Let's face it, becoming a dad is scary, exhausting (and so is being a mum, but that's another story) and at the same time exhilarating and exciting.
I thought I was ready, after reading a few hyper-serious books on the subject of fatherhood, to have some tips. Believe me, you may have read Dolto, Montessori and many others, but nothing prepares you for this.
In my case, as in the case of many of the fathers around me, I only really became aware of being a dad on the day my daughters were born. So yes, there were hints during the previous nine months but nothing as concrete as skin-to-skin with my girls.
I realised then that becoming a father cannot be taught. You have to look for it, fumble around, sometimes fail, but the most important thing is to start again.
You also have to give yourself time and understand this new role (guardian of their dreams, superhero of their daily life, sherpa of their ambitions, fierce protector, teacher, clown, ninja in order to put them to bed without waking them up and without making any noise with a lego in your foot and a comforter of their cries).
The funny thing is that when my second daughter was born, I had to relearn everything and adapt to her.
I won't use the big, ready-made phrases "a magical journey", "a fabulous initiation journey", "an extraordinary existence", to describe what you can experience as a father. This is intimate and depends on each person. However, there are moments with my daughters that erase everything else.
When I come home and they throw themselves into my arms.
When they write or decipher their first words and I understand that they are learning at an amazing speed.
When I discover a quality or talent in them that I don't have.
Or simply when they grow up without doing anything special.
Sometimes it's hard for me to know if I'm doing the right thing, but if my girls are happy, fulfilled and carrying my values, then I know I'm on the right track.
My life has changed and will change with them.
Is it difficult?
Is it tiring?
Would I ever go back?
Adrien, father of Ines and Alice
Photo credit : Felipe Salgado