Fatherhood: “It’s by far my greatest achievement”
It’s been celebrated since the Middle Ages, yet Father’s Day traditions remain as varied as ever. We spoke with some of our favourite Aussie dads, who share their thoughts on fatherhood and parenting.
Michael Clarke – Sporting Legend
You’re Dad to Kelsey Lee, 2. How would you describe fatherhood?
“Being a father is the best thing in the world. It’s by far my greatest achievement. Kelsey Lee is my little angel and I love her more than she could ever imagine. It’s everything I envisioned plus more.”
How does your family celebrate Father’s Day?
“I’ve always tried to stop and make time on Father’s Day to say thank you to my dad for all he’s done for me. Kyly is a big one for celebrating special days. She will help Kelsey Lee write on a card and make a nice little cake to say thanks.”
Has becoming a father changed your views towards parenthood and how your parents raised you?
“We didn’t have much, but Mum and Dad worked hard to provide for my sister and myself. I think that’s what makes me cherish the small things now. They taught me to appreciate the food on the table. I’ve learnt a lot from my parents and I can only hope I can provide a similar upbringing for my little girl.”
I’ve always tried to stop and make time on Father’s Day to say thank you to my dad for all he’s done for me.
Jarrad and Michael Duggan-Tierney – Founders at The Real Dads of Melbourne
How would you describe your experiences with fatherhood?
Jarrad: “It’s everything and more! There is no doubt parenthood is the most challenging role, but it certainly comes with the biggest rewards.”
What life lessons/skills do you hope to pass on to Reid, 7?
Michael: “We try our hardest to lead by example; we’re raising a young man. From birth we’ve tried to instil a sense of resilience in him, as things aren’t always going to work out the way you want. That’s life.”
Jarrad: “We also hope he will take on our family values of respect and kindness for others, as we are all equal. We want him to know it’s good to step out of your comfort zone, try new things and that it’s OK to make mistakes.”
What’s a typical Father’s Day experience in your household?
Michael: “We love Father’s Day, as we never know how many handmade cards Reid is going to make us (last year we received four each and they’re just the best). We never plan to do too much on Father’s Day as it’s a relaxing day for us to simply be together.”
You got engaged earlier this year after 17 years together. How important is it to you to have a legally recognised marriage – and have you set a wedding date?
Michael: “We were excited, and we are proud of who we are. Proud that after all this time we’ve got to this moment, and now we’re allowed to be married in this country. What’s more important is that Reid grows up in a country that recognises love is love.”
Jarrad: “We’re not trying to be anything different or waving our unique flag. We’re just us, celebrating our lives together, and our wedding will be the same. It’s not going to be a ‘gay wedding’, it’s going to be our wedding, and of course the best thing will be having Reid there by our side.”
We love Father’s Day, as we never know how many handmade cards Reid is going to make us…
Joe Hildebrand – News Corp Journalist and Co-Host of Studio 10
As Dad to Henry, 4, and Bonnie Rose, 15 months, how would you describe your experience of fatherhood so far?
“The great thing about fatherhood is that before they become dads, most blokes think they know everything about everything. As soon as you become a dad you realise you know nothing about anything. Personally I am thrilled to be a father of two because if I screw the first one up at least I’ve got a spare, although knowing my parenting skills I might need three.”
Does your family have any Father’s Day traditions or celebrations?
“My wife’s entire extended family goes absolutely all out on Mother’s Day – it is genuinely bigger than Christmas – and all the dads, including me, make a big deal of fussing over them and getting them presents and cooking them breakfast. The reason for this is that we all know that for the rest of the year we’re pretty useless. So on Father’s Day we just try to lay low. We don’t want anyone to start tallying up or scrutinising the things we do. Otherwise the whole jig is up.”
Have your views of parenthood changed since becoming a dad?
“The usual cliche is that as soon as a man becomes a father he instantly becomes a conservative. There is nothing more important than family values, paying off your mortgage and locking up all criminals for life. But it also turns you into a massive hippie. You are suddenly all about peace and sharing and loving one another. So basically my position is that everyone should always be kind to everybody.”
As soon as you become a dad you realise you know nothing about anything.
Written by Charlotte Brundrett