Nick Duerden in the Guardian - His wife "leaves me fully alone with my daughter for the first time" at 16 months!

(493 Posts)
beanieb Sat 02-May-09 23:57:03

piece

Is this normal, for a father to not be left with their child alone until they are over a year old?

pottycock Sat 02-May-09 23:58:16

god no. surely not.

TheCrackFox Sun 03-May-09 00:11:44

I actually couldn't finish reading his article as it was so self indulgent.

Glad to see books about becoming a Dad are as crap as books about becoming a Mum. I am all for equality.

No, it is not normal to look after your own child for the first time at 6 months.

Tinker Sun 03-May-09 00:17:45

Started to read that and then thought 'What's the point' - what an insult to single parents who do it day in day out.

piscesmoon Sun 03-May-09 00:33:21

It was 16 months not 6 months TheCrackFox!!
I would have thought it abnormal that he wasn't left in sole charge before 6 months.

violethill Sun 03-May-09 10:15:09

The Guardian Family section is like this every week now....total self indulgence.

No, I would have thought it's not normal for a father to not have sole charge of his child until they're 16 months. Weird. I believe in equal parenting.. but I guess that doesn't make such good copy.

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 10:18:03

What a pathetic article

sarah293 Sun 03-May-09 10:19:28

Message withdrawn

Hassled Sun 03-May-09 10:19:44

Agree - it is sellf indulgent wank. Tiresome and boring now.

"The day, uninterrupted by the influence of selfish childless friends or alcohol, has been perfect"

The only selfish person in that piece is the author. What a twat.

giantkatestacks Sun 03-May-09 10:20:24

It was just bizarre wasnt it - though the fact that he then got steaming drunk when he was the only adult in the house sort of suggested why he hadnt been left.

And he wound me right up by saying that they had been trying for ages with no success and all the hideous stress that brings then when finally his dp announced they were pregnant he went into shock and reacted as if it was the worst thing in the world. Idiot.

Millarkie Sun 03-May-09 10:22:48

His reaction to being told of his dp's pregnancy was enough for me to put down the paper and walk away..pathetic

LupusinaLlamasuit Sun 03-May-09 10:24:30

What a twat. The missus should have decked him when he retched on the news of her pregnancy. And never mind the drinking, what dickhead gives a 16 month old a Kinder Egg toy?

Gorionine Sun 03-May-09 10:43:48

I read the article in a very different way. I saw a dad who was very scared at the idea of being a dad but has since given it his best shot. The only thing that I would really, really desaprove of was the drinking bit.

Lupus, I gave my children kinder toys to play with at this age, under supervision (and after having scoffed most of the egg myself)they NEVER put them in their mouth.

FWIW I was really exited when I found out I was pregnant for the first time but God was I terrified as well! It is one thing to think you want something, it is another to be sure you are definitely going to cope with it when the time comes.

As far as I am concerned, when a fist child arrives, it is all trial and errors for mothers as well as fathers.

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 10:52:45

I actually am just as cross with his partner as I am with him. I get so tired of women who infantilise men like this. Why hasn't she 'allowed' him to care for his child? And why hasn't he pushed to do it?

Yes he was scared of being a dad but I can't see that not caring for his child until she's 16 months is 'giving it his best shot'. It's abdicating responsibility. Don't you think it's about time grown men started to grow up?

Hmm, I read it slightly differently in that it was the first time his DW had been away for a long period ie 36 hours and he was responsible for her routine over a day. TBH I probably didn't leave my DD1 for so long until she was a similar age although DH certainly had her for 3/4 hour periods. It is a different proposition as I still directed what happened over the day. Agree though that I wouldn't have been impressed at the drinking stuff.

violethill Sun 03-May-09 11:00:10

Hear hear spicemonster.

Behind every ineffectual father is a mother who allows it to happen.

Why on earth shouldn't the father be able to manage the daily routine with his own child? It's all common sense anyway. There's no handbook is there. I think some mothers like to take total control, and make out that looking after a baby or toddler is some huge great deal, and that there is a 'right' way of doing things. Very unfair on the child as well as the father.

foxinsocks Sun 03-May-09 11:01:04

yes I thought that too spice (re infantalising men).

though gawd knows what goes on in other people's relationships tbh

crokky Sun 03-May-09 11:06:34

Strange and boring article, couldn't be bothered to finish it. The guy sounds like a prat.

RaspberryBlower Sun 03-May-09 11:17:55

I thought the same as Bakewell. I didn't take it to mean he'd never been left alone with the child, just that the mother hadn't been away over night before.

MollieO Sun 03-May-09 11:26:31

Gosh, reading something like that makes me glad that I'm a single parent and that is a sentence I never thought I'd write. What a twat. I am amazed at his irresponsibility of being what sounds like blind drunk whilst in charge of a toddler.

I wonder why she hasn't left him in charge before. At least he has probably got what he wanted - if she reads this article she won't be leaving him to care for their daughter until she's 18.

I only got as far as the bit where he vomited on finding out that he was to be a father. Knobhead.

I am starting to wonder why I bother with the saturday grauniad at all.

FattipuffsandThinnifers Sun 03-May-09 11:35:48

I wondered what was the point of the article. Wow - dad looks after child!! Gosh that's worthy of a 2-page feature hmm

It was boring and pointless.

It made sense why it was published when I saw he's got a book out. Presumably he's a friend of the Family section editor.

SnortyBartFast Sun 03-May-09 11:35:54

but she had never gone away for the weekend.
she had always been around.
these thigns happen,
i left dh solely in charge of ds when he was around 11 months, he got stung by a wasp and dh had to ring me ... but it was only day time hours, not hte full 36.

i too was amazed when he drunk the champaynge, and the rest, and was thinking, how did they cope with the 16 month old?

I just loved the line "ipod down to an acceptable level" - so as long as you can actually hear, its fine to have headphones on while playing with your child then?

SnortyBartFast Sun 03-May-09 11:42:10

i judged the ipod too,
perhaps eh was trying to be amusing.

MarlaSinger Sun 03-May-09 11:49:24

Knobhead knobhead knobhead.

Grammaticus Sun 03-May-09 12:12:30

What a prick

beanieb Sun 03-May-09 12:45:31

Oh good, I am glad other people agree that this was a wank 'article' grin

BeehiveBaby Sun 03-May-09 12:59:50

I assumed that the iPod was in a dock....he is just so techno savvy that that is the only thing he would ever think to play music on IYKWIM?

BeehiveBaby Sun 03-May-09 13:01:49

My mum looked after DD1 for 36 hours (at 11 months) well before DH did.

Turned out well when I finally left her with him at about 19/20 months. I had been stressing about getting her off daytime bottles and on my return asked how many she had got through. His reply: 'What bottles?'!

ThingOne Sun 03-May-09 13:09:34

I thought it was such a knobhead article I didn't finish it when my grauniad arrived yesterday morning but but but...

I was breastfeeding and didn't go away overnight until my DS1 was 22 or 23 months old. Nothing to do with my DH being incompetent; I just didn't want to go away when he was still breastfeeding lots. My DH did regularly have sole care before this, though.

I didn't go away overnight sans enfant before 18 months with my second either. It's just not my thang.

sazlocks Sun 03-May-09 13:14:20

FGS
confirms again why I am glad we no longer buy weekend papers as last few months seem to have been full of irrelevant rubbish like this.

My DH looks after our DC 3 days a week. Is the idea of a father taking sole responsibility for a child really so unusual that it merits a write up in the gruad ?

Lulumama Sun 03-May-09 13:17:44

he has painted himself as a juvenile , selfish and rather pointless man.

big woo hoo he got up in the night to soothe her.

i cannot understand why he would expect a round of applause

or admiration

that is what a parent does

Sufi Sun 03-May-09 13:21:24

DH read the feature, passed it over to me, and said 'don't bother reading that, the guy's a twat'. God, I love my DH!

Littlepurpleprincess Sun 03-May-09 13:21:45

I actually sympathise with him a bit. 16months is really bad, don't get me wrong, but DP rarely looked after our son alone for a long time. Not because he wasn't capable, just because he didn't need to. I didn't work and hardly ever went out. When we were together, we were ALL together as a family. It just never came up.

But it came with a massive downside. He never learnt DS's routine, didn't bond with him like I did, didn't understand the hard work I put in everyday because all the little things I had to do for DS never even entered his mind. It also ment he had no confidence in his ability as a parent and it scared me a bit. What if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and DP had to be a single dad? He wouldn't have a clue, not because he didn't want to, just because he had never had the opportunity.

We argued about it once and he snapped at me "well you never LET me do anything, sometimes I don't feel like he's my baby!" and that really upset me. I just did everything, without thinking to involve DP.

So, I went back to work last summer, and DP is at uni so he gets the school holidays off. He had DS all summer, he saw him twice as much as I did, and I forced myself to take a step back and let them get on with it. Their relationship changed so much. They are so close now. DP knows just what to do. I can leave without giving instructions and I feel that we are equal.

Still, I think this guy needs to realise that it's not all about him. He should spend one to one time with his daughter for HER sake, not his. Also, his poor wife must need a holiday if thats the first break she got in 16 months. I don't think he's a bad father, I just think he's ignorant.

HecatesTwopenceworth Sun 03-May-09 13:23:03

16 months?

dh was super-competent from day one!

OTOH, I was all fingers and thumbs with nappies, with buttons, with babygros.. and they kept slipping out of my hands in the bath and stuff blush In my defence, they are wriggly, slippery little buggers. grin

Gorionine Sun 03-May-09 15:24:58

I have only spent 1 night away from my dcs and that was to give birth to DS2 (did not stay in hospital overnight for ds3 and dd4). DH is super competent with the children but we actually enjoy doing things together hence he has not had to do anything on his own. He is a very hands on dad even with me arround and I am sure he would be very hurt to be judged as imcompetent by some of you just because the occasion has not arrised yet for him to "fly solo" for more than a couple of hours here and there.

piscesmoon Sun 03-May-09 15:54:48

I should have a break and let him have a go on his own Gorionine- I get the impression that you have time on your own and it is quite different. It is nice to do things together, but sometimes DCs have a lot to gain with just Dad.

