Making sense of the unknown leap into fatherhood

Fatherhood; arguably the most important job in the world

Sunday, 21 August 2016

It's Not My Party, But Can I Cry If I Want To?

Standing, alone, in a family home, celebrating a child's birthday.  You see the black and white family photos on the wall. The collage. The smiles, the warmth and the memories made. You stand there and your heart sinks.

Your heart sinks and the unrealistic notion that it is somehow getting smaller and smaller crosses your mind.  Its size is diminishing just like the package which is rotated from one little hand to the next in a game of pass-the-parcel.  The layers are peeled away and with them a small consolation prize appears.  It is the reward of chocolate or a small toy, but for your heart, it may be, perhaps, the start of a brand new day, waking up healthy...or it could be the prize of knowing that this day could be the day when you adopt a new lust for life. But the parcel continues to rotate until nothing is left.  You sit there, your mind dwindling into deep, dark thoughts of self-pity and shame. 

Everyone around you knows your situation.  They know that your child is the one whose parents are no longer together.  You wear the pain in the extra 15kgs/33lb/2.36st you've managed to collect along the way; food and alcohol are now the cruel substitutes to happiness and mental freedom. Your clothes stretch to accommodate the new frame just like the over-stretched balloons which decorate the living room doors.

Memories of what once was fade one-by-one.  Their fast-fading existence resembled by a growing lack of available seats in a fast-paced game of musical chairs.  With each new round the support in the shape of a chair becomes more and more scarce.  One is removed at a time and options slowly run out before your very eyes.  All the chairs are now gone and the winner sits perched on his throne. That's not you, your seat, the one supporting your new-found frame, went months ago. You see the life lived. You feel the family spirit around you and you mourn at the fact that this was never you even though the perception was always there.

You mourn your efforts.  Each past effort is extinguished just like a candle on the cake.  Each one blown out, one stick of colourful wax at a time.  Each one expires, the little flames no longer burn and you stand there, forgetting that the celebration is not for you and you realise that you are the one making all the wishes.  You repeat the words in your mind on rotation...I wish...I wish...I wish. And when your mind returns to the room, to the moment, you see that she is there.  The most beautiful creation in your opinion.  Your beautiful child. Your articulate, quirky, loving six-year-old...and you find yourself wishing once again, repeating some sort of mantra...

"I wish...I wish that she continues to be happy."

"I wish that she will be ok at the end of all of this."
"I wish that as she grows she will understand why."

...and when the wishes in your mind cease, you hear someone shoutout with jest, "world peace!"  Laughter follows and we start to sing happy birthday in unison, rounding it all off with a few hip hip hoorays! 

But in the end it's you who leaves with the prize.  You leave with her, your smiling daughter. You've won. You've won new memories of her smile, her excitement, the excitement of the party bag and the accolade of pass-the-parcel champion.  You've won because you got to experience that.  This was your day and you were present.  You look forward to the drive home because you know there will be memories shared of the day. You'll laugh, you'll joke and then when it's all done, you'll sing along with Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs - one small voice and one broken one.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Please Understand, You Are Not Welcome Here

One of the most exciting things about blogging is being able to track where in the world your writing is read, which countries show the most interest and how many hits one gets on a monthly, weekly or even hourly basis.  I have been tracking this via the blogging platform I use, Google's Blogger, but more recently, thanks to a wonderful friend of mine (check out her amazing new venture OurFri), I have now discovered (a little slow on my part admittedly), Google Analytics.  This stuff is a statisticians dream.

Another interesting feature which is attached to these tracker sites, is the page which displays where traffic is coming from in the form of a web address.  Of course all the usual sites are there - twitter, Facebook, Instagram, my webpage itself, etc.  However, there is one source which puzzles and concerns me gravely - a site which features and promotes pornography.

How and why is this site attached to a blogpage about fatherhood?

What I find horribly disturbing, and rather uncomfortable, is that someone in the cyber world seems to think that there is a link between a blogsite written by a dedicated, doting father and the world of pornography.  There is obviously a programmer out there who has built an algorithm to allow this porn site to search for certain keywords which mimic keywords used by myself and many other parenting blogs.  My guess is that when searching for menfathersdaughters, etc. indicators are sent out and link to sites which have no place in a virtual world which celebrates the trials and tribulations of parenting.  Those on the site then pick up a link to my blog (somehow) and click on it.

It is probably worth pointing out at this stage that the videos and pictures which these “readers” have just got off on,  are visuals of someone's daughter and/or son.

This is not the first time I have written about this, but of late, it seems to have happened rather more frequently that I would like.  In the past I sent out a request for help from a community of like-minded fathers.  None of them were able to offer any insight into how I could avoid such sites redirecting my work.  Some of those in this online community were of the opinion that traffic to my webpage and blogs was a good thing, irrespective of where that traffic has been redirected from.

