The OODD guide to The Dad Body.

So, it’s happened, you’re a dad.

Congratulations.

Yet, as the euphoria fades and the reality of day to day life with children settles, it’s likely that you’ve had some concerns about your body. Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s changed a little of late? Maybe you’re not the athlete you once were? Have you discovered hair in places you never dreamed of?

Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly normal.

Like a fat caterpillar transitioning into a glorious flamboyant butterfly, your pre-children physique has transformed into something completely different:

The Dad Body!

Here’s your handy Out Of Depth Dad guide to the new body that you’re currently residing within.

1: Things change

Nothing (with the possible exception of any episode of ITV1’s Loose Women)  goes on forever. It’s the same with your body. You may have thought you’d be that Brad Pitt look-alike until your dying day, but sadly that’s not going to happen. In fact, if you take a long hard look in the mirror you’ll now see that you look more like Brad Pitt ON his dying day. Something has happened to your body – it’s wilted quicker than a bag of supermarket salad.

‘How did this happen?’ I hear you cry!

Simply put becoming a dad unlocks a special part of your brain that encourages you to let your body go to crap.

It’s a tale as old as time.

2: People see things differently. 

So how did you not notice the sudden arrival of The Dad Body? Frankly, you were too tired to even care. Looking after a baby is one long cycle of pooey nappies, feeds and secretly eating entire cans of Pringles in one sitting when you think nobody is looking. The strange thing is, Mother Nature (in her infinite wisdom) decided to put dads in denial about The Dad Body until it was far too late to do anything about it – anything easy, that didn’t require getting up from the sofa, at least!

So, for all those months you’ve been holding your kid and seeing yourself as an Athena model when you look in the mirror, you’ve actually been in denial about looking more like Eric Pickles’ kid brother.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Nature and the purveyors of a whole array of delicious salty snacks were scheming against you. What were you to do?

3: You can only suck your tummy in for so long…

At some point every recipient of The Dad Body must bite the bullet and embrace their new physique. You need to learn to love the new, more capacious, you. It’s hard to suck your tummy in, 24 hours a day, for months at a time. So the time finally comes when you must let your tummy out*.

Do it. You owe it to yourself.

*Be sure not to do this in a confined area – as people may be injured by the ricochet effect your newly unleashed gut has as it lurches for freedom.

4: Budgie Smugglers

Traditionally, new recipients of The Dad Body go through ‘Rites of Passage’. Once the dad gut is released, and you’re no longer able to see your toes, fathers the world over invest in one item of clothing – tiny swimming trunks.

We’re not entirely sure what attracts recent Dad Body converts to the tiniest shorts known to humanity. Some say that the part of the brain that traditionally guides taste and embarrassment is short-circuited when the male passes into The Dad Body phase. Whatever the truth is, it’s important that all dads find themselves a pair of budgie smugglers. Especially tiny pairs of trunks are available for especially chunky dads with nothing to write home about in the downstairs department. Perhaps consult your local friendly sports’ retailer to discover which set of trunks suits you least – then buy them.

5: The MAMIL

Of late, a second option, beyond the requisite budgie smugglers, has gone on offer for fully paid up members of The Dad Body club. Many dads are now turning to cycling* to show off their total lack of physique. These Middle Aged Men in Lycra can be spotted up and down the country – occasionally in possession of a bike. So if the Speedo is too much for you, why not consider shoe-horning yourself into a Spandex bodysuit that leaves literally nothing to the imagination. It’s the perfect way to embrace your Dad Body and embarrass the hell out of your kids.

*Note. Don’t worry, actually cycling is an optional extra. Most men in possession of The Dad Body merely put on the kit and drink lattes outside coffee shops.

6: Hair today

As you familiarize yourself with your newly acquired Dad Body, you’ll notice that you now have hair in places you didn’t expect. Hair shoulders, knuckles, ears, noses and ridiculous eyebrows are all part and parcel of entering The Dad Body state. There are two ways to go with these new forest like patches erupting from your body.

i) Most men pretend it’s not happening and focus on finding the perfect pair of swimming trunks.

ii) Some men turn to waxing. This painful method of hair removal requires entering (of all things to strike fear in a man’s heart) ‘A Salon’, where a overly-friendly lady, who believes there’s no such thing as ‘too much makeup’ will agonizingly rip the hair from your skin.

The back wax is most popular for owners of The Dad Body, yet other options are available. Why not consider ‘The Back, Sack and Crack’? I’m told it’s the closest thing to the pain of labour a man can go through – so it may bring you closer to your partner.

