A couple of weeks ago I was invited to appear on a panel about parenting at the University of Cambridge Science Festival, an event named ‘In conversation with dads .’ I don’t know yet who else will be on that panel or exactly what the discussion will be about, but the public will be invited and there could well be an audience.
As somebody who has never appeared on a panel or even ever spoken in public, it’s a strange thing to be looking forward to. I suppose in some ways it justifies me writing this blog at the moment, about my experiences as a stay at home dad. The organizer for this particular panel has suggested that some of the areas covered in this blog to date, would be relevant to the topics being covered.
Like many parents, I have had to persuade Lilia to be ‘brave’ on lots and lots of occasions. So many times I’ve totally lost count because bless her, she’s very noisy when she feels secure… but there are many situations where she will still hold my hand tightly and not really want to move forward. I understand that trepidation so well and hope I haven’t made her more scared of life by not showing her enough ‘tough love’ in her short 8 years.
Tough love has always been a very difficult thing for me because in many cases I’m not convinced that it does the good it is supposed to. Very early on a midwife said to me “Don’t worry darling you can’t spoil a little one with too much love” … I’ll never know how long she actually meant that to go on, but I leapt on that statement as a green light to dote on Lilia like I never thought I could or would.
When the tables have turned, and I have Lilia saying “Daddy you’ve got to do this even if you are scared! ” it’s hilarious really, but could there be a better opportunity to show her that daddy too, can overcome his own fears? To have been a solid rock in her life, to always have been there for her when needed, Always supported her, always listened and understood her when she explains to me about her life and its challenges. To have pushed her gently towards scary things… now it’s my turn.
I run an expert agency, and I often feel that this blog does not really belong on the company blog and maybe this should be appearing on a more ‘personal blog’ but that would be missing the point.
If you want to stay at home and look after your child, and you want to make some money while you do that, then I really want to help you. Maybe just by reciting my experiences of starting a business, or even if you are a stay at home dad. I have yet to meet another of my kind though… then maybe me sharing my experiences will somehow support you.
When Lil was about 2 years old, I started a local fathers club. I wanted to see if there WERE any other full-time stay at home dads in my home town, I didn’t meet any. Sure dads came along, and that was great, but in the end, the meetings mostly occurred at weekends when they weren’t at work. I believe the club is still running under different management, at least it was the last time I looked.
If a rich benefactor had given me £1m to start a business what would I have done? Probably very similar to what I have done. I had and still have, many lessons to learn about business. These aren’t the types of lessons that you can buy anyway, you need to experience them and most of them are free.
Going back to the Cambridge panel, A question to the panel is likely to be pertaining to ‘support’… I’m guessing “How could you be more supported that you were or currently are? ”
In bringing up Lilia I have had amazing support from family and the community. From wonderful playgroups and other parents.
With business, however, the answer is less straightforward. I understand why business breakfasts need to start by 8.30 but it just makes it almost impossible for me to attend them. The effort required of others to get Lil to school on those days instead of me doing it makes the suggestion ‘work something out’ sound a bit stupid.
The feeling of being discriminated against as a stay at home parent. I felt and described in an earlier blog is still very real and I remember it very clearly.
The internet can explain just about any business term or paradigm that you will come across in your new career. I wonder if it will help me find a public face to wear at this panel event 🙂