New Dad Diaries – Week 22: The Heart behind Fathering




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week, Chris loses his dignity for the 2,800th time as a father.  

Exactly ten years ago, I sat on the beach with a surfboard to the left of me, and a book to the right of me.  Today, on the very same beach, I am dragging Thea through the sand in her pram whilst making horse noises, much to her amusement and the locals’ bewilderment.   

As I ‘clip-clopped’ my way down the beach for the 27th time in six minutes, I realised that my days of looking cool were probably over. There is no doubt in my mind that being a dad changes a man in many ways, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if one of the first things to go is our dignity!  

It’s actually quite liberating, to be honest. Ten years ago, I was hyper-aware of what everyone on that beach may think about me. Now, I couldn’t care less. It’s the same for most dads. We are no longer the centre of our world; our wives and children are. So, we become who they need us to be, rather than who we think we should be. 

In other words, we drop the façade. The one we created to ‘fit in’, using metrics like success at work, the size of our bank balance and the number of followers we have on social media to present a ‘successful man’ to the world. 

These things are fine on their own, but things start to unravel when we base our worth on them. Perhaps the great irony is that it actually makes us less effective as men. For example, those who believe their value is tied up in their success at work will forgo other responsibilities to maintain it: their marriages, their families, and their health. And if we keep making decisions like this, nobody wins.  

That’s especially true for our kids. Study after study shows us that a good, authentic relationship with their dad is absolutely vital to their wellbeing (both as a kid and the adult they grow into). They don’t need the phony version. They need the real thing.  They need their father. Or in Thea’s case, a horse. Saddle up Papa, here’s to ride number 28.   

TIP OF THE WEEK: Remember how your parents used to tell you to ‘grow up’? Now that you are a parent, it’s time for you to embrace that inner child again. That’s according to many studies that show playing with our kids is critical to their development. So, get into your kid’s world, play along, be silly and have fun. Poor Mrs Kerr won’t know what hit her when Thea discovers water pistols… 

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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