My name is Saul and this is my first video diary
How you going?
Hi my name is Roland
My name is Marcus
My name is Paul
Welcome to Dadvice, a show about the stresses of becoming a new dad.
I’m your host Ben Lomas and this episode is about mates.
If you’re a dad right of course there are times when it’s very stressful right and you struggle with it and you’re trying to make it happen and then you call your other dad friends that are trying to help you and there is always someone who is doing a lot better than you and there is always someone doing a lot worse than you. And like I remember once calling up a friend of mine saying, hi mate I’m really struggling, I’m by myself my partners away, have you got any advice? and he’s like, look mate, stick in there, and I was like, are you having troubles?, no we’ve got a baby sitter and my relationships back on track, we’re going to the movies.
And then I was like, well you were no help, so then I remember calling another friend of mine I was like, g’day mate how are you going? and then there was this real pause on the phone and I was like, mate how are you going? and he goes, I just dropped my kid down the escalator. And I was like we have a winner!
One of my best friends has just had a child and it was six weeks early before me and we had that real connection when things were tough and I could actually call him up and go, I’ve been crying for 3 hours about spilling some breast milk, is this normal? You know, just because it puts so much pressure on your partner.
Do you have a support network?
Mainly my main support is my best mate who was my best man at my wedding and he had a baby 6 months before me. So he is the guy I turn to, to ask things, things that seem so silly but mean so much. Like how many blankets do I put on him and how do I do it so that he doesn’t pull them up over his face and suffocate and die in the middle of the night? You know and little things like that, that you can turn to a friend who’s been in that situation and has gone over those things and can say you know, just tuck it in they’re not very strong.
And I think that’s the key where it’s like you don’t want to come across as asking those dumb questions but at the start that’s all you have, you don’t know what you are doing. Sometimes the dumbest questions are often the best because then you learn something and then hand ball it to someone else.
Make them ask one of the dumb questions.
Just by show of hands, people who don’t have children that are here, people who don’t have children. My advice to you is, don’t. No seriously, oh Lawz what about the love they give you in return? Hmm sorry not enough. Um let me think about that for another nano second, no. no. The return on your investment isn’t good enough ok.
You sort of realise you can’t be with your mates all the time. You can’t be with your families, so you can’t have a proper conversations.
I think the realisation that you’re responsible for a life suddenly dawns on you it’s a very lonely period.
Sometimes you feel quite alone, because you are the only one going through it.
I’d love to go out to the poker nights we have organised or skiing weekends but I just that’s not a priority at all.
Your life has changed fundamentally forever.
There are still a lot of people in my immediate circle who haven’t had kids yet and I’m a bit ahead of the curve amongst my peer group of friends. Until people have kids they don’t know how to approach that interaction. You know people who have kids, they come over in the morning, bring you some food they hang out for a bit and then they leave. You know what I mean, they understand how to interface with your world and your rhythms. Whereas other people, they either propose things that wouldn’t work like, we’re going to get dinner at the pub, you should come, bring the kid. It’s like no, we can’t do that.
I had one mate who literally called me up and he goes, hey how are you going? Do you want to come to the pub in 15?
You gotta book in a week in advance.
But I was kind of stunned and I was like, mate I’ve got the little one with me, and he was like, why don’t you get a baby sitter?
This is a letter to all of my friends, the ones without kids, the ones who continue inviting me out on a Saturday night then put up a fight when I don’t turn up for the 50th time in a row cause I don’t say no, I just say I’m really hoping to make it, which isn’t a lie but actually I know that there’s no chance in hell that I’ll be there cause I’ve tried before and it wasn’t pretty, stayed out till 4 got a cab from the city, quietly munted crawled into bed, woke up at five with a foot in my head, it was my daughter, asking for breakfast and oh god I’ve never had a hangover quite like the one that’s accompanied by Peppa Pig and I want to say thanks for inviting me your inclusivity warms up my heart but our friendship is begging for clarity so now it’s up to me to say what I should have said at the start. I’ll see you in 17 years, till then just pretend that I’m dead. Picture my smile, remember my face I’ll be gone for a while but save me a place till I see you In 17 years. Maybe less if my kids go missing and it will be just like the old times again except we’ll be middle aged men.
