5 things every stay-at-home dad knows – FQ Magazine

From soft play purgatory to the ‘W’ word, The Out of Depth Dad salutes the job of every stay-at-home dad.
It started with a sixth sense. I could feel she was there – just in my blind spot, hovering. I turned to discover a lady, of indeterminate age (somewhere between 70 and deceased) watching me, evidently with growing displeasure. Not knowing what to say, I smiled. She didn’t reciprocate, instead she chose to tut. I took this as my cue to vacate the supermarket aisle – so began to push the pram away. This, it would seem, was the wrong thing to do. The lady grabbed my arm.

“He won’t like that,” she said, snatching a pouch of organic baby food from my basket.

“Excuse me?” I replied, shocked and confused at the presumption that seemed the catalyst for this encounter. “Could I have that back, please?” I said, holding my hand in her direction. She tutted and shook her head.

After briefly considering trying to wrestle the pouch from the woman, I dismissed the idea. One of the issues of being a large man is, if discovered fighting with a Miss Marple look-a-like in the Co-op, few people are likely to believe that you didn’t start it. So I took another pouch from the shelf and began to walk away. She muttered something as I left. I ignored her (and the stares of the other customers) deciding instead to take refuge in the cheese aisle.

Since sharing this incident, on my blog Outofdepthdad.com around a year ago, I’ve received some very interesting responses. I’ve been accused of lying – that I made up the story. I didn’t, it’s all true. I’ve been told I’m attention seeking – I’m not. I’ve been told that I’m weak – for not physically battling with the lady. Weird. I’ve been told it’s my fault for being in a domestic situation only suitable for women. If nothing else, this incident (and the reaction to it from readers) shows me that stay-at-home dads (SAHD) really aren’t understood. Fathers who are stay-at-home parents are, in my experience, some of the most interesting, insightful and culturally maligned people I’ve ever met. It’s not an easy job.

Here are five things every SAHD knows…

via 5 things every stay-at-home dad knows – FQ Magazine

Why not head over to Fqmagazine.co.uk to read my latest piece on life as a stay at home dad?

Go on. You know you want to.


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Time to get serious…

The funny thing is, when I started writing as The Out of Depth Dad, I never contemplated putting up a post like this.

That’s life. I suppose.

But it’s slowly started to dawn on me that the way men are treated (by our society) when they take on a child-caring role, isn’t funny.

Not funny at all.

The daily ebb and flow of negativity and ignorance that stay at home dads (and the like) encounter on a daily basis is having a genuinely detrimental effect.

What am I talking about?

For our society to be truly equal – for both men and women to get out of life what they want, not what is arbitrarily expected of them as a result of their gender – our attitudes toward children must change.

The raising of the next generation is not the sole responsibility of women. It seems an obvious statement – but so many of the structures that surround us still imply that this is the case. As we know, great work is being done to liberate women from these binds and not a moment too soon.

The thing is, there’s another part of this equation that must be addressed. Yes, women shouldn’t be compelled to take the lion’s share of parenting duties. They should be free to follow their own path without fear of censure. But, equally, men should be allowed to take on a greater role in raising their kids – without meeting a host of prejudices and outdated perspectives.

It’s time to lift the stigma around men in child-caring roles. Schemes such as shared parental leave are never going to be successful if men are concerned about taking them up.

Men feel that becoming a primary provider of parental care will effect their status, their career prospects and, frankly, their manliness. As long as these beliefs are held by a majority of men, there will be never be true gender equality around childcare.

I’m proud to be taking part in Vilo Sky’s ‘Managing to be dad’ conference.

I’ll be speaking about issues SAHD’s face and the solutions that need to be found in order to change the way fatherhood is viewed by our society.

The time for taking fatherhood seriously has come. 

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Vilo Sky 2

For book tickets to Vilo Sky’s  ‘Managing to be dad’ conference, click here.


What did he just say?

“You should write that down!” a friend said, the other day – after my son said something absolutely baffling.

I sighed, it’s not like the exploits of my kids haven’t been overly reported already.

Apologies if you’re sick to death of my parenting stories… although, TBH, if you are, why are you reading this?

That said, my friend had a point.

Kids do say the funniest things – which I believe was also the name of a terrible ITV gameshow that I didn’t watch.