Gorionine Sun 03-May-09 16:00:23

They do things with just their dad, just not overnight.

piscesmoon Sun 03-May-09 16:05:38

I didn't mean overnight-just more than 2 hours -with Dad cooking meals etc. I think it is good for them all to build up a relationship with Dad as an equal parent.

smallorange Sun 03-May-09 16:09:38

God am so hmm at: "i've become a parent, well done me," articles.

I didn't read it because I'd have dropped dead of boredom before the end.

You have had a child. You are a parent. Get over it.

Gorionine Sun 03-May-09 16:11:40

Dad cooks meals even if I am arroundgrin. That is what I am trying to say, the fact that that I am arround all the time does not mean he is useless. I do not see looking after them on his own as a thing he has got to do to prove me he can do it, I KNOW he would be perfectly able to look after all of them on his own for longer periodes of time!

piscesmoon Sun 03-May-09 16:18:26

I should make the most of it then Gorionine and have a whole day out on your own-it is lovely! I think it is good for them-they do things differently-DH used to dress them in weird combinations of clothes when they were little! Other things weren't the way that I would have done them, but I kept quiet- reasoning that he was doing it so it wasn't fair to interfere.

Merrylegs Sun 03-May-09 16:27:01

'small neat smile'
'pillowy sleep'
'relief puddles around me'

The worst thing about this article (and the words 'money' and 'old rope' spring to mind) is that it's horribly overwritten.
For that he should be judged.

'relief puddles around me'

Yes it makes him sound like he has wet himself.

ruddynorah Sun 03-May-09 18:50:54

crikey. dh did it all from day one. all i did were the breastfeeds.

i was very very nervous of being alone with her when he went back to work when she was 6 weeks old.

nickytwotimes Sun 03-May-09 19:01:06

I saw the offending article yesterday and I couldn't bear to read it all either.
I knew I could rely on MN for a good thread on it.
Utter tosh and wankery.
GROW UP MAN!

What would he have done if the fox and cubs hadn't wandered into the garden eh?

'As I was sitting on the bog reading Private Eye my choking daugheter wandered into the bathroom'

Nope, not got the same ring to it at all.

His poor girlfriend - she's lumbered with a total useless pillock there!

scampadoodle Sun 03-May-09 19:18:46

I couldn't stand the "I didn't really want to be a dad, but hey, I'm brilliant at it!" tone. That Family section is disappearing up its own rectum.
"Grow stuff with your kids! It'll keep them happy for hours & they'll eat all the healthy stuff you grow!" No it won't and no they won't.

ProstetnicVogonJeltz Sun 03-May-09 19:20:49

He's a nob and so is she for indlging him.
How the blood hell do these people cope with real life?

justthefourofus Sun 03-May-09 20:58:03

I also took it as that this was the first time he was left on his own with child overnight. I would find hard to believe that his dp would go from nothing to 36 hours, doesn't make sense. So, with that in mind, I don't think 16 months is too late or too early, it depends on your need and desire to go away, really.

I wanted my children very much, but I still had a really hard time when they actually arrived. It was not love at first sight with them and with my first one that made me feel insecure and miserable. I thought that I was supposed to love them for the first moment. But the love came soon enough. I think this guy is gone through something similar. And from what I know from other people, quite a few do. This is not an opinion piece but a personal experience and I guess you may not like it if doesn't resonate with your own.

DS2 is 19m and has NEVER been left with dp.

BarcodeZebra Sun 03-May-09 21:36:15

I read the head-line and thought he was a tit. Didn't bother reading it.

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 21:44:45

LadyEvenstar - why not?

Laugs Sun 03-May-09 21:50:34

He wasn't that bad.

DH was a SAHD by the time DD was 10 months, but he didn't care for her overnight until she was 18 months.

And he can't have been that drunk. 2 bottles of wine for 3 people = 2 lg glasses of wine each over the course of a whole day. I would drink that in sole charge and be fine.

What does annoy me is that men's parenting books have to be so laddish. The only one we could find in our library when DH was about to become as SAHD was entitled Chips, Videos and Alcohol (IIRC). That just made me feel really depressed, for men.

The article's conclusion, though, that he feels so bloody pleased with himself for managing one whole, sober day alone with his child, did grate.

ds2 is 18m and has never been left overnight with dp.
he has had him while I go to sainsburys, but that's about it

main reason being that until very recently he was attached to a boob approximately ever 45 mins grin (that's ds2 btw, not dp)

i never had any real need to be away from him either

moondog Sun 03-May-09 21:54:44

God what a tit (and I agree that 2 bottles of wine between 3 over say 8 hours is nothing much.
Middle class Londoners who write for the Guardian.God, they're so awful.

LupusinaLlamasuit Sun 03-May-09 21:58:59

I do hope all you lot who have never left your child won't be moaning about how crap your DH is at taking responsibility in a few years?

Jeez, I did the whole 'I have no fucking idea what I'm doing either' number from the start. And I didn't. And DH stepped up.

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 22:01:24

I can't help thinking that if his partner was still bfing, he would have mentioned it. Anyway. on rereading the article, I see it is nothing more than a plug for a book (much like a recent MN thread was for another Guardian article [mad]). All terrible tiresome

Meglet Sun 03-May-09 22:03:27

(My now Ex) Dp had an hour on his own with ds when he was a week old. I had to go to the doctors for more painkillers and wasn't taking a newborn out in the peeing rain to a waiting room full off ill people.

He was on his own with ds and dd when she was 6 weeks old. That was funny, coming home to a trashed living room and a shell shocked dad.

scotagm Sun 03-May-09 22:05:29

This is yesterday - apart from the really flippin obvious smug point - what are you trying to say?

If your child is 18 months and you never felt the need to be away from then - then you are unreal.

I had a child with my dp because we both wanted to be parents - but we both need our own time now and again.

spice I have never left him with anyone...Oh tell a lie I left him for 6 minutes exactly the other day while I ran to the shop....and boy did i run. lol.

just because we parent our children together doesn't mean my partner can't take responsibility for my children.

he takes plenty thank you very much. right now my littlest is still a baby who has only recently stopped breastfeeding.
my 4 yr old on the other hand is very much a daddy's boy atm.
dp has plenty of responsibility for both boys, but that doesn't only manifest itself in him having to look after them by himself does it???

what am I trying to say? that it isn't totally abnormal for a mum not to leave her toddler.
that I, and other posters who have said the same, have plenty of good reasons for not leaving our babies.

If I had needed to go away overnight I would have. but I didn't need to.
so, not trying to sound smug at all, but answring the many questions of "but WHY???" as if it was totally unheard of

DS2 is 19m and i have never wanted to leave him with anyone else nor felt the need.

But dp and I do a lot together with ds's though I do most with ds2

and I like that all of you who have/do leave your kids with someone else overnight or whatever are all normal, but those of us who choose not to are "smug" and "unreal"

hmm

judgeypants!

Heated Sun 03-May-09 22:15:21

I really like the little girl's blouse.

Beanieb, as the OP what do you think of the piece?

hercules1 Sun 03-May-09 22:17:05

I am amazed you have never left your 19month old alone with your dh. REally? Did I misread your posts?

unreadable fiction

Hercules, I have left him for 6 minutes lol. He is often out with ds1 on the other hand.

hercules1 Sun 03-May-09 22:21:15

Do you never feel a desire to go out on your own childfree other than to Sainsburys?

BeehiveBaby Sun 03-May-09 22:22:30

I never felt the need to leave mine for fun as it were. I have only left them for funerals and the preceeding visits to dying ralatives in fact sad

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 22:23:22

Bugger - just lost a very considered response so this is going to have to be less so!

And I'm the one who said 'why not'. What I found alarming about the article (as a single parent) is the fact that I expect couples to parent equally. As far as I know, breastfeeding is the only bit of childcare that men are physically incapable of doing but it seems that women take ownership of it and I'm just struggling to understand why that should be. A couple of quotes from the thread: "I just did everything, without thinking to involve DP."
"I still directed what happened over the day"

Why is that? Why don't women share it with their partners? It seems to me that this is at the root of a lot of the plaints on MN - the 'my DH expects me to do everything round the house' threads of which there are an endless number. Why isn't your DH/DP an equal parent from the off?

Laugs Sun 03-May-09 22:23:33

I think it is completely normal not to have left DC alone overnight at 16 months. But not leaving them with someone else during the day, ever sounds like very hard work to me. We all deserve a bit of time off, even if it's just to sit and have a coffee and read the paper alone. We have to be kind to ourselves.

emkana Sun 03-May-09 22:24:18

I didn't leave my dd1 overnight until she was 2.2, and then I was in hospital to have dd2.

I don't think there is anything abnormal about not being away overnight from your very young children.

scotagm Sun 03-May-09 22:24:54

It is totally abnormal(to me) to never want a break - your children will love their time with their other parent.

Leaving a child whilst you have to work away from home is normal and helps build healthy relationships. Before you judge, I'm talking teacher on unpaid residentials - not high flying paid for business trips?

Some of you never want a break? I question this to my core.

Hercules, honestly??? No, I love being with ds's I did all my going out in the days of being a single parent with ds1. Now I am more than happy to be with my 2 ds's.

hercules1 Sun 03-May-09 22:27:02

I can understand no nights away especially when breastfeeding but I cannot understand not wanting to have time away during the day. If I hadnt had the opportunities to be away when they were younger I know I'd have suffered from depression. That's probably extreme I know but I couldnt have coped.

emkana Sun 03-May-09 22:27:29

It defends how you define a break! When then children are in bed and I am on MN, I get a break. I get an hour here and there, but I don't want prolonged seperations from my children. I really really enjoy time together as a family and would prefer days spent together to days spent alone.

I get a break when he naps and of an evening when they are both asleep there is time enough for me to relax.

I chose to be a parent and I love every minute of it. Even more so the second time round.

onebatmother Sun 03-May-09 22:28:51

dp working. all the time.
me bfing till 2+

I don't think this is empirically weird. Guy sounds like an arse, and he's writing in the genre 'lads having to grow up', but it's really not intrinsically weird or infantilizing to the father that a mother hasnt' left her baby for a day until s/he's 16 months, I don't think.

DD went to childminder when we were both working.

emkana Sun 03-May-09 22:28:52

Having said that, I do also go out in the evenings on my own/with friends, but the children are in bed then anyway.

Emkana. SNAP i am just the same.

