Tuesday, 5 May 2020

It's Just the Same Ol' Show...

... on my radio!

And why do I always sound as if I've got a blocked nose?

Anyway, as used to happen quite often (less so recently) BBC Lincolnshire came calling once again this morning and I was happy to talk to them, as always, this time on being a new dad in the 'new normal'.

It's nearly a decade now since I became a new dad in the old normal, but as I tried to make clear during my interview, a new baby is a new normal all the time, for everyone. Ok, so a dad today might not be able to attend ante-natal clinics like I did, but there's plenty more (especially if he's at home for longer than usual) he can do to help out afterwards.

A newborn's needs are fairly simple: to eat, to sleep, to be kept clean. And a dad can help to do all of those whether directly, or by supporting his partner while she takes the responsibility. Obviously, without lactating breasts, we're pretty stuck when it comes to breastfeeding but dads can do everything else, particularly by relieving a tired partner by bearing your fair share of what I was going to call the 'burden' but which is anything but.

Anyway, those difficult early days go by so quickly you really can't afford to do anything other than enjoy the precious time together... and for many, there's an awful lot more of that at present than before.

And help is at hand. I only accidentally got into parent blogging, all those years ago, when googling something I needed help with while on my own with Charlie. And I fell down the rabbit hole of what was then, almost exclusively, mummy blogging. It was an online community with advice and answers, a place for sharing the ups and downs and getting support.

These days there's so much more available, on line. Here are a few sites specifically for dads you might find useful:

Dad's Matter UK is billed as "supporting dads and mums suffering from anxiety, stress and PTSD" but it's a lot more besides, and well worth a look: dadsmatteruk.org

This Dad Can is a sign-up site (but it's free) doing what it says on the tin: supporting dads so that they can... do the whole range of parenting things. There are online courses and communities, a Facebook page and much more. Well worth a look.

And dad.info is billed as "Europe's largest advice and support site for fathers" which pretty much speaks for itself.

Not only is there more out there than ever before, I think attitudes to dads' involvement has changed over the past ten years, too. I once got into a bit of a heated on-air debate with Quentin Letts about this. I'd been phoned for a comment (obviously, I was at home looking after the baby) and Quentin was in the studio with Jeremy Vine. But there was a delay on the line and so what sounded like me arrogantly talking over the studio guest ("Hang on a minute, Tim, just let Quentin get a word in!") was actually down to the discrepancy between what I was hearing and what was being broadcast down the line in London. But despite what Letts so sniffily dismissed ("I think there's a lot of nonsense being said here") there is scientific evidence that proves beyond doubt that the physical response dads have to a baby's cries are as strong as a mum's. You really can't roll over and pretend you didn't hear!

And, thankfully, most dads don't. Most dads now appreciate how important they are, and want be involved as much as they can. Which is a truly great thing!

Nb. You can hear the brief interview I gave to Sean Dunderdale this morning on BBC Lincs on Sounds, here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08b4tv6 (ff to 2.22.47 if you want to get straight to the point!)

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