Q. Tell us about your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a Father?
Expressions of ‘F**K, F**K, F**K!’ before emotions of flat out denial. This was of course superseded with euphoria but only after the cold sweat had subsided.
Hardly the picture perfect start to family life, but in hindsight the best inception a father could ask for given the calamity that is my children.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of being a Father?
Man, I cant even begin to describe.
Q. So what is your Fatherhood philosophy?
Q. Does having kids make you think differently about stuff?
Happiness and how it can be found in the bottom of an empty box. It blows my mind that our children, armed only with a sunny disposition and a lick of creativity, have everything they need to have a good day. Think about it - why does this change? I now try to treat every day like an empty box and make what you will of it. Deep right!
Q. What has Fatherhood taught you so far?
To stay present in all moments. For example - never leave the house without saying a genuine goodbye to each other. It breaks my heart to think that so many people are lost daily and never took the chance to stop to say a genuine goodbye to their kids and loved one.
Don't be slave to routine and haste - take that moment each and every time it comes, as it pays dividends in the end.
Q. What is the most challenging part of being a Father?
Being present at all times.
Q. What do you miss about the time before you were a Father?
I can truly say nothing. I loved my time then and I love my time now. It’s different good.
Q. Tell us about your how you came to be working as a barber?
I was losing touch, working ridiculous hours and generally failing to meet my single obligation as a Father: to be there. My career trajectory read like a book; white collar, big company and six figure salary. So safe and so white bread, but who for?
I made moves and did what it took to change that. I became a barber because I wanted to. I have always been barbered and felt strongly about growing the trade. I’m highly passionate about tradition and grooming. It was the right fit.
Q. Top three things a man can do to style his hair?
Just one - find a good barber. And once you do, grow old together.
Q. You’ve got a distinct look and style, so how would you describe the ‘culture’ you are trying to pass onto your kids?
Man, I have never even thought about that! I really just hope that they take pride in themselves and express that in the best way possible.
Q. Tell us about a time when you felt you had no idea what you were doing as a Father? Were you scared?
This pertains to my eldest. The story begins at a much begrudged family reunion. After playing the rounds and many wet kisses later C.P and I decided to blow off some steam and hit up the little playground we had spied earlier in the day.
Like all good play sessions, things went off with out a hitch; we identified early the apparatus of choice, the friendliest dogs and the meanest kids. Steering clear of the latter we made for the A-frame. Things begun well with the standard one foot up, followed by one arm up and then repeat. Nothing out of the ordinary.
However, upon reaching the 3/4 mark, C.P made a misguided hand placement causing him to bump his head on the joinery.
Hardly the catastrophe and very much the routine but this thud had a different noise, or more worryingly, no noise at all. As I was already supporting C.P, I gently lifted him off the frame to inspect the collateral damage.
It was at this point that the status of being a dad melted right out of my feet. C.P had yet to scream, that was coming. At that moment he was still in a state of breathlessness. That moment before the shrill and for good reason.
Like a knife to butter, the edge of the climbing frame had opened my sons baby fresh skin open right above his left eye. Just like his missing cry, the raging wound was yet to weep. But it was all coming. In an instant the wail was released and like the Trevi fountain, my sons forehead exploded with blood gushing over his entire face and toddler fresh attire. Garh.
Long story straight - I dealt with the entire moment with a clinical precision, stopping the bleeding, calming the patient, reducing the swelling and seeking further care. But that's not the point. The point being that this was the first time in my life where the person at hand did not need my expertise, my council, my further recommendations.
No, this was the first time in my life that someone just needed me, my security, my reassurance, my being. Did I pass? I think so, but it was was not without intense fear of failure. This was the first time I genuinely felt that I was not qualified for the job*.
*Disclaimer - there have been many times since.
Q. What are your strongest memories of your Dad from when you were a kid?
I never lived with my Pa but I can vividly remember just feeling that he was invincible, the strongest man on earth.
Q. Do you think he did a good job?
Yeah absolutely. For better or worse both my parents set me on a path that I am incredibly grateful for.
Q. As a Father, what do you see your biggest challenge ahead?
Q. How do you want your kids to remember you?
With good hair.
Q. What do you think is the role of Fathers today?
I’m not qualified to answer this.
Q. What do you think is the most important thing every Father should be doing?
Don't make me say it again - but just be in the moment with your children! I get that its not appropriate for every dad to quit their corporate obligations to become a full-time little league coach, but can you just put the phone down! Little Johnny doesn't get deadlines, but he knows when you’re not into him. If you’re looking for your next promotion, start with your kids!
Follow Michael on Insta: @mikey.slicks
Get cut at Uncle Rocco's Barber Shop, Port Melbourne uncleroccos.com.au @uncleroccos