doing is exactly right they are there to look after mum and baby, make sure that everything is going well both before and after baby is born and they do an amazing Job, it is not their fault I feel like this they are doing their Job. I know some amazing midwives including my mum and even know a few good health visitors. The truth is rightly or wrongly at the points before and after there is a focus on mum and baby. I will talk about the rights and wrong on another blog.

Now to why this has become such a big anxiety of mine, when both my kids were born at every appointment and visit before I admitted I needed help when ever I tried to talk I was shot down. Especially with my first, at our first meeting Mel was called in and we got up together and went to walk in, the midwife pointed at me and said very abruptly “not you, I want to talk to your wife first” straight away I was left feeling anxious wondering what I was missing, was I going to miss something important. Soon after I was summoned to the midwifes room and I sat still holding Mels hand. The midwife asked a question about Health in the family Mel answered I piped up and said I have that in my family. Again the midwife snapped “not your family, we don’t care about your family” from that point on I never spoke I was an ornament sitting next to my wife at every appointment even after birth when was struggling I didn’t talk as I felt I wasn’t important, it was Mel they were there for not me. 

You see everything the midwife did was right, when I was told to wait whilst the midwife spoke to Mel, was to make sure she was happy with me, to make sure I wasn’t abusing her or controlling her and I totally agree that midwives check this, again checking all conditions on mums side is right as a lot of things pass on maternal side. It was the tone and temperament of that midwife that led to me spending the next two pregnancies as this object in the corner too scared to talk. If she had even spoken gently and with a better tone I might not have had this anxiety.

Now to big up one of the most amazing midwives I have met to date apart from my mother, although I’m bias. 

We have had both our kids in Norfolk so now we’re back in Liverpool we both feel like it’s our first again as things change slightly from area to area. We arrived at the appointment and Mel was told to go sign in whilst I waited I was preparing myself to sit quietly and nod. Mel came back and we were soon called in to see the midwife from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, her name was Anna. She was amazing I was anxious and not wanting to get involved, she brought up mental health and I thought I’m going to Speak up. I told Anna I had suffered from PND and her response was amazing, she said to me “for the purpose of her document it only needs to know about mum, but please do tell me how you suffered” we spoke at lengths about my PND what happened and how I found help, we also talked about how more needs to be done for dads and she advised I talk to the help team on the maternity website for new parents, something I haven’t done yet but I will be doing very soon.

Since that moment I have stopped feeling like an ornament, I felt like someone cared even though Anna was there to make sure Mel and baby were ok, I felt involved and felt like someone cared about Mel, the baby and me.

I believe most men will feel like this ornament in the corner at times, judging what other dads have said to me I am sure we have all felt like this, I don’t have all the Answers I dont know how we can change this feeling like an ornament, all I do know is if more health care professionals were like my Mum and Anna, doing their jobs well but going above and beyond, to even talk to us guys the world would be a better place. 

Bathing with the kids

I saw a photo on Facebook that made me angry so angry I have had to blog about it but even as a write this I am frustrated that I am I writing this blog. I apologise if this ends up being a rant that’s not what I want my blog to be about but I feel we need to talk about and nip some common misconceptions in the bud, so here is what’s got me all in a fluster.

I was flicking through Facebook and I see it. A photo with a man and his daughter having a bath, the photo never annoyed me it was the caption, below this photo of a man enjoying a perfect natural photo of a father bonding with their child was the caption. 

“No man should bath with their child. How wrong is this”

What the actual duck was I reading this right I took a second look, yep I was reading it right, ok I thought let’s read the comments all these idiots trolling putting down this man, luckily I looked through the internet and found a similar photo on there asking if it’s ok for a dad to bath with their kids thankfully most on there were saying yes it’s ok. I thought I would Check with some mums on a PND support group and have a little see what they thought and thank fully they all agreed with the fact that dads should have baths with there kids. So I felt a little better but why do we still even need to ask this question in the 21st century men are actually trying to take the lead with their children to actually do more than they ever have, we are trying to bond with our kids and one of the best ways of bonding is skin to skin yet when we embrace that and make a step to be more active with our children some people still don’t get it. 

If I was to ask,  should a woman bath with their boy or girls? Should a mum go in the lady’s with her Toddler son when he needs the toilet? Should she get changed in front of our kids when we go swimming? Or tell a mum their kids should never see them Naked,  I would break the internet with comment after comment criticising me for putting a woman down for wanting me to look after their kids, some of the comment would be I imagine all of these lines. 