7: Exercise

Many will tell you that a thing called ‘Exercise’ is the best way for men to revert back to their pre-Dad Body state. These people are liars! ‘Exercise’ was invented in the 1970s by the government in an effort to thin down the number of people surviving to a pensionable age.

If you must exercise, make sure you get involved in an activity like Golf – essentially a walk and a chat with a particularly heavy bag. Squash is to be avoided at all costs. Any game named after a children’s drink is not a good idea.

8: The exceptions…

You’ll notice that there are a very few men, who don’t develop into The Dad Body stage on having children. Instead they maintain flat stomachs and have muscles. Don’t be confused, these exceptions are the weirdos – not you. These unnatural types inject themselves with unicorn placentas, commune with unholy spirits and do even weirder things like eat vegetables.

If you find yourself having a chat with an exception (he’ll be called ‘Brad’ or ‘Rob’) just nod and smile and get away from him as soon as you can. Be assured, they may have non-dad bodies, but they’re not happy.

***

So there’s my OODD guide to The Dad Body.

I’ll end with a reminder, next time you’re feeling bad about your dad physique remember a wise man once said:

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a man with a Dad Body to walk past McDonalds.”

Give yourself a break – you’re doing great!

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

The OODD Guide to Nappy Changing a Crawler…

So it’s happened. You’ve been dreading it for months now and, finally, it’s here!!

HE/SHE (delete as appropriate) is…

CRAWLING!

In a moment, HE/SHE finally mastered forward propulsion and, with an unremarkable shuffle, your life just changed forever.

What happened next? You panicked didn’t you? Don’t be coy, everyone does. Suddenly, the realization dawns that your little crying & pooing creature (that you’re not allowed to return to the shop because you lost the receipt or something) has cast off its most endearing quality – complete immobility. That’s right, from now on it won’t be staying where you put it and that’s bloody scary!

The blind panic that this triggers lasts around 24 hours (usually), during which time you tape the furniture to the floor, blunt all the butter knives and rip up the carpet (replacing it with Velcro).

Don’t worry it’s all perfectly normal.

Now that you’ve ruined your house, bubble-wrapped the dog and sanded down all the sharp edges on grandma, in a futile bid to overcome your little darling one’s kamikaze tendencies, another horrendous thought strikes: “How the hell am I going to change their nappies?”

Fear not, you’re in the right place. Here’s my exclusive OODD guide to nappy changing a Crawler.

You can thanks me later.

1: STAY CALM

What you’re about to do is like sitting down to watch Sex & The City 2 – essentially no good will come of this situation. It will (I promise) be a living hell from beginning to end. Reconcile yourself to that. Perhaps have a few moments of quiet contemplative swearing before you begin.

It can help.

2: BE DETERMINED

Crawlers can smell weakness, just like you can smell the contents of their Pampers. Don’t let them think they’re going to win – otherwise they will test you. Consider drop kicking a teddy before you begin to show your Crawler that you mean business. Place your Crawler onto their changing mat and tell them as confidently as you can that they’re nappy is about to be changed.

3: DON’T FORGET WET-WIPES

Crawlers have a special 6th Sense that instructs them in the best way to create maximum carnage during a nappy change. If said diaper is merely wet they may just conserve energy. If, however, it’s messier than an explosion in a gateaux factory it’s guaranteed they’ll move quicker than a Jeremy Kyle show guest when the free bar opens.

THERE WILL BE POO EVERYWHERE. 

Wet-wipes can hide a multitude of sins. By ‘sins’ (of course) mean poo. I’m yet to meet a surface that a wet wipe couldn’t clean. When cleaning a Crawler the wet-wipe is your friend. There have been times, if I’d laid them all out, I could’ve created a baby wet-wipe version of the Turin shroud.

4: RE-DECORATE

I may have over-stated wet-wipes cleaning abilities. They don’t (necessarily) get rid of the smell. Don’t worry, you’ll get used it. But if you’re planning to have visitors (ever) you’ll probably want to re-decorate – once a week should do the trick. If you have a spare room, consider getting a painter and decorator to move in on a permanent basis. Trust me there’ll always be stuff for them to do – mainly painting over pooey hand-prints.

5: BUY BROWN CARPETS

You’ll never regret a brown carpet. It may be covered in skid-marks but no-one will ever know*.

*This isn’t strictly true. The smell is something of a giveaway. Consider recruiting people with no sense of smell as friends.

