We Don’t Need Another Hero – The Good Men Project

I firmly believe that we, as a society, need to find new role models for our boys and young men. We need to do this quickly. Traditionally, we’ve expected boys to look up to movie stars, sportsmen, musicians, politicians, and the business elite. Yet, the starry ensemble has repeatedly shown itself unworthy of this honor.

Our designated role models wantonly display either ignorance of or ambivalence to the didactic element of their elevated status. They willingly take the benefits that society is happy to pile upon them, yet few, it would seem, ever give proper consideration to the multitude of responsibilities they have to those who model overtly themselves upon them.

Perhaps it’s unfair to expect so much from these Alpha males. Introspection is not a trait usually associated with this personality type. Essentially, masculinity in our society is in crisis because we’ve asked our young to emulate those who consistently exhibit some of the gender’s worst traits.

Kind, considerate, inclusive, sensible, thoughtful men do not make exciting heroes – not on screen, at least. They do, however, make great role models for men and would, if allowed, do wonders for our society.

via We Don’t Need Another Hero – The Good Men Project

I’m pleased to be featured once more in The Good Men Project.

Please do have a read of the link above. As a society we need to change what we expect from men, or we will continue to suffer the consequences.

Chris McGuire

Outofdepthdad.com

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Welcome to LEVEL TWO. Life with the arrival of baby number 2 | Dad life | Mas & Pas

To put it another way, you’re at that point in a computer game, the one where you think you’ve nearly finished. You’ve mastered the gameplay, you know all the little tricks and strategies that lowly beginners miss. You’re feeling pretty smug, then suddenly – rather than being congratulated for completing the game – a big ‘Level TWO’ sign drops into view! Within moments you discover that ‘Level TWO’ is much harder than ‘Level ONE’. This isn’t a game anymore.

via Welcome to LEVEL TWO. Life with the arrival of baby number 2 | Dad life | Mas & Pas

Check out the great new parenting website masandpas.com for my latest piece about having a second child.

Chris

The Out of Depth Dad

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Soft Play Is Hard! – Published in The Good Men Project

The first thing that hits you is the smell; a sickly mixture of Haribo, vomit and antibacterial spray. I knew there was no time to dawdle. We made a bee-line through the blur of children – zooming around like souped-up Speedy Gonzaleses – to our allotted area. I’d been pre-warned, you see, by some soft play veterans, to go straight to the ‘0-4’ zone and avoid the ‘4+’ section like the plague. Good advice. Even from a distance, the ‘big kids’ area looked like a vision of hell – only louder, day-glo and with more of an emphasis on slides.

via Soft Play Is Hard! – The Good Men Project

There are only two types of parents in this world. Those who hate soft play and those who don’t know what all the fuss is about.

I’m in the former category. Why do I hate it so much? Because it’s a hot house environment where your sole job is to defend your kid from the sugar-fueled, unattended offspring of those who don’t know what all the fuss is about.

That’s what makes it SO DIFFICULT: parents who leave any responsibility for their feral children at the door.

My God, is soft play hard. 

For more of my thoughts, have a read of post above.

Chris

The Out Of Depth Dad

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The Top Of The Slide: A Parenting Journey

It had been a few minutes, three maybe. I looked at him, as encouragingly as I could, and spoke.

“OK, that’s good. It’s easy, just one, two, three and push.”

I’d tried to hide any stress (rapidly growing within me) from my voice.
My son looked back at me, seemingly unconvinced.
“Cuddle?”
“We can have a cuddle when you come down the slide.”
“Cuddle now?”
“Just go down!” chimed in a boy, about twice the age of my son – part of the growing queue for the slide forming behind my little one.
“He’ll go when he’s ready,” I said, once again trying to appear calm – reminding myself that empathy isn’t a skill kids are born with. “Just one, two, three and push!”
Still nothing.
It was going to be a long day.
Two years as a parent have taught me:
  1. Kids do not have an accurate view of their own ability. Their enthusiasm always focuses on something that’s just beyond their reach.
  2. As a parent, there is nothing quite like the thrill of watching your child achieve something today that they couldn’t do yesterday.
As such, I find myself in a constant quandary – how much room should I allow for growth, without allowing my son to bite off more than he can chew? Yes, I know parents have wrestled with this question for millennia – but it doesn’t make it any easier.
So, back to the slide.
For some time now, on our regular trips to the soft play, my son had stood at the bottom of the slide (causing an obstruction) watching the older tots scoot down it. It was, we agreed, ‘too big’ for him – a ‘big boys’ slide’. Yet, since his second birthday, his interest in the apparatus had markedly increased. The area where the slides reside is allocated to tots of ‘2 to 4’ and my little one now fitted within this boundary. So, when he decided to climb up the nest of blocks that took him to the top of the slide, I resolved to let him continue.
The thing is, this slide can only be accessed through a hole in the floor of the first level of the soft play centre. A hole that (as a large person) I struggle to squeeze through. Essentially, once through this opening, he was on his own, I could only cheer-lead from the bottom of the slide. As it was a quiet day in the facility, and we were the only people in this area, I felt we had the time and space to negotiate this clear rite of passage.
I was wrong.
As soon as I arrived at the bottom of the slide, where I watched my son seat himself at the top, an alarmingly large group of large (compared to my son) children vacated the more advanced section of the centre opting for the sedate pleasures of the tots area. Just our luck.
Evidently troubled by the sudden and vocal queue of ‘big boys and girls’ that had formed behind him, my son froze – deciding the best way to cope was total inaction. Leaving me with limited options:
  1. Make a fuss, and climb up to (through the tiny hole) retrieve him. This would necessitate getting the entire queue to move to allow me to enter.
  2. Make a fuss, and climb up the slide – hoping it would bear my weight – to retrieve him. This would likely not go down well with the centre staff.
  3. Stand my ground and wait until my little one was ready to slide. This might take some time.
I opted for the last option – endeavouring to maintain my best approximation of an unconcerned grin as I gently coaxed my son.
It will be no surprise to you that he did (eventually) come down. It took a LONG TIME, but he did it. His rapid descent was met with both happiness and relief from me – along with disgruntled mutterings from a selection of kids who were struggling to learn a lesson in patience.
In retrospect, I’ve got the feeling that I, rather than my son, gained most from the experience. It seems to me that growth can only be facilitated when a parent is willing to allow a child the flexibility to stretch themselves, enter a new environment, leave their comfort zone – while offering the security that comes with being a perennial safety net.
Overcoming the desire to solve every issue my son experiences for him, rather than letting him discover an answer for himself, will be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in the years ahead. Of that I’m sure.
It’s bloody difficult to stand at the bottom of the slide – but what a thrill it is to watch the little one’s conquer the descent.
“Again, again!” shouted my son, on reaching the ground.
“Yes,” I replied, “but not today. Daddy needs a sit down.”

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.

Outofdepthdad.com

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