Modern dads? They’re just useless, beer-drinking, DIY disasters

Daddy Pig

I blog about things. Usually things that happen to me and the stuff I can feel and touch. Not all happy sometimes. I don’t really blog about issues and/or things in the news, stuff like that. Not that I’m scared to, it’s just not how I do this and I know there are other bloggers out there who can do these things so much better than I.

But I read this piece today, retweeted it, and the frankly terrifying but utterly beautiful @cathjanes suggested I ‘blog the living shit out of it’ and so here I am. If I don’t then Cath might leave a horses head in my bed.

This article pricked my interest as I’ve recently been asked to be on the Advisory Board for OnlyDads but, also, because I happen to be a dad which I happen to think is my most important role on this planet.

It contains the line ‘[TV] programmes including The Simpsons, Peppa Pig, My Family, Outnumbered and Shameless were all highlighted as failing to promote suitable role models for children or fathers themselves.’

Forgive me, I didn’t realise Peppa Pig was a documentary. The others, obviously are of course. That’s what we dads are all like. We’re all bloated, devious, beer swilling, drug taking, dentists that look like Hugh Dennis.

These ‘role models’ in the media aren’t. They’re stereotypes. Oversimplified examples. In all the above cases, there for comedy purposes only. I don’t think we should look at them too deeply. Without sounding all Yoda about this we should look inside before we look outside. Unless you’re a window cleaner of course. Then that just makes you a pervert.

Ross Jones, policy and communications manager for campaign group Families Need Fathers said poor media representation was a big issue for dads. ‘It comes up with our members who may be struggling see their children or to keep meaningful relationship with them. When they see these negative representations it makes them feel the role of father is being devalued” said Rossy.

Hold on a moment. Yellow Card! Blaming Daddy Pig or Frank Gallagher because you can’t, won’t, don’t and will not man the fuck up and do the right thing is possibly the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard.

If you need a good role model then look to your children. They’ll guide you. You’ll learn from them. Spend time with them and they’ll tell you exactly what they want from you without saying a word. I’ve asked my son numerous times what he wants to be when he grows up and his answer is always the same. ‘I want to be a daddy. Like you.’ This isn’t me doing anything other than loving my children beyond all things. My ex and I don’t have the best of relationships at times but we are the best parents our children could ever have. We love them, support them, praise them, discipline them and are always there for them. No matter how things are between her and I.

Things go on. People separate, divorce and life does become hard for separated fathers, but it’s ALSO hard for separated mums. There are two sides to each coin. Quit moaning down the pub about how bad things are. Look at a photo of your children and remember that with them in the world, and you doing the right thing, it ain’t all that bad. But I’m digressing.

In a survey I undertook, of all the dads in this room, all of them said we should stop looking at the above examples and maybe concentrate on our own thing. It’s like anything in parenting. It’s all about the gut instinct. If you can feel it there and know it there then it’s probably the right thing to do.

Plus, our survey said that My Family was actually shite.

Role models for dads. Who are they? Who are the best? Who aren’t so good? It matters not to me.

And I don’t think this little chap is too busy looking to the TV to work out who he wants in his life. The caption that went with this photo reads ‘His mom caught him spending time with his daddy… He lost daddy in Afghanistan.’


Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts on this then please pop them in my comments hole. ‘Modern dads? They’re just useless, beer-drinking, DIY disasters’ Discuss.

31 responses to “Modern dads? They’re just useless, beer-drinking, DIY disasters

  1. What’s wrong with Daddy Pig? I always had him down as awesome? Good fun, always patient, and offering explanations to his children. What’s not to like?

    I can think of plenty of examples on TV soaps that are portrayed as being wonderful dads. The chap in Emmerdale (who I’m going to pretend I don’t know the name of) plus a few others in that show and Tyrone Shoelaces in the one that starts a bit later.

    There’s a mix of TV dads, just like there is in real life.

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  3. Completely agree. I must say well done to you for continuing to be a great father to your kids regardless of what is happening between you and your ex. More separated parents should take a leaf out of your book. Don’t suppose you could have a chat with my ex and sort him out could you ? 🙂

    • It’s not easy but then we’re happier people and better parents outside of the relationship we had. This means we and our children stand a good chance.
      Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading.

  4. Spot on. I was listening to this on the radio, and thought exactly the same thing. My kids dont’ expect me to be like Daddy pig any more than they expect their mother to be Barbie. The stereotypes are there and clear for all to see, and it’s up to us to be and demonstrate the individuals that we are, for better and worse, and to accept that the stereotype is there as a device as a cartoon, comedy character, doll, or whatever. Great post.

