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Set for Father’s Day

Like most milestones in 2020, Father’s Day celebrations this year will look a little different from usual.

For fathers celebrating their first Father’s Day, it may not be what they envisioned it would be like six months ago, but that does not mean that it will be any less special.

Jackson O’Neill and Luke Schneider both recently became fathers for the first time and have reflected on their experiences in the lead up to celebrating Father’s Day this weekend.

Finn Jax O’Neill was born on 29 July and Mr O’Neill said it has been a new experience learning to care for his son.

“Finn is our first child, so it is probably good that we can’t compare the current situation in Victoria, to the birth of any other children,” he said.

Mr O’Neill works as a teacher and while remote learning is inconvenient for most people, it has meant that he has been able to be close to Finn while learning to manage work and parenthood.

“So I have been juggling nappies and remote classes,” he said.

“Hopefully my students haven’t been able to hear Finn crying in the background of any of my videos and they are enjoying my new dad jokes.”

It has not been all smooth sailing though, with COVID-19 restrictions preventing family and friends from being able to meet Finn.

He said,” A lot of my family are in Geelong, Melbourne or South Australia, so he may be walking before some of them are allowed to come and visit.

“In saying that, we completely accept and agree with the restrictions, a lot of others have it worse off than us.”

For Mr Schneider and his child Evie Mae Schneider born 11 November last year, it has been tough not being able to get out of the house as much.

“It's hard not being able to do activities outside of the house, we really enjoyed going to the heated pool and we can't do that anymore,” he said.

He said the experience of becoming a father has been “exciting, and very eye opening”.

His piece of advice for new fathers is, “Don't forget the nappy bag”.

Mr O’Neill also shared his nappy related advice for dads.

He said, “You have to be very careful where things are pointing when you change a nappy, I learnt that the hard way.”

Both dads haven’t had the chance to establish any Father’s Day traditions as this year’s celebrations will be quite restrictive.

“No big plans at this stage, and no traditions yet,” said Mr Schneider.

Mr O’Neill said, “Probably not the best year to start or make any new traditions as we can’t go anywhere, maybe we will use this year as a planning year and begin our new father’s day traditions in 2021.”

The community has played a big role in Mr O’Neill and Mr Schneider’s new chapter of fatherhood.“We have had gifts and nice messages from people all around,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Mikahl and Trent Miles have been awesome, keeping us fed with a constant supply of meals and snacks, Narni Jo and Oma Cath have also made countless meals for us. Emily is loving this as she isn’t the biggest fan of my cooking.”