Laugs Sun 03-May-09 22:34:05

spicemonster I think many relationships evolve this way because of the mother being in charge while on maternity leave. They both start from 'zero' on the day the baby is born. After 2 weeks, both parents probably have the same amount of idea of what goes on, but then the father returns to work and the mother has another 8 months to get used to doing the majority of parenting. I think by the time she goes back to work (and this is often part-time/ not at all), she just has far more of a clue about what the baby requires and how the jobs in the house fit around that. I'm not saying this is the way it should be, but we love, on MN, to blame women for infantilising men. It can be hard, when you feel you are just about keeping it together, to see the bigger picture and to ask for/ demand equal parenting.

I think extending paternity leave might help with this.

piscesmoon Sun 03-May-09 22:36:56

DH and I have always been equal partners-I think it would be very unfair on him if I was the one in charge and he wasn't to be trusted! Apart from breast feeding he did the lot from the start. I think it is good to let the DCs develop relationships with others e.g it is lovely for grandparents to have them on their own without you hovering in the background.

DS1 has always stayed with my mum since he was 3 weeks old. DS2 has never been away from me since we came out of hospital when he was 5 days old. I do everything for him that he may need. And when dp is changing him and ds2 escapes i finish him off and get him dressed.

DS1 belongs to both of us....but ds2 is mine not my choice but he is.

atigercametotea Sun 03-May-09 22:42:21

for goodness sake!
What a twat and why hasn't his girlfriend encouraged him to do more up until now? Annoyed at them as a couple ---aaarrgh!angry

Why hasn't he got up in the night before? What's the big deal? He's her dad!
And a two page article on 'wooo, look at me caring for my own child'!? hmm

No shit sherlock, take a look around the park you took your daughter to - are they writing in the Guardian too?

But some women like to get up to their dc in the night. I know i did and still do if ds2 wakes up, although while dp worked i co-slept and now ds2 comes and gets into my bed if he wakes up.

spicemonster Sun 03-May-09 22:47:51

Laugs - I'm sure it's very easy to slip into the groove of the baby being the mother's with the dad hovering in the background as support. But I think it is incumbent upon us to guard against that. If we want men to feel that they are equally responsible for parenting our children, then we have to make a conscious effort to involve them, however hard that feels.

I know I'm talking from the luxurious (!) perspective of someone without a partner but I read so many threads on these boards complaining about men not taking an equal share in the child-rearing/household. It's not really surprising that they do that really if they get cut out of things entirely in the early days to be honest.

Laugs Sun 03-May-09 23:07:25

spicemonster I totally agree with you that we should guard against it. Everywhere in the media men are blasted for not taking responsibility, but then often they are not allowed to take true responsibility for their children in the early days.

I was just explaining why I think it happens, probably against most people's better judgement. It's a bit of a slippery slope I think. Like I said, DH was a SAHD from DD turning 10 months. It was just for 9 months, but I think it was very good for all of us. Before that, he had cut down to 4 days a week and cared for DD one day while I worked. We started off on a very equal footing. Now, he is back working full-time (unfortunately) and I am at home full-time, though I do work from home around 12 hrs a week. I can see it would be really really easy to slip into a 'main carer' midset, because, basically, that's what I am. I'm now pregnant and I feel sad DH is unlikely to be able to spend as much time with the new baby as he did with DD when she was young. Most men ever get that opportunity, though.

I do think it's important for women to stake their claim for free time. I don't know many men with problems taking it. In our household, we each get a lie in one day of the weekend and one night off a week (if you don't want to go out, you can take time off at home). It's not much and we rarely have babysitters, but it's something. Our lie ins, especially, are particularly closely guarded. I once tried to pay DH £20 to have an extra lie in and he still said no. We're far from perfect though - I think it's easy to judge, but a hard one to get right.

Laugs Sun 03-May-09 23:11:26

re-reading that I realise I sound a bit control freakish! Maybe I am, but my two closest friends with young DCs NEVER get a lie in. Their DHs don't even seem to have realised they might like one, as it's become the norm that they get up with the child. I know which I'd prefer.

onebatmother Sun 03-May-09 23:15:36

all of these things might/might not be possible if you have a stable, non-freelance, 9-till-6-or-7 jobs. But if not, it's all a lot less straightforward.

StayFrosty Sun 03-May-09 23:29:28

What a badly written article, sub sixth form style navel gazing, and you can really picture him going back through it and adding in all the cringey metaphors later. All that 'ho ho ho, men get nervous and pukey at the prospect of fatherhood and just want to get pissed up but love their bairns really' bollocks is such a tired old worn out cliche, ffs.

Weekend Guardian and Observer are becoming almost self parodying in their middle class smuggery.

moondog Sun 03-May-09 23:35:39

Aren't they just Frosty?
Christ knows why I am still buying, with Pavlovian urge to stove in face of fools like this that every article elicits.

nooka Mon 04-May-09 05:39:47

I think if he had said first time overnight, or first time for an extended period then well fair enough. But the implication is that he has never spent time alone with his child without some sort of oversight "fully alone". Which I do think is odd. Clearly that is how some mothers want it, but I think an attitude of "its my baby" is terribly sad for everyone. The mother misses on any free time (for things like haircuts for example), the father misses on bonding with his child (and it is different when you are on your own), and most importantly the child misses on bonding with the father. I really can't see any benefits, and I think it is also a really good idea to make sure that your child is comfortable enough with another carer so that if there was an emergency and you couldn't be with them you would feel OK that they would be happy with someone else.

But then I WOTH and my dh is the SAHD (my children are eight and nine though )

piscesmoon Mon 04-May-09 07:19:48

I agree Nooka, a lot of mothers seem very possessive with their DCs, as if there is some virtue in the fact that they never spend time away because they are 'devoted' to them. I think in these cases it isn't the father's fault that he then seems incompetent, and it is a shame that he misses out so badly.

BouncingTurtle Mon 04-May-09 07:29:57

I think ds was about 8months before I left him with DH for a whole day!

But it wasn't that I didn't trust him it was just I was bfing, and crap at expressing, and ds was still feeding every couple of hours.
I'd left him for a whole morning or an afternoon with dh since he was a few weeks old, and there had been full days as when I was ill in bed with migraine when all I did was feed ds, DH would do everything else with him.
Never once has it crossed my mind to not trust ds with his dad - ds is HIS child! He does do things differently to me, but I don't think it matters that much!

The article was thoroughly self indulgent. I mean WTF - talk about non news! I think I'll write an article for the Guardian about how "I managed not to run out of clean crockery". What an acheivement that is.
Totally pointless - as if no other mum or dad managed what he has done every single day...

violethill Mon 04-May-09 10:10:08

'I had a child with my dp because we both wanted to be parents'

scotagm sums it up really.

Yes, of course a woman is likely to spend more actual hours with a child in the early weeks as she has maternity leave. But this doesn't have to mean the father is incompetent or should lack confidence in his ability to be a parent and look after his child FGS.

Who are these women who decide that a man is good enough to have a child with, but not good enough to look after that child without her hovering over him? Weird! very controlling and very unfair on the child. Children build up different relationships with people. Of course it's great to do loads as a family too, but the dynamics are different when one parent is one-to-one with the child, and children have a right to experience this and for the relationship to flourish.

I'm not saying every parent should leave their child overnight at a specific age, because obviously everyone's circumstances are different, but I think it's seriously worrying if a mother literally cannot bring herself to leave her child alone with its father for more than a few minutes. It says far more about her needs than the child's.

Oh and while we're at it, can we knock this myth on the head that somehow if you're bf that means you can't possibly leave your child? Plenty of mums express and their child is fed exclusively breastmilk but with the added bonus that dad can feed the baby too! I bf mine til they were toddling around, and managed fine with leaving them with their dad, and also with the nursery when I went to work!

BonsoirAnna Mon 04-May-09 10:13:44

"Who are these women who decide that a man is good enough to have a child with, but not good enough to look after that child without her hovering over him?"

Lots of women choose men as fathers because they are good genetic material rather than good carers. Nothing odd about that, though of course it would be nice if all men were good carers in addition to their other qualities!

RaspberryBlower Mon 04-May-09 10:24:48

Violethill - we tried very hard to get dd to take a bottle. I have a cupboard load of different kinds of bottles to prove it. But she wouldn't, so we gave up.

This thread has turned into another example of mothers making other mothers feel bad. I now feel inadequate that I haven't managed to go away for a fun filled weekend by myself yet.

Wanting to be close to dd and to feel in control in the early days was also a symptom of my PND. Not healthy, I know, but not something I cold really help at the time.

cyteen Mon 04-May-09 10:27:14

Sorry, haven't read all thread but just wanted to say that I took great delight in using this article to clean my grotty bedroom windows this morning. I took particular care to rub the author's smug, infantilised, responsibility-dodging face in the dirtiest bits. The very height of self-indulgent wankery (him, not me).

violethill Mon 04-May-09 10:35:02

Well good genetic material wasn't uppermost in my mind when choosing who to parent with. I fell in love with someone who happens to be attractive, well educated, interesting and fun - but then that's hardly surprising, in as much as we tend to be attracted to people who have positive personal qualities!
We enjoyed fabulous childfree years together before embarking on the shared adventure of parenting. Once our children are independent adults, no doubt we'll enter a new phase. I really don't see why some people find this shared parenting thing such a big deal. My husband wanted children as much as I did!

muffle Mon 04-May-09 10:37:52

I thought this was awful too. As ever with the family guardian - an opportunity to look at why both women and men collude in allowing such appallingly unequal situations to develop. If he had written about "I am so ashamed, I haven't had sole charge of my DD till now and I am shit at it, how did I let that happen and why are many men and women still not sharing childcare more equally?" and asked his DP to comment on the matter, then yes it would have been interesting. But it was all me me me, I'm such a smug parent because I looked after my DD for one measly day, and look I'm such a great writer too. Yaaaaawwwwwwnnn. WHEN are they going to realise that a supplement about *the family* could address so many relevant issues instead of just constantly trotting out boring self-absorbed numpties' barely interesting personal revelations about their babies/distant mothers/grandad's brother's dirty secret from before the war etc etc.

emkana Mon 04-May-09 11:40:59

So are you saying that I should go out for the day, doing stuff I don't really want to do, just so that dh can be alone with the children? Dh has a fabulous relationship with the children even though he is not that often alone with them, I really don't see what the problem is. At the moment he is sat at the PC with all three of them, to help dd1 with her school project.

muffle Mon 04-May-09 11:54:29

For me it's not so much that he hadn't been left alone overnight before with his child - it's similar in this house. More his attitude of "wow I'm so amazing, it's been tough dealing with the shock of becoming a dad and I am so clueless that I got pissed and let my dd almost choke, but hurrah for me because I did it". It's the underlying attitude that it isn't actually his job and yet a medal for him because she basically survived 36 hours with him.

