Interviews

Dad under construction, or fatherhood, is an endless process


About fatherhood, parenting, hardships and joys associated with it, we talk with the author of the blog Tata under construction and books of the same title. Tomasz Bułhak always wanted to write, when his daughter was born he knew what ... Anyway, read it yourself.

Sosrodzice.pl: A good enough father or what?

Tomek Bułhak: Participating, active, willing to cooperate, with initiative. This is probably key. It's hard to standardize the concept of 'good father', in my opinion everyone should develop their own model of parenthood, in accordance with his personality and temperament. This must be real. A good father should cooperate with the child's mother, not just play on himself and his relationship with the child.

Sosrodzice.pl: How is playing on yourself manifested?

Tomek Bułhak: Education is cooperation and building shared experiences. And the point is not to always present identical visions before the child, free from friction or disagreement; there is no such world, so promoting such patterns would be creating virtual reality. It is worth supporting, especially in crisis situations, when one of the people lacks strength and patience. Then a second pair of hands is very useful. It's good to avoid 'give it back to me, I'll do it better' behaviors. This attitude of their partners, it seems, is often experienced by men who, because of this, are often pushed to the defensive. We know - a mother will usually do it better because she is the closest to her child, father is the first of strangers for a small man. However, I think that in this situation it is worth biting the lips and let the other person take care of the child in his own way, even if he makes mistakes in it. This builds self-confidence that we men often lack in contact with young children.

Sosrodzice.pl: Any ways to cope in a relationship after the birth of a child?

Tomek Bułhak: It's a delicate topic, very individual at the same time. Sometimes, there is simply no time for marriage, taking care of it imperceptibly goes to the background. It is good to know if such a process takes place; if you miss it, then you have to put in a lot of work to get everything back to a safe standard. It's worth talking, even if it's difficult, sometimes painful conversations.

Sosrodzice.pl: What should motivate us to "sobriety" and quickly deal with the relationship?

Tomek Bułhak: I think that the red light comes on when the direct relationship of parents begins to fade in favor of the relationship with the child. Taking care of him can effectively divert attention from a relationship; that's not all - you can always talk about a child for hours, so you keep the appearance of mutual contact. We are not silent, we are in touch. The problem, however, is that we stop being interested in ourselves and what connects us. We stop taking care of ourselves, all "home" energy investing in the development of relationships with the child. When we notice that being together does not provide us with ordinary, simple joy and satisfaction, when it is more likely to plan free moments away from home, without the participation of a partner, it is a strong sign that something is going wrong.

Sosrodzice.pl: What gives father contact with the child?

Tomek Bułhak: The prospect that this relationship will be fruitful, that once established contact, when properly cared for, will turn into something permanent, sure. In turn, contact with a small child, a newborn baby, then an infant, gives confidence and a specific sense of fatherly pride - 'yes, I manage, I can take care of even such a small child'. It is a bit vain, but this type of vanity is not overly dangerous.
It is worth building contact from the very beginning, at the stage of gestures, not words. Then it is easier to maintain and develop this contact.

Sosrodzice.pl: Is puberty a long time for paternity?

Tomek Bułhak: I don't know ... It's very individual, probably some are mature enough before delivery, others do not reach this state at all. I think that the process of growing up to fatherhood is divided into two stages - the first is a joint decision about the child, the second - building relationships after childbirth, forming your parenting model. I wasn't the type of guy talking to my stomach, I rather waited for Zu and then Basia to be born to start building this relationship from scratch. At first, my experience was full of uncertainty - I was wondering if a wave of love should immediately flood me, sometimes I had the idea that something similar should happen. It did not happen - emotions grew slowly, I understood it only after some time. Paternal love seems to be working and developing like any other - it needs time, interaction, and mutual experiences. I felt it after a long time.

Sosrodzice.pl: The biggest challenge for the father?

Tomek Bułhak: Fight at all costs to be yourself in this role. How do i understand this There are often people who admit that they wanted to have children and do not regret this decision, but they are sad, longing for something irretrievably lost - spontaneity, carefree, freedom in one way or another. Sometimes it seems that some of them fall into the rut of duplicating patterns such as "I already have children, so end my life". Our experience shows that many things do not have to be abandoned, they are compatible with parenthood. In turn, the biggest challenge on the father-child level is for me to build a relationship in which my daughters will trust me, will not feel judged, they will be sure of my support. They will be in active contact with me.

Sosrodzice.pl: Dad is there to teach courage, independence?

Tomek Bułhak: Also, although I don't see a clear division into the traits that my father and mother develop in my child. This is joint work. Of course, I have various visions that when the girls grow up, I will chase with them in the mountains, ride a horse, sail on sails. I hope that I will realize them, infecting them at least in part with my passions.

Sosrodzice.pl: What do you dislike about being a parent?

Tomek Bułhak: I try not to look at it that way. This approach always triggers an unhealthy longing for something that is not achievable for a parent, it is frustrating. Rather, I'm trying to think about how to bend the reality a bit so that the obligations arising from parenthood are not a chore. Of course, I dream, like everyone, to finally get enough sleep, go somewhere alone or alone. Sometimes fatigue is overwhelming, sometimes patience is lacking. But this is, I think, a fairly standard experience for every parent.

Sosrodzice.pl: And then comes the time for burnout, sofa parenthood, with a newspaper and a remote control in your hand? Can you save it?

Tomek Bułhak: It's hard to protect him completely, it's probably impossible. Sometimes fatigue makes the sofa the only alternative for the moment. Unless it is overdosed, there is probably nothing wrong with that. And the pilot and newspaper? It's a parent's right to have time for himself sometimes. It is important for the child to know that there is time together and time for the parent. If the proportions are correct, it will not feel neglected or ignored.

Sosrodzice.pl: What about games that bore? Because sometimes we just don't want to?

Tomek Bułhak: You need to look for those that do not get boring! There is a large field of such activities that give mutual satisfaction. Anyway, even those that seem to be boring, give an interesting field of observation of changes and child development. It can be inspiring. The rest - as above.

Sosrodzice.pl: Dad under construction - what does it mean?

Tomek Bułhak: Fatherhood is an endless process, hence Tata under construction. Parenting is constantly changing, because the child is growing, we change under the influence of new experiences. It seems to me that this situation does not have a final - even relationships with adult children are a living organism that is still evolving.

Sosrodzice.pl: Is the book going?

Tomek Bułhak: The book, published by the Albatros Publishing House, will premiere on March 16. It is already available for pre-order, it can be ordered in the Empik online store. I encourage! The book has significant value - it was illustrated by Maria Apoleika, the creator of Dog Sucharków, already an iconic position on the Internet. She felt great in Dad's Under Construction content, greatly enriching our book project.

Sosrodzice.pl: What can we find in it?

Tomek Bułhak: This is a collection of columns about male parenthood. I jump from topic to topic in them, I don't keep chronology, each of them is a separate entity. It is about experiences and emotions, joy and impatience, a specific male tendency to goat, and lessons of humility that babies sometimes provide for adults. I tried to write subjectively, truly, without icing, but with joy. I tried to dress these experiences in a light, friendly form, so that reading was a pleasant pastime. Readers will judge for themselves how successful they have been.

Thank you for the conversation. All the best!

Thank you.