Some sweeping generalisations about some dads what I have met


I was alerted to a piece a while ago published by The Telegraph and written by Miranda Hart called Extreme Motherhood and someone suggested I write something similar but about dads. The Telegraph published it to help promote her book, which is nice. I don’t have a book to plug but I thought I’d do it anyways, and so here goes. Once more unto the breach dear friends and all that…

In my time as a parent I’ve studied the dads who go to soft play centres and the ones I’ve seen in this small North Hertfordshire town fall into a few categories. Please forgive the massive sweeping generalisations as I think it’s great that so many dads are now as fully involved as they can be in their children’s upbringing, but this is just a laugh innit. Or is it? Sometimes I just don’t get blokes. You’ll find out why at the end…

1) The Friend
The dad who you see at soft play sessions or in playgrounds who can name all the fucking Octonauts, and calls his children guys. “C’mon guys, lets get back to mummy and I’ll fire up the barbecue.” HOORAY, his children shout. It’s December.
Invariably he jogs, is thinner than the gable end of a fiver, and laughs when he’s with his children and they hit others round the head with a bike as “it’s just a bit of rough and tumble, isn’t it guys?”
Probably sees his children as an extension of the people in the office, who he also calls guys, and who he probably leaves to clear up some of his work mess as he has to pick Flan and Bruschetta up from Little Ruggers. He’s the most aware of his right to work from home, takes up this option as much as possible, but when others do it he’ll kick up a fuss.
Doesn’t like football but loves rugby. Drinks bottled beer. Goes to farmers markets. Usually wears glasses.

2) The Frightened Rabbit
Look at him. He doesn’t know what on earth to do with them.
It’s 9.30am on a Sunday and it’s a soft play a-go-go. He speaks in a soft voice, trying to guide his children, trying to make sure they take their shoes off before they get on the bouncy castle but do they listen? Nope. Mummy usually does this and he’s hopelessly out of his depth.
Within 3 minutes he’s on his Iphone and sitting on the corner of the bouncy castle with his back to his children. By lunchtime he’s on his laptop and the kids are watching CBeebies. By 5 o’clock he’s wishing it was 7 o’clock and wishing Lenor and Antiseptica were in bed.
He’ll go to bed later than everyone else because he’s up watching Babestation.

3) The SAHD
Look. He knows what’s going on. He’s done this so many times. He’s relaxed, he’s got his bag full of snacks, the shoes and socks are off as soon as they’re in soft play and he’s sitting back and letting his children play. But what’s this? His son has just pushed someone over.
“STOP THAT NOW” he bellows, silencing the room, making some of the children cry, and some of the adults shit themselves. He’s confident that this is the best approach. But he’s forgot that sometimes softly softly catchy monkey. And everyone is looking at him. He’s shouted at a child, and we all know you don’t do this. Especially The Friend and The Frightened Rabbit who are now looking at him.
The SAHD wants to punch The Friend in the face for giving him that look, for coming up and asking him if ‘Everything’s okay dude? Kids eh?’ and The Frightened Rabbit is probably tweeting about it.

4) The Creepy Daddy
The one who comes to talk to you, is perfectly nice and someone you think you could have a laugh with, but when they see a baby in a pushchair, or when your child comes over to you, suddenly starts talking in a terrifying voice.
“Awwwww. Iccle babby cutey babby? HEWWO THERE ICCLE BABBY!” and waves like a mentalist, while smiling like a clubber on E. Or, to older children, in a deep voice while crouching down at their level “Hello young man! Do you like the Tweenies? Who’s your favourite train in Thomas? invariably muting your previous chatty toddler because he’s given them The Fear.

5) The Dad/Grandad
Older bloke with a three year old. Not sure if he’s an older dad or a grandad. You know the ones.

You get the picture.

I once went to a dads session at a playgroup, which wasn’t really a new thing for me as I used to take my children to playgroup each and every day I could. We were sitting down for snacks as the playgroup used to provide bacon rolls for the dads and children along with other snacks like fruit and stuff like that. T was sitting next to me and K was on my lap. A bloke sitting opposite me asked me what I did.

“I’m a stay at home dad.”

“Yeah, but what’s your job? You know. Your proper job?”

“That. Being a dad. I look after my children full time and my wife goes to work.”

He paused. He gulped. He shook his head slowly. He looked at my children and then at me and said.

“You fucking cunt. What a fucking mug.”

He opened his roll and squeezed ketchup over the fried bit of pig.

I stared at him. I gave him The Look. “Two things. One. Don’t ever swear in front of my children. Secondly, you know nothing about me or my life, so don’t judge me.” I also pointed at him.

“I know one thing about you and your life. You’re a mug. Who’d do that as a job? Who’d stay at home and look after their kids all day?”

“The lucky ones” I responded. I picked up my children and left. T asked why we were leaving and while I couldn’t respond the way I wanted to (“Because Daddy is going to rip that man’s head off and shit down the hole”) I explained in a way that would make sense.

“Because I want to get some cake. Shall we go get some cake?”

“Yay!” And we left.

That guy falls into a completely different category: the parents you meet when you don’t have your gun.

Have you got any variations on a theme of the above? Know of any different types? Please fill my comment holes with any general observations you may have made if you wish and, as always, thanks for reading.


24 responses to “Some sweeping generalisations about some dads what I have met

  1. Bloody awesome list.

    I’d add:

    1) the recessive. He’s gone feral and regressed. The kids are crawling through the ball pit growling at each other. So is he. Someone cries, he instinctively bursts into tears just in case it was his fault and he’s about to get into trouble.