I don't have any bones with one partner spending more time with their DC if that's how it works out. It's the inequality of responsibility that's the problem IYSWIM.

violethill Mon 04-May-09 12:18:15

I think the reality is that often one partner spends more actual hours alone with the children because of practicalities. But as you say muffle, it doesn't have to mean inequality of responsibility. And actually, I do believe it's important for each parent to have time alone with their kids, because it does change the dynamics, that's a fact. You can enjoy doing things together as a family, but if each parent has days that they take the child out, cook meals with them, do the day to day stuff, then they are building a relationship that's different from when the whole family is there.

sleepyeyes Mon 04-May-09 12:26:52

WHAT A PRAT! He seems to think he is a hero after caring for his daughter for the first time since she was born 16 months ago! I'd be to embarrassed to admit that.
Vomiting at finding out he was about to be a dad AFTER a year of TTC, being detached and cold at becoming a father after what sounds like a difficult birth. He sounds a great catch.
Especially loved the part were as soon as his wife is gone he invites friends around until 11pm and they drink a couple of bottles of wine. Bet his wife loved that part.

cyteen Mon 04-May-09 12:33:28

I expect that's why she okayed the article..."Oh yes dear, you can write honestly about your feelings and experiences wrt our daughter, that's fine...yes, do include your pathetic reaction to news of my pregnancy, and don't forget to talk about the drinking and choking. You have a duty to your readership, after all." <snurk>

sleepyeyes Mon 04-May-09 12:38:04

LOL Cyteen do you think she was thinking that's it dear make a complete fool of yourself and let all our friends and family know the real you whilst thinking pay back for the vomiting, lazy arsed parenting, drinking whilst in being in sole care of our baby and the chocking. grin

teafortwo Mon 04-May-09 13:25:34

oh...

Before seeing this thread I found the article rather charming... blush

I thought the choking and drinking were all part of the proof "He was a mess and pretty irresponsible" and then he ends up completely changed by the experience of spending time alone with his daughter due to an unexpected overwhelming feeling of very deep love for her.

In my case that overwhelming feeling of love happened at the scan seeing that tiny human like form - it really hit me "This is parent love and it is amazing.". For my DH it happened the first time dd smiled. He hadn't understood until that moment why I cried so much at the scan... but after sobbing for Enland at her smile - he got it!!! wink

OK in the article - it seems quite late for the 'love attack' for want of a better name to kick in - but I think that is actually what he is writing about... not about how great he is for looking after his daughter for a day and a night but what it feels like to realise this feeling of love and highlighting that it doesn't always happen at birth or at the pregnancy test stage of being a parent!

Of course DH and I have both felt similar sensations later - for me I felt it again when she first walked, when I kiss her good night and more recently when she held a lamb at a farm. However, nothing as mindblowing as that first realisation - this is my child and I love her in a way I never knew I could.

A friend of mine said she never got that feeling...her love for her son is more slow paced and ever growing. She never had the can't stop crying, buzz and amazing high of that delicious first completely overwhelming "love attack"(Does this moment have an official name because I find "love attack" very lacking? - best I could think of - sorry). So maybe what Dueren describes here is a bit risky because it doesn't happen to everyone.

Perhaps infact it has just happened to me, DH and Nick Duerden - However knowing what I know about all the parents I know in rl and here on mn too I do seriously doubt it! smile

<tiptoes off to read the article again - perhaps I just didn't read it right?>

sleepyeyes Mon 04-May-09 13:35:33

TBH the chocking incident just didn't read true to me, the child pointing to chest whilst chocking yeah right they are either paralyzed with fear, passed out or hysterical arm waving. Plus those kindy egg halfs are rather large if she had that stuck in her throat I just cant see him tipping her back (the WORST thing you can do when a child is chocking) and hooking it out with a pinky.

ThingOne Mon 04-May-09 13:39:12

Oooh there's a lot of judging and jumping to conclusions about other mothers on this thread.

I didn't leave my babies overnight when they were under 18 months because I was breastfeeding, didn't have to and didn't want to. During the day, and during the evening I made sure I got "me time". Inevitably it was limited when they were small and my DH was working full time. When I worked, my DS1 went to a CM two days a week from about nine months. I was no longer working when my DS2 was a toddler but I still got him a place for two short mornings at nursery. I always managed to get my hair cut. I really can't see what that's got to do with not wanting to spend a night away from a young baby.

I don't think I'm unusual or controlling or infantalising my husband. But babies are babies for such a short time and I enjoyed my time with them. I was quite happy for my DH to take them out by himself from quite a young age and he has a fantastic relationship with both of them.

cory Mon 04-May-09 13:48:29

I don't quite get this 'I never felt the need to leave dc with someone else'. As far as my dc's are concerned, their Dad isn't 'someone else', he's as much their parent as I am.

And why would I direct what happened over the day, more than him? Or have to Think to involve dh? Any more than he had to think to involve me?

That sort of implies that the woman is in charge naturally from the start and knows what to do instinctively.

Didn't happen like that to us. We were both new to it, both a bit clueless, both a bit scared, so we pitched in together. I didn't know what to tell him to do any more than he knew what to tell me to do. We both learnt from doing.

Except after ds's birth when I was stitched up, so dh had to do the early nappy changes and winding and bathing, because I couldn't lift anything.

sleepyeyes Mon 04-May-09 13:49:57

Thingone I agree on that it is normal and acceptable not to have left your child overnight with anyone at that age, but the article makes it quite clear that he hasn't ever cared for his daughter and that he never made any concerted effort to bond.

cory Mon 04-May-09 13:52:23

BonsoirAnna on Mon 04-May-09 10:13:44
"Lots of women choose men as fathers because they are good genetic material rather than good carers."

That seems to me to be the same thing. Caring is precisely the genetic quality I would like to see spreading through the world. I have done my bit to spread dh's caring genes!!

cory Mon 04-May-09 13:53:31

Has it never occurred to anyone that a dad might feel the same about leaving his baby overnight as a mum? I breastfed, but when it came to bonding, I really don't think there was any difference between dh and me.

lalalonglegs Mon 04-May-09 13:54:01

I have nothing original to say about this piece - I detested it. It was the strange admission that they had been trying for a baby for a year but he wretches when she becomes pregnant. The way his partner feels compelled to stock up the fridge and do all the ironing before leaving him in charge. His implied heroism at taking on the task of caring for his child for a night.

I don't think the article has anything to do with loving or not loving his daughter enough and everything to do with his own solipsistic attitude to life. I cannot imagine how ghastly his book must be (or how such dreary gibbering ever gets published).

Mumcentreplus Mon 04-May-09 13:59:05

My DH was hands on from the get go...he gave DD1 her first bath!...tbh..I did have to do some cringing and leave the room a few times because I couldn't bare to watch ..but in the end he was definantely better for it..and so were my DDs

muffle Mon 04-May-09 14:06:38

Because of his job, DH has been away for longish periods (up to two weeks) from when DS was tiny, whereas I've only been away overnight. But that's just how it's turned out. The point is if I did go away - and when I have overnight - and if I wanted to go for longer - it's not a big deal for DP to look after his own son.

I don't think mothers are obliged to go away if they don't want to - but both parents should be thinking of childcare as something they do and know how to do, from birth.

muffle Mon 04-May-09 14:10:05

Yes lala the being sick thing - diddums! That sounded like classic attention-seeking and jealousy to me. In fact something about the article could also be read as slightly aggressive - kind of "so you swanned off and left me with the baby well ha ha I got drunk and she almost choked, serves you right.". hmm

muffle Mon 04-May-09 14:11:37

OMG I've just noticed I called my DP "DH" back there!
Slip of the keyboard!

<squashes inner bridezilla>

piscesmoon Mon 04-May-09 14:14:50

'So are you saying that I should go out for the day, doing stuff I don't really want to do, just so that dh can be alone with the children? '

Yes, I think so-you get to do it, so it seems very unfair that he doesn't. It is completely different when the other isn't there and it gives them chance to develop a relationship completely of their own.
I can't believe that anyone would rather do a supermarket shop, or buy themselves new clothes by themselves-rather than with a baby in tow. If you really prefer it, I think you should force yourself out, even if you just have coffee with a friend.
If I was to collapse and be rushed off to hospital it would be comforting to know that DH could cope on his own, and more importantly that the DCs were quite happy because they were used to it.
I have an equal partner, he does things differently but it is far better than having to OK it all with me first as the senior carer!

violethill Mon 04-May-09 14:16:45

I think you make a good point there pisces.

For all those mums who claim they can't bear to spend a minute apart from their children because it's so much fun... if you feel that way, then aren't you going to let your partner share some of that fun?

emkana Mon 04-May-09 14:19:53

My dh cooks, he bathes the children more than I do, he plays with them, he puts them to bed, all while I am in the house. I know he would cope without me, extremely well.

I don't think women should tell other women how to run their and their families' lives. We are perfectly happy as we are (most of the time).

emkana Mon 04-May-09 14:22:46

And as somebody said further down, the time when they are small passes so quickly anyway, I don't want to force myself to do something I don't want to do.

I do every now and then go out during the day, but only for a couple of hours, and only once every one or two months.

If I had a choice it wouldn't be for me to be away from the children but for dh to be able to spend more time with us, all of us together.

BigBellasBeerBelly Mon 04-May-09 14:37:34

I couldn't cope without DH. Being pg and anaemic and exhausted and depressed, if he wasn't on hand to look after DD while I have a sleep, take DD up the road to do the shopping when I'm not up to it I would have been a lunatic by now.

I feel it is very important for DH to have a close and loving reltionship with DD and to be able to and want to care for her. To feed her, clothe her, do her nappies, bath her. Why wouldn't he want to do those things and why wouldn't I let him?

