As we continue to celebrate great dads, we now turn the spotlight on Dr Steven Lofters, one of the best and most experienced radiologists in Jamaica. He is also a fitness enthusiast, who has made impressive showings in several body building competitions and a carnival junkie who has turned his passion into a business. Ever heard of LehWeGo? Steven is one of key players behind this website dedicated to showcasing carnival from a man’s point of view.
Added to all these roles, Steven is also a husband and a father. As a great family friend and someone who we truly admire, I couldn’t help but reach out to Steven for his take on fatherhood.
Read on and be inspired.
How has having a child changed your life?
It has changed things financially and emotionally for sure. The focus is no longer on us or on what car or house we want. Our child comes first. Having a child has also made me more cognizant of my mortality and the fact that I won’t be around forever. It has also taught me patience and empathy. Without those two things a screaming baby will drive you insane... rapidly.
What did you panic about as a new dad?
I didn't really panic about anything. I took it in stride and adapted to the new role pretty well.
You know how women share parenting tips with each other, do men do this?
What’s more nerve-racking? Competing in a body building competition or heading to the delivery room?
Definitely the delivery room. The apprehension when it’s delivery time is palpable. The competition comes and goes, but childbirth heralds the start of a never ending chapter of your life... not to mention all the inherent risks involved. Pure stress!
Men often complain about how hormonal and emotional women get during pregnancy. How did you handle this and how do you offer support?
You have to try to be as patient and supportive as you can even if you don't know what the hell is going on. I am the first to admit I could have done better during my wife's pregnancy. Having a few more years of experience in this journey called marriage, I know now how I could have done better and I look forward to doing a better job if we are blessed with another child.
All the women I interviewed have agreed children can put a damper on sex. How much dent does having a child put in your sex life?
Imagine lying in your wife's arms early in the morning when in the distance down the hall you hear the bang of a child's door swinging open and a loud "WAAAAAA" as she lets her presence be known. This is followed by a rapid pitter patter of a five-year-old sprinting down the passage way with form Asafa would be jealous of. This is followed by a brief pause as she launches herself in a flying Bruce Lee kick and then BRADAPS!
What happens next depends on the answer to the question that immediately shoots into your head, "Did I lock the bedroom door?"
If yes, expect a continuous and unending barrage of door kicks and violent rattling of the door handle accompanied by desperate squealing as if the child is in mortal fear of her very life.
If no, expect the door to be flung open with such violence that will almost break the door off its hinges! Your child will then stroll in with a broad smile, knowing she has successfully prevented the creation of any competition 🙂
I feel pretty sure this is why they invented grandparents. Visits to grandma allow us our needed alone time.
Haha! That’s hilarious!
On to something more serious. In today’s crime ridden society, with the abuse and increased violence against children, what measures do you put in place to protect your child? This question is from Garfield (obviously).
Apart from taking care to vet everyone who comes into regular contact with our child, we take care to carefully monitor her for changes in behaviour or signs of physical abuse and teach her to be wary of strangers and to report anything out of the ordinary to us.
What is your biggest fear as a dad? (Another Garfield question)
I fear the uncertainty of the future. Will she grow strong? Will she do well in school? Will she be healthy?
What is the most uncomfortable topic you’ve had to discuss with your child or do you anticipate discussing?
My daughter has a physical disability. I fear the day she may come to me asking why she is different and asking me to make it better. I fear being powerless to help her.
Are you the disciplinarian in your household or are you easily worked over by the puppy-dog eyes?
I am the weak link. She has me wrapped around her finger.
What is the most shocking thing she has have ever said?
What’s your favourite father/daughter bonding activity?
Going to the backyard and playing in the afternoon.
I think we are all so unaccustomed to seeing men play an active role in their children’s life that we shower praises on men for doing things that, in truth, moms routinely do and are expected to do. For example, nobody bats an eye at a mom changing a diaper but we are in awe of fathers who do. Do you think fathers should be held to same parenting standards as mothers?
Of course. Having both parents raise me made it easy for me to have these values. I couldn't imagine not raising my child, passing on my values and guiding her through life lessons.
As an aside: I can proudly say that I can now put a diaper on a screaming baby with one hand while half asleep in the dark.
A slightly different question, there is a wide perception that men are the breadwinners of the family which means they are expected to spend more time working as they focus on building their career or businesses. Many children of hugely successful men admit that they had very little interaction with their fathers. How difficult is it to balance your professional life and your role as a dad?
Fortunately, my work is now 9 to 5, so I have time to spend with my daughter every day. I am, however, still reminded every now and again to "Put down the phone daddy". It's easy at that point to realise that I need to spend more time with her and I gladly put down the phone and get to the important business at hand... like patticakes.
What’s the best advice that you’ve received as a father?
I can't think of any single piece of advice that I would say was the best. More important than anything anyone could ever say to me is the example my father was to me as I grew up. It is that example that I use as the basis for my own parenting.
What the most important advice would you give to a new father?
Take it seriously and enjoy it!
Finish these sentences.
Being a father means… sacrifice, fun and unconditional love
The first time I laid my eyes on my child I thought… HOLY CRAP!
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