“Today men are ripe for transformation. Fathering is very likely the place to start.”
Northern Rivers, New South Wales, Australia
I create opportunities for expectant and new dads to be engaged, educated and supported as they are becoming dad. I am a single dad with 50-50 care of my son Charlie, who turns 9 this year.
What inspired you to do what you do?
Becoming dad to my son Charlie has been my greatest source of inspiration. I first became a single dad when he was only 8 months old. My world was rocked. I loved him fiercely and was committed to not screwing up. I also knew I needed support. I found my way to a local men’s centre and signed up for my first men’s group – a 10-week program called “Changes”. It was exactly what I needed. During the third session, I had a moment of clarity when I realized that working with men is what I wanted to do. I have been on that path since. After training as a working with men professional and doing some soul searching, it became clear that the context that I wanted to work with men was fatherhood.
Also, this quote really crystallised my vision for Becoming Dad:
Steve Biddulph, Manhood: “Today men are ripe for transformation. Fathering is very likely the place to start.”
After dwelling on this, it occurred to me that if we are going to start with fathering, we should also be starting with fathers as they are beginning their fathering journeys – hence why I decided to focus exclusively on expectant and new dads only (or the “Becoming Dad” space).
What are some of the biggest challenges you face (or have faced) in doing this work?
There have been many challenges along the way! Initially I was working in the community sector and managing a small NGO that received a tiny bucket of government funding to deliver an expectant father’s program. I worked tirelessly (often in a volunteer capacity) to build a case for more funding to create a sustainable future for the organisation and program. It didn’t come.
My creative solution was to begin freelancing – to create Becoming Dad as my contribution and way to make a difference. Limited resources – financial, time and energy – continue to be my greatest challenges.
Working to create change at a systemic sociocultural level is also slow going. This is a long game mission. Staying motivated can be hard work.
What are your biggest fears and/or hopes around the work you are doing?
My greatest hope for Becoming Dad is that it is part of the solution for creating better outcomes for fathers, children, families and communities. Fatherhood has been an area of investment and focus for a while now. I hope more resources are directed to engaging and supporting expectant and new dads. That this becomes a new “normal”—in our society and for us as men. That we embrace this part of our masculine identity.
My dream vision is that there are Becoming Dad mentors all over the world leading groups and workshops for expectant and new dads in their own communities. That men who are on this life-changing path are not doing it in isolation and they have a place to meet, learn and share with other dads. That more men are more prepared and making the commitment to being a dad for life – right from the start.
Are there any men (past or present) you particularly admire or who have influenced you?
I’m fortunate to have had many amazing men who have touched and influenced my life and Becoming Dad journey (personally and professionally).
I’ll always be grateful for the two men – Ned and Gary – who led that first men’s group I was part of at the Men & Family Centre in Lismore 8 years ago. They were strong, real, vulnerable, funny, loving and skilled. It was an incredibly inspiring and humbling experience. I’m also grateful for the men who were part of that group for showing up to heal, learn and grow with courage and commitment. It was this first taste of men’s work that sparked my passion and awakened my calling to do what I do.
How can others learn more about you or get in touch?