So, with the desire to record these juvenile utterances for posterity, here are some of the funnier things my son has said to me (NB, make sure you don’t split your sides with laughter):


  1. Nothing, and I DO MEAN NOTHING, would dissuade my son that this photograph – of which he caught a glimpse on my Facebook feed – wasn’t a snap of his Gramps. “It’s not Gramps,” I’d protest. “It’s another man.” “No, it’s Gramps!” he’d respond, becoming more and more determined. I knew the Gramps in question wouldn’t respond well to the comparison with the American President, so put a lot of effort into ridding my son of this belief. It hasn’t worked, which means anytime Gramps is in our company, and the news comes on, I jump up towards the TV to change the channel – just in case.
  2. “I’m a big boy, I don’t sit on mushrooms” was the, rather strange, utterance that greeted my other half and I over breakfast with our son recently. What do you say to that? Nobody, to my knowledge, had ever accused our little one of taking a seat on fungi of any form. I replied in the only way I knew: “Of course you don’t sit on mushrooms, or toadstools either.” In saying this I inadvertently opened another a can of worms, he had no idea about what a toadstool was. I tried to explain, while all the time battling the desire to explain it was the poo left by a large amphibian.
  3. “I want a baniana!” For some reason, for as long as he’s been verbal, my son has always mispronounced the word ‘Banana’ as ‘Baniana’. That rogue ‘i’ may not seem like much, but it means his pronunciation, with its extra syllable, causes giggles whenever it’s used. I don’t know why, but somehow the word ‘Baniana’ is funny. Worse than that, I’ve started to use it myself – in a totally involuntary manner – while out and about. If a child gets funny looks for saying ‘Can I have baniana shake please?’, you can be sure than a 40-something is considered very strange indeed!
  4. “It’s a little bit funny thought isn’t it?” Picture the scene: my son, just 3, is doing something naughty and quite cheeky – perhaps jumping up and down on a chair blowing raspberries. Dad (me) walks into shot, to calm this overexcited tot. “Get down from there,” I say. “It’s not funny.” To which my son replies “It’s a little bit funny though, isn’t it?” Which it is. Next thing I know I’m running from the room trying to find somewhere out of sight to rid myself of the laughter his cheekiness has generated in me. Telling off a kid who’s doing something genuinely funny – it’s not easy!
  5. Finally, for some reason, my son has decided that various parts of the human body are all detachable. God knows where he got that from. So I’ll frequently be halfway through a conversation when he’ll say: “Daddy, can you take my arm off, please?” The earnestness of the request is amazing, so I’ll struggle to explain that his arm is very much attached and going nowhere. A few hours later, it’ll be ‘Daddy can you take my head off please?” It’s amazing how disappointed he is when I explain that I can’t do as requested – that he isn’t some Lego man with removable parts.

My son says a lot of funny things, but I’ll leave the rest to another day.


The Out Of Depth Dad

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Fatherhood: Feature in The Scotsman

Out today, in time for Father’s Day, here’s my piece in The Scotsman discussing the changing role of fathers in family life and how our society needs to catch up…

For the full piece, click here.

“Wait until your father gets home!”

That’s what they used to say, wasn’t it? Except in my house it was always wait until ‘your dad’ gets home – ‘father’ was a word more associated, to my young mind, with priests and Star Wars baddies.

Let’s unpack all this for a moment.

When I was growing up, ‘Dad’ was a distant figure (both emotionally and geographically) who would return from a nebulous world called ‘work’ and distribute punishment (usually of the smacked-legs variety) when ‘Mum’ had reached the end of her tether with our shenanigans.

These days, life is considerably different for many children (and their parents). I’m a stay at home dad: a phrase that often conjures images of softly spoken, hummus-addicted, Beta males who wouldn’t be considered threatening to a wet paper bag – and our bags are ALL paper, we’re far too right-on to touch anything non-biodegradable. As such, our kids don’t see dad as a distant threat, rather we are treated with the same level of familiarity (and contempt) with which kids have always regarded their mothers…”

Chris McGuire, The Scotsman


The Dad Test ft. The Out Of Depth Dad — Father-Hood.co.uk

Sound the must-read feature klaxon! In a bid to assess the ‘dadliness’ of celebrity dads and popular dad bloggers, I’ve created a fun Q&A called the Dad Test. Stepping up to the plate in week 11: writer, author, blogger, cyclist and father-of-two The Out Of Depth Dad.

The Out Of Depth Dad having fun with his son
Q1. Have you ever messed up a nappy change?
“It’s not possible to be a father and not mess up a nappy change at some point. I’ve regularly done the half asleep change where you realise the nappy is on backwards. I’ve also had a few messy experiences, one notable occasion ended up with poo up the wall. I still have flashbacks.”
Dadliness rating: 1

via The Dad Test ft. The Out Of Depth Dad — Father-Hood.co.uk

Great to be featured in Father-Hood.co.uk’s #TheDadTest this week.

Why not have a read?