Fatherhood comes with challenges, anxiety and fear, and different fathers deal with these in different ways.
Kabiru Hamza Mai-lafiya, a Farmer who owns a date fruit plantation, has three children. From the time he had his first child to losing his wife and raising his three daughters alone, he has passed through different emotions and challenges. On this episode of Moppet Dadsperience, he tells us how he is coping and embracing life as a father.
“I have three beautiful children; They’re all girls – Ummi, Zara, and Zainab. I had my first child, Ummi on the 10th of April, 2015.
Being a father comes with challenges, loss of sleep, moodiness, and depression; Having to wake up to care for the baby in the middle of the night because my wife had been with the baby all day, insight and understanding of children, and a deeper understanding of myself. In the beginning, with the pressure I already felt to be the breadwinner, and the shock of the added responsibility of the father role, I felt extremely stressed in trying to balance helping my wife and fulfilling my financial responsibility.
I knew I needed to recharge after work so as to best support my wife and children, but I really wrestled with guilt for going to the gym or to coach kids at the field and leaving my wife all alone with the twins, since she got no real break at all during the day. I would convince myself that I was not doing enough to support my family, and then stay in that cycle of exhaustion and guilt. Most times, it is the need for personal and emotional space.
When I lost my wife, my fears skyrocketed. I felt like I was doing nothing at all. She was the one doing the most. I was left to cater for my twins and eldest daughter. To be honest, it was really scary. I’m just happy they have interest in playing soccer too and they’re growing.
These emotions and challenges used to affect how I raise and care for my children. I go to the farm everyday except Fridays. Coming home, I will be exhausted. The challenges and emotions are things I don’t really want to talk about.
My daughters love attention every time.
When emotions run deep, it can easily turn into over-sensitivity and hurt feelings. Any logical perceptive gives way to disproportionate responses, inconsistent behaviour, and tension. The more daughters the more drama there tends to be. The girl child is a handful – No drama and they will create drama, leaving me extremely exhausted.
How did I deal with the emotions and challenges? I left my emotions out physically. I try to distract myself with farm work when they are at school. Sometimes, I go swimming to help my body relax and shape my mind to refocus, and play football. These ease me a lot, but you can never run away from them. It’s in human nature to go through emotions and challenges.
Being a father doesn’t affect my life. Life is a process and it is a stage that I’m in currently. I had always wanted children and I knew a time would come when I’d stop or limit the things I used to do. It’s called growing up and taking responsibility. I’m a different person from years ago; A changed man. My life is different now, and I’m happy.
Well, having children made me more emotional. It will break you to be there always, and make you a good person, not just to your kids but to every child out there. When any of my kids falls sick, I know how emotional I get. Having children will definitely change your way of thinking and how you see things basically. You will know you have fatherhood responsibilities; You have to be a mentor, a coach, and a dad.
Watching my kids grow to be their own person, seeing them do what they love, the kind of friends they keep, spending quality time with them, hearing them say my dad is my role model, taking them to the field and watching them play soccer…I can tell you a billion things I like about being a father.”