You know the whole ‘I’d always put my kids first’ malarkey.
You often hear it said on the Jeremy Kyle show, just before it’s revealed they went on a six day bender to Benidorm leaving their kids home alone with some Pop-Tarts and a Fruit Shoot.
Or a blurry meme on Facebook that looks like a greetings card bought in Woolworths circa 1978 and overshared to within an inch of its life.
But whilst you’ll not see me announcing it on daytime TV or social media, I’d like to think I do at least share the sentiment.
That I’d always put my kids welfare before my own.
Were they to step out into a busy main road without looking for example, I like to think I’d be the one who saved them, scooping them up with both arms whilst somersaulting to safety, then lifting them above my head as a trophy of my heroism while a school choir, that just so happened to be passing, sang Westlife’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ from across the street.
What’s that, why am I wearing a tight-fitting vest? That’s just how I do my school runs. And the six-pack? Get out of my head, this is my imagination!
But recent events have left me wondering whether the all-action stock photo of a stay-at-home dad I have in my head may just be a fallacy. That putting my kids first might come with a raft of clauses. Shit, I might even be that Pop-Tart dad!
The other morning there was only enough milk for their cereal or my coffee. They had toast.
Last week I was attacked by a bumble bee and instinctively used Sonny as a human shield.
When Janet drunkenly stumbled into the house after a night out and stood on a balloon, I hid under the covers. Not only that, I spread myself as wide as possible like a two-year old playing hide-and-seek, hoping that if it was an intruder they’d think my bed was empty and head to the kids room instead. I know, it’s pathetic! I should have hid in the wardrobe.
On more than one occasion I’ve referred to one of my kids as ‘the spare’. I’ll not say which, Luca might read this one day.
And at a recent swimming lesson an announcement came over the tannoy,
“CODE RED IN THE SWIMMING POOL, CODE RED!”
All the staff dropped what they were doing and ran to the pool, quickly followed by the parents, closely(ish) followed by me. Why was I the last to run? Because, and I’m genuinely ashamed to admit this, I stopped to swig the last dregs of my coffee first!?
Now before any authorities get involved, I should probably point out that I knew it was a safety drill and no one was really drowning. It’s just like that time I was carrying Luca and a cup of coffee, tripped, and tried saving the coffee. I knew he’d fall safely onto the sofa *ahem.
And it’s also why, when the story broke about a toddler climbing into a gorilla enclosure, I didn’t instantly reach for my phone to condemn the parents on social media, because there but for the grace go I. In fact, I have been there. I too have found myself in a very similar situation.
OK, so the zoo was Poundland, the enclosure was the cereal aisle and no Coco Pops monkey was harmed in the rescue, but you get my cack-handed point.
So if you do ever hear me say I always put my kids first*, it’s probably best that you refer back to this post for the terms and conditions.
For whilst it’s probably said in good faith, be aware that it comes from the same part of my brain that’s reserved for all my other delusional parental smugness. Like limiting their screen time, ensuring they eat a healthy balanced diet and never leaving their homework until Sunday night.
- Bumble Bees (and anything remotely stingy or buzzy)
- More coffee
- Did I mention coffee?