First of all, I want to say hello to everyone reading this and if it's the first time you have come across me then a bit of background info on who I am might help. I am an 'Instadad' - that being a dad who shares the life that he lives with his family (my wife Alice, our daughter Etta and of course Cat the dog) online via Instagram. You might instantly think that I must be a bit of an "over-sharer" and although that maybe true, I also like to think that as dads we tend to be a bit more honest and open about how tough this parenting lark can be at times.
When Lifecake approached me to write a piece for their 'dads are awesome' month, I thought about how us dads and our greatness can sometimes be overshadowed or forgotten amongst all the amazing 'mum stuff' that mums do. As a father it's become very apparent how our children come to us for different things, the roles of mother and father in the home have blurred so much in recent years but our children definitely sense our individual strengths. I set about a photo diary capturing some of the roles that I play as a dad.....
As a father, one of the things that breaks my heart is when a big noisy child comes close to Etta, she is such a reserved soul and can generally be found hovering around my legs hiding from the noisy ones, trying to avoid the kids whooshing past on their trikes. As a dad you have to soak up that fear and reservation and try to show them the way. Etta looks to me for support in these situations and whilst it's so hard to not scoop her up and protect her, the real work comes from leading by example.
With an amazing 65% of parents stating that they now co-parent as opposed to the one parent / one breadwinner scenario, it's no surprise that we get to split the poorly Etta cuddles. Much like when she has a scrape or a bump, she will firstly cuddle up to her mum but then will always fall asleep on me and I am guessing it's because us dads are generally bigger and a whole lot squishier. I can't wait for her to start talking properly so she can explain to Alice that I am just squishier and it has nothing to do with her loving me more (we both get a touch jealous when the other is flavour of the week, who doesn't!)
Now, I want a show of hands, who in the your household is 'The Tickler'? Yep, it's been dad since the start of time and I don't think that will ever change. Etta and I tickle each other all day long as well as hiding under whatever large object we can get under. The current favourite is sneaking off to her room and getting under her duvet and then waiting and giggling in anticipation of the giant roar of her daddy when he finds her and tickles her. Nothing beats that deep belly laugh she makes as it's all going off.
Next up is our bedtime routine. We do things like most other families, bath time, where dad is constantly reminded that it's winding down time and to stop playing games (please tell me that's not just me getting into trouble?) followed by a story... which usually turns into at least three. After that third story, we have our obligatory daddy daughter sign off of 1 kiss, 2 high-fives and 2 exploding spuds before I leave the room to giggles and Alice calling me back in for one last spud or high-five. Etta won't sleep without the routine and it makes me so happy to be part of it... whilst also making the pair of us terrified if one of us isn't home for bedtime!
I want to finish with some of the more silly, ad-hoc things that I do with Etta, the sort of things us dads specialise in. The claw attack that we all copy from that Jim Carey movie, hiding under a coat and jumping out to a burst of giggles or our latest thing, the meet and greet daddy/daughter door service at our local coffee shop on a Sunday morning!
I'd love to know the things that dad does in your household that make the smallest or biggest difference - why not try and capture a few too?