Sunday, 24 June 2012

Next thing you know I'll be sat atop a church hall dressed as Batman

We recently had a PhD student round to ask me questions on Dad-hood. Two minutes before they arrived Bug wanted the TV turned off and asked for her art materials. PhD student turns up to find Bug sat in her high chair happily sticking stars and animals onto paper.

Best. Parents. Ever.

The interview itself raised issues about how isolated I often feel as a father. This blog is going to cover some of what we discussed.

The first time I heard Bug's heartbeat was profound. I was absolutely terrified. What if the midwife couldn't find it?

She attached the monitor to Bear's stomach. Seconds stretched into infinity.

And then a moment that will always be a part of me: a single beat that became rhythm that became life. And the speed! So fast, so full of energy.

I turned to the midwife and, choking back tears, asked when our next appointment would be.

'It doesn't matter,' she replied. 'You don't need to be there.'

It was my first taste of what it was like to be a father in a pregnant world. It wasn't to be my last.

I went with Bear to all her antenatal appointments; throughout the entire process my name was simply Sperm Donor. For all the interaction I had with the medical profession I could have been Bear's father, brother or lover.

Which explains the constant Fritzl comments from the midwife.

Since I started blogging I've spent time looking for parenting resources online. The majority of the sites available seems to be aimed at Mums and Mums alone.

Which is ace for Mums. They're brilliant.

Not so good for Dads.

We're not barred from these sites -- everyone I've met has been lovely. A few have dedicated men zones where we can go and chat about boobs and cars and things that go bang crash and/or wallop. At times though it feels a bit like teacher telling us boys to do some colouring-in while the rest of the class does important things like raising children.

I worry about Bug. I worry all the time. Is she happy? Do we play enough games? Has the TV been on too long? Am I teaching her enough/too much? Why does she point and say 'door door' and then refuse to put her shoes on? Why are some days a success if we're both dressed by 3pm? Will she ever sleep longer than 3 hours straight? Are her teeth sore, or is she still pissed that I took the nail clippers off her?

Do Mums not worry about these things?

I looked for Dad sites. They are out there, but many are agenda led. It's Dads pissed off about perceived slights at Dads.

Am I one of these now?

We take long walks down the canal. Sometimes I have Bug in a sling, sometimes the pushchair, lately holding my hand and toddling. I pass many Mums and Dads during our excursions. I smile at them like a loon. I'm so proud of Bug; so in love with being a Dad.

I want to tell the world.

More often than not, if a Mum's by herself she speeds up to get past me. If Mums are in a clan, they become engrossed in a conversation and allow me no eye contact whatsoever.

It is heartbreaking.

I simply want to say 'this here's Bug, she's amazing. I see your little one's amazing too.'

Instead I feel shunned. As a father it appears I am either unimportant or a threat.

There must be a middle ground in which I can simply be a parent.

Bye for now



Not every mother, health visitor or general member of society is like this.


Twitter's been brilliant on the Dad (and Mum) front.


There's another way to look at this: I may simply be a twat that both mums and dads should avoid.


  1. I love how Dads are hands on and I find that there is a lot to learn once you see parenthood from both perspectives.

    Do I worry? Constantly. Do all parents? I like to think so. Why are so many things focused on Mums? Probably because Mum is still the main carer for children even today. Women like to share and discuss as is our way.

    You are important - you know that in the way Bug responds to you. Always remember that!

    P.S. Continue being the proud Dad - you're entitled to smile like a loon x

    1. I spend all my time worrying. So does Bear. Many times one of us will come back from work and say 'I'm worried about this' and the other will say 'me too!'

      Thank you :) Mums are ace.


  2. I go through the same thing and when I'm with my girls and walk past a mum I think they think I'm creepy lol.

    1. Indeed. And to look less crazy I smile more which makes me look like a mental.

  3. Another excellent and honest post. Like you I agree that Mums are fab too - I am married to one after all - but Dads are FAB TOO! And you are absolutely right worry comes with the territory - its the most important job that we do - and we all want to do it as well as we can.

    1. Very true. Worry and guilt seem to be key words in parenting. Nobody mentions that in the manuals!

  4. Really lovely post. I am an antenatal teacher and feel it is vital to include fathers in classes as they have such a rubbish time of it in antenatal appointments and at the hospital.

    1. Thank you Sarah :)

      I do wonder if some of the issue was that due to holidays and sickness we only met our designated midwife twice during the nine months, and one of those times was 2 days after we got home from the hospital with Bug.

  5. I doubt you are a twat to be avoided, and I like your analogy about being told to get on with the colouring. It's a shame isn't it that as a society, we can't be more easy with Dads doing the child care.

  6. Ive grown to enjoy those sometimes awkward moments for my own amusement. Like when I received suspicious looks as I led my boys by their hands into some trees in the park to make a den. As the concerned mothers returned stooping low to see what evils I was up to they jumped out with a "boo" and scared the living daylights out of them!

    Fabulous and honest blog, looking forward to future posts.

    (Journey of a stay at home dad)