Pop-Tart Dad

Mark Parenting, Popular 10 Comments

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,


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.


  • Coffee
  • Bumble Bees (and anything remotely stingy or buzzy)
  • Intruders
  • More coffee
  • Spillages
  • Did I mention coffee?

Comments 10

  1. Aww Mark
    I love this. The fact you speak for 99% of parents is great. We all have the illusion that we put our kids 1st and most of the time we do, but in our own little way we put ourselves forward for certain things. The milk issue, yes I admit my coffee in the morning comes 1st, otherwise nothing would get done and they would go to school half dressed and with no lunch. If you look at it like that, we did them a favour. Anyway love this post, really made me smile xxx

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      D’ya know Lisa, you’re absolutely right. That coffee was in their best interest. It was selfless on my part. I’m doing better at this parenting malarkey than I realised!

  2. I think you’re right lol. I mean, the other morning, after the THIRD attempt at creating a piece of toast that wasn’t in any way toasted, I told him to make it himself. He’s 7. And autistic. Oh, and I nicked his pocket money to pay the milkman the other week. Put it back eventually..I blame social media. There is so much pressure on us to be perfect because people tend to airbrush their lives and we buy into it. Real life isn’t like that. I applaud parents like you who tell it as it is (and me) and I like people who post shit pictures on Instagram of their dirty plates AFTER they’ve eaten. I LOVE it. Nobody is perfect. NOBODY! *twitches* Excellent post Sir!

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      Thanks Tracy. Making toast is a life lesson, you should be proud he’s learnt it at such a young age. You’re not the only one raiding the kids money box either, theirs is full of IOU’s.

  3. Made me laugh so much. I obviously can’t relate – bring a perfect parent myself, I was just whipping up some organic granola bars whilst my children made products from hemp to sell to the needy. You’d never catch me taking photos of my child who’s just fallen in a bed of nettles because I thought our disastrous trip out would make a good blog post. No siree. Not me. Or lost not only my own but our friends’ two children for fifteen minutes in a very large wood during an over-zealous game of hide and seek. That would be terrible. I’m going now to use the last of the milk in my coffee ? Great post x

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      Haha, love it. I’ve also reached for the camera when I should probably have reached elsewhere first. Also lost a niece at the park but don’t tell my sister!

  4. This totally rocks! I’m exactly the same. I’d like to think I’m the bees knees (do bees even have knees?!) at parenting but I know I have 1. Shoved The Baby in front of me when others try and hug me and 2. Stepped back behind The Kid when nests door dog comes bounding out. Whoops!

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      I’m with you on both of those. In our defence though, if kids don’t want to be used as human shields they shouldn’t be so small… and so easily maneuverable…

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