Fatherhood turns your life upside down in some unexpected ways. Here, four dads reveal some of the repercussions on everything from their sex lives to bathroom habits. This is the secret life of dads.
“I started peeing in the sink”
“My daughter was a terrible sleeper. Until she was about a year old, she’d wake at the slightest noise. It was totally insane – I felt like I’d just had a lobotomy I was that exhausted. But the problem was that, at the time, my wife and I were still renting this shitty one-bedroom flat in Surry Hills. So we’d be creeping around on bloody tiptoes and communicating in whispers out of fear of waking the baby.
“A couple of times I woke up the baby just by using the toilet in the middle of the night. So I started peeing in the sink. It was much quieter that way and I didn’t have to turn on the light, so I was less likely to wake her up.
“Two year on, she’s now a champion sleeper. But I’m still peeing in the sink. It’s become this weird habit. My wife would bloody kill me if she knew – she’s a total clean freak.” Dave
“I’ve become a lot more emotional”
“I grew up in a pretty traditional household. Dad was a farmer and never showed any emotion. Ever. I definitely never saw him cry, not even at his mum’s funeral. And at some stage, I guess I became the same sort of guy. Through my late teens and early 20s I can’t remember shedding a tear. I just got out of practice.
“Since I became a dad six months ago, I find myself tearing up the whole time. It’s crazy. It’s not like I’m depressed or anything, more that I’ve suddenly become a lot more emotional. I even welled up the other day while watching this contestant screw up on that ramp on Ninja Warrior!
“I don’t know what’s going on. I’m pretty tired obviously. But it’s like some emotional switch has been flicked on. My partner reckon it’s a good thing, but I’m not sure. To be honest, I’d still be embarrassed if anyone saw me cry.” Sean
“You’ll probably start watching a lot more porn”
“Fatherhood is associated with all these noble virtues. Being the provider, the rock of the household, all that stuff. Well, here’s something they don’t tell you in pre-natal classes: when you become a dad you’ll start watching a lot more porn.
“I never watched that much before. Seriously! But since I became a dad three-and-a-half years ago it’s become a regular thing. Partly, it’s because that side of thing has dropped right off with my wife since we had kids. Right now, our sex life is basically non-existent. Of course, I miss the sex and I also miss that sense of connection. But I also don’t want to make too big a thing about it either. The birth of my first son was traumatic – my wife took a long time to recover from the damage it caused to her body. She’s had to deal with loads of ongoing physical stuff from that, which I don’t really want to go into. And then we had my daughter 18 months ago. The way things have panned out, we’ve just never got things back on track in the bedroom. I really feel for my wife and, of course, I love her, but I don’t want to push it.
“But at the same time my sex drive hasn’t gone away. PornHub and RedTube seem to have filled the void. I’m not watching anything too weird and I don’t have any big ethical problem with porn. But it’s not exactly how I pictured being a 40-year-old father of two would look like. It’s kind of pathetic, I suppose. Nick
“I don’t see a lot of my mates any more”
“My partner got pregnant when I was 27. That’s not super young, I know. But my partner and I were still the first ones in our social circle to have kids. Plus we had twins so that’s obviously crazy. The first six months were a total blur. The twins are almost two now – they’re good little boys.
“One thing I didn’t anticipate is that I don’t see a lot of my mates any more. Partly, it’s just the logistics. It just became a lot harder for me to go out to the pub or the footy when I knew that Kate, my partner, needed help with the twins. Plus, those times I did go out, it wasn’t worth the damage the next day. Trust me, looking after toddlers with a hangover is a nightmare.
“It’s not like I’ve fallen out with my mates or anything. We’re just in a different phase of life. A lot of the boys are still single and let’s just say they have very different priorities to me. Am I envious of their lives? A tiny part of me is, for sure. I still catch up with some of them occasionally for a barbecue or something. But it’s not really the same.” Michael
Names have been changed
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