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

5 Things I Didn’t Expect From Fatherhood…

I’m the first to admit that I was quite naive going into this whole ‘parenting thing’.

I really was.

I genuinely thought my days would be just as they were before, with a few nappy changes and the occasional bottle feed.

How dumb was I?

The answer is pretty dumb – almost Donald Trump levels of stupidity.

Thankfully I’m a quick learner. I can now change nappies with my eyes closed – not to show off, I just find I have to look at much less poo that way. All in all, I genuinely feel like some days I’m getting into the swing of this whole parenting thing. Some days. That said, there are still somethings that I do, on a daily basis, that surprise me. Moments that are a little odd, that nobody warned me about.

Here are my 5 Things I Didn’t Expect From Fatherhood:

1: I pick my son’s nose most days. 

There, I said it.

Babies, all babies, are snotty creatures. Sometimes it feels like producing snot is their actual job. Sam, like so many of his peers, produces bogies at a prodigious rate. I mean, if snot were gold we’d be millionaires.

You know that feeling you get, the slightly awkward one, where you’re talking to someone and they (unknowingly) have a bogie hanging from their nose? You don’t mention it at first, not wanting to be rude, but then you reach a point when you can’t mention it – as it’s been too long. The snot draws you in like a tractor-beam; soon you’re not hearing what they’re saying, instead you’re looking at the unwanted appendage swinging in the breeze. Well that feeling drives me nuts, and Sam’s face seldom isn’t home to (at least) a bogie or two.

With small babies (whose noses are two small to pick) there are these little vacuum pumps that you insert into your young un’s nostril and squeeze – in an attempt to dislodge the accumulated goo.  These devices are about as useful as… as… something not very useful at all. There are other bits of kit that allow you to siphon snot from your kid’s nose by inserting a tube in there and sucking on the other end. I’m sorry, but that was never going to happen.

So you can imagine my glee when Sam’s nose became large enough to pick. God there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Anyway, in order to keep him – relatively – snot free a good nose-picking is what I give him. The joys of fatherhood.

2: Work is ‘time off’. 

I do childcare for Sam three working days a week – he’s in nursery for the rest. My days with him are glorious, but tiring.

Oh, so tiring.

Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning plates, running around trying to do ten things simultaneously: play games, wash bottles, find toys, prep lunch – growing ever more exhausted until the plates start dropping.  These days I drop so many (metaphorical) plates the (metaphorical) floor looks like it belongs in a (metaphorical) Greek restaurant.

So my days doing work, which used to be the low-point of my week (although they were the majority of it), now feel like a period of relaxation. All I need to do is sit down and get things done, with nobody to worry about but myself. They feel luxurious.

There’s an old cartoon Click here where we see a sheep dog and Wile E. Coyote spending the day protecting and hunting sheep (respectively) – the gag is that both see this activity merely as ‘work’. Handing over Sam at nursery feels like the moment here where they both punch out of work and calm descends. It’s a great feeling. That said, I do miss the little fella during the day.

3: I’ve become competitive.

I’ve become strangely competitive. Which is strange because (generally) I’m not a competitive person. Or perhaps I see the foolishness in misplaced universal competitiveness. I’m not one of those people who feels the need to compete at everything, from ten pin bowling to getting away first from traffic lights. Why waste energy on things that are: i. Unimportant. ii. Physically or mentally draining. iii. Likely to be done better than you by a host of people? I’ve always limited my competitiveness to one or two key areas where I know I have talent, leaving the rest to those who are easily distracted by shiny things.

I have, however, become very competitive on Sam’s behalf. On our daily activities together I find myself silently comparing Sam to the other babies we encounter – always announcing Sam as the victor. Which baby has a nicer laugh? Sam. Which baby has better hair? Sam. Which baby would be most at home rollerskating in an Evian commercial? Sam.

I’m sure this will only get worse at the years roll by. As long as I don’t turn into one of those screaming dads shouting encouragement (read ‘abuse’) at Saturday football (unlikely considering how much I detest the sport) I think this should be manageable.

4: I smell poo everywhere.

Poo is a big part of my life these days (not my own). Sam’s mum and I talk about little else:

“Did he poo this morning?”

“A little.”

“How little’s little?”

“Cadbury’s Creme Egg sized.”

“OK. What colour?”

“Brown.”

“Dark brown or sandy?”

You get the idea.

I’m constantly sniffing the air to see if a nappy needs changing or (God forbid) a leakage has occurred. They say that Queen think the world smells of fresh paint, which must be awful. Wet paint gives me a headache. For me, I’m sure the entire world smells of poo. Why? i. It does. ii. I’m concerned there is an (as yet unfound) poo stain on my person, from a particularly involved nappy change. iii. I have poo tinnitus.

I’m not sure if ‘poo tinnitus’ is a ‘thing’, but if it’s not it should be!

5: Socks will always be with me…

In Star Wars there’s a line ‘The force will be with you, always…’ Click here. Fatherhood has brought me a similar thing, but with socks. “Socks will be with you, always…” Socks to a just-about-one year old are the best thing in the world. They’re right there at the end of your leg, ready to be pulled off, laughed at, shook about and discarded.

My life seems to be one long succession of putting on and picking up socks. Every item of clothing I own has one of Sam’s socks in its pockets, rescued from the floor. Seriously, his socks are everywhere, in my shoes, in my kit bag, behind the TV… I even went through a phase of using them as impromptu book marks.

The only place I rarely find socks is on Sam’s feet. And if that doesn’t sound like something a dad would say, I don’t know what does!

Still Sinking…

The Out of Depth Dad 

@Outofdepth_dad

facebook.com/OutofDepthDad/

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