6: BUY YOURSELF BROWN CLOTHES

For further elaboration, see my thoughts on brown carpets. If brown isn’t your colour, perhaps try getting into the vinyl or rubber scene*. Either material is very easily wiped down – although a lack of pockets may be an issue.

* This may make raise a few eyebrows among the neighbours – although they probably hate you already because of all the crying (from the baby).

7: STAY CALM

You won’t. Running around after a crawler who is smearing every item you hold dear in excrement is unlikely to have this effect. That said – I’m trying to fill up space.

8: IT CAN WAIT

Why not just keep putting off changing the nappy? I find the morning alarm-clock approach works a treat: “I’ll get up in 10 minutes” can easily become “I’ll change them in 10 minutes.”

Why do now what you can put off until later? Words to live by if ever I heard them!

9: DON’T NEGOTIATE

It’s likely that you’ll find yourself pleading with your Crawler just to stay still for a moment – this is often accompanied by tears (yours).

“Daddy’s had a long day, please be still.”

“Be nice to daddy, don’t put your pooey hands on the wall.”

“Please don’t wipe your bottom on the carpet!”

Don’t do this, it won’t help. Have some self-respect.

10: WINE HELPS

I find the best solution is just to go with the flow. Reconcile yourself to the fact that your home and all your clothes are going to have a ‘funny smell’ for the next few years and relax. Rather than worrying about avoiding the inevitable, just close your eyes and think about the copious amounts of alcohol you’re going to drink when your Crawler goes to bed. I’d recommend something with a strong bouquet, to mask any nasty niffs.

***

So concludes my OODD guide to nappy changing a Crawler. I hope it’s changed your life.

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

@Outofdepth_dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s on the move!

It’s so true what they say, the grass is always greener…

For months it seemed the only question* I was being asked was: “Is he crawling yet?”

To which the answer was a firm “No.”

*Technically, this wasn’t the only question I was asked. Additional questions that have been proffered in my direction of late include: “Are you happy with your current broadband provider?”, “Would you like to add a drink for an extra 75p?” and, genuinely, “Can I tell you all about our Lord, Jesus Christ?” For the record, I answered “No” to all of the above. 

Sam’s mum and I spent many hours worrying about his crawling (or lack of it). We did it in that textbook modern parenting not-worrying, worrying way.

“Should we be worried he’s not crawling yet?”

“No. I mean, it’s not a competition.”

“Too true.”

But it is a competition – even if you don’t want it to be. We all silently seethe at the kid (there’s always one) who skipped crawling and is walking already – then again that precocious so-and-so is probably tap dancing, speaking basic French and learning to whip up a convincing bolognese too!

So, you can imagine, we were thrilled when it all clicked and Sam started to crawl in earnest. Boy can he crawl! He’s like the Road Runner is those old cartoons, there really is no stopping him.

Then it sank in. THERE REALLY IS NO STOPPING HIM!

Our joy lasted all of… oh… five seconds as we realized the size of our house has suddenly diminished and we are now sentenced to an interminable period of chasing around after Sam as he launches himself into harm’s way with gleeful abandon.

Wasn’t life so much easier when he wasn’t crawling?

Wasn’t that grass so much greener?

Wasn’t that a lawn far easier to tend?

After a quick Google, it became clear that there was no going back. We couldn’t encourage Sam to be a non-crawler for a bit, to make our lives easier. We were stuck with the situation.

The house, which up to this point had been our oasis, suddenly looked like a giant trap;  filled (Home Alone-style) with dangerous obstacles for our new crawler.

Everywhere I looked were sharp corners, lethal hinges, top-heavy bits of furniture and… and… well you get the idea.

Time and again, I’m drawn back to those David Attenborough documentaries that show how – via nothing more than instinct – the young of other species emerge into the world with a sixth sense for avoiding danger. Mother Nature must really have had a chuckle when, rather than giving human young a street-smart savviness, she decided to turn them into Frank Spencer like klutzes with the ability to find a crisis in any situation.

As a kid, one of my favourite films was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There’s a scene, at the beginning of the film, shows the hapless Roger trying to look after Baby Herman, who (for comic reasons) dives headfirst into one lethal situation after another. Click here to view. As a child, I thought this was a ridiculous skit created to provoke laughter.  I now realize that I was wrong. The scene is much closer to a public information film, a documentary reenactment of the real life chaos that parents are perennially just moments away from. All it needs is a Michael Burke voice over and the Roger Rabbit sketch could belong in the old TV show 999!

