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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Why I started blogging - written from a dad's perspective

The day of my wife's labour was the most traumatic, stressful and emotional day I think I'll ever have. There were times when I never thought it would happen, but suddenly, here was this wonderful little boy, finding his lungs and winking at me underneath the glare of a lamp. I had never been able to picture what he would look like, but here he was. He was perfect, and I wept on the spot like a blubbering fool. Typical, the only one in the room crying was me, and I  hadn't even carried him for the last nine months, let alone gone through the torment of pushing him out.

I genuinely felt fearful that day for my wife's life, so it was the utter relief that she was alright, and the added bonus that here was the answer to our dreams staring right back at me while he clung to her chest, even if he was croaking like a little frog and had mucus stuck to him, and a manky belly button stump that would end up smelling like brie and creeping me out every time I went near it.

I guess this is why I started blogging - because here was the start of the happiest chapter of my life where suddenly I had the epic realisation of the surges of love, and protective instincts of a new father. It hit me like a thunderbolt, and when I drove home that night I was so emotionally shattered that I thought I was going to crash. Trust me, I couldn't even keep to one lane and was veering everywhere, I felt like I was drunk and worst of all there was a police car in front, so I ended up following it at a snail's pace to avoid being pulled over.

So every day I get these new experiences and revelations from being a father. The latest joy happens every morning, when he sits in his little high chair smiling and laughing at me with a messy porridge beard, or I cringe as his dapper new cardigan has baby rice all the way up the arm. I spend these precious moments with him before I go off to work, and I think about him all through the day.

So here you go, some gushing, self indulgent witterings of a besotted dad. This is blogging I suppose. You just write about how you feel, send it out into the ether and more often than not, someone comes back and says "that's nice, I feel like that too". What's great about it too, is I haven't been doing it long at all but already it feels like there's a thriving community of parents, and dads, who write. We can't help it! Maybe one day our kids will read this and it will be a way of them knowing us more, and laughing, or crying about the past. Who knows.

It's nice to know there are other mums, and dads out there who are interested in reading each others' thoughts and experiences. It's definitely a community, and it's easy to see you could make friends here. It's hard not to as everyone shares a common interest: their children. However, us dads are in a minority in the blogging world. There are a whole lot of mother bloggers out there on the internet. Yummy mummies, slummy mummies, muttering mummies, yes they all have great names, that's the other thing I've noticed. It seems like you need your own blogging brand in order to stand out.

My research tells me that dads are quietly opting for more masculine, butch blogger names. We are dadinators, dadtastic, we write with dadly efficiency and still manage to keep up with our dadmin. Ok, I'm running out of dad related euphemisms but a new breed of blogger is rising! This isn't the 1950s it's actually a time where men are rising up and aren't ashamed to say that YES! I love my kid, I cry five times a day and I am a proud stay at home dad.  Gender stereotypes are changing and perhaps the internet is one of the massive reasons why. It's all out in the open - real life examples, set by bloggers.

Anyway, back to the butch daddies. It reminds me of when I needed a man with a van to help me move house once. Gumtree was loaded with various adverts from aforementioned men who drove vehicles that were capable of carrying your stately possessions from A to B. After flicking through several options, from the reassuringly simple 'man with van' to a man with a large van, the choice was endless. Then I saw there was an original man with van and I thought that was great branding and differentiation.

But then my heart soared. A big burly man with a big box van was duly hired and that's another story entirely, the guy was an animal, with the strength of ten men. With a dirty string vest and a hairy back, he smelt putrid, so vile that you could clearly smell his musk in our house for a full 24 hours after he'd done his heavy lifting thing. But he worked like a trojan and I'd hire him again in an instant. I know I've gone off on a tangent here so I'll get back to the point. I needed a name, a memorable brand. So I chose one that does what it says on the tin. Dad's Diary. I hope it works for me.

I've only been doing this a week but have met some great other dads online and know that as my diary grows that it will be an interesting journey. I'm already going on websites, looking at toys for older kids and getting excited about when he will be big enough to play with them. We'll have some great times and I'll teach him the best way of protecting his soldiers from heavy marbles, how to place a sturdy wooden wall that can withstand a battering, using the powers of physics and other blocks. I can't wait. I'll have lots to write about, and document, and archive. Memories. Things to write about and look back on.

Finally, there's the other side of blogging. You just don't know where it might end up. Maybe I'll get to review some gadgets and toys one day, or be whisked away to a castle in Scotland for a family holiday. Maybe I'll be rich. Scalextric, if you're reading this, I've always been a big fan of your products! Likewise Lego, you need me in your life. A dad can hope, can't he?

*A large part of this was originally published on the Tots100 website. You can read it here

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