My we’re all at it now. Not long ago a few embarrassed Dads were lurking in the corners of Mumsnet or NetMums or whatever Mums-focussed site existed at the time. Everything on the sites was Mum-this and Mum-that, with the occasional nod to Dads.
A few years ago, when I read comments by Mums about Dads they could be broken down into the following categories;
- Useless Dad – who wouldn’t know one end of a baby from the other, even if it pooed on him.
- Absent Dad – who wasn’t there for the child and could therefore go to hell in a handcart.
- Absent Dad – who was there for the child, but only on Tuesdays and Fridays, or whenever ‘the other woman’ let him out.
- Cool Dad – who could do everything with babies apart from give birth – eliciting pangs of envy from Dads (and Mums).
- Cocky Dad – who thought he knew everything and ended up handing back a screaming toddler before sloping off to the Pub.
- Doppleganger Dad – who would act the same as his Dad did – resulting in a child who knows the times tables up to 12 even though everything is in decimal these days.
- Grumpy Dad – who never seemed to enjoy the time he has with his child, preferring to be on the golf course or watching paint dry.
There were other examples that slipped my mind. Most of the Dad stereotypes centred on Dads being a) useless and b) not as good as Mums.
This was mirrored by adverts on TV where the joke was always on the hapless Dad. I can’t stand those type of adverts – mainly because they are created by all-male advertising agencies who are trying to pander to the female demographic – not realising that women are actually smarter than them – and can see through the product-pushing tosh.
Okay – so why was there such a knocking of Dads on Mum orientated sites? I suppose the obvious point is that women have been dealt a poor hand over the years. There has been rampant sexism against females who have been repressed at home and work. Even now there is not equal pay in the workplace for qualified women – and I suspect that the ‘glass ceiling’ is still causing quite a few bruised foreheads.
Maybe it was to do with men encroaching into territory where Mums feel they have a natural superiority – borne out of everything that comes with giving birth. Mums know best is often said – probably true, but now Dads were trying to chip in too.
Or maybe it has to do with women being fed up with having to justify themselves, such as always being subjected to glossy magazines – and their depiction of what is ideal in a woman. You know, stick thin twigs with bodies – airbrushed to perfection. Images that men see and wonder why they are not borne out in reality. A woman who has just gone through child birth has enough on without having to worry if her skinny jeans still fit. Which brings me onto Barbie. Arghh!
Tonight my daughter bemoaned the fact she did not have Barbie’s long blonde hair. That hers was ‘rubbishy brown’. I pointed out that Barbie’s hair wasn’t real and felt horrid, whereas hers was soft and a beautiful natural colour.
Barbie. Where do I start?
- Barbie has ridiculously small feet that are unbelievably bendy, with a hole in the sole. Ouch.
- Barbie’s limbs look like she has been stretched on a mediaeval rack. Her weedy legs are longer than mine!
- She has moulded on pants to cover up her dignity. Okay, I get the idea that she has ‘rudey bits’ but such modesty is at odds with her desire to flaunt her boobs. No nipples I note – so breast-feeding is out then, eh Barbie?
- Barbie has a freaky wide-eyed stare that implies she is about to go off and boil a few bunnies.
- Barbie elicits unreal benchmarks for what is beauty.
- Barbie has some words stamped on her back – Ouch again.
- Barbie can’t hold things with her hands – she can just karate chop at things.
- Barbie’s head swivels 360 degrees which is something I’ve only ever seen in horror films.
- Barbie was launched – born – in 1959 which makes her 54. She looks like she has had tons of plastic surgery, but then again, she is plastic.
- Barbie is a formidable role model regarding jobs. She has done everything over her five decades. She’s been an Ambassador For World Peace, President, Astronaut, Palaeontologist, Cashier and Cow Girl – the list is endless. Amazing what you can do without any joints.
- Barbie is a bully who is distorting my lovely daughter’s idea of what is good in this world. My wee girl is a star!
My Wee Star – photo (c) alan dapre 2013
Ahem. Moving on.
About two years ago, I started my Dad blog with little fanfare. In fact, I wrote a hurried little post that I hoped no one would notice. No one noticed. Seventy five posts later and I get a small but steady stream of readers. I look at other blogging Dads and envy their ability to stick to task. One writes about the practical sides of being a Dad, another about what it is like to bring up children as a widower, another about life with twins, etc.
I tend to ramble on about the funny things my daughter says, or moan about not getting enough books published. If I have nothing to say then I’ll review a book or come up with tips on Writing for children. I suppose I write what resonates with me. I try to have one eye open for the reader but as I feel that I don’t have an audience as such that I am free to witter on any way my keyboard takes me.
But one thing I am proud of is this. I’m proud to be a Dad – and delighted to show that Dads can be sensitive without being weak, kind without spoiling, nurturing without smothering, educational without dictating, and fun. Without fun then parenting is nothing. Mums and Dads should not seek to differentiate each other – we should play up our similarities – how much we love our children, wish them to grow into happy, well-rounded individuals who care for each other and the world about them.
So this is not another Dad Blog. It is my Dad Blog.
I’m the Daddy.
(And Mummy’s fab too!)