God it’s terrifying. 

Oh and while I remember. How the hell do you change a nappy on a baby that won’t lie still for a more than two seconds? Just when you thought you’ve got the whole nappy thing down, they move the goal posts once again! It’s like trying to change the tyre on a Formula One car as it whizzes by at top speed! I literally don’t have enough limbs to hold Sam still, clean him and apply a new nappy. It’s impossible!!!

As you might already have guessed, my focus has now moved onto fantasizing about new and much greener grass – when Sam can walk.

Things will be so much easier then…

Who am I kidding?

 

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

@Outofdepth_dad

 

 

 

Is Postman Pat on a Zero Hours contract?

We need to talk about Pat Clifton, probably better known as ‘Postman Pat’.

Everybody knows his bright red van, black and white cat and ‘happy man’ persona. But despite Mr Clifton being such a familiar (strangely un-aging) face to so many of us, I’ve got the feeling that there’s a story just below the surface that nobody’s talking about.

For the last 30-odd years Postman Pat has been delivering mail, with the aid of his cat ‘Jess’, to the people of Greendale (and surrounding districts). A genial fellow, Pat has never been what anyone would consider the ‘perfect postman’ – or perhaps we should say ‘post person’?

Pat has the habit of, well, mislaying the very items he’s supposed to be responsible for. A strong and stable pair of hands he is not! This truth was apparent even in the earliest part of his career, when Clifton worked under the direct supervision of postmistress Mrs Goggins. The affable pensioner always seemed to look the other way as Pat, instead of delivering the large quantities of mail he was tasked with,  would spend an entire day chasing a single letter he’d mislaid. Many would say that it’s to her credit that Mrs Goggins saw Clifton’s benefit to the community, as a slightly hopeless helper, outweighed any true ability he had as a deliverer of mail.

Times sadly have changed and I’m now worried about Pat. He no longer works for Mrs Goggins, his role is now under the supervision of the privatized ‘Special Delivery Service’, which I’m convinced has him on a zero hours contract.

It’s a well known story of a new company coming into a previously public sector enterprise and squeezing existing employees. The ‘Special Delivery Service’ seems happy to invest in equipment – they’ve automated conveyor belts that must spend half of their time empty considering the tiny amount of post Greendale receives. They’ve also bought a helicopter, dune buggy, snow mobile and all manner of post vans.

But have they invested in Pat?

I think not.

Clifton is clearly on a zero hour contract, with no hope of career-progressing training.

Why do I think this?

1: Pat is always on duty. No matter what he’s doing, any day of the week, Clifton can receive a phone call from the Special Delivery Service and is expected to get to work straight away. Birthdays, outings and school plays have all been ruined by Pat’s un-defined working routine.  The strain this constant state of uncertainty is having on his wife Sarah and son Julian is clear for all to see.

2: Pat never takes his uniform off, nor has the uniform been updated. It’s my suspicion that he wears it all the time to save money on clothing. Pat deserves better than that!

3: Pat drags out deliveries for much longer than necessary. He seems to literally go all around the houses, getting into bother, rather than just delivering the items he is given. I’m concerned Pat is trying to up his hours (and income) by unnecessarily prolonging his work.

4:Pat’s mobile. It’s an old Nokia, clearly he’s not financially solvent enough to be considered for a smartphone contract.

We can only hope that things improve for Pat in the near future. A career in the postal service, a role that became such a big part of his identity, should have treated him better.

 

P.S.

I’m slightly worried I’ve been watching too much kids’ TV!

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad

@Outofdepth_dad

www.facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

Going up in smoke…

People are going to hate me for this.

Seriously. 

But, to be frank, I don’t care. I mean what the hell is going on?

IT’S RIDICULOUS!

What am I talking about?

People smoking around children that’s what! It gets me so annoyed!!!

OK, so I’ll lay my cards on the table. I’m a non-smoker. Never have, never will. Never even been tempted. I figure that if I wanted to ingest serious amounts of carcinogens, there are much cheaper ways of doing it – like sucking on an exhaust pipe.

So, from the outset, you know I’m not part of the pro-smoking lobby. My mum died of smoking related cancer, and frankly I think it’s a horrible habit.

Still reading?

There is, I understand, an argument that people should be able to do whatever they like to their own body, thank-you-very-much. I get that. So if you want to ingest crap, 40 times a day, then that really is your funeral (literally). Good luck to you.

What annoys me, is the people I see doing this around kids. Often, and this is really what amazes me, their own kids!

