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James O'Keeffe: Take it from me Ronaldo, dads aren’t cut out for going it alone

In a fit of paternal love not seen since God himself gave his only Son for us all, Mr Cristiano Ronaldo, footballer extraordinaire, diamond earring wearing dandy and all round bucking bronco, is to "voluntarily" assume "exclusive guardianship" of his baby boy.

Gone, one now assumes, are the days of lingerie models, actresses, very fine cars, voluminous pink jackets and compulsory daily body waxing.

Instead enter sleepless nights and, doubtless, some post surrogacy man-depression thrown in for good measure.

I'm not saying Ronaldo will do this, but all too frequently, celebrities treat their children like a designer accessory with a pulse.


Ronaldo will quickly learn it's all about what you actually do, not what you like to show people you do.

Trust me. I have some experience in this area.

As a separated father with four kids I can tell you that were it not for a wonderful ex-wife and maturity on all sides I would be resident in an asylum.

Kids get up in the middle of the night and don't want a model in the bed beside Dad when they do.

In the morning they want you to get up with them when they go to school, not some weird but well meaning Hispanic matron.

Then, Ronaldo, they want you home in the evening to do their homework with them and then put them to bed and hug them and tell them that when they go to sleep you will still be in the house and not at an awards ceremony getting your diamond earrings polished by your latest PR woman.


Ronaldo will have helpers to put his one boy to sleep and they will read him stories in a few years when Dad is out.

The reality is that most dads cannot bring up children successfully on their own and someone with Ronaldo's lifestyle will certainly fall into this category.

We try to copy how mothers do it so effortlessly and time and time again we fail.

We might be good at the school fees, the slap on the back and the seasonal hugs.

And occasionally we might even raise our game and listen to our daughters when they cry about their latest boyfriend.

But we simply haven't a clue. Nature has endowed us with little more than clumsy and faltering ideas on what children might need, not the certainty that comes from giving birth.


Yet we single dads still do our best and generally we make it to the sports days, the prize givings and the football matches. Some of us even manage to hug our kids and tell them we love them on a weekly basis. Ronaldo needs to under-stand, however, that it is not the designer clothes or extravagant toys that Ronaldo Junior will remember when he grows up, but the fact that his father once said to him that the daisy chain he made as a four-year-old was the best thing he had ever seen in the whole world.

Now, Ronaldo, over to you to see how you're going to manage that one.