  5. Well said. And as a complete aside, Mummy Pig isn’t exactly a shit-hot example of stellar parenting either, so perhaps it’s best if we *all* avoid emulating cartoon pigs when it comes to raising our children 😉

  6. Everyone comes to this debate coloured by their own experiences. For myself, I have an extremely jaundiced view on marriage. I think marriage is great if one is lucky enough to find a partner with whom a long a fruitful relationship can be shared but I think that happens by pure chance because we are hormonely driven to find partners at an age before we are emotionally developed. Humans haven’t evolved enough so that child rearing can take place when we have achieved enough knowledge to do it really well.

    It has become my view that the best time to start a family is the age when both men and women realise they have the same fears and aspirations. When we realise we are all on the same journey and all the categorising is nonsense.

    Having 24/7/365 care for a 9yr old boy and 5 yr old girl I know what I can do and I know what I can’t do. And what I can do is nurture, guide, encourage, cajole, cheerlead, listen, critique, discipline and most of all pay attention and watch carefully for their specific talents.

    What I can’t do apart from French Braids is, go on boozy nights to pub, drink at home or watch TV until the children needs are met. It’s hard work but if I am really lucky one day may children might say thanks Dad, for trying so hard.

  7. My two howl with opposition when I turn off a Peppa DVD. For them Peppa is pure entertainment at the moment. I expect that to change as they grow up. They will soon know who the real daddy is!

    • I’m thinking there are worse people in the world to uphold as bad dads in the media. Darth Vader for one. If the electricity went down mid Peppa Pig my children would go feral.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment. Big up.

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  9. I love that you wrote this post – I wouldn’t have dared to, not being a Dad!
    I’ve included a link to it in a post I’ve just published on my site, which was a guest post for Father’s day about being a good dad from a relationship counsellor.

  10. Hi Spen, great that you have spoken out against the stereotypes, and fantastic that you view your job as a Dad as the most important one in your life, unfortunately not every father does, for a variety of reasons. I have written the guest post on Lisa’s ‘mummy whisperer’ blog, to discuss what I have learnt from father’s who come for counselling, about what they/I think makes a great Dad – do join in the discussion! And here is my new blog which discusses relationships and relationship dilemmas , do get in touch! Cat xx

  11. I love mummy and daddy pig! In fact my hubby and I aspire to be them so much our car keys have as mummy and daddy pig keyring on. Rock n roll. I think they are good role models… Kind, caring, work hard,
    spend time with their kids. Seem alright to me. But I agree that no father with an ounce of sense would be looking to these “comedy characters” as examples of real fatherhood, and children instinctively demand what they need from their parents irrespective of what any tv characters say.

  12. What a great piece of advice, ‘let your children guide you’ so good to hear and so simple. Also I totally got distracted in this post when I read that your son wants to be a Dad like you, well done you.

  13. In a straw poll of Mums and Dads I know, does your average Dad change the odd nappy, get involved in their childs life in a way that our Dads didn’t? Yes. Do they do anywhere near 50% of the child rearing? Sadly in general no. But that said, irrespective of other things going on my husband is a very good Dad and is very good at being the fun one and the one who gets my son out of the house doing things more interesting than playing with lego.

    It frustrates the hell out of me sometimes though that some Dads seem to not have the change in lifestyle Mums seem to accept post kids (I cite my husband being at the British Grand Prix for 4 days when my son was 2 months old in this argument) but also perhaps this isn’t the fault of these men per se (and not all men are like that) but perhaps it’s not that you should both feel equally bad about the whole thing but that you should both try and maintain a sense of self. Certainly I felt like I lost me for a while being a Mum and should have fought for those times that my husband hung on to with ease.

    • ‘Both try and maintain a sense of self’ absolutely agree mamacookblogspot , we can often feel critical of men for being more ‘selfish’ as fathers, but if as mothers we resent this, then we need to express ourselves and make it a priority to find time for the things we need. Often we as mothers might complain about dad’s doing less, but in reality are we able to always let go of our ‘control’ and allow fathers to parent in a more 50:50 type way? I know I struggle with this, but then again, most of it falls to me most of the time because of our circumstances (we are an Army family who have been through an Afgnanistan tour etc etc ) so to then ‘let daddy in’ can be a constant balancing act. between maintaining control, and letting go…

  14. Very late to this post, but just wanted to say that I saw the stuff in the press about Daddy Pig being a bad role model and a little part of me inside, you know, the bit that hopes no one in this world is a twat, packed their bag and left in disgust. I then read your post, and that little bit of me came back, unpacked and put the kettle on. Thanks.

  15. I too read that article and just thought… ‘what?!’. The day my husband starts looking at Daddy Pig as a role model is the day I start planning my exit… lol 😉 ALL the dads I know are hardworking fathers and excellent peers – if that means they go against today’s stereotypes according to the UK media then so be it! 😉 Great and thought provoking post x

  16. It doesn’t come as any surprise that Dads are misrepresented in the media, when so too are so many other people. Then again, you made an excellent point about turning to our children for guidance on how to be a good Dad! We certainly don’t need TV characters for that.
    I think for the most part we can ignore the media when it comes to well represented people (or groups) to aspire to as role models.

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