The transition from man to Dad. It’s been a powerful experience for me. When sitting down to think about this, the feeling that stands out to me most, is emotional.
For me it’s been a very quick turnaround. I went from single life at 25, to meeting my wife with 2 daughters and then adding our son in the space of a year. I suppose if you’re doing something you may as well do it properly! 4 and a half years later I think now is the first time I’ve had chance to actually take it all in and have a minute to think about how much has changed in such a short period of time.
I knew from minute one that Donetta was the one for me, I knew as soon as I met the girls who were only 6 and 7 that I would try my best to be a good guide for them to refer to. And, when our son arrived I felt things only a Dad can feel. My heart, soul and mind have been in overdrive since that first minute and it hasn’t stopped, we’ve even thrown a wedding in there too!
So, as I was saying I’ve sat down to think about what we’ll call ‘The Transition’ and my emotional control has been breached! I’ve never been one for crying at films or showing too much emotion, to be fair before I was quite cold I suppose, I kind of got on with things and that was that. I mean, in my opinion I’ve never been a bad person just maybe not too loving or caring.
With Donetta having the girls from the get-go I adjusted pretty quickly to the fact that when making plans we had to make plans for 4. Going out for something to eat or having some alone time was less of a natural spontaneous event and more of a structured appointment. I remember having to co-ordinate where we’d all be and then decide what was on the agenda. My behaviour changed, I had to learn to speak with the kids on their level and try to make the impression that I was a good person but also a person that may one day become an authoritative figure in their life. Obviously if things progressed I may one day be a Dad-like figure who may have to keep them in check from time to time. This now happens 🙂
I don’t like saying they’re my step-daughters, I know that’s the official term but as far as I’m concerned they’re my daughters. You won’t hear me refer to them as my step-daughters, only my daughters. Having said that I would never want them to call me Dad, David is fine! My parents split when I was young and I’ve had other people in my life attached to my parents that would not and could not take the place of my parents so I wouldn’t want the girls to see me as doing that. Luckily they have a fantastic relationship with their Dad and everything runs like clockwork.
Probably the most difficult thing I’ve found during this ‘Transition’ is only having a proportion of influence with the girls. For example, with my son I have full control, along with the wife obviously but we tend to agree on the majority of our parenting regime. The girls have outside influences, for want of a better term, that are beyond my control. I suppose the fact I naturally wrote the word ‘Control’ say’s a lot. I do like to be in control, not for any power-trip masculine reasons. I just feel like it’s my job to make sure everyone is safe and by controlling as much of our family life as I can, without being directly controlling, makes me feel I can do that.
I don’t think many step-dads talk about the role of step-dad, I certainly haven’t discussed this topic with anyone and I’ve not seen the ‘user-guide’ in the book section at Morrisons! Hopefully my insight may help others.
So yeah, as far as I’m concerned they’re my daughters. The eldest is at high school and they have a group of parents that run a fundraising team in which I’m the Vice Chair Person of, along with Donetta, so you can see how committed I am to my children’s lives.
My life has changed dramatically and so far after asking my wife, I’m still winning! So I’ve pretty much conquered step-dadding….. This is now the official term, because I say.
After diving in at the deep end I knocked up the Mrs in sharp fashion, I mean I knew we were the real deal so why wait around? Not actually how it happened but anyway, my son was confirmed as ‘in transit’. Life was about to get a whole lot more serious!
The boy is not treated any differently than the girls by either of us. Other than he’s a boy and they’re girls and they’re older and he’s still only 3! I mention this as there was a comment when the boy was first born by ‘anonymous’, where they kindly pointed out to the girls that he was ‘ONLY’ their half brother. OK that is the official term and the girls did know the ins and outs of this but as far as we’re concerned and as far as the girls are concerned he is their Brother. Safe to say I was not happy someone felt the need to drop this in conversation but luckily the girls know the score and aren’t phased by this.
This brings us on to the next point I want to discuss. The girls don’t mean any less to me, the boy doesn’t mean anymore to me but, the connection that instantly rushes through your entire body the moment your child enters the world and is placed in your arms is unparalleled. Now before I continue I want there to be no confusion, I would literally dive in front of a bullet for any of my children, I am simply sharing my experience of being present at the birth of the boy.
An immediate connection was made, chemicals ran from my brain through my veins and I could feel a power inside me like never before. I had become a Dad. An official, undisputed, supercharged Dad! I mention chemicals from my brain because I’ve had to research this due to my new found emotional awareness. As I was telling you before, I didn’t feel too many emotions pre-Donetta but then post-Corben I was tearing-up at TV shows, getting emotional just looking into my boys eyes and an array of caring emotions hit me from nowhere. I thought, hang on what’s all this about!
Apparently, scientists say that particularly if you are present at your child’s birth, men can have chemicals in their brains triggered that then heighten their emotional capacity. I was then emotional that it wasn’t just me!!
So I’m now masculine on the outside but have a soft centre, or am I now talking about the baby-weight I’ve gained….. :/
Safe to say I’ve had a life changing last 4 and a half years and the transition from a Man to a Dad has changed me 10-fold, but changed me into a better version of myself. Believe me there’s always room for improvement and I’m by no means perfect, but I now know that I have purpose, I have a reason and I am relentless in regards to giving my all for my family.
Some pretty serious and personal stuff this time. I’m always up for a laugh and a bit of fun but when I started this blog I also wanted to make sure I include some content that hopefully people can take advice from. Parenting is a tough gig and there’s no one-way to get it right, mix that with step-parenting (Have I just invented another term?) and there’s not much personalised content out there, to if nothing else just have a read and know you aren’t the only one with no idea what the best route is.
I’d really appreciate any feedback on this post in particular, let me know your experiences of similar situations.
Thanks for reading, see you online… @dadvworld