Father, dear Father

“But without a doubt my most important and fulfilling job is that of a father to my two beautiful girls Anna and Grace. If I do a good job as an MP but fail in my duty as a father, then I have achieved nothing.”

Local MP for Pakuranga, Simeon Brown is undoubtedly a devoted husband to Rebecca and a loving dad to three-year-old Anna and one-year- old Grace. In the countdown to Father’s Day, Brown shares an honest account of the role he loves the most! The true joy and responsibility of being dad that includes midnight wakeups, poop explosion clean-ups, lots of kisses and 17 stories before bedtime.

“Rebecca and I were told before we had children that, “Having children will change your life, but more than that, it will change you.”

We smiled politely and murmured our agreement but didn’t spend too much time thinking about what it meant at the time. You see, we’d heard it all before, multiple times in fact, over the course of the pregnancy. We knew of course that the clichéd words were true but we had no idea just how true they were. 

I wear many hats, and in my work I’m daily grappling with challenges on behalf of my constituents as well as seeking information to make the best possible calls in my portfolio areas of Transport and Public Service. The work done by MP’s can make a real difference in people’s lives, for good or for ill. But without a doubt my most important and fulfilling job is that of a father to my two beautiful girls Anna and Grace. If I do a good job as an MP but fail in my duty as a father, then I have achieved nothing.

Nothing can fully describe the feelings that go through a father’s heart when he first holds that little baby. An unfathomable sense of love and a tremendous sense of responsibility. I certainly felt that when I held Anna in my arms for the first time, and again when we welcomed Grace into the world last year. 

That squirmy little baby doesn’t need much. Just milk and cuddles. Oh, and midnight wake-ups. And poop explosion clean-ups. And kisses to make the boo-boos better. And walks to the park. And 17 stories before bedtime. They need it and they need it from their dad.

But being a father isn’t just important for my girls. It’s important for me. Being a father holds me accountable and is a daily reminder that integrity is essential in the work that I do. 

As an MP it is often tempting to choose the position or policy which is more palatable or simply seems easier to achieve or articulate. That temptation is shattered before the smiling face of my little girls. For them, and for all the children of New Zealand we need not just what is convenient or sounds nice, but what is true. We need real solutions that we genuinely believe will make a difference, not lollipops, gimmicks or catchphrases.

The goofy dad is a bit of a staple of comic TV shows, and I’m sure Rebecca can tell you that I know a bad pun or two, but perhaps it’s easier to focus on the silly side of fatherhood because the joys and responsibilities are so profound that they are difficult to talk about. 

To all loving dads: Happy Father’s Day. Your job is essential. Thank you.”