It’s fair to say that Dads go through many different ages, from the initial excitement and stresses of being a young father, through to the challenges of being a responsible parent to growing children, before taking on a role where they are more readily seen as Grandfathers first, and Dads second.
At each of these stages, Dads might have to take on many roles, and not always with the expected results. It’s worth, then, going through the seven ages of Dad in more detail.
The First Age
New fathers have to juggle the excitement of having a new baby with all the problems that go along with it; the long nights, the teething, the having to buy a neverending stream of nappies. If a new Dad didn’t realise how many sleepless nights he’d have to deal with for the first year or so of being a father, he probably will within a week or so of a baby being born.
The Second Age
With babies turning into toddlers and young children, Dads’ role might start to change as kids work out their own personality. While Dads will have to share the challenges of keeping an eye on toddlers, and navigating the first steps at school, they can also enjoy trying to get children interested in shared hobbies.
The Third Age
Probably the most intense (but also the rewarding) part of being a Dad, this age is where kids are growing up fast, and every year seems to be involve days and days of driving to and from school, going on holidays, and dealing with daily crises. Depending on the age of their children, and their jobs, this might be the time when a Dad invests in some extra help around the house, with au pairs and nannies the most common options.
The Fourth Age
A difficult stage if Dads dread the thought of their children suddenly being in their teenage years and secondary school, the fourth age of fatherhood can be a nightmare, but can also be just as rewarding. Dads have to face the challenge of trying to be the disciplined parent they probably never thought they would be, or attempting, with often embarrassing results, to be the laidback Dad able to give out dating advice.
The Fifth Age
An older age for Dads, who might be seeing their children move away to work or study, and find that they’re not seeing their kids every day anymore. That is, unless they need some help with a DIY project, or maybe the occasional bit of money to keep children afloat.
The Sixth Age
With grown up children and new babies, a Dad’s role in this age might involve being able to enjoy regular meals and celebrations with their kids, without actively spending every day with them. Dads might also be called upon to be babysitters as they have to deal with being seen as Grandfathers.
The Seventh Age
A tricky one for some Dads, the seventh age of fatherhood typically sees Dads well established as Granddads, even to the point of their own wives and children calling them that. Most of the time, though, it’s a time where Dads get to spend time with their grandchildren, and hopefully enjoy retirement.
[About the author: Rob James is a father to four girls who enjoy cooking and getting ready for Christmas. He recommends AuPairInBritain if you are hoping to find au pair work in the UK. Rob has used au pairs to support himself and his wife while returning to work. Image: kirstyhall]