Wednesday 21 August 2019

What kind of dad is he?

Ahead of Father's Day this Sunday, Pat Fitzpatrick takes a look at the lot of the modern patriarch, and outlines the various types of fatherhood

Oh Daddy: Phil from Modern Family has Foolish Dad down to a tee
Oh Daddy: Phil from Modern Family has Foolish Dad down to a tee

Ask any new parents what it's like to have kids and they'll tell you it's life-changing. And then they'll lie down for a sleep in the middle of the road. Because as understatements go, life-changing is up there with 'you might feel a little bit tired'. Everything you thought you knew about yourself, your relationship and the real joys of five minutes alone is about to change. So it's as well to be prepared.

The problem is that nothing can really prepare you because nothing compares to the first few years of parenthood.

Judging other people's parenting decisions is one of the best things about having kids. Sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me going.

Since becoming one myself, here are some of the other types of dads I've noticed. Which one of them are you?

Always Busy Dad (ABD)

If you're looking for ABD, try the kitchen sink. That's where he likes to spend three hours a day, washing the same two cups while listening to the radio. This is no accident. ABD surveyed the situation when the kids arrived and quickly realised that the devil makes work for idle hands. He doesn't say that phrase out loud any more, because it's a long way back when you refer to your partner as the devil.

His favourite phrase? "You wouldn't say that if you'd spent half the morning struggling with a stubborn tea stain." His least favourite phrase? "Just put it in the dishwasher, Always Busy Dad, I need a hand with the kids in the front room."

Overly Proud Dad (OPD)

He's the one with the baby-carrying sling. OPD is so keen to show that he's a father that he likes to wear the sling around town even when he doesn't have little Jack with him. Or at least he did, until a woman pointed at him and roared, "That fool is after forgetting his child somewhere". He now realises how a childless sling might be a bad look for him.

OPD loves the fact that yummy mummies approach him in the supermarket when he has little Jack in the sling. His favourite phrase? "Don't ever grow up Jack - I don't think I can live without the attention." His least favourite phrase? "I want to get out and walk Dad, I'm nearly five years of age."

Old-Fashioned Dad (OFD)

He wasn't always old-fashioned, you know. OFD was a feminist in his day, just the man to stand up for equal rights in the pub if he thought it might land him a bit of sex. It did and that's how he ended up with a small child. And a strong notion that the woman's place is in the home. His favourite phrase? "I must go away out and do a job, it could take anything up to a fortnight." His least favourite phrase? "I'll fix the lawnmower, Old-Fashioned Dad, you stay here and feed the kids."

Daddy Pig Dad (DPD)

DPD has been watching too much television. In particular, he's been watching too much Peppa Pig with the kids when he should have been reading them a book. The result is that he is slowly morphing into Daddy Pig. He now speaks with a soft, posh English accent and tends to call his young fella George. He was being treated by a doctor for the condition, but had to move to another surgery after saying "Hello, Miss Rabbit" to the lady at reception. His favourite phrase is two grunts followed by "It turns out I'm the world champion at that." His least favourite phrase? "Daddy, I think we're watching too much television."

Project Manager Dad (PMD)

PMD successfully managed the transition to Version 7 of the software at work. Nothing could be harder than that, said he, opening a new spreadsheet to manage the rearing of his little daughter. The big eejit. He is currently at Version 7097 of the project plan after the little tyke failed to count to six when she hit 18 months. A recent meeting of "all the stake­holders" was interrupted when his little girl sang a word-perfect verse of 'The Wheels on the Bus'. PMD said: "I'd love to enjoy this moment, but you were supposed to do that last week."

Party On Dad (POD)

POD isn't the type of man to let a few kids ruin his active social life. Your standard POD has only one question for the potential mother of his children. "Would you have any problem with a stranger rearing our kids so we can go to Berlin for a week around Christmas time?" A "no" there means he has found his perfect partner, Party On Mom (POM). Another type of POD fails to find a POM and ends up with a crazy woman who thinks they should bring the kids on holidays with them. This POD can be found at the kiddy disco on holidays, dad-dancing to 'Uptown Funk'. He's never going to let it go.

Very Foolish Dad (VFD)

VFD likes to repeat half-arsed child-rearing advice he heard at work. "John's wife had their young fella on solids by four months, you know," says VFD, as his own wife googles 'affordable hitmen in your area'.

"How did she manage that?" asks his wife wearily, because she's been down this road before.

"I didn't bother asking him," replies Very Foolish Dad, as herself messages a dodgy man called Jorge to check his availability. "I just thought you should know how John's wife was getting on."

"Thanks for all your help over the past year," replies his wife.

"You'd swear you were saying goodbye to me or something," replies VFD, right for once.

Overly Sentimental Dad (OSD)

You know him all right. He's the guy blubbing away when his daughter hits one week old, because they grow up so quickly. Six months later he's over the moon that her first words are 'Dada', but then immediately starts to miss the way she used to gurgle and point at things. His favourite phrase? "Her first steps will be her first steps away from me." And least favourite? "I'm a big girl now, Daddy."

No Sex, No Sleep: So You're Going to Be a Father by Pat Fitzpatrick (€14.99, Mercier Press) is out now

Irish Independent

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