Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Right. That's IT.

I am sick to fucking death of the prevailing attitudes about fatherhood. If mothers are still seen as the ones firmly ensconced at home, writhing in throes of whitegood-enabled ecstacy while they slowly, blissfully euthanise their thankless, smart-arsed children with ever more powerful anti-bacterial cleaning agents, then we fathers are still firmly on the outer. Clueless, spineless morons from Mars, we are, one and all. Footballs in one hand, nutsack in the other.
Before Charlie was born,
as The Expectant Father, I received much advice and commentary . (Mele did too, but that deserves its own tetchy blog). Most of that advice was in the form of a warning about The First Poo.
"You know," my newly-self-declared mentor would intone, "the first poo a baby ever does is this black, sticky GLUEY Satanical substance, which affixes itself to everything like Intergalactic Superglue. It doesn't come off, it can't be washed out." This was usually followed by the requisite evil cackle and knowing stare, just to ensure that I was quivering on the ground in disgust and mourning for the imminent loss of my immature, boyish, care-free ways to the grim spectre of responsibility.
I, of course, did no such thing.
I'm a large fan of self-deprecation, but in this instance, I will buck my own trend and proudly claim that when that first nappy needed changing, I changed it. And moved on with my life.
One thing about my life that did not move on, however, was this larger issue of treating fathers like naughty schoolboys who need to pick up rubbish after school in order to learn some responsibility. Most of the mainstream literature I encounter (read: theage.com.au) uses the same patronising tone that pre-feminism literature did in referring to women in the workplace.
Many difficult and strange rituals will happen to you, Mr New Dad, the tone of the piece goes. We bet you didn't think you'd be expected to pick up the housework while your wife sleeps! Did you know, she'll seem exhausted all the time and probably won't even want to have sex? Didn't think of that? Did you? You stupid boy. Daring to have children, which is clearly the sacred mother's role. Tsk tsk tsk.

Think I'm joking? Think I'm overreacting?
Please, visit the Phil&Ted's website (they make fancy prams) and take a look at the way fathers are welcomed.
"Freaked Out Dads!"
If you venture further, you'll find that the website is actually directed towards fathers who actually don't seem to be looking forward to the arrival of a new child.
Don't panic, Mr Mannering! they reassure you. No need to be a prisoner of the nursery (like Mum), with our funky kit you'll still get to: See the lads; watch the footy; build the deck ...
How about get phucked Phil! You too, Ted!

I'm sick of good fathers being marvelled at and the shit ones being let off the hook.

GTH - Andy Pants, you cherry-picker, you. Nice work. I was thinking red roses and passionate storm clouds, but I liked yours better.


  1. Do they have a model of pram that allows you to push it with one hand, while you hold a hockey stick in the other hand, as you tear down the wing on your way to delicious goal scoring glory? (What a fine father-son bonding moment that would be too!! And less premature than a purchase at my LINK)

  2. You tell it, Sam. Reaching back to days of yore, the one that enraged me was the description of what I was doing when taking my baby son shopping with me as baby-sitting!

  3. You're so frickin' right. That meconium poo is over in one go and is quite literally the least taxing thing about parenthood. Having to endure six weeks of continuous bleeding and stitches that became infected kind of negated having to deal with just the one instance of black shit emerging from the baby in my own experience.

    Love Chunks worked four days so that he could have Fridays at home with Sapphire until she started school and got more than his fair share of positive feedback from ladies of all ages. "Aren't you a wonderful father for having a day a week off?" etc. Instead of trying to explain (as you have done, so beautifully), he'd just smile, keep the pram rolling and move on. He once said to me, "The last thing I'm going to admit when given such glowing admiration is that I LOVE Fridays and look forward to showing Sapph how to make a horse out of a tissue box and bog rolls more than discussing the latest isobar chart!"

    In hindsight I can now appreciate how wise he was to NOT read any articles, books or websites on fatherhood, he just did what he wanted to do and Sapph thrived because of it.

    So yeah, enjoy being considered a domestic doofus but reap the rewards of just being seen out wheeling a pram. Sometimes ya just gotta take the strokes when you can :)

  4. GTH - your father dealing out what you thought was a 'fun game' but for him was a valid form of stress release after you'd inserted your unwanted fish fingers into the VCR slot....?

  5. Phil and ted? If only bill and ted made prams. Excellent!

    Send me some new pictures of little charlie would you?

  6. TOoS - I see you've been following the Cows rather closely, as I have already scored my first goal as father and dedicated to it too Charlie!

    Jono - That still happens! I'm actually planning a blog on the amazing similarities between living as a celebrity in public and being a man carrying a baby around. People stop and stare. Some of them stop you and stare.

    Kath - Sorry mate, I'm not going to enjoy being considered a doofus as a trade off happiness I feel anyway. I love being a dad, but I hate the high level of patronising shit that surrounds it - especially when it seems so unfounded, just from personal experience.

  7. I've got nothing mate. Other than the fact that I feel it's got to be an experience you have yourself - don't listen too much to anyone elses tips - you'll figure it out for yourself. It can't be that hard, as people have been doing it for quite some time - I imagine.

    GTH: Your father inflicting blood-to-head torture for the lack of sex in his life that you provided, however he was yet to find out this so-called torture was nothing more than a future part-time career path an older Franzy would embark on through out his journey, what is life.

    Keep it rural.

  8. Shippy - Have I blogged already about the weirdest thing about parental advice is that the best piece of advice you can receive is not to follow it? A Catch-22 wrapped in a tautology wrapped in an oxy-moron ...

    As for your GTH ... you've lost me. Is that what "keeping it rural" means to a city boy?

  9. Keep it rural - my touch on Keep it real - your life - your journey - your future.

  10. I agree with every word you've said. Many things have changed since the days of Mum at home/Dad at work back in the pre-war years. I know many, many men who are excellent fathers and husbands, having a hand in much of the child raising and and housework. My own first husband was one, my son and son-in-law, SIL's father too. The days of the comical inept Dad who doesn't know one end of the nappy from the other are long gone. (On the other hand there's probably a few women who don't know one end of the pram from the other too.)

  11. Anon - Some things are better rural than real, eh?

    River - I know, I know. I should probably just build a bridge and women have been putting up with this ill-treatment by the media for years, but it actually seems to extend to interactions with normal people too. I love taking Charlie to the market because that's the one spot I get to spend a consistent amount of time with him, but getting simpered at sometimes isn't worth it.

  12. Have you considered dressing up like a woman?

  13. just ignore the patronising crap and under no circumstances read the womens magazines (a method of inducing brain-rot if ever there was one). Just do what ya gotta do.

    I used to take the little chaps out to buy bricks, do the shopping, mow the lawns, whatever. I drove millions of miles every day (about 60 km a day) to drop them to and from childcare while my other half was working in Melbourne (so I'd be a single dad for 1 week in every 2)... its good, its bad, it just is. So many people have strange attitudes but tuning that crap out is really quite easy. After a while.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32