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With Multiple Birth Awareness Week commencing next week, I have decided to take a deeper look into the world of Dads with Multiples…and it’s not all roses and cupcakes.
Ever since we learnt that we were going to become the parents of multiples, we ‘hooked in’ to our local Multiple Birth Association and its parent AMBA (Australian Multiple Birth Association). Why? Well we were first time parents and we felt that any tips, tricks and wisdom we could glean from others, who had gone before us, would stand us in good stead for what was yet to come. To this day, we don’t regret joining for one moment, yet running the Multiples Dads Sanctuary for Dads on Facebook has opened my eyes to another side of life as a Dad with Multiples.
Simply put, it’s a hard slog and one that comes with its own risks and rewards, yet overwhelming, I get the same feedback from Dads everywhere so I’m going to put this out there for ALL to see. No sugar coating, no mincing words, just the facts.
Here are just a few examples of the themes that have wound their way though our Dads Support group over the initial 12 months.
If you don’t have your own support group EG: Family, friends or Multiple Birth Association with multiples you’re battling uphill from day one. Trying to ‘do it all’ is just ridiculous without support and you will pay the price.
Marriage breakdowns are higher in percentage in multiple birth families trying to going it alone. With post natal depression manifesting itself in either Mum or Dad, it becomes even harder as one or even both withdraw from their spouse, partner, family, social life and even their kids.
AMBA and local MBA are there for a reason, but most blokes only see them as playgroups for the Mums and kids. This myth is just plain wrong. There are a growing number of SAHD (Stay At Home Dads) that are feeling more and more isolated out there. It’s not like they can invite another Mum over for a Cuppa without arousing the suspicion of ‘uh oh’ in the back of the minds of other parents. So where does that leave them? Well it comes as no surprise that they do it tough and feel even more isolated.
It’s well known that our wives are the ‘social cohesion’ in a marriage or relationship and without that being nurtured, this becomes a little smaller each day and eventually you find yourself alone and reclusive.
Dads (& Mums) need support. Why? Well let’s be blunt, you’re no hero to anyone if you think you can do it all. More often than not I see Dads struggling to cope equally, if not more so, than the Mums that do have a support network. Don’t get me wrong, there are some FIFO and Military wives out there that do a superhuman effort to keep the ship afloat but when it comes to the Dads, frankly, it’s just not the same. Half the time the Dads don’t want to look like they cannot cope and think they will be perceived to be weak if they can’t keep up with the ‘Super Mums’ of the world.
Come on fellas…this is the 21st century, forget what you think and help yourself become the Dad you always wanted to be!
Engage with your local AMBA club today. Meet other Dads, get involved and by helping yourself, you’re also helping you kids. Most committee positions only require 2-4 hours a month and it gives you access to a whole new world of help and support.
Yes, sometimes you may live in a remote area, but give it a go.
Even if this means you have to jump on the phone or Internet, the pressure it takes of you and sharing the load with other Dads is incredible, not to mention rewarding.
We have Dads on the Multiple Dads Sanctuary from around the world. Australia, Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, Ireland and many more. Learning from your local MBA or FB group means you’re NOT alone! Getting vital support from, (pardon the pun), multiple sources, is your best way to becoming a better Dad, Husband, Partner and Mate.
So, although I have only touched on a few things, I feel there is a strong message to be sent to all the Multiple Dads out there…stop thinking and start doing. Only then will you understand what I truly mean.
For those of you who don’t know where to start, here are my top 6 suggestions of places to get information.
1] AMBA – http://www.amba.org.au
2] Multiple Dads Sanctuary – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MultipleDadsSanctuary/
3] Men’s Line – http://www.mensline.org.au
4] Beyond Blue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au
5] Relationships Australia – http://www.relationships.org.au
6] Mr Dad (Brisbane based) – http://www.mrdad.com.au
All of the above has lead me to start saying,”Are you the man?”
Are you the man that did something about it?
Are you the man that became a better Dad?
Are you the man that became a better Husband / Partner?
Or Are you the man….that did nothing?
So….I ask you…no I plead with you….
BECOME THE MAN!
Pick up the phone, jump online, call a mate….whatever it is, you’ll be glad you did.
Because deep down I know you are all men that want to fix things and make it better than it is now. The first thing is to change yourself, you cannot help anyone else unless you have the support of those who know and get to know your T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More). Remember, you’re not in this alone, and don’t even hesitate to revolutionise your local AMBA club by getting involved!