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Ten Things I Have Learned about Dads

By Bianca Wordley - 26th August 2011

I grew up in a single parent household. My Mum, who was very young when I was born, raised me alone. I do not know my Dad. In fact, I know nothing about him. Not his name, nor the colour of his hair or the sound of his laugh. Nothing. Although it has impacted on me, I refuse to let it shape me. Some people have no parents. I had one amazing one. I am lucky.

So, it wasn’t until I met an amazing man, married him and had three children that I started to truly understand what dads do. Here is my list of the 10 Things I’ve Learned About Dads.

1 – Dads don’t sweat the small stuff.
Washing dishes, hanging up clothes, planning outfits for the day ahead are NOT priorities. They would rather play with the kids than clean up the mess around them. The mess can be dealt with after the kids have gone to bed. They don’t strive for household perfection. Who cares if the kids’ clothes don’t match? Get over it. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2 – Dads throw caution to the wind.
Cabin fever doesn’t tend to impact dads. If the kids are driving them nuts they jump in the car and go somewhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s sleep time or lunchtime. Those things can be dealt with anywhere. Nappy bags are often left at home, so too are snacks and changes of clothes. Doesn’t matter. Adventures are fun.

3 – Dads see the inefficiencies.
When you get in a rut or can’t work out how to make things run smoothly, dads jump in with the most practical solutions. They can see through the fog of the daily grind. Even if it’s just rearranging the toys or clothes or introducing a new snack routine to stop the constant cries of "I’m hungry". Sometimes, it takes fresh eyes to make changes.

4 – Dads give the most amazing cuddles.
When a dad wraps his arms around his kids he fully envelopes them in his embrace. It is the true meaning of a bear hug. He throws his kids in the air until their eyes sparkle and he tickles their belly. His cuddles are strong, yet soft. Mums tend to cradle their babies. When I think of my 'Dad' I imagine such big, whole-hearted cuddles.

5 - Dads take the kids to Bunnings.
Don’t get me wrong, women go to hardware stores too, but in general I’ve found they don’t have the same level of excitement and passion as when men go to them. I never knew there was so much joy in hammers until I went to Bunnings with my husband. The same goes for camping stores, computer shops and for sports-mad men, the football oval.

6 – Dads play rough.
Dads enjoy rolling around the ground with the kids. They also encourage kids to embrace fear and conquer climbing, riding fast, running like the wind. Where a Mum might hover nervously at the monkey bars, a dad would probably get the kids swinging and jumping from the top of them.

7 - Dads are the voice of reason.
When you’re locked in an argument with the kids over something, Dads can offer another point of view. They can be the disciplinarian, if you’ve had enough of playing the 'bad guy' or they can simply step-in and diffuse the situation. And when you need time out they can offer that much-needed break.

8 - Dads show kids how men should be.
Dads show kids how men should and should not behave. They can tear down the stereotypes often bombarding kids. Many dads don’t like sport, or titty bars, or beer or shoot ‘em up video games. All dads are different. They can teach the kids how to cook, they can clean floors, they can wander around homeware shops and pick out pillows (okay, I’ve gone too far here, pillows are not genuinely seen as necessary), but they can help pick out curtains and paint colours.

Dads can show kids how men and women (or men and men) should treat each other, how they fight, how they forgive, how they interact, how they support each other. Dads can show kids how to love.

9 – Dads dance funny.
This statement doesn’t need an explanation. Dads do dance funny and in my case, so do mums.

10 – Dads love like no other.
Dads love without fear or favour. They love to the moon and back. They love as much as Mums, but they love in their own unique and special way. A dad’s love is like no other. I missed out on that love, but my kids have not. They have the most amazing Dad in the world. And for that, I am grateful.

image Louisa Stokes

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