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What fatherhood means to some of the dads in our community. And why it's 'just the best'.

For many, fatherhood in all its forms brings a new responsibility, a different perspective and a complete routine change to life pre-baby. We talked to some dads in our community about what this looks like to them. Read it and weep.


Three words to describe fatherhood?

It's the best. Building a clone. Non stop cleaning. - Brad

Fun. Fortunate. Love - Mick

Fun. Purpose. Love. - Ben

Fun. Fulfilling. Busy! - Tim

Pride. Love. And transformative. - Shaun

Commitment, growth, money. - Josh

A wild ride - Jack

Amazing. Challenging. Worthwhile. - Henry

Just the best! - Alan


How I bond with my baby:

Playing - Ben

Cuddles and quality time. Helping it with what it needs - bathing, bedtime routine, being there. - Tim

By rubbing my wife’s belly with all the oils. - Mike

When he was a baby, bath time was a special bonding time. Now, it’s the little rituals and activities we do together, like coffees and babycinos on Saturdays, just us. - Shaun

Recognise that this thing in my hands is the most important thing in the world. Everything else fades into insignificance. Time feeding them, walking them and bathing them is the time I look on as the most focussed bonding. - Josh

My 5 week old gets my cuddles, kisses, and more practical help (e.g., dreamtime feed, changing nappies). My two-year-old and I bond during play - a lot of pretend shops or Doctors and jumping on the bed. - Jack

Little bubba and I have breakfast together every morning regardless of the time I will always give her breakfast and this generally means I get the morning hugs and kisses. Also, as I tend to forget all forms of sleep training, I love having my bubba sleep on me before taking her to bed. - Henry


How I support/ plan to support my co-parent after birth:

Exactly how I support her now. Emotionally supporting whilst she’s feeding so much, looking after our toddler & house duties whilst mum has time with the newborn and the odd foot massage for the wife. - Ben

Listen to help in any way that she needs. Take the mental and physical load at home. - Tim

With love and a calm energy for her and the baby. I'll be the walker, burper, changer, rubber, washer and cuddle. - Mike

With whatever they need. The mother does all the work for 10 months, and is the lifeline for the child. My job is to be flexible, open, supportive and proactive to do everything I can to give back to my wife after she has given our family the ultimate gift. - Josh

I co-parent by just making the time to be present. I feel like a key element to co-parenting is giving each other time to escape and an opportunity to refresh by doing something on our own. - Henry


How did your relationship change with your partner when you became parents?

Honestly not that much has changed. We've been together a long time and have well and truly found our groove. We definitely broke a few new physical barriers on the way through pregnancy though. - Brad

It didn’t change anything. We probably do go to bed earlier and have less chance to go out together but nothing changed for the worse. - Mick

Became more supportive and understanding of one another in being more aware of their own energy. When one was down the other picked up. Always picking up slack when the other struggles. - Ben

We’re more accountable to each other because we have another human to look after. I think we’re better to each other - more selfless. - Tim

So much changes, but the core parts remain the same. A bond and an unspoken understanding that as a family you will do anything you can for each other. You become closer as you share a life that you created. A confidence grows within you when you have that bond. - Josh

I feel as though the real change has been communication and understanding we both love the absolute hell out of each other and our little bubba. - Henry

Extremely bonding, yet there’s less available time for one another and less time together. - Alan


How fatherhood changed me:

Virtually every thought now is about the future, money, security and making sure Bronson gets everything he needs. Lots of long term thinking now, far more so than before. - Brad

Brought out my inner child. More time to eat pasta and play cardboard robots. - Ben

More patient and understanding - Mick

It’s complete selflessness, I give myself entirely to him and now additionally get so much enjoyment from the joy I can give to others. - Shaun.

It has changed my priorities and given me a different perspective. - Tim

I once heard that the birth of a child makes you realise that for the first time in your life, the thing you think about the most is no longer you. This is reflected in everything – how you work, how you play, what you priorities are. It’s a HUGE change, and it keeps evolving - Josh

Less sleep lol, I think I'm always going to continue to change but for now i have a new purpose and it has changed me by finally realising there's more to life than working and making money. - Henry

Heaps! Constant significant positive changes. - Alan


The best advice I received about fatherhood is:

You can sell time, but you can't buy it back. - Brad

Just be there for the mum and be positive and encouraging them with whatever choices they make (don’t tell them what to do) - Mick

Be patient. It’s hard but it gets easier. - Tim

Never give up because you never know who’s watching. - Shaun

Mum is always right. Dummies fix most things. Fed is best. Sleep is everything. There is no right way, just your way. Parenthood is the best and hardest thing you will ever do. - Josh

Take it one day at a time. Fatherhood can be challenging but ultimately it's incredibly rewarding. The first smile, the first 'I love you, Daddy' and all the clever things they say and do. It makes you forget all the times that are probably best forgotten! - Jack

"You can do it" lol - Henry

Be there, be available, make it fun and tell your kids you love them. - Alan


How I managed paternity leave:

I'm still managing it! The first leave break when Bronson was born I wrangled with the help of a very kind surgeon (carer's leave ftw) and it was 5 weeks of very little sleep. Maybe 4 hours a day, broken up into a few 30 minute chunks. The first 9 months was work by day then coming home and taking over so Renee could get a decent night's sleep. It's way better now, Bronson mostly sleeps through the night at the moment so it's way more manageable. We've got a solid daily routine going now. If I'm on top of my game, sometimes I get a nap when he for down for a sleep. - Brad

Loved paternity leave. work was no longer important. lots of walks and supermarket visits. - Mick

Poorly. I worked for small amounts every day including in the hospital. I’d do it differently if I had my time again. - Josh

Just did it, as bubba was cesarean i tried to do absolutely everything to be honest I wish I took a bit more time off but loved every millisecond of it. From the blisters on my feet trying to get bubba to sleep walking for hours to the sweet little smiles my bubba has. (and she has the best smile, courtesy of her papa). - Henry

Tried to dedicate to it, make it all I did, and I loved it. - Alan


What surprised me most about this time at home with my baby:

How quickly the day goes and how attentive you need to be the whole time - Mick

He eats. Non stop. Every 90 minutes, more food. He eats more than I do. Where does it all go? I'm always surprised by how fast he learns and changes. Almost every day you can see something new he's picked up that he couldn't do last week or sometimes yesterday. - Brad

You cannot prepare, you cannot grasp the demands, and fatherhood is incredibly simple compared to the role of the mother. The mother is everything, we are simply a lucky observer/gopher/bottle preparer/cleaner/coffee maker - Josh

Watching how fast she develops and grows into a little person. Time sure flies. - Henry

How busy I was - Alan


This Father's Day I'm most looking forward to:

Spending time with my family. - Tim

Reflecting on what kind of Father I’ll strive to be. - Mike

The kids faces. When they are young, they love to celebrate every occasion 5 times as much as the recipient. From a selfish perspective, time. - Josh

Spending time with my girls. I'm sure we will be reading lots of books, making cubbies and scooting down the street in our one hour of approved exercise. That said, I'm also hoping there might be a bit of a sleep-in and a couple of beers in front of the TV whilst watching the footy... no doubt with at least one of my girls attached to me! - Jack

This may sound boring, but I am looking forward to taking my little bubba out for a walk and maybe a cheeky little picnic! - Henry

Shopping for a new dad? Take a look at our best parent gifts ever here. If you liked this story, read about other fatherhood stories like this 2020 one here