Meet the Daddy Mafia
For too long mothers have copped all the flak. They've been prodded and pushed into unflattering stereotypes like Olympic Mom, Germ Phobic Mom, Afraid of the Sun Mom and the much-maligned Boot Camp Mom.
So now it's the fathers turn. Mothers should be encouraged to lighten up and laugh at themselves. Now it's the father's turn. Meet six members of the Daddy mafia...you never see them coming.
This is the male equivalent of Chardonnay Mom. Many of these dads choose vodka simply due to the colourless aspect - one can simply add it to a glass of cranberry juice so when your child asks, "Can I please have a sip of your juice?" he can reply, "No, this is Daddy's special juice." Just make sure Daddy's juice is kept away from tiny hands.
One Vodka Dad stopped his 3 year old in the nick of time from enjoying a mouthful of his father's night-time pleasurable beverage. "It's the only way I can make it through witching hour," he explained. Bless the man who is home at a child friendly hour that enables him to help -- or in some cases, take over -- the cooking/feeding/bathing/bedtime antics. Vodka Dads are always popular, with or without a cocktail party.
These dads like to tell their partner that they have an early morning meeting. The reality? They just want to get out of the morning shenanigans of breakfast, lunch-making, school uniform and last minute additions to a science project. They can often be found hiding at the local café, sipping coffee, nibbling at raisin toast and reading the newspaper.
One Runaway Dad was sprung by a friend of his wife's who immediately phoned the woman to say, "I saw Greg at Two Teaspoons café this morning. Shouldn't he be helping you with your five kids?" That night, Greg was hauled over the coals. But, to his credit, he admitted that he needed an hour of 'Me Time' to recharge his batteries and focus on the 'killer meeting' he was due to attend in five hours' time.
Rough & Tumble Dad
These are the lovable dads who, for reasons completely unknown, seem to think kids enjoy being play-wrestled and thrown high into the air before being caught (hopefully) into their manly arms. A friend tells me her 3-year-old still has nightmares about being thrown into a swimming pool and told, "Sink or swim!" as a way to teach the toddler how to dog paddle.
Another time he had the child in a head lock for 'fun' and the kid pulled a muscle that meant he had to wear a neck brace for several days. Still, many fathers swear by the rough and tumble aspect of parenting that clearly separates the mothers from the fathers. Oh, but I have met a mother who delights in playing football with her daughters and believes 'a good hard tackle' never hurt anybody.
OTT Girl Dad
These fathers are insanely over-protective of their daughters. One Girl Dad shouted at a teenage boy, "Stop looking at my daughter!" at the local supermarket. The boy insisted he was simply looking at a clock behind the girl's head. But Girl Dad was convinced the boy was on the verge of kidnapping his sweet, innocent 13 year old. Or, almost as drastic, having dirty thoughts about his 'baby girl.'
Another OTT Girl Dad, on seeing a 3-year-old boy holding a large stick in the park, approached the boy and told him to put it down. "Get rid of that stick! You might accidentally poke my little girl!" shouted Girl Dad. When Boy Mom pointed out that the children are not even playing anywhere near each other, Girl Dad replied, "No kid is holding a stick in the same playground as my Ruby. And, if he hits her with it, she wouldn't even cry. She has a very high pain threshold, you know."
OTT Boy Dad
These are the fathers who are desperately trying to live through their sons. Good, bad and ugly reasons. They send their sons to the same school they went to: for no other reason than they want a family tradition upheld. They don't take into account the fact that it was 30 years ago and the school would have changed considerably since then.
OTT Boy Dad forces his 12-year-old son to swim laps of the public swimming pool, four days a week at 5am. "I did it, so now he has to do it," reasoned one OTT Boy Dad. When the son told his father he hated swimming, his father said, "Too bad. You need to build upper body strength." Some of these OTT Boy Dads do not tolerate their sons exhibiting any sign of 'weakness' especially when it comes to expressing their emotions. "You need to man-up," is a commonly-used phrase, along with, "Do not cry, you sound like a girl," One wonders if these men, if they had daughters, would be so quick to tell their girls to 'woman up." Let's hope not!
These are the 'Scream from the Sidelines' Dads who are over-the-top passionate about their child's sporting event. Heck, some of these men even get over-excited at soccer training and have to stop themselves from shouting at the coach who, in his eyes, is coaching the kids incorrectly. Sporty Dad begins most sentences with, "In my day..." or "When I was in the national football league..." and, if you're lucky, he will even whip out a photo or two to prove that he was once a sporting star.
Whether he was a star in his neighbourhood, or a star on a national 'newspaper sports pages' status, or a star in his own sweet mind, is completely irrelevant. The mothers all love these men because they always put their hands up to volunteer to be the footy coach, assistant coach, even stepping forward to set up the football pitch at sunrise, and flip eggs and bacon on the BBQ during halftime.
LJ Charleston is a journalist, mother of three boys and author of The Mommy Mafia. Her next book The Daddy Mafia will be published in 2016.