Neil Sinclair is an ex-Commando and for the last 10 years has been a stay-at-home dad to his three troopers
Neil Sinclair is author of the parenting bestseller ‘Commando Dad: Basic Training.’ He has the kind of background you couldn’t make up: Royal Engineer Commando, PE Teacher, security guard at the UK Mission to the UN in New York, PCSO in the Metropolitan Police and registered childminder. However, he professes that his most demanding job to date – and the inspiration behind his manual for new dads – is his role as stay at home dad to his three troopers: Sam, Jude and Liberty.
I recognised that I needed to get creative about how I could fit training in around my family commitments (which I have a lot of as a stay at home dad). It's wasn't always easy, but then nothing worth doing ever is. So dads, if you want to start, maintain or revisit a training routine, here are my tips...
Tuesday September 11 started much like any other day. It was my day off work and I walked my pregnant wife Tara 20 blocks to her office. It was a beautiful clear, sunny day. When I got back to our apartment I put the TV on (sound down) and started pottering around.
After Team GBs fantastic showing at the Olympics, and as we gear up for the Paralympics, there has been a lot of talk about getting more sport on the curriculum. Hooray! I say - but with a caveat. I think we can't only rely on the schools: Olympians must begin at home.
I have always loved the Olympics and really wanted my troopers to experience the excitement of the greatest sporting event on earth first hand. So I tried everything I could to get tickets: I entered the ticket lotteries for the Olympics and Paralympics, and every competition to win tickets that I could find. But it was all to no avail. I could not get a single ticket. It would be fair to say I was bitterly disappointed.
Ah, the joy of transporting the troops during the summer holidays. Road works, slow moving vehicles and sheer volume of traffic can ensure that even the shortest distance can end up being a long car journey.
I've noticed something strange about the way society views us dads. By and large, where we appear in the news or on TV, we are seen as unreliable, feckless parents, or disinterested ones who are likely to abandon the family at a moment's notice. But that doesn't tally with my experience in any way.
I'm always a bit mystified when people use the term 'planned like a military operation' as a form of criticism. A military operation is about moving people and resources from A to B to achieve the specified objective. As a dad with three kids, I plan <em>every</em> activity like a military operation. My mantra is Preparation and Planning Prevent Poor Parental Performance.
I've been a stay-at-home dad for 10 years and I'm telling you that you don't need to go to the local nursery for a crash course in childcare to be a better dad. You need to get to grips with the skills you need <em>with your own children</em>. Don't believe that as men we're not biologically programmed to parent.
It is important that children are fed a healthy diet to promote growth, sustain energy, improve concentration and boost natural defences. At school it is especially important that a child's lunch contains plenty of nutrients to stock up on those used throughout the morning and keep them sustained throughout the afternoon.
When I was in Iraq in the 1990s, there were no mobile phones or computers. We would wait, and wait, and wait to get mail. When it arrived it lifted everyone's spirits. It really is hard for me to articulate what a huge boost to morale it was.
Apparently, it is virtually impossible to get a publisher. I'm glad I didn't know before I tried, or I might have been put off. As it is, I got two offers on my parenting book for dads, <a href="http://www.commandodad.com/" target="_hplink">Commando Dad</a>. This is how.
12/12/2011 13:09 GMT
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