Celebrity dads reveal fun of fatherhood
For years dads have been the butt of jokes for being completely incapable of looking after their own kids.
They’re so totally hopeless their main role babysitter rather than parent.
They put nappies on upside down, think French fries are a vegetable, and can never remember what pick-up time is for kindergarten.
Watch him leave the house without the nappy bag! Marvel as he forgets to pack the school lunches — again! See him struggle to put the pram up!
Sadly, this kind of ineptitude is not only expected, but encouraged and even celebrated by women. But I think it’s time to take dads from zero to hero. A charming new clip released this week to publicise the Bonds Baby Search does exactly this.
In the vein of House Husbands, it shows a trio of celebrity dads spending the day with their bubs.
The dads, radio presenter Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, comedian Dave Hughes and tennis champ Pat Rafter, pictured above, offer a refreshing take on fatherhood.
For once dads are seen as competent and capable rather than hopeless and hapless.
The clip opens with Rafter rather optimistically inviting his mates and their babies over to watch the cricket. After a play outside, it’s lunchtime and they move the table to make way for a trio of high chairs sitting on a tarpaulin on the floor. Brilliant idea.
Afterwards they pin the tarp to the clothesline and hose it down, along with the kids’ clothing. “Who says men can’t multitask?” Hughesy says, as Fitzy aims the hose at Pat.
A nappy-changing competition follows. Perhaps for the first time ever, a man is shown changing a nappy without snide jokes being made.
The day is nearly done by the time the cricket’s turned on, and they sit there, rocking the prams quietly. Then a wicket is lost, and they wake up the babies with their yells. Even this isn’t a catastrophe and they agree to “walk it off” in a nearby park.
At the end of the day the guys joke about one baby being “hosed down like a 4WD” and another being given a “blow dry with a vacuum cleaner”.
Finally we have a funny — but realistic — vision of fatherhood that doesn’t show them as fools or deadbeats. It’s important, because for too long the cultural portrayal of dads hasn’t matched the reality.
Although just 3 per cent of dads are primary caregivers, millions of dads are highly capable, involved fathers. They might be separated or divorced, or just naturally hands-on, but most dads these days are playing an equal role in raising their kids.
It’s time we started to acknowledge that dads, too, spend Saturday afternoons mulling over the sugar content of muesli in the supermarket aisle. They take time to plan nutritious meals for their kids. They do readers, arrange play dates, get kids ready for school, and even do the washing up.
Thankfully, there are other dads who are happy to share their tales of fathering and have a laugh at the same time.
For instance, there is Melbourne stay-at-home dad Clint Greagen, who calls himself the “bogan Anthony Robbins” and “a guy with a strong aversion to actual paid work”. As Greagen sees it, he’s surrounded by people who think he’s just a “funny man who hangs out washing like a lady”.
His book Reservoir Dad is filled with stories about toilet paper snakes, snot mopping, chasing a chicken called Tandoori, and wiping up urine in public places with the Footy Record.
“I still have mates who say they’d like to stay home and hang out with the kids at the park all day,” Mr Greagen said. “I like to show that’s not what it’s about.”
In the US, comedian Chris Illuminati is offering a similarly humorous view of daddy day care. He started by writing notes to remind himself what to do when caring for his children Evan, 4, and Lyla, nine months, and is now an internet sensation. “Woke up at 3am to find kid crying and covered in vomit. Had to clean him and clothes and bed. And they said I wouldn’t learn anything from being in a fraternity,” one note says.
And another: “Bought the kid a training potty. He sat down on it and pretended to talk on the phone. No comment on where he learned that from.”
It’s a reminder that fathers are playing a key role in their kids’ lives, and it’s about time they were recognised for it.
Time to let go, mums, and give dads some credit for a change. Blog with Susie at susieobrien.com.au, follow her on Twitter @susieob and Facebook.com/ newswithsuse