I’ve tried and I really can’t see how people process this as if it’s an acceptable thing. I can understand the argument of: “It’s only me that suffers” that people give about smoking by themselves. It’s a stupid argument, because frankly nobody, not even Jeremy Dyson, lives in a vacuum. Screwing over your body is going to have effects on your family & friends, not to mention putting pressure on the NHS (if you’re reading this in the UK).

What I can’t understand is the idea of “Oh, it’ll only screw over my kids a little bit, by making them inhale my noxious cigarette smoke.” That, I don’t get.

As parents, don’t we just want the best for our kids? I mean, isn’t making sure they’re OK, and have the most promising start in life our entire role? Isn’t that it? Isn’t that ‘parenting’? Correct me if I’m wrong? So why would anyone go: “I want the best for my son, but I’m going to cloud him in cancerous gases because, frankly, I have no willpower”?

I told you some people weren’t going to like this.

It seems to me to have got worse lately. Since the smoking ban (which it won’t surprise you to hear, I love) smokers now linger outside pubs and cafes – which is traditionally where children are too. Here we find people frantically chain-smoking, a bit like deep sea divers filling their lungs before a long period of oxygen abstinence.

In the midst of these huddles of asthma inhaler-bearing inhalers we find kids, slowly turning into human kippers. Why would anyone do that to their own child? In an age where some parents what to find out the entire family history of any chicken nugget before they’ll allow their precious one to snack on it, why would these parents say: “Fuck it, you gotta die of something?”

The other day I was on a park bench, with Sam my son, when a man sat down next to me and lit-up. I asked if he could put it out or sit somewhere else.

“We’re outside!” he said, in a tone of ‘How stupid is this person?’.

“I’m aware of that,” I replied, attempting to stay calm, “I just don’t want my baby breathing that in.”

He tutted at me, then carried on smoking – with an air of ‘What are you going to do about it?’

I think ‘Going Postal’ is the term Americans use, when people lose the plot and majorly go off the rails.

I considered this for a moment…

… then chose another bench.

You see, I decided that not succumbing to an urge of the moment and acting in a negative manner (taking this man’s tobacco and shoving it forcibly where the sun doesn’t shine), was a better outcome for my son.

Perhaps there’s some parallel with smoking here?

Thanks for listening. I’m off to quietly fume somewhere*.

*NB:Please note the difference between ‘fuming’ and ‘giving off fumes’.

Still Sinking. 

The Out of Depth Dad. 

@Outofdepth_dad

Facebook.com/OutofDepthDad

 

Daddy Brain…

I’m not saying that pre-Sam I was some kind of intellectual super-power.

Far from it.

I’m the type of guy who gets quite smug after answering a few questions correctly on The Chase (my favourite Chaser, should you want to know, is The Governess. I don’t have a good reason for this. I probably should stop there).

University Challenge leaves me universally challenged.

As for Mastermind, I think I’d fall down on the General knowledge – I know nothing about Generals*.*

**That was what’s known in the trade as a ‘Dad Joke’. Since Sam’s arrival I am (officially) allowed to tell them – joy!

Anyway, despite not being a candidate for Eggheads, I always prided myself on having a brain that worked – kind of.

All that has changed since the arrival of our little monkey. I have a suspicion this occurrence is the result of a combination of lack of sleep (the standard parenting complaint) and being permanently unnaturally enthusiastic – unnatural for me, quite a monotone Northerner.

Together these elements have created what I like to call ‘Daddy Brain’.

I’ll give you an example of how ‘Daddy Brain’ manifests itself:

Yesterday I went to the loo. Quite a mundane activity, I’m sure you’ll agree. I won’t give details of whether this featured an odd or even number. Anyway, I did what came naturally and flushed the toilet. On doing so, for no good reason, I said out loud:

“There’s a good boy! Well done.”

I was on my own. Seriously. Sam is nowhere near being ready for toilet training. Why I said it is beyond me. Sadly, it got worse. For some reason, saying this caused me to roar with spontaneous laughter. Laughing by yourself in the loo is not (in our culture) regarded as a good thing. My other half called through the bathroom door to check if I was OK – all I could do in reply was snigger.

That’s Daddy Brain for you.

Another Daddy Brain incident happened to me when, at 7 in the morning I made my way to the kitchen to make a brew. I opened a bag of ground coffee and, rather than emptying it into a the jar, I emptied the whole thing into the cafetiere. Once more this triggered deranged laughter from me, and concerned inquiries from my other half upstairs.

