Aug 5, 2008

Northern Dads Group Guest Blogger #1 – Jack

The first guest blogger from the Northern Dads Group is Jack. He and his wife have a one year old, Josie, with another on the way. Good on ya Jack.


Getting together every now and then with a bunch of other dads is fantastic. Your kids can rocket off one another and spill biscuit crumbs or Playdough on somebody else's floor while you caffeinate and enjoy conversation with somebody over the age of 3.

The kind people at Playgroup Victoria send us copies of their 'Playgrouper' magazine every now and then. It makes for pretty scary reading. Apparently there are playgroups out there with quarter-hourly activity timetables, developmental milestones and toy-disinfecting rosters.

Who do they think these playgroups are for? Kids?

Our arrangement is a whole lot more civilised. We trash each other's living rooms on a rotating basis, with occasional visits to a museum, children's farm or some-such, to allow some extra time for people's gardens, living rooms or pets to recover. The activities are more "fluid" to suit the individual child's preference, from arranging toy cars geometrically to eating sand (that's my daughter…), or seeing how far you can jump off the front porch into the rose bed (last school holidays the kids beat the dads. The shame…)

But the real value of a dad's group is the chance to sit down with a bunch of other blokes in similar circumstances, drink some coffee and talk about stuff that could be everything or nothing to do with kids.

It's great to compare notes, especially about some of the totally bizarre stuff you hear people say when it comes to raising children. An example:

Back when my wife was in the early stages of her pregnancy we went to some end-of-year function hosted by my then boss. He'd sucked back a fair amount of wine, and was feeling ready to expound to the restaurant at large his gnomic words of wisdom on the issue of raising kids.

"It's piss-easy," he said, "you just stick 'em in a basket under the table. Then they go to school. My sons are in their teens - parenthood is a doddle."

He sat down, to the sound of his wife grinding her teeth.

A few of the dads have met guys like my ex-boss at some time or another. Sometimes it's a generational thing. Sometimes there are guys out there whose kids are just magically maintained by the invisible snot-and nappy fairy, and they're chief-in-charge of occasional playing. Sometimes you meet people who think that being a parent at home is beer and skittles, with a break for Oprah.

Sure, I don't want to claim that being a stay-at-home dad is like building the Great Wall of China with your teeth - but if it's piss easy, you're probably not doing it right.


Daisy said...

I love the mental picture of the rose-bed jumping contest! The kids beat the dads? For shame. :)

Mark Lawrence said...

I'm still waiting for my order of an invisible snot-and nappy fairy to come through.

Perhaps it got lost in the mail along with my previous order for the elves to tidy my work desk each night.