This is a blog about dads.
Yes you there, Sir, in the T-shirt, trying to build a Lego spaceship while subtly rearranging your balls and wondering what it would be like to be a spy.
I’m going to blog about you.
And here’s why (please read to the end, or you’ll think this is the opposite of what it is…..):
We mums spend a lot of time talking about you (thought I’d point that out, in case you’d somehow managed not to notice this…)
Generally speaking this ‘talk’ goes along the lines of, ‘Oh bloody hell, Pete can’t do more than one thing at a time, and even that’s too much most days’, or, ‘Richard thinks childcare means sitting on his arse playing all day. I mean, does he empty the dishwasher or tidy up after the kids? Does he heck!’ or,
‘We’ve lived in this house for six years and John still doesn’t know where the washing machine is, let alone how to use the bloody thing!’
And suchlike. (The list is fairly long. As you may also have noticed…)
Now, in many cases, all of this is quite true, and fairly annoying. For me, the most annoying is the middle one.
When I come home from work on a day when my husband has been Playing Dad, I don’t need him to tell me what they’ve all been doing for the last six hours. Because I can see it.
I can see that they’ve baked cookies, because the entire downstairs is covered in flour.
I can see that they’ve done painting because all of my children have a litre of paint in their hair, on their face and down their fronts.
I can see that they’ve had a go at every single jigsaw in the world, because they are all still covering every inch of carpet in the lounge.
We mums (fairly understandably, I’d say) frequently moan about much of this ‘hapless Dad-ing’.
But listen up, ladies who are also reading this, because they know something we don’t, and it’s important:
They know how to switch off that endless, exhausting, nagging stream, called The List Of Things I Really Must Do Or The House Won’t Look Exactly Like The Ones In LivingEtc And If Someone Rang The Door Right Now They’d Think We Were Slobs And Never Visit Again And Say Socially Annihilating Things About Us At The School Gate, And Oh My God Is That A Pair Of SHOES Left In The Middle Of The Hall Floor AGAIN???! And Why Hasn’t The Toilet Roll Been Replaced? And Is There Any Milk Left? And What Are We Having For Dinner For The Next Month? And Why Am I The Only Person In This House Who Does EVERYTHING??! (And Did I Mention That Giving Birth HURTS???!)
This list is important, of course. If we didn’t have it we’d all live in a pig sty and catch some kind of pig sty disease. And then die.
BUT…it’s also important to Switch. It. Off. And. Play.
And, in the 13 years I’ve been a parent I can safely say that Dads, in general, are better at doing this than mums.
Oh sure, I can sit down and play…and I do. A lot! But within 10 minutes I’ll be getting up to quickly hang out the washing. Or pick some cushions up off the floor. Or wipe the line of strawberry jam I can see dripping slowly down a cupboard door.
My husband, on the other hand, can sit with my children and play, without pause or concern about the state of the bathroom or the fact that we have no food, clean clothes or The Special Yoghurt That The Kids Like in the house, for an entire day.
Yes, the children are starving, yes we have no clean clothes, no there are no packed lunches for the morning. But they don’t care, because when Daddy goes into Daddy Playing Mode they have the BEST TIME EVER.
And that’s worth an awful, awful lot.
The photo at the top of this blog is the result of this Daddy Time, today. For three hours my husband and his son stood in the kitchen surrounded by piles of empty boxes (that I, in Organised Mummy Mode keep for such purposes), glue, paint, brushes, scissors, tape, and mayhem, and made it.
(I feel rather awful that it’s all guns and tanks buy hey, he’s a 7-year old boy. Whaddaya want?)
Of course the kitchen took another hour to clean. But did it matter? No it didn’t.
Because I’ve never seen either of them look happier.
So dads, this one’s for you, and your amazing, fantastic and much appreciated ability to switch off, PLAY and have fun whe it’s required.
We won’t stop having a good moan about you, obviously. It’s far too much fun.
But we do appreciate your Excellent Dadness very, very much, even if we forget to say so far too often.
Now go and put your bloody cup INTO the dishwasher and move your dirty shoes from the mat by the back door onto the Shoe Rack, like I’ve already asked twenty times.
Thank you 🙂