So here we are, at the penultimate week of ‘The Daddy Diaries’! Daf and I have loved making this series together, getting to see student parenting and young parenthood from the father’s perspective, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading it so far! Today, Daf is reflecting on fatherhood, and how it’s changed him as a person…
What is the most important lesson that fatherhood has taught you?
It’s hard to say. Everything has changed, and nothing is what I expected it to be. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to never be fooled into thinking that I’ve got all the answers, because I definitely haven’t.
Do you think you have changed as a person since becoming a father?
Yes. I think I appear more confident than before, because I don’t want SB to feel the way I felt growing up. I’m starting to learn to say ‘no’ to people, and to stop always trying to be the people-pleaser. That’s something my dad taught me – always put your family first.
How would you have described yourself before SB came along?
Nerdy introvert, very awkward, practically non-existent self esteem. I always wanted to please people. I wanted a family and I wanted to do well in life, but I never believed I’d actually manage it.
Has that changed now?
My self esteem is still pretty low, but I have an amazing family. As for succeeding, I now know that I want to become a teacher. It isn’t so much that my confidence has improved so I feel like I can do it – it’s more that now, failure isn’t an option. I have to make it, for SB’s sake, so I am more determined to get there and not let anything stand in my way.
Has becoming a father affected your friendships?
It’s made me realise that if people are true friends, they’ll accept me with a family just as easily as they accepted me without a family. Being a dad has definitely shown me who my real friends are.
Do you feel like a stronger person for your experiences?
I do. Just having SB makes me want to be the best dad I can be. I don’t feel as nervous when I’m looking after her, and I have much more confidence in my abilities.
Are you the father you imagined you would be?
I’m not sure. I always wanted to be a dad, but I never really imagined all the responsibilities that come as part of it, or how I’d deal with them. I am happy with the dad I am, though. SB is happy, healthy, warm and clean, she has what she needs and knows that she is loved. That’s the important thing.
Has fatherhood changed your outlook and opinion on life altogether?
I like to think I’m more positive about everything now. One thing is for sure; SB makes me see the world in a much brighter light.
So that’s part six of The Daddy Diaries. Next week we’ll have the seventh and final edition, where Daf will be talking all about what the future holds for us as a family, and for him as a father. Don’t miss it!