The strangest incidence of Daddy Brain occurred to me today. I was going around the supermarket, alone, and without consciously being aware of it I was singing (loudly) “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!”

When I say that I was singing loudly, I’m not lying. In fact, I was singing with such gusto that, just as I passed the dairy section,  another customer joined in with my rendition.

Before, in my pre-Daddy days, this would have been so embarrassing to me that I would have stopped, dumped my basket and run home to hide. With Daddy Brain, that didn’t happen, We harmonized for a moment before I continued with my shopping.

It was all very strange.

So that’s Daddy Brain for you. I can’t wait to see what I do tomorrow, something weird, no doubt.

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad.

@Outofdepth_dad

Isn’t it time some people grew up?

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an adult man in possession of any status must be in possession of a flash car…”

This tale began a few days ago, with a trip to the soft play. Sam’s mum was away and so I decided to take him to our local play zone for a bit of sedate fun. By ‘fun’ I mean sitting Sam on soft mats and letting him dribble on over-sized foam building blocks. It’s not for everyone, but he seems to like it.

I must give some context: I am not, I admit, someone who spends a lot of time thinking about his own physical appearance. This philosophy has spiked since Sam’s arrival. I now consider any item of clothing to be ‘clean’ if it has two or less drool / sick / baby-food stains on it. So I don’t think I was looking my best. To be fair, I’m not someone who ‘scrubs up’ well. I used to go to a lot of black tie events with my work and I always ended up looking like a security guard in a borrowed suit.

Such is life.

Anyway, I arrived at the section of the play area that is specifically meant for babies. I was, I’ll admit, a little frustrated to find it had been colonized by a group of much older children, under the care of a woman who I guessed to be their grandmother. These kids were running around in a very rambunctious manner, which I quickly saw might be dangerous for Sam. There is, however, an optimist deep inside me, this long ignored part of my psyche hoped that ‘Grandma’ would see my arrival, realize that their time was up in this area (that wasn’t meant for her kids) and direct them off to a more appropriate environment.

Of course that didn’t happen.

So I sat down in a corner of the area, with Sam on my lap – my body shielding him from potential collisions with screaming 6 year-olds on a sugar high. I smiled politely at ‘Grandma’. What I received in return could only be described as a glare. I decided to ignore her and get on with facilitating Sam’s drooling.

I was disappointed at this lack of solidarity between those of us involved in childcare. Disappointed but not surprised, many friends have described similar events on their ‘Daddy days’.

Yet, what happened next amazed me. ‘Grandma’ gathered her brood together, for what turned out to be a lecture of sorts. A lecture for my benefit. “Your daddy,” she announced, at a decibel level that bordered on screaming, “is a very successful man.”

Good for him, I thought.

“He’s so big and strong and successful. And that car he drives, what is it again?”

One of the children helped her out: a BMW.

“That was very expensive. He’s got a very important job. So important, he’d never have time to come somewhere like this during the day.”

I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Like some ancient schoolkid, this woman was putting me down.

Now I’m aware that I may have been wearing rather holey (in the non-ecclesiastical sense of the word) socks and still have the remnants of Sam’s breakfast on my shoulder. Yet, even so, I found the level of grandma’s presumption staggering. Clearly I was only looking after my son because of my abject failure in the rest of my life.

I’ve since spoken to male friends, in a similar situation to myself, who recount similar stories.

Isn’t it time we all grew up? Why are we, as a culture, hanging on to these outmoded views of success? I met someone recently who apologetically told me he was ‘a stay at home dad’, as if he’d somehow let the side down. His embarrassment really saddened me.

I don’t want congratulations for looking after my son, but equally being a child carer does not make a man of low status in society. What does that say about the women who for generations have selflessly fulfilled this role? My partner and I made the decision about how we would raise our son, it was what worked best for us. The thought process was not: “Oh he’s a failure at everything else, let him look after the kid.”

If you are someone who sees your success in life to be all about the car you drive, then frankly you need to grow up. I’m bored of all the one-upmanship that goes on with so many.

It really is pathetic.

Even if I had the money to afford a Ferrari I wouldn’t buy one, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing I’d wasted money on such a transparent self-indulgence when there’s so much poverty in the world. OK, that may sound preachy. Frankly I don’t care.

I had a good mind to tell ‘Grandma’ what I thought of her and her son. But I decided against it, such harsh realities seemed anything but ‘soft play’.

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad. 

@Outofdepth_dad