TBH I am a bit of a control freak in other areas and do tend to boss him a bit, but with DD I have kept my mouth firmly shut and let him get on with it his way from day 1. It's the one area where I relax about having things done "my way".

The result is a little girl who is very close to daddy and a confident father, which means I get to rest when I need to.

I can't understand when I talk to my friends and they tell me despairingly they have been up with their DC at 5 am every day for the last 2 years etc. I would a. not have it and b. go insane through sleep deprivation.

Neither of us have been away overnight yet though - neither do it for work and nothing with friends etc has come up. If either of us wanted to though it would be absolutely fine.

piscesmoon Mon 04-May-09 14:39:34

I wouldn't want to tell other people how to do it! I just feel sorry for the partner who isn't allowed the space on his own.

cyteen Mon 04-May-09 14:58:40

teafortwo it seemed to me that any realisation of love in the article was far more selfish - it's all about him realising that she loves him, not the other way round.

muffle Mon 04-May-09 15:03:32

I wonder if his DP is a mumsnetter? Quite possible. Would love to hear her side of it!

My DP is a confident dad, and ds2 loves being with him but ds2 and I also like to be together. In Fact ds2 cries nonstop when i go away from him...even to the shower....So we are always together.

ThingOne Mon 04-May-09 17:28:16

What I am saying is that my DH does have a close and loving relationship with his children. He didn't need me to go away overnight to do this.

I find the suggestion that fathers cannot change nappies, choose outfits and bathe their children just because the mother doesn't go away at night a bit bizarre.

Thingone, I don't ever leave ds2 with anyone not even dp.

BigBellasBeerBelly Mon 04-May-09 18:17:52

thingone I think the point of the article was that the dad didn't have a clue. If he had been capably changing nappies, comforting the child at night, looking after his DC while mum went up the supermarket/had a bath or whatever then he wouldn't have been thrown into a flat spin by the fact she was going away for a night. It would have been no big deal.

People aren't suggesting that you must go away for a night. Simply that it is a good idea for a father to actually know how to look after his children, and be happy to do so, so that if the mother goes away for a night the whole thing isn't so traumatic and alien to him that he has to go and write a book about it hmm

violethill Mon 04-May-09 18:26:27

Exactly Bigbella. No one has stated that 'You Must Go Away Overnight Before Your Child Is A Certain Age.'

Just that it would be rather nice for the child, as well as for the father, if he actually is trusted to look after his own child all by himself now and again.

piscesmoon Mon 04-May-09 19:07:02

I don't think anyone needs to go away-just that the father is an equal parent. He should have picked it up in the same way and time as the mother and be trusted to do it without her hovering around as if he is an extra DC and everything will fall apart if she doesn't supervise!

cory Mon 04-May-09 19:11:56

Apart from what violethill says, it's also the suggestion that it's the mother who makes the decision about when the child can be left etc. and what the father can be trusted with.

Dh would expect an equal say in what I can be trusted with. His children as much as mine.

teafortwo Mon 04-May-09 19:16:16

Cyteen - Good point - he does say "I think maybe my daughter loves me," not "I had no idea how much I could love someone. I love our daughter (sob sob sob - snot snot snot) so (gasps for breath) much it is overwhelming!!!" Which would have fitted my reading of it better, really....

grin He he he!!!!

HensMum Mon 04-May-09 19:18:44

I think he's more of a hands on parent that he makes out. The bit where he describes his little girl falling asleep holding his finger and that he knows that he's letting himself in for more trouble on following nights, suggests someone who knows quite a lot about their child's bedtime routine. And he knew how she liked to be soothed when she woke in the night - I don't think it was his first time doing it.

Not excusing the article, it was self-indulgent wank but I just think that he was a bit disingenuous with the whole "I'm a rubbish dad, me" bit.

ExtraFancy Mon 04-May-09 20:25:19

I'm bloody glad that I'd left my DS alone with his dad plenty of times by the time he was 1 - when he was 14 months old, I was rushed to hospital and ended up staying in for 2 nights. It was the first/only time I'd ever been away from him at night. My DH coped marvellously and TBH I think my DS enjoyed it too wink

He stays at my MIL's house overnight every couple of weeks now (he's 20 months old) and he LOVES it. He runs to the door when he hears her car outside and always comes back happy...it is lovely to see him forming such a strong bond with someone other than me, particularly as my own family live 200 miles away!

I must admit that before I went into hopsital I's never evenentertained the idea of leaving him - but once I'd done it, I realised it wasn't anywhere near as scary as I feared it would be!

ilovesprouts Mon 04-May-09 20:31:21

i could not be botherd to read it all but my dh was hands on from day 1

Thebolter Mon 04-May-09 21:03:48

So did his dp have a 10 month pregnancy then? This self-indulgent clap-trap lost all credibility to me when I noticed his lazy reference to his wife giving birth nine months after doing the pg test. Duhhhh... hmm

I left dd1 alone with dh for a night when she was 10 weeks old (although my breasts were massive and painful by the time we were reunited!). My sil OTOH is completely different... she hasn't left her 13 mth old alone with her dh for more than an hour and she's only been out for an evening twice since she was born.

BarcodeZebra Mon 04-May-09 21:06:09

I've just looked at this article again. It's an excerpt from his book - presumably about what a pointless git he is.

Fucksake!

squeaver Mon 04-May-09 21:09:52

Haven't read the thread but the answer to the question in the op is "yes it is normal for a journalist who sees the chance to sell a self-indulgent piece of tosh to the editor of the Guardian Family section".

TheBolter, I have not had ONE night out without ds's since ds2 was born.

justthefourofus Mon 04-May-09 21:12:40

OK, I'll probably regret this but hey ho... it is so hard to read about yourself and not be able to explain the background. I will change my name after this although I am not a regular poster, just a regular lurker.

The writer of the piece, my dp, had plenty of time alone with his daughter before the time he was left alone with her overnight. He had spent whole days with her, had given her baths, fed her, took her to the swings, looked after her for days while she was poorly with gastroenteritis and unable to go to the nursery, took her to the doctor, everything any parent would do. He is a very hands-on parent. We share parenting equally. I am a slight control freak and I do organise the house work and therefore I tend to tell him what needs to be done in the householod. But I know he is a very able man and should I be run over by a bus tomorrow I am certain that our two daughters will be in perfectly capable hands.

The article in question is an extract of a book and therefore does not allow for much background setting. The book is a memoir, so yes, it is self-indulgent but that is the point, really. The article has been published to publicise the book as it is customary. He is not friends with the editor, he is a freelance journalist trying to bring some money home. The book is about how, like many other people, he found the idea of being a father really scary, even though we had been trying for quite a while. Yes, his reaction to the pregnancy was hard to take, but we are very honest with our feelings and we worked through his fear and mine together. We both felt numb when our daughter was born, and talking to other people, we don't seem to be that rare in this. But like many others, the more time we spent with our baby the easier it got. My dp, dh now, has written about this because he can and has been given the opportunity, although I would not expect everyone to like his style or empathise with his experience. I have been with him for fifteen years and I am biased but he is a very kind person and a very good father.

And re the drinking, it was not a lot of wine over a very extended session with food included. I know my dh, he can not get stupidly drunk, he was just a little merry and should the need arise he would have responded appropriately. He had gotten up at night many times before and he still does with our second child.

As you can it is not that exciting...

justthefourofus Mon 04-May-09 21:15:17

As you can see it is not that exciting

policywonk Mon 04-May-09 21:18:10

OooohOOOOOO it's Jon Ronson's Elaine all over again grin

Very measured post JustTheFour... - must be hard to read this much bile about your DH.

LupusinaLlamasuit Mon 04-May-09 21:22:37

<hyperventilates with excitement>

<calms down to read post>

LupusinaLlamasuit Mon 04-May-09 21:26:11

So come on, spill: did you deck him when he retched? grin

I applaud your response. You must see though how his article would be read by us screaming harpies nest of vipers mothers?

If he was being self-indulgent for publishing purposes then I can understand why you wish to defend him. It doesn't read great though to the wider world does it? Does the rest of the book redeem him?

BigBellasBeerBelly Mon 04-May-09 21:28:42

Hello justthefourofus!

<excited that subject of so much speculation has turned up>

If you are a lurker you won't be too surprised by this thread (hopefully!).

i just dont 'get' the retching when you have been trying for a year and are both sane?

Noonki Mon 04-May-09 21:30:48

justthefourofus...sorry not buying it that you are she.

It's your first post!

The family section of the guardian is getting worse by the week

Merrylegs Mon 04-May-09 21:33:46

Very brave post justthefourofus. I hope you don't regret it!

As I said, my judging was on the article, which I'm afraid I found overwritten and cliched and the voice just wasn't engaging. I understood it was an extract from a book and as such it didn't work as a stand alone piece. Perhaps in the context of a book the set pieces may ring true.

FWIW, your DP does sound like a very lovely and caring dad. I just wish he had been more direct and 'real' in his writing style.

Perhaps a more honest edit would have saved the day!

policywonk Mon 04-May-09 21:40:54

Noonki, it's not her first post - she posted earlier in the thread!

I agree that the Family section is fit only for the cat's litter tray (lol at whoever it was who commented on its touching faith in the power of organic vegetables to enchant the under-fives).

That leaves, er, ONE section of the Saturday Guardian that I actually read.

the family section of the guardian is pulpy fiction not real grassroots journalism imo

piscesmoon Mon 04-May-09 21:56:48

'TheBolter, I have not had ONE night out without ds's since ds2 was born.'

Is this supposed to be a virtue?

Pisces, nope was replying to a posting and pressed post too soon.

muffle Mon 04-May-09 22:07:07

Wow justthefourof us - thanks for posting, that is brave. I take on board what you've said but he still does come across in the article as not hands-on at all, as well as very self-absorbed. I realise it's possible to play up the "isn't it hilarious what a crap dad I am" angle for journalistic effect - if that's the case then I think it's sad that that's what editors (well the guardian family section) will pay for, but that's not the journalist's fault.

He did say in the article that he had to battle through a hangover in the morning. That's not just merry is it. But again, it's probably exaggerated.

nooka Tue 05-May-09 03:49:40

If it was basically a work of fiction then I really can't see what it was doing in a real life section I'm afraid. I think it is incredibly unhelpful to have this sort of stuff peddled about. But then "I looked after my daughter for a night and it was no big deal" isn't going to get you any dosh I guess.