Do I want readers?  Yes.
Do I care where these readers are being redirected from?  Of course. 

I like to think that I am an extremely open-minded individual, but pornography plays no part in my life and I certainly do not want it tainting and poisoning the message which I am trying to promote through my blogs.  It is not something I have ever particularly enjoyed nor have I even found any interest in it.  I would be lying if I said that I had never seen porn before, but I count myself lucky when I say that on first viewing, I felt so physically nauseous that I never bothered venturing there again; Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black is about as raunchy as it gets for me and I am more than satisfied with that. 

Porn is out there; a billion dollar market which dominates so many aspects of our world – seemingly on a relentless scale.  That is all good and well for those who enjoy it, but I do take offense when what I am trying to relay in my writing is the exact opposite of what pornography promotes - exploitation, the robbing of individuals and their personalities, and a world which ignores the beauty of men and women beyond the flesh.  Call me fuddy-duddy, call me old-skool, but I am not willing to allow the parasites of the internet world to plague the tales of a father and his beautiful young daughter.

This is not a post about the dangers of porn, nor is it about whether or not people should be watching / looking at it.  It is simply me saying:  I did not come knocking at your door, so do not come knocking at mine!  You are not welcome here!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

My Dearest Readers - Are there any mothers out there?

To my dearest readers - are there any mothers out there?

I've been doing this daddy blog thing for about 3 years now.  I write about how much I adore my daughter and try to apply my knowledge of psychology to some of her behaviours.  I sit, write, and watch the world go by.  I psychoanalyse (that's a fancy word for simply watching, observing!) and I love the (somewhat) covert, non-participant interaction which comes with it.

I stand in the school yard, morning in and morning out, the lone wolf amongst all the mothers.  I, the lone dad, the lion among the lionesses (I have a beard, so I guess one could stretch one's imagination to that of a lions mane...who knows, maybe I'm clutching at straws), but I stand there and I kiss my little girl goodbye and wish her a good day.  

In the afternoon I do the same, only this time I catch her as she runs into my arms and we kiss and embrace.  School holidays, ditto.  I am that man sipping on a £1.95 white Americano (one brown sugar) among all the mothers.  The pregnancy groups.  The we are the new moms of this town groups.  The let's get together whilst the kids play groups.  That's me.  That's me in the corner, losing my erection (a slight play on REM's amazing "losing my religion").  I become a mom.  I blend in and whilst my daughter plays, I camouflage myself, somehow, amongst the mothers, sipping away at a coffee and reading the paper.  It is that simple.  So I write, I write about fatherhood from a dad's perspective - what it is like to be a dad, what it is like to be the black sheep among the white fleeces.  It's me.  I'm there and so are you...and believe it or not - draw nearer dear reader I have a secret - I love it.

So, I continue to write, but I wonder, I wonder how many mothers bother to read a blog written by a man on parenting.  Can he possibly have something to say that I don't already know?  My husband is so far out of touch with the kids, what could this guy possibly know that I don't already know?  

Who knows?
Good question!

I write for anyone who is a parent.  To let other parents know that they are not alone out there in their trials and tribulations.  I don't write solely for fathers, I don't write solely for mothers. In fact, if I were completely honest, I write for me too.  I write so that I can in some way put my thoughts out there and if an audience gains from it, then that is amazing...that is the power of sharing, that is the power of service and that is the power of the internet.  It's potentially win-win.  I am able to experience catharsis and someone else is able to gain from that cathartic process.

I like to believe that it is interesting to hear the thoughts of a father as far as being a husband and parent goes.  There are so many mommy blogs out there, many of which are wonderful sources of information, sharing and caring on all things parenting.  I am most definitely not a lone voice in the whole daddy blogging world, but it is seldom that I read fatherhood blogs which explore beyond Star Wars or a review on the latest Pixar animation.

I don't know what my reach is.  I have little idea of the impact that these words make.  The feedback that I do receive is wonderfully rewarding.  Parents opening up to me about their trails and tribulations.  Relationship breakdown.  Struggles to find ones own identity beyond Mary's mother or Jack's dad.  

I am eternally grateful for those of you who take the time to get in touch.  Who encourage me to continue and who share what it is that I have to say via social media.  Thank you for your loyalty.  Thank for for your time.  Time is the only thing that we can give which we can never get back, so I thank you for using your time to read my words.

I recently installed an RSS feed onto my PAGE to make subscription easier.  Please do let me know that you are out there - subscribe, comment, email me, become a Dr Daddy Kay Google+ follower.  I find interacting with my readers wonderfully rewarding and enjoyable, so please to get in touch one way or another.  This is an unashamed plea to share my words if they touch you in some or other way.

So, dear readers, a sincere thank you.

The "In Front of the Mac Writing" Pose

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