A DIF­FER­ENT PER­SPEC­TIVE

Here at Lit­tle Trea­sures, we of­ten see par­ent­hood from the mother’s point of view, but what about Dad’s side of the story? Three Kiwi dads, each in dif­fer­ent stages of fa­ther­hood, talk about the highs (and lows) of life as a par­ent

Little Treasures - - CONTENTS - AS TOLD TO HAY­LEY BAR­NETT

We talk to three dads about their ex­pe­ri­ences of par­ent­ing

HADLEIGH BROWN

As a fa­ther to four, in­clud­ing New Zealand’s most fa­mous skate­board­ing tod­dler – Youtube sen­sa­tion and Trea­sures nappy rep Wy­att (above) – Hadleigh Brown is no stranger to chaos. His home is con­stantly loud, over­flow­ing with en­ergy, and specif­i­cally caters to lit­tle peo­ple, with tram­po­lines, lego, skate­boards and bunk beds fill­ing ev­ery cor­ner of his Point Che­va­lier house. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Here, he re­veals what it’s like to be a dad to four very ac­tive (and cute) kids, all un­der the age of six. How many kids do you have and how old are they? Four al­to­gether – Emmett, six, Ma­bel, five, Ray, four, and Wy­att, two. Did you al­ways en­vi­sion hav­ing four kids? We al­ways wanted a large fam­ily, and we wanted to have them pretty close to­gether. It may have been too close to­gether in hind­sight! When Emmett was four and a half we had four kids. It was a bit of a chal­lenge but we had lots of fam­ily sup­port. At four, we’re def­i­nitely keen to draw the line. A lot of peo­ple would say, ‘Well, you’ve got the boy and girl – why would you have any more?’ But you just roll with it. I don’t think you know what you can han­dle un­til you’re in the sit­u­a­tion. You just adapt to the re­sources and the time that you have, and you some­how make it work. What is the most chal­leng­ing part of be­ing a fa­ther to four kids? The amount of one-on-one time you can give to each of them. We try our best to man­age that wher­ever we can, even if it’s just read­ing a book or tak­ing five min­utes to talk about Poké­mon cards, or Wy­att show­ing me his lat­est trick. When you work Mon­day to Fri­day, it’s al­ways a chal­lenge.

What are the best things about hav­ing a large fam­ily? It keeps you fresh and gives you per­spec­tive. You’ve got four dif­fer­ent strands; to see how they evolve is re­ally in­ter­est­ing. They’re all so dif­fer­ent but the dy­namic be­tween them is re­ally fun. Watch­ing them look af­ter each other in a big group is good. Yes, it’s semi-chaotic, but it in­jects a whole bunch of fun into your life. What is fa­ther­hood re­ally like, com­pared to what you ex­pected it to be? It is a mas­sive ad­just­ment in terms of your per­sonal in­de­pen­dence and the amount of ded­i­ca­tion that you have to ap­ply to it, but it’s to­tally worth it. Cast­ing my mind back [to be­fore we had the kids], I was a vac­uum of knowl­edge. I didn’t re­ally know what to ex­pect when the baby was on the way. You read all the books and you have all that the­ory, then the baby ar­rives and throws that the­ory on its head be­cause it doesn’t work, or the ad­vice is con­flict­ing. The hard­est thing for me was go­ing from one [child] to two. That might partly be be­cause Ma­bel had colic. Emmett was a breeze; it was very straight­for­ward. As the dad, I took the charge with Emmett quite a lot and I was rel­a­tively hands on but when num­ber two came along it went up another notch and I think, for me, the shock that sud­denly you’re not out­num­ber­ing the kids is kind of scary. I’m nor­mally not to­tally awe­some with surprises and I like to know what’s com­ing; I had to let go of that and learn to adapt. It def­i­nitely took a lot of self-re­flec­tion. It’s al­ways a work in progress – that’s what par­ent­ing feels like, and it prob­a­bly will for­ever I guess. What ad­vice would you give to a dad who hopes to have a large fam­ily? Embrace the chaotic en­vi­ron­ment and fo­cus on what you can con­trol; let go of what you can’t. And just re­mem­ber that there’s al­ways to­mor­row.

Hadleigh’s tip: the chaotic Embrace en­vi­ron­ment

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