Why can't newspapers etc publish things that are actually interesting, about people who have achieved something or are special in some way? Reminds me of why I no longer read papers, but it does seem a pity really. Too much reality tosh and not enough real journalism.

Gorionine Tue 05-May-09 10:13:01

I have missed quite a few pages since my last post. I am really amazed at some of the comments.

Like a few other mums here (not many it seems) I have never felt the need to have a "night out" without my DCs and no, I do not think it is a virtue, it is just the way things work with us. Dh is away all day at work so during that time I take responsability for the children. When he is off work (evening, weeek-end, holiday) we like to do things together as a family. I have really tried hard, but still cannot find a single reason that makes it a "wrong" or "bad" thing. I cannot find a link between that and DH being useless either.

Now, if I was dying top have a night out without the DCS I would have one, but you know what, I would want DH to be with me because frankly I do not miss being alone one bit but I do miss being alone with him quite a lot!

piscesmoon Wed 06-May-09 19:20:02

I was assuming that people would want to go out in the evening with their DP-not necessarily alone-and get a babysitter.

Ripeberry Wed 06-May-09 22:28:26

He is such a wet blanket, if i was his wife and he had reacted like that i would have punched him one.
Hope he has grown up now!

seeker Wed 06-May-09 22:33:13

The thing that struck me about this article was the bit where the mother came back to find him crying and her first reaction was "What have you done?" I can't imagine saying that to my dp in the circumstances in a million years - and if I did, I suspect he would be out the door so fast I wouldn't see him move.

cory Thu 07-May-09 08:20:03

Gorionine, most of us are not saying that a mother must go out alone. What we are saying is that it seems odd to make such a difference between the mother and a father, assuming that she gets on with looking after the baby from the start, but she has to "let" him look after it when she judges him ready. There is nothing in that article that suggests equal parenting.

If the writer really thought it was no big deal for a man to be looking after his baby (after all these months) - why the need for the article?

seeker Thu 07-May-09 08:38:36

I didn't go out and leave mine overnight at this age because they were still breast feeding. If my dp had had boobs I would not have questioned his ability to look after them - and would have left them with him without a second thought. Rather as he left them with me when he had to be away overnight for work. I do find this "Ohh look, it's a man babysitting his children' attitude deeply bizarre. Equally, the "I have grown to manhood - I plumbed the hell that is a dirty nappy and survived. Hail me, oh ye people" articles are completely nausiating!

RumourOfAHurricane Thu 07-May-09 17:21:33

Message withdrawn

BottySpottom Thu 07-May-09 19:15:42

What a prize plonker.

I wouldn't leave my dog with that man, let alone my 16 month old - no wonder he hadn't had her alone before then.

georgimama Thu 07-May-09 19:47:11

It's all been said really, but what a load of Guardian wank. I don't even believe him about the Kinder egg bit. I honestly think he made that up.

Totally agree that in many cases men are able to get away with this type of crap because their partners actively discourage them from involvement at an early stage. I find this odd. I wouldn't have had a child with a man I didn't trust to look after it.

JacquelineBouvier Thu 07-May-09 20:06:24

totally agree, man's a twonk.

umm, just to pick up on a posters comment about being shocked at him listening to his ipod.

I listen to my ipod (with earphones) a lot when pushing ds on the swing (he can be on there for what seems like forever) or when with him at the park and he's legging it around. or even when he's just in the garden. I like to catch up with my podcasts!

I don't listen when we're playing together (I'm not that bad!) but i just sometimes get really bored when looking after him. blush

judge away grin

policywonk Thu 07-May-09 20:13:54

Have you lot noticed that Nick Thingy's wife posted on this thread a couple of days ago? grin

georgimama Thu 07-May-09 20:15:18

Did she PW? Who is she?

minxofmancunia Thu 07-May-09 20:20:24

Haven't read all of thread but totally garee crap article, bloke's an idiot IMO.

But alos agree with those who've said some women actively encourage this infantilism in their dps/dhs treating them as incompetent idiots who're incapable of the most basic taks without being stage managed by their partners.

I've got a few friends like this, the look of acute anxiety that crosses their dps faces when they have to look after dcs on their own, one friend didn't leave the care of her dc to her dh until after 18 months and he was in a complete pickle about it, wrought with ridiculous anxiety. Some women are total control freaks and you can see this in their relationships. They then moan they never get any time to themselves hmm.

Apart from bf here has been pretty much 50/50 care here since dd was born, and that's the way it should be.

georgimama Thu 07-May-09 20:24:28

OK, just noticed her posts. So based on what she says, the whole suggestion in the article that he had no idea what he was doing and had never flown solo with his daughter before that was total arse gravy just cooked up to try and publicise a book.

Yawn.

reluctantfatherpublisher Thu 07-May-09 21:34:33

I am the publisher of The Reluctant Father by Nick Duerden, and confess to being somewhat bemused by the apparent distress he caused with the piece he wrote about the book on Saturday, for the Guardian Family section.

When Nick’s manuscript arrived in our office, two editors, both women in their twenties and who do not have children, fell upon the book. Couldn’t put it down. For them, Nick’s account of his problems with coming to terms with fatherhood, rang utterly true – and addressed, in a refreshingly honest way, the great dilemma of modern man. He is undoubtedly more emotionally engaged than earlier generations but he is also freer to stay young and selfish for longer. The fact is that not all men today are instant perfect dads, ready to throw a nappy bag over their shoulder and spend the day in the municipal playground. As Nick discovered, many of them still find that parenthood takes some getting used to.
What you read in the Guardian was an edited extract. Read the whole book before you slag him off. It is by a man who falls so in love with his daughter that he can’t stop talking about her.

RumourOfAHurricane Thu 07-May-09 21:43:12

Message withdrawn

RFP - distress isn't the term you are looking for here. Scorn might fit the bill better. Sure, Nick isn't the first metropolitan man to discover that yes, on the whole, the reality of parenting can be pretty mundane. The point is he is playing up his utter ineptitude, which from his wife's posts, would appear to be at least partly assumed for effect, to make us empathise with what he CLAIMS to be some sort of epiphany about OMG how fabulous it is to be a Dad after all.
And because a lot of us on here happen to have partners who are not utter dorks and actually, you know, got that without making a big self-indulgent song and dance about it, then yes, we were unimpressed.
But not at all distressed.

georgimama Thu 07-May-09 22:01:20

I think the publisher and the wife are both, in fact, nick.

smallorange Thu 07-May-09 22:03:18

Newspapers seem to be saturated with this kind of self indulgent twaddle at the moment.

I suppose it's cheaper than employing a journalist to pick up a phone and research a feature and then and write something valuable and illuminating though.

I bet I could wang on about my two c-sections for a few thousand words if The Guardian fancies giving me a call....

oranges Thu 07-May-09 22:07:51

tip to the publisher - if you want people to read a book, its not a good idea to publish an extract that puts potential readers off. you are meant to draw them in, not order them to read the whole thing before having an opinion.

RumourOfAHurricane Thu 07-May-09 22:09:01

Message withdrawn

Quattrocento Thu 07-May-09 22:10:13

What on earth can one say about a piece like that?

A non-story?
Maudlin?
Trite?
Badly-written?
Self-indulgent?
Shite?

bruxeur Thu 07-May-09 22:14:37

What an absolute cocksniffer.

Either it's true and he should just shut up, if he can find the last vestige of self-respect left within him, or it's all bollocks and he should stop lying, because it makes baby Jesus cry - and shut up.

Wife - your husband is the unfunny version of Tom Hanks in Big, but wetter.

Publisher - you are 100% total fail. Fact - google it!

SkaterGrrrrl Thu 07-May-09 22:20:56

That article made me want to smash things, Family Grauniad is so lazy.

Re the "time alone" debate upthread, here's my 2 cents worth: dads are parents too, equal to mums and are just as entitled to/ responsible for time alone with their kids.

One of my work colleages does all the parenting in her relationship (and all the housework despite working full time). She always gets up in the night (because "dads just dont hear crying toddlers"). I just wish she'd give herself a break and let/make her partner be a man and get involved.

The other day her kid's nursery rang the office to say there was a burst water pipe and she left work on a manically busy day to collect her kid and go home - at no point did she even consider calling her husband to see if he could do the honours.

OK, Im done being judgey now.

margotfonteyn Thu 07-May-09 23:10:08

reluctantfatherpublisher, if you are real how could the two female editors who HAVEN'T had children have found it 'utterly true'?
Or was that a mis-quote? Could you ask someone in the office (male or female) who HAS had children, what they think of the article please? Then I might be able to believe they found it 'utterly true'.

policywonk Thu 07-May-09 23:10:19

Blimey, this thread got even MORE weird. What next - are we going to have the repro guy on?

<boak> at 'arse gravy'

margotfonteyn Thu 07-May-09 23:14:48

Also, as a parent of older children, I just read the Guardian nowadays and think 'Oh dear, it's another thirtysomething who has had a baby and think he's the first person EVER to have had a child' It gets very, very tedious. Just wait til they are teenagers. (Julie Myersonn springs to mind).

margotfonteyn Thu 07-May-09 23:20:27

And another thing, EVERYONE 'falls in love' with their baby, sooner or later....it's normaL! Not some exceptional thing that needs to be written about.

OK rant over.

And I do realise it is Myerson not Myersonn. Was a typing error. Grrr.

reluctantfatherpublisher I am leaving my 9 month old with my DH in 6 weeks time for a week, any chance he could get a couple of hundred quid for writing about it? The only problem I can see is that he knows he loves our son already.

Nighbynight Fri 08-May-09 07:41:33

The article was OK (if you disregard the annoying Guardiany details that kept popping up, like that they had a Japanese takeaway because they are more sophisticated than the rest´of us with our mere Indian and Chinese meals). I agree with the posters who say it's not original (although I am happy for Nick Duerden that he has experienced fatherhood and found it wonderfulsmile).

I think it will be appreciated by a very small number of childless, middle class Guardian reading people, probably very similar to the editors who thought it was marvellous.

