A big welcome to our first dad panel! These three UAE dads will be sharing their parenting experiences in the magazine and online, each and every month, alongside our mum panelists. After all, parenting is just as much about fathers as it is about mothers...  

Craig Hodgson

Nationality: British

Occupation: Designer

Name and age of child: Everly, 5 weeks (at time of writing)

“The stand out experience was my first moment as a dad. My wife Claire was in labour for almost 40 hours and, as you can imagine, was absolutely exhausted by the time she had to push. The midwife asked if I could help support Claire’s foot while she pushed, which meant I was as close to the action as you could get. I witnessed Everly’s head start to show, then crown and finally take her first breath. And it will stay with me for the rest of my life.” 

Brian Fletcher

Nationality: British

Occupation: Digital Marketer

Name and age of child: Georgia, 1 year

“A memorable challenging moment was on my first outing to the supermarket with Georgia, sans wife. Once parked up, I was struggling to adjust the baby carrier from ‘mummy mode’ to ‘daddy mode’ (meaning the straps wouldn’t fit around my fine specimen of a dad-bod). With Georgia already sat in the harness and becoming restless, the sweat started to pour down my forehead as I tried and failed to bend my stumpy arms around my back and to keep my precious cargo safe. Admitting defeat, I stopped a random passer-by to ask for his assistance. Which would have been fine, if I had picked someone who spoke reasonable English, and who had prior experience of baby carrier-gymnastics. Which he didn’t.

    “After a frustrating few attempts at lengthening the wrong straps and trying to connect the buckles to bits I didn’t know existed, I politely thanked my willing assistant and sent him on his way.

    “But, I wasn’t beaten. I would show my wife that I was perfectly capable of managing the baby and the shopping. And, as it turned out, I did show all the other supermarket customers that this dad was cool with having his daughter precariously balanced in a loose baby carrier, somewhere around his groin.

    “The lesson? Let the expert (i.e. the wife) help you in preparation, before you leave the house.”  

Read: How to support your wife after she's just had a baby

Mohammad Mohafdhah

Nationality: Jordanian

Occupation: Model, actor and talent manager alongside being a full-time dad

Name and age of child: Seraphine, 9 months old

“I think one of the funniest dad realisations has been that wearing a white shirt with a newborn is a hazardous proposition. When she was around two months old, I was feeding and burping my daughter in the mall in one of the cafes and she decided to projectile vomit all over me. My wife told me how all the women in the cafe had been watching me looking after my newborn daughter, so I think Seraphine thought she’d get in on the show and make it a blockbuster!

 “The true realisation though has been that no matter the throw up, or the pee, or the poo, it never matters when it’s your daughter. What you would have once thought of as gross, you don’t even notice when you are so in love with this tiny human being.”

Wondering what to read next? Try Do mums value the role of dads enough?

Photos by Shutterstock/Istock