  • Why shouldn’t a mum take here kids the loo what is she meant to do let the wee themselves.
  • Why shouldn’t a mum bath there kids it helps with their bonding? 
  • You sexist pig the poor woman is trying to bond.
  • How can you put a woman down for trying to bond.

And all these comment would be right, but why when a man does these things with the kids (baths, takes them the toilet or change with them for swimming) is it wrong. Why will people criticise dads for trying to bond with their kids why is it so diffrent why is it frowned upon by some to bond with our kids in the same ways some women do? Or course it is ok for dads to bond with their kids we should be able to bond in fact is medically proven to help with anyone struggling with PND. 

In fact these activities saved my life, having a bath with Elizabeth saved my life, when I was at my lowest it was my wife persuading me to have a bath with my Elizabeth that helped me bond, it was from that we gained trust in each other and bonded, that small little bit of time laid the foundations for me to feel more confident taking her swimming or spend more alone time alone with Elizabeth, we shared a bath until Elizabeth was about 2 years old when her brother came along he joined us in the bath right until Elizabeth kicked me out and told me the bath was too small for all 3 of us.

So yes it’s 100% right for a dad to bath their kids or to do any care at all with them it helps us bond we are their dads and there is nothing wrong with us sharing that time or wanting to care for our kids. 

Like Father, Like Son.

“One day you will have kids of your own, maybe then you will understand” 

These were the words of my father and most probably every other father at some point usally following an argument or disagreement. And were words I heard a lot from my mum and dad when I was younger. I used to hate those words.  Back when I was a teen it felt like no matter what when I asked my dad a question following an argument all I would get is Those famous words and back then I hated them, I used to think err no I won’t understand your just a boring basterd whose one aim is to ruin my life and any fun with it. When I have kids I will do things so differently I will be a fun dad so I will never understand your attempts to ruin my life, you just don’t understand me and you never will.”  That is what I used to think, I also used to say to my dad when I’m older I never want to be like you. Well over 10 years on I will say this, I think I am starting to understand and if I can be half the parent they are then I think I will be doing alright. 

Let me rewind to when I was a kid, I had the best most stable home a kid could always ask for, we weren’t rich, far from it but we never went with out there was always food on the table and we always had clothes on our back, I’m not going to say we were well dressed as you can see from photos 90s fashion was not well and dressed, my Mum and Dad were hard workers they would do anything to make sure we wanted for nothing. We were not spoilt and we never just had things handed to us, we had to earn things and were taught the value of things but we were well looked after. Looking back I realised how much my parents did for me and my sister and even now we are older they still do so much for me. Now I’m older and have kids I understand how much my amazing family did for me, all their decisions and things they did were about looking after me however back then I was a little shit and never saw it that way.

I thought the world was against me I knew better and my way was the right way and if anyone disagreed with me then I would fight until I got what I wanted, I was an angry selfish teenanger and I developed in to an angry young man with the view that everything should revolve around me, if it didn’t then I would do something to make sure it did. I believed I was Gods gift to all women and started believe that other people were there to serve my needs, I was controlling and I became very good at it, I could twist almost anyone to get my way and if they didn’t see my point of veiws I would find away of manipulating that person to my way, let’s just say I was a horrible young man who wasn’t nice to be around. 

So what changed? A few things when I met Mel she introduced me to an amazing church and I developed I strong Christian faith the more I began to explore what it meant to live the life according to my faith the more it made me take a long look at myself, marriage changed me a lot, I wasn’t the kind of person to settle down but here I was dedicating my life to one girl. The biggest thing that changed was having kids, those who have read the blog know my story (if you don’t please do read my past blogs), I have written so much on my struggles and what I found hard but one thing that was clear in all darkness or my PND was I finally understood what my parents meant when they said those famous words. 

“One day you will have kids and you will understand”

I never thought I would understand but let me share what I realised, I understood everything they said and did was in my interest, that they cared for me they wanted what’s best for me, their rules and boundaries were not about repression or making my life a living hell, it was about making sure I grew up to be a well rounded man, they were setting examples of how to show respect, how to treat women and were teaching me right and wrong. I also realised something else, my pearents had a life before me there was nothing I had done that they haven’t done before. They had made mistakes that they didn’t want me to make the same mistakes. I get all that know. 

We are in the same shoes now I have my own kids and I finally understand. I sit here with all the same worries they had, how will he grow up, will I be a good parent, can I really be a good role model, am I doing it right? Will they grow up to be good people? My role is to give them the best up bringing and make sure they don’t make the same mistakes as me. Being a parent is not an easy job, those times when I thought they didn’t undertand me and just wanted to ruin my life or they were against me I now realise they understand me more than I would ever know, they loved me and wanted what’s best for me.

