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she can’t get her own way.” The banter repeated itself several times, “I don’t believe you, she seems VERY upset, what is going on here?” hands on hips now drawing herself up to her full girth. At this point I lost my niceness. I told her very firmly that if she couldn’t tell the difference between a child in distress and a child throwing a tantrum, then she clearly knew nothing about children and should probably depart from this place, back to whence she came. Had I a hat, I would have doffed it and bid her “Good DAY, madam!”, or something similar.


If this little opening anecdote appears to paint me as a stressed, angry, overreacting dad, I admit it, sometimes I am but never at my children. Usually it’s at the world and its view of us dads. Once upon


a time, dads were revered, respected and trusted and I don’t mean by kids, they always love their dads. No, I’m talking about the world, our culture. Dads were considered a Good Thing™.


I had a great role model in my dad, a big, tough, 70s cop show, “man’s man” of a dad, who worked hard, played hard, adored his family and had the loudest and most joyful of laughs. A dad who wasn’t afraid to be open and honest with his kids and tell me what was going right, or going wrong. I adored him, I still do.


Sadly, times being hard, I never got to see him in the week. As a builder, he would be up at the crack of dawn and would be home long after I had gone to bed. As I slumbered, he would be dunking his aching feet in


a bowl of arsenic-laced warm water. So there he was, a traditional dad of his time and the world loved him for it. I was very aware of just how much respect he had. But then, as it does, the world changed. In all this change, women finally and rightly gained more equality and respect.


Unfortunately, poor old dads somehow became a bit of a joke. Popular culture, television, comedy, advertising started to increasingly paint them as a bit stupid, incapable of most things and certainly not as good at parenting as mothers. This viewpoint had a more serious knock- on effect; perception can become reality. Whilst the world lost its faith in dads, they began to lose faith in themselves, hiding away from their responsibilities, or just running away altogether.


Autumn 2010 | ukhandmade | 19


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