Small Talk

TEN THINGS YOU ONLY KNOW IF YOU ARE A FATHER

 

Illustration: Giordano Poloni

We asked Stateside screenwriter and father of three Roger Strong to reveal what really happens when you’re a dad

 

Ah, parenthood. That blissful arena of life filled with joy, laughter, pee, poop, snot, tears, tantrums, coffee, sleepless nights, more coffee, deep love, and lots and lots of heavy sighs (mostly from you). It’s truly the toughest job you will ever love. Here are the things that you discover – sometimes many times over — when you are a father:

 

1. PROTECT THE FAMILY JEWELS

Their safeguard is priority number one if you have any desire to produce more offspring. But the harsh reality is that your children will (literally) come like thieves in the night and knock you in the sensitive bits like a spiteful champion cage fighter.

2. SIPPY CUPS ARE DISPOSABLE

When you inevitably lose one (and you will lose many) and discover it days/weeks/months later under the couch, car seat, or a pile of unfolded laundry, toss it immediately and without hesitation. Trust me. This is not a time to be curious about the cottage cheese biohazard capsule your little scientists-in-training have created. You have been warned.

3. SANITY BREAKS ARE VITAL

Never underestimate the power of running to the supermarket to get milk without your kids in tow. Life does indeed exist outside your toy-filled home. Intelligent conversations are possible. And those little fluttery things in the sky are called “birds”.

4. CLUTTER IS INEVITABLE

You will never have a “clean” house again. Accept it. Embrace it. Children are basically miniature tornadoes who take great pleasure in destroying your home. Picking up said clutter will often consume most of your day, so buy an industrial broom/dustpan combo to aid in what you will affectionately refer to as “rage cleaning.” See number three.

5. BATHROOM ACTIVITIES ARE A SPECTATOR SPORT

Whether it’s pooping, peeing, or bathing, you will forever have company. If you have the audacity to lock the door on your precious progeny, a Hulk-sized epic fit will ensue just outside the door.

6. WIPING IS YOUR LIFE

Buy cases of wet wipes. Their usefulness CANNOT be overstated. The vast majority of your time is spent wiping bums, noses, hands, (did I mention bums?), toys, cats, neighbours, and everything in between. If there is any justice in the world, this will someday be an Olympic sport.

7. PARENTING CAN BE DISGUSTING

You only THINK you know what “gross” means. Prepare to be constantly amazed at the levels of grossness you will endure. Oh, and have your phone handy at ALL TIMES for photos, because sharing these moments with fellow parents in a game of one-uppance is what it’s all about.

8. TODDLER, THY NAME IS PICKY

Parenting is mostly convincing and debating with your child to eat, drink, watch, wear, or play with EXACTLY what they asked for. See number three.

9. FOOD/FERAL FUTILITY LOOP

When kids don’t eat, they become feral. When kids are feral, they don’t eat. It’s an infinite loop of futility. ALWAYS have snacks at the ready wherever you are. NO EXCEPTIONS. And may the odds be ever in your favour. Again, see number three.

10. YES, YOU JUST SAID THAT

One would think “don’t put your cars in the cottage cheese” as well as “don’t lick the cat” and “no naked foot rides” would go without saying. But alas, when living with children, all sorts of exclamations are possible. And commonplace. And totally social media worthy.

Roger Strong (@realtoughdad) is a recovering architect/engineer and an aspiring writer, filmmaker, and musician currently entering his seventh year as a stay-at-home-dad. If you’re ever looking for him, he is almost always the last car in the school pickup line.


Claire Brayford

Lifestyle journalist Claire Brayford has written for Vogue Australia, Harper's BAZAAR Australia, two national newspapers and launched Fenwick's online magazine The Daily Muse - all while curating an enviable collection of shoes.

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