As a dad I stand where they stood trying my best to set an example and teach my kids, it’s not easy and sometimes I will do what’s best for them and it will make me unpopular, I will dislike some of the desisions and I won’t always be there best friend and my decisions will be unpopular. I worry if I am doing it right then I think if I can be even half the dad my dad is then I will be doing a good Job. I used to say I never wanna be like you dad, when in truth I want to be exactly like my dad with the same veiws and just as good of a dad as he is. And be like father like son. 

And one day my kids will have kids and they will understand. 

Potty training Again

Well we are that point in our life again, we think our son is ready to learn how to go the toilet all on his own so yesterday I got the potty down from the loft were it has lay dormant for nearly 2 years. Gave it a quick clean and now it stands pride of place in my living room. Yes the thing is in my living room. 

There is reason behind the madness when we potty trained Elizabeth we had a down stairs loo so potty sat in there, however this house has an upstairs loo and the speed Andrew walks he would have crapped up my stairs before he got to the potty so it was living room or kitchen. Living room won, there is nothing better than watching the crap on tv with a baby crapper looking at you in the face with its little smiley face. I’m looking at it now and I have to be honest I am not looking forward to it. 

I don’t know how others potty train there is so many ways of doing it so many websites out there giving you advice, your health visitor says one thing, your mum says another and your mate down the road says one thing and they all say your doing it wrong if you don’t do it their way. I am going to tell you how we did it with Elizabeth and what we think we will be doing with Andrew. 

Before I do I will say this and it’s important if there is anything you take from this blog let it be this, every child is diffrent, there is no right or wrong way of looking after your child, many people will tell you what you should be doing or they wouldn’t do that or even they did it differently when they had kids. Please don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong, listen to them and find a way that works for you.. if at the end of it they are using the potty that is all that matters. This point stands with anything you do with your little one potty training, feeding getting them to sleep, I could go on. 

So all that said let me tell you how we did it with Elizabeth and what will be the starting point with Andrew (although I am sure we will have to change it). I’m not sure how to discribe how we chose to potty train I suppose it was a similar way to how you would train your pet (but I hate to discribe it like that as it sounds bad). 

The first thing we did was put the potty in the room so she could get used to sitting on it and start to get used to it, then when we thought she was ready when ever we were in the house it would be off with the pants and nappy and we would just follow her around with a mop and When she did anything we would just say something like “oh well you’ve had a little accident we need to do wee wees and poo poos on our potty” then we would pick her up and just put her on the potty and hope she would eventually realise that’s where she needs to go toilet, we had mixed success with this part of the problem we found was because she didn’t have any pants on she would do a wee and just walk off. We noticed when she had a nappy on she knew when she had a wee, because of the wet feeling of the nappy. So I stocked up on knickers and we decided it was time to change it up a bit. We still followed her around with a mop but this time she had knickers on so if she had an accident she would feel wet and come and tell us she’d wee’d or pooed sometimes upset we would reassure her and tell her it’s ok but when she feels like she needs a wee or poo she needs to use the potty so she wouldn’t feel ikky. Eventually one day she took herself to the potty and used it for the first time and pooed. I don’t know why she got the hang of pooing first but she was soon potty trained for poos very quick wees took a little longer, we had a few accidents and when we werent at home she was in pull ups for about a month or so but after about 3 months she was fully potty trained in the day. We had to take her potty to nursery as she wouldn’t use there Loos but even that only lasted a few weeks until she got used to there loos. 

I have to say I can’t remember when it all clicked in to place it just seemed like it happened one day and we haven’t looked back since she now uses our big toilet although she still wears pull-ups at nights but that’s something that we can work on with time.

So that’s how we did it with Elizabeth and how we will start with Andrew we will most probably end up tweeking it as like I said before every child is different and different things will work with different children. 

I said before I am not looking forward to doing it with Andrew not because it’s difficult or that I find it stressful it’s just because i don’t like cleaning wee and poo up if I could skip that bit I would be ok, but at the end of the day the final result is worth it and will cost me a lot less as I won’t need to buy nappy anymore. 

But I am getting ahead of myself we have only just got the potty out so now we are trying to get Andrew used to sitting on the thing and we now have a summer of wet floors cleaning up poo and trying to find out the best way that works for our son, I am sure there are to be many more blogs about our nappy to potty journey.