Hanging out with mates, talking to mates, it’s a no go. It’s pretty much work and family, work and family, work and family.
I like to text a little bit with my friends and I try to keep up with them that way.
For some it seems to be a little bit emasculating to be seen being a dad rather than being a bloke with kids.
I don’t know what it is but people seem to treat you a little bit differently and look at you a little bit differently from previously, despite what kind of relationship you’ve got with people.
My life was turned right upside down from having a baby and for the better.
Hi my name is Marcus I’m a new dad and I’m getting up every hour, on the hour.
I don’t think you can do this. My mate Ini, he doesn’t really get it.
We’ve set up a little challenge for Ini.
Bring it mate, bring it.
Every time he wakes up we’ll hook some speakers up into your room and I’ll press a button and it’s going to wake you up, and then you’re going to have to nurse your very own baby.
Here is your bundle of joy Ini.
Magnus is up, which means Ini needs to get up.
Put your back into it.
I think we have broken him.
That was definitely difficult, I think just not having that continuous sleep.
I think he has a bit more empathy for what I go through.
Watch out for my log. You touched my log.
I think that’s the hardest thing I’ve found being a dad, I find I don’t actually have any bloke mates that can relate or I can ask these dumb questions to. Clearly because there is no one at the same life stage that I’m at and working from home during the week because my wife is back at work full time, I find I’m hanging out with a few women. The mates’ wives or work colleagues who are on maternity leave. Its good but you just want that blokey connection and I guess at times, and I haven’t got that, I haven’t found that apart from you guys really, a great mate who I have known for years.
Welcome to the club mate.
There are men around more looking after their kids but it’s still quite often female dominated.
It’s on the rise though when you go to playgrounds you see a lot more dads and its funny some of the older grandmas who would take the kids, always point out, oh you are so good with your child and everything. It’s such a profound change for them to see a dad with their kid. You do occasionally have a bonding moment on a swing or something.
I’ve often got the common, is mum sick today? and I’m like no she is at work and I’m the full time dad so you know.
Babies names these days, I go to the park and seriously it’s like people are yelling out spice racks, you know like, oregano, mushroom! Like what’s going on are you ordering a pizza or calling your children. What’s going on.
So there was a guy down the park the other day and he was like, come here Atticus, Atticus, Atticus and I was like, what’s the name of your kid, abbicus? That doesn’t add up. He was like, smart arse. He goes, its Atticus and I was like where’s that from? and he said to kill a mockingbird and it stands for truth and justice and one day I want young Atticus to grow up and be a lawyer and fulfil those dreams. Good luck, he is only three but anyway and he goes, well what’s your kid called and I said that’s Barney, and he asked where’s that from? and I go, The Flinstones. One day I want him to grow up and work with a quy in a quarry with a guy called Fred so…
When someone comes up and says oh you are doing such a good job I’m like, well that’s a bit patronising.
I remember the other day with a friend of mine, they had an article in the paper about football and they were talking about how a footballer is a real hands on dad. Isn’t it so funny how society has such a low expectations of being a dad that if you have any interaction with your children, you’re a great dad, you’re a hands on dad. Well shouldn’t we all be hands on dads. There is this thing like, pushing back on expectations in that you won’t have anything to do with your kids or that if you do its good on you.
Of course you’ve got your footy mates.
Well the footy one is quite interesting actually, because one of the guys said, we had this mid-season ball, and one of the best players was talking about how we went from normal Saturday footy to masters footy over 35s and how completely different the change room the conversations were. It used to be from where you were going out that night to asking how your kids are going, what they are doing. We had 2 or 3 guys in our team this year who had kids, its great so, we kind of get around each other and can talk to each other about it. You can see what people are going through and I’ve had a good window into seeing what it’s like to be a dad, watching 2 or 3 of the blokes this year do that.
It’s very therapeutic to sit down and talk to some other dads, it makes me think about the benefits of having a fathers group.
Being able to offload the kids to your partner so you can nick down and catch up with a couple of mates on a Saturday afternoon, like if you never had any release from that you’d go.
You’ve got to flip yourself, you’ve gotta say, this is the last time my child will be like this, cherish it, cherish it, cherish it and that flips my attitude.
Regardless of how much your mates actually get what you’re going through once place that will really help with your new dad stress is dadvice.org.au head over now and check it out.