It is a great pity that publishers arent represented by, shall we say, people from more varied backgrounds. Then, in the fiction area for example, we might see fewer Lovely Bones and Life of Pis and Alchemists. My profile: early 40s, Oxford educated, spends money on books. I will never buy these kind of books because they are twaddle.

cory Fri 08-May-09 08:07:43

Oranges puts it very well. If an article published in a supposedly quality paper can't stand up on its own, then it's got no place in the paper. Simple as.

There should be a difference between adverts and journalism. And even an advert is only good if it works.

MorningTownRide Fri 08-May-09 09:10:08

Oooo, I'll be rushing out to buy that book after that article [hmmm]

MorningTownRide Fri 08-May-09 09:11:10

hmm

SummatAnNowt Fri 08-May-09 09:38:03

"great dilemma of modern man"

pmsl!

Is that getting pissed v. looking after your own offspring?!

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-May-09 09:42:53

So just to let y'all know that Nick Duerden himself is joining us at 12.30pm to discuss his article/book and respond to your insults comments (iPod volume and puddles of fear being some of the kinder ones grin).

nostalgia Fri 08-May-09 09:45:44

Excellent...

[Tents fingers]

nickytwotimes Fri 08-May-09 09:57:06

God, he's a brave lad, I'll give him that!
[nest of vipers emoticon]
Sadly I shall be collecting ds at lunchtime, but I look forward to reading his defence comments this evening. wink

Ewe Fri 08-May-09 09:57:10

Brave man!

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 10:05:24

Message withdrawn

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 10:10:16

blimey!

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 10:12:37

Nick, do you read the Family Guardian yourself? If so, what's your opinion of it? A lot of us on here (including loyal Grauniad readers) think it's patronising, myopic bollocks (which is one reason why your contribution got such a kicking I think - pent-up aggression at the whole section).

nickytwotimes Fri 08-May-09 10:13:51

Well said Wonky!

<loyal Grundian reader>

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 10:24:37

Excellent - my lunch break! I shall bring a mop lest those fearful puddles prove troublesome....

As a man why do you continue to perpetuate the myth that men are useless when it comes to childcare, or is it just male journalists who have this inability to look after their own children?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 10:36:14

Message withdrawn

seeker Fri 08-May-09 10:38:15

How did you react when your wife said "What have you done?" when she returned home and found you in tears?

oh yes shine that's a good one, how do your mates feel being called "selfish" when actually the weekend was your responsibility.

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 10:46:40

"Behind a cauliflower on the bottom shelf, I discover a forgotten bottle of champagne. I open it. It tastes good"

"11pm and they are still here. Amaya is asleep upstairs, the kitchen table is strewn with the remains of a takeaway, and we are horizontal after a second bottle of wine."

Swap champagne and Japanese takeaways for Stella and McDonalds, swap middle-class male London writer / journalist for young mum (or dad) on a provincial council estate, and we have quite a different scenario don't we?

One gets published in The Guardian, the other is a call to social services.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 10:49:32

"At 8pm, she is lying in her cot with only the light from the rotating musical mobile keeping the room from total darkness. In the shadows, her eyes find mine and lock on. A beautiful smile melts slowly across her face, filled with benevolence and unambiguous sentiment. This, I become convinced, is reciprocal love finally asserting itself. Tears flood my eyes."

In our house we call a smile that melts slowly across the face with benevolence the' poo-poo smile'. It is the expression of a child blissfully filling her nappy.

(Oh god oh god Nick, are you sure you want to do this 12.30 thing?? The words 'sitting' and 'duck' spring to mind...)

Tortington Fri 08-May-09 10:50:27

what a self indulgent twat

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 10:50:36

Message withdrawn

Looking forward to catching up on this later.

Spicemonsters posts were very sensible and we have the same practice, each take it in turns to have a lie in (I like the one night off a week idea too, make have to do that). After I went back to work DH went part time to share care of DD. He is now at home with her more than me and their relationship is wonderful. He is completely equal in parenting and I expect nothing less from him.

I've been away from DD for 1 night at a time twice but I can see how you would never need to go away, mine has only been with work. That said DH and I both make sure we each get days to ourself, he will often take DD to his mother's to give me a whole day of, and I am not ashamed to say I relish it.

Anyway, more scarily, I am off to the States for a week with work tomorrow and DD has spent the best part of the past 2 days throwing up! I have no worries about leaving DH with her, he'll be fine, but I worry about him having a whole week with no break (she only goes to nursery one day a week). There is so much to do, we have run out of clean towels and clean sofa cushions. Poor DH!

seeker Fri 08-May-09 10:50:53

I don't think you're a proper Guardian Reader. If you were you wouldn't be horizontal after one bottle of champagne and one bottle of wine between 3 people over the course of a long evening!

vacaloca Fri 08-May-09 10:52:44

Haven't read the thread apart from the OP. This caught my eye because DH handed me the family section to read in bed the other day. I normally quite like it. I read the first paragraph and gave it back. Too long and too 'me, me, me', went to sleep instead.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 10:53:00

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 10:55:14

Message withdrawn

margotfonteyn Fri 08-May-09 11:05:17

Would you like to hear about me looking after my three children and also having friends round, and incidently how I REALLY love them?.....no, I thought probably not.

Glad the Guardian editors were interested though.

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 11:09:37

<cough> fuck me. I wondered why this had been stickied.

Opportunist PR?

Anyhow, I am looking forward to the carnage when I get back from my meeting. Please god don't go all apologetic and simpery on him will you?

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 11:14:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mumcentreplus Fri 08-May-09 11:21:10

<<Sprinkles fairy dust and positive vibes all over thread>>...grin

Nicky you do sound like a bit of a knob but I think you were just shocked were'nt you? hmm...I believe it's not only men who perpetuate the 'Men are a bit crap' myth...women do this too presuming men wont/can't do some tasks,by allowing the men in their lives and their sons to do very little on the domestic front and also not including fathers in all aspects of childcare...<<skips off>>

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 11:21:42

Nick, you have the worst website ever. I could make you a much better one. I give very good price.

Nick, do you feel a certain inner torment that you are paid to write this sort of personal tale of your own parental incompetence?

rubyslippers Fri 08-May-09 11:22:11

<<Adds thread to watch list>>

he has got big cojones <<or summat>>

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 11:25:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 11:27:12

yes you will find I'm very reasonable

I don't even charge for the hours I spend on Mumsnet, rather than actually working for any clients

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 11:29:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 11:30:07

Steady on, MP. Such prissy methods would cut my income by about 60 per cent.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 11:31:36

that's why my tax return shows a very reasonable hourly rater of £1.79

<fret>

<must do some work>

lostdad Fri 08-May-09 11:33:20

I looked after my ds from day one. She even said I was a better parent than she was and he loved me more and was upset about it, despite my best efforts to support her.

Right until the point she took him with her when he was 3 1/2 months old and suddenly I was an incapable parent who had abused him and had to take her court.

Fathers are and should act like equal parents. Some mothers see this as `muscling in' on their terrority and perform `maternal gatekeeping' - belittling fathers until they give up because they feel they are useless.

But.

The state of affairs is down to both mothers and fathers. Mothers who feel threatened by good parenting skills of fathers are in the wrong as much as fathers who hang back and leave it to their OHs.

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 11:42:46
Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 11:49:58

pinhut.blogspot.com/2005/08/nick-duerden-outrage-of-man.html

Found this also.

Oh dear.

The words 'dead man' and 'walking' spring to mind.

LiberalIdleOlogy Fri 08-May-09 11:51:48

If anything, DH does a better job than me when left in sole charge of the children. He has the enthusiasm because its a bit of a novelty, and a desire to please mixed with a pride in doing a good job, probably spurred further by an air of competitiveness. He can do this because he's not ground down by the 24-7 repetitiveness of being the primary carer. Neither I suspect is he nearly as exhausted as a woman who has been through pregnancy, birth, around the clock feeding and comforting of one or more children, continuously over a number of years.

A 38 year old man who is too immature to support wife or child at any practical level... and thinks this is some way amusing...? sad

Merrylegs! grin

sleepyeyes Fri 08-May-09 11:55:40

The burning question I want answered is why the hell they keep champaign behind the cauliflowers?
Or was that just another middle class tick, we eat veg tick.

SummatAnNowt Fri 08-May-09 11:58:31

He's 38?!? shock

<<Adds fuel to the flames and runs away quickly.>>

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 11:59:01

<ouch> at that blog.

SummatAnNowt Fri 08-May-09 12:01:08

It's all just more publicity for his book. He obviously thinks he's cute and charming by being so hapless and hopes more women will take him to his bosom, not just 20something childless ones who think he's "utterly right" and "refreshingly honest"

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 12:02:14

'malleable young audience'
'nothing less than torture'
'cannot help but applaud its lofty ambition'

He has been to the School of Shockingly Bad Cliches hasn't he.

And as for:

'a chance for my wife and me to take things a little adagio, to have ourselves some diminuendo time'

<runs screaming from the room>

imoscarsmum Fri 08-May-09 12:03:59

What a load of twaddle. If the daughter had been a few weeks old, i would have understood - but 16 month! Has the father been living in a bubble/working overseas for months?
Damn I'm glad my DP was hands on from day 1. He changed our 7 month old DD's first ever nappy! He's never been overnight alone with her but that's cos I've never been away overnight but would have no worrisd if I did want to go.
DD had colic in early days and he was far better than me in coping with it.

sleepyeyes Fri 08-May-09 12:04:56

I never seen little einsteines, but it sounds to me like it was designed for parents who hate admitting that their kids watch TV so justify it with something 'educational'
TV is TV folks no matter how you dress it up.

SummatAnNowt Fri 08-May-09 12:07:10

Meh, my two year old used to make me read Auto Trader to him "Xsara Picasso, Citroen C4..." I am sure I could right a massively long article about how he could recognise a make and model of car from its side view and gave him such a passion for them he wants to be a taxi driver when he grows up. But that's just not as snooty enough is it!

SummatAnNowt Fri 08-May-09 12:09:28

Will he soon be writing an article about his encounter with mumsnet?!

Wow, that website is awful. Really poor choice of colours, can barely read it. How about some examples of work? I think I could make a better one than that.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:16:39

Message withdrawn

sazzerbear Fri 08-May-09 12:22:01

Japanese takeaway - ooh get him!
What a boring article...