    2) the logician. He lives in a world of logic and no amount of tantrumming will convince him he can’t rationalise a 3 year old out a strop. “Now Jonquil, lets be sensible about this” is his first reaction to a purple screaming little girl. He wears them down into submission with unerring and slightly creepy patience. Probably a serial killer in his spare time.

  2. I want to hurt the bacon roll man who spoke to you like that! Repeatedly. With something sharp. What a ****. Great post, I can picture all the dads you described as though they were sitting in front of me. In fact I think I know some of them!

  3. This is brilliant! I have seen some of these dads (and the mother equivalents) in my job. The dad/grandad made me laugh out loud because I have committed *that* faux pas too many times I just say to the kids “Your grown-up is here to take you home!”

    Bacon roll man sounds like a nob. Incidentally all the dads who come to our Toddler group are SAHDs. I love it and always tell them about you and Reluctant Housedad πŸ™‚

  4. Ha ha ha! I love this! I’ve not been to soft play yet so I can’t add to the Dad types but they sound wonderfully realistic. I’m striving to be the first one as I tick so many of the boxes already. Are Flan and Bruschetta unisex names? I don’t want to rename my son and then find out it’s a girls name.

  5. Great read, and so true!

    I’ve had a run in with a ‘bacon man’ and made a similar quick exit but my reasons were purely cowardly. I was only joking when I said the great thing about being a SAHD was spending time with women like his wife but he failed to see the funny side?

    Love the blog by the way.


  6. At a birthday party last year, my son was playing with some toy he’d picked up. A larger boy (maybe 3 years old) with a shock of short blonde hair and a scowl came up to him and roughly snatched the toy off him.

    I considered putting things right till I saw the kid’s dad: lets just say there was a similar size differential, and the same Aryan hair & scowl – add some army regulation muscles and you get the idea. Not met too many of those, I’m glad to say.

    • Bacon man sounds a bit like the guy you met, but with a beer belly and, oddly, he brought his 12 year old to this group which was supposed to be for toddlers. Perhaps he was just pissed off because a) he found the wrong group and b) he’s a cock.
      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.

  7. Amaze balls.
    You appear to have forgotten Cheese Cloth Dad. The one who never grows up and has an earring and fire eating friends. The one you secretly laugh at because he still thinks he’s 21 and not 45. This quickly reverts to Mid Life Crisis Dad. And he’ll claim you’re just jealous. Mainly of his ponytail now that your male pattern balding has kicked in.

  8. Great blog. I think the Dad i mostly meet is the Fleeting Dad. You see him in glimpses and he’s only alone with the kids when mum has something unmissable to do (like recover from surgery). According to Mum, he’s just great with the kids when he sees them, he always makes them laugh and they love him, but you suspect he’s not really ready yet to do it for real – he just does the easy bits when he has to.

  9. Trendy dad- who wears that years hip band t-shirt, overly fashionable jeans and expensive trainers. Tries to hang out with his teen and their friends and drops words like ‘blud’ into the conversation thus making himself a permanent laughing stock!

  10. saddest bastard of all is disengaged dad. who either texts the hell out of his iPhone or talks shit on yet another unnecessary call, whilst his kid(s) look blankly into space. sad for him cos will figure it out eventually and regret it and sad for the wee ones. last night i ate sushi with my 9 year old daughter and she made me laugh until i almost peed myself, we nearly got thrown out for being the noisiest table in the place which is brilliant. disengaged dad, you are missing out dude.

  11. Excellent post. I live in the USA so we’re talking a whole different level of fatherhood – the high-feckin’-fivin’ and “Attaboys” etc. Shudder.

  12. It is unfortunate you couldn’t respond as you desired, because he so very very much deserved it. Don’t EVER swear in front of my kid (unless your my father who has a mouth like a wharf side sailor and I have no control over him), or question my parenting methods.

    And I know I’m a mom, but what about “Know it all Dad” who waxes on endlessly about anything and everything as though he is the guru of all parents. And whatever you happen to know a little bit about, he not only knows EVERYTHING about it, but has used all the tips and tricks and his child is a brilliant prodigy as a result and while your child is “just fine” you might want to consider doing something different.

  13. Great post! My husband is a mixture of the SAHD (because, well, he is one) and the dad/grandad (because, well, he is old.

    He also experienced fuckwittery type reactions, although not quite of the same magnitude as yours. Most memorably when one of his closest friends looked at him, tilted his head and said sympathetically “but what about your self respect?”. Fortunately we had no children present to witness the aftermath…

  14. Brilliant! I’ve met all those Dads, and my brother-in-law has met the last one when he was a SAHD for a while. He was told to be ashamed of himself letting his wife (the Solicitor) go out to work while he sat around at home ‘doing nothing’. He was in fact taking a well earned break from running his accountancy firm but this guy wasn’t to know that. As the old saying goes “There’s not as funny as folk”

  15. Great post! I have never come across a bacon roll man, wow he had some issues, it says a lot about him. Mostly it’s just guys who have no idea what it’s like being a sahd.

  16. Ya should’a give the bacon man his beans ‘look kids, over there, a UFO!’ *smack*

    I haven’t come across any of the types you’ve mentioned but I’ll be on the look out tomorrow that’s for sure. Great post

  17. I have to say sometimes your blog makes me sad, but often you make me laugh OMG “Because Daddy is going to rip that man’s head off and shit down the hole”. Never has there been a funnier line on a blog. I salute you sir!

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