Father to four-year-old Oscar and 11-month-old Innis, Michael Preston described the experience of becoming a dad as “life-changing” but in the best possible way.

“It is game changing, life-changing. You go from doing pretty much what you like to doing everything for your child/children. That sounds like it is a bad thing - it isn’t. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me and I love being a father,” Michael told The Impartial Reporter ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday (June 21).

Having lived in London for many years, Michael and his wife Alison decided to move back to their Fermanagh home after the birth of their first child Oscar, to be closer to family.

“You are over there as the young couple with a baby and you don’t have any of your family with you. There’s the old saying ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ and whenever you are over there you don’t have the village, the village is an Easyjet flight and all the rest of it away. The village isn’t there,” shared Michael.

He continued: “As soon as we had Oscar it was kind of looking to see how we could get home. We loved living in London, it was a really exciting and vibrant place to live but it’s the whole shift in priority.”

“We want all his grandparents to spend time with him. Alison and I both grew up in Fermanagh so we know what a great place it is to be brought up so we thought, what better place to bring up our own children,”explained Michael.

Although he has always had a good relationship with his own father Derek Preston, since moving back home Michael noted that they have become even closer.

“Now that I’m home I think dad really enjoys it too. We often go out for lunch together and we are good drinking buddies too, in The Hollow. If anything I’m probably closer to him now that I’m home and obviously he’s getting all that time with Oscar and Innis which he loves,” said Michael.

Sharing how his approach to fatherhood has been inspired by his own father, Michael shared: “My dad is laid back, he likes to have a laugh and a bit of craic. He likes to keep everything lighthearted and he was like that as a dad too.”

Michael explained that his father very rarely raised his voice to him or his two brothers: “He would never lose his temper or shout. He was always calm and he never lost the plot.”

“I try to do that, in hindsight now I can appreciate exactly how patient he was,” added Michael with a laugh.

Commenting that prior to having their first child, members of the older generation would say to him and Alison, “oh you don’t know what you are in for”. Michael can now agree with this: “You really don’t until you get there and it happens. In a nutshell nothing will prepare you for it.”

Michael went on to share a story of one of his first experiences of changing a nappy: “Whenever it was my turn to do one of Oscar’s early nappies his mum was having a lie in on a Saturday morning and I had him on our lovely pale grey sofa in London and I took the nappy off. Sometimes when you take the nappy off and they are out in the fresh air they start kicking their legs and they’re all happy to be released from the nappy.”

He continued: “He was all happy and giggling away so I started taking a video of him on the phone because it was all so cute. Then the next thing you can see this big fountain appear on the video. I uttered a mild swear word and the thing died down again and I kept the video on. Instead of getting him covered up, I kept videoing him and I was laughing. I turned the video around to show what he had just done and of course another fountain appeared and that was even worse than the first one. He soaked the whole sofa. Alison wasn’t all that impressed but it was a good video. Just a piece of advice for any new father or new parents, do not value your clothes or your furniture too much,” laughed Michael.