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 12:23:07

yes I know soycd, but he used them with no trace of irony.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 12:23:24

Oh my eyes, my eyes! Lupusina- thanks for that.

Is he here yet?!

(On a less hysterical note, lostdad's post was most sobering.)

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 12:25:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 12:26:15

(oh, Soz. Twas you Lady G who posted that link.
See am using text speak now.
Time to go.)

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 12:26:35

<yes lostdad good points well made>

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:28:19

Nick, I suggest you run your website through an accessibility checker if you don't want to put people off. A list of them can be found here

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 12:28:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

If I go away for even 5 minutes the thread will have 200 more posts and I will never catch up...

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 12:29:29

Before Mr D comes on, could I make a sucky-uppy plea for courtesy? He hasn't murdered anyone. He hasn't even been rude about breastfeeding. And he's big enough to come on here and talk to us.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:30:27

Message withdrawn

Policywonk is right. We can at least start by being polite (even if the article is not exactly to your taste).

See my clever use of understatement?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:31:11

Message withdrawn

Hi shiney, embarrassed any twats lately?

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 12:32:09

Shall we do some, ahem, sensible questions then?

Nick, you must see behind your individual reflections, that there is a much bigger question here about gender relations that your article (have not read the whole book) rather trivialises?

And by making your experience so public, you are bound to be under scrutiny about this?

'Shit it's hard' is fine: most mothers feel that too. But I think the indulgence of the double standard is what many of us find hard to take. The number of times I have had to take one of my many ill babies into work and been tut-tutted at by colleagues, the same colleagues who fawn and mutter 'oh isn't he a good dad' about my partner doing the same is just fucking galling to be honest.

So unreconstructed new men finding their feelings don't wash too well with some of us. Better had you not retched and not left it for 16 months for your wife to had a night off etc.

I do hope the 'oh look at me, I got pissed and gave my toddler inappropriate toys' was just posturing though. You must see why this wound everyone up?

chatname Fri 08-May-09 12:34:08

So, where is he then?

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 12:34:23

Hello, and thank you very much for all your questions, even the somewhat painful ones. I hope you don't mind if I address a bunch of them together in this first post. Can I start by saying that the Guardian piece was an extract from the book, a heavily and necessarily condensed pick-and-mix from three separate chapters, the idea being that they hopefully conveyed how I went from initially reluctant father to a willing, and very happy, one. I had of course been left alone with my daughter many times in her first 16 months, but my wife hadn't gone away for a whole weekend - simply for the reason that no one had invited her to a hen party in Dublin before then. Though we were, and remain, very much a partnership in bringing up our daughters (we have two now), in those early months, I very much deferred to her, largely because, I think, motherhood seemed a much more instinctual thing to her than it did me. That's not the case these days, I’m relieved to say.

I didn't think I was perpetuating the myth that men are useless when it comes to childcare. Men aren't necessarily useless when it comes to childcare, are they? And I wasn't useless either, I was simply inexperienced and fearful that, because my father was never around very much when I was young and then disappeared altogether, I may follow suit - and I very much didn't want that to happen.

My daughter was an absolute delight the day my friends came round while my wife was away. The champagne, which had sat at the bottom shelf in the fridge for over a year as a leftover from our wedding party, was drunk while she had her afternoon nap, and the further bottles of wine were consumed after she went to bed. I stopped drinking earlier than they did, because I needed to, but you all are right, I shouldn't have drunk as much as I did when on sole duty, and I haven't since. When I called my friends selfish, I was being ironic. There was only one person to blame for me drinking, and that was me.

Oh, and the Japanese takeaway, incidentally, was from Wagamama. I would have said noodles, but we ordered more than just noodles.

ooh I love Wagamamas, can I ask a serious question do you think chocolate and horseradish really works together in a dessert grin

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:36:20

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:38:00

Message withdrawn

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 12:38:25

If I trivialised anything, Lupusina, I regret it, Lupusina. I simply told of my experiences in a way that I hoped would prove helpful to at least some. The whole area of children to me before we had them was a complete mystery. I didn't want to read the jokey How To books that seem to be aimed at fathers, I wanted something that told it really like it is, the way, say, Rachel Cusk did, or Anne Enright (and, no, nobody needs to tell me I am not in their class as writers...) That was my aim with the book, nothing more.

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:38:52

Nick, has it occured to you that all of us, mothers and fathers are clueless at the beginning. Yet how many articles do you read about a woman's discovery that she can actually put a nappy on the right way around? women are just expected to get on with it and, to a large extent, we do. Your article perepetuates the myth that men should somehow be applauded for doing the very things that mothers do routinely day after day.

grin (pretends to listen carefully to important points)

Nick, how much did you have to do with the editing of excerpts from your book into that particular article?

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 12:39:23

Ooh yes I like Wagamama too

<loses track of thread>

Do you read the Family Guardian section regularly, Nick? Do you agree with us that it is, to use georgimama's phrase, total arse gravy? Endless acres given over to an incredibly narrow view of parenting (organic veg, camping, holidays in Cornwall, attendance at festivals in Victoria Park, sunday brunch at Bill's in Brighton).

Parenting is such a diverse and potentially fascinating topic (as mumsnet shows amply) - why does the Guardian get it so wrong?

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 12:39:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rubyslippers Fri 08-May-09 12:40:32

hi nick

have you been surprised by the reactions to the piece?

"the idea being that they hopefully conveyed how I went from initially reluctant father to a willing, and very happy, one" - do you think the article did this in retrospect?

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 12:41:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 12:42:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slug to be fair the Guardian has Zoe Williams on her child, but then she seems to be taking the piss out of mostly herself.

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 12:43:04

What PW said.

It would just be more interesting, actually, and novel, to read about a bloke recognising what underpins family life and relations between men and women. Hapless bloke coming of age is not such a new theme for most of us TBH and I still think women are going to be your main audience.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 12:43:34

<Wagamamas is 'pan-asian' - actually started by a Chinese man.>

(Goes off topic, but wonders if this 'embellishing of the truth' reflects in Nick's other scenarios? Where there really foxes, for example?)

"the idea being that they hopefully conveyed how I went from initially reluctant father to a willing, and very happy, one"

well why were you actively trying to conceive then? what would have happened it you hadnt changed into a willing happy one?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:44:27

Message withdrawn

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:45:21

Zoe Williams, to be fair, does not seek the sympathy of her readership for the plight of being a mother.

Where is he then, hiding in the toilets?? grin

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:46:40

Very slow typist for a journalist isn't he?

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 12:47:14

Hello policywonk. I like the Guardian Family section. I like to read about other people's lives, I suppose, and the fact that they are mostly first person means that they can't, and won't, necessarily appeal to all people, but should ring certain bells somewhere. If you found my piece arse gravy, then that's a shame!

The extract, by the way, was taken from three separate chapters, totalling somewhere in the region of 15,000 words. The article was just over 2000 words.

And, yes, my website is terrible. Somebody once said they were trying to track me down to give me work and that I had no "web presence". I had no idea what web presence was, and I had neither the strength nor the interest to maintain a website (which is ironic, given how much I admire other people's websites - but then, as you all know, I'm an almost full-time parent, up to my ears in it, etc). My web presence, then, is simply that page, a way for people to reach me if they want to give me work. And, yes, terrible colour scheme. My friend did it, an artist and graphic designer, by all accounts. Something tells me he didn't give it his full attention...

smee Fri 08-May-09 12:47:39

I'm with PW - do you think they'd let us guest edit a Family Guardian? Would be far more entertaining than what the current fare is. Sorry Nick, am not maligning you, I appreciate how editing down from a book can provide a strange balance. But do you see from some of the posts why we're a bit huffy?

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 12:48:39

Thank you, Nick

I don't think your piece was arse gravy, sorry to give that impression! It's just what I think of the FG as a whole.

" I like to read about other people's lives, I suppose, and the fact that they are mostly first person means that they can't,"

but it's not other peoples lives is it? you have just come on here and told us that your article is made up of bits and been taken out of context.

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:50:01

And, quite frankly, the Guardian Family section is just middle class North London Meeja types lives.

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 12:50:15

What a BRILLIANT idea about MN guest editing the Family Guardian. Lots and lots of MN journos. And, ahem, the searingly witty amongst us could do a small turn <twirls>

grin

<Justine!>

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 12:50:41

Aside from the arse gravy comments here - and, my personal favourite, cocksniffer - I received a bunch of e-mails from acquaintances and total strangers to say that they really empathised with me having read the piece. I actually got much the same response from the newspaper articles I wrote before the Guardian piece, not just from readers but also the editors who, with one exception, were women...

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 12:50:56

Ooh, guest editing the FG!

JUSTINE!!

smee Fri 08-May-09 12:51:03

I don't think he was saying that Libras - to be fair, I think he was saying editing it down gives it an uneven keel sometimes. Or maybe I'm wrong..

"the idea being that they hopefully conveyed how I went from initially reluctant father to a willing, and very happy, one"

well why were you actively trying to conceive then? what would have happened it you hadnt changed into a willing happy one?

"The extract, by the way, was taken from three separate chapters, totalling somewhere in the region of 15,000 words. The article was just over 2000 words."

But did you extract it and put it togther like that or did someone else? And, as has already been asked, do you think it worked as a stand-alone piece? What message did it convey?

rubyslippers Fri 08-May-09 12:51:42

i think everyone can empathise with feeling fearful about the whole parenting lark ...

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 12:52:21

I just think he over-egged the pudding a bit.

There is quite a nice story there - man scared of having kid-man looks after kid-man has near miss with kid-kid loves man anyway-man loves kid.

I know the above in itself does not a book make, but by overplaying the metaphors as he did in the extract, it detracted from the simplicity of what is essentially a falling-in-love story between dad and child.

I like Nick's direct style on this thread. I just wish he had carried a more 'real' voice over to the book....

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:52:27

Message withdrawn

"I actually got much the same response from the newspaper articles I wrote before the Guardian piece, not just from readers but also the editors who, with one exception, were women... "

Sorry which bit were they empathising about?

Also the all other women in the world love my work might work on netmums but not here.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 12:53:35

Message withdrawn

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 12:54:12

Could we approach the Guardian and ask if a posse of Mumsnetters could put together an alternative Family section to be published as well as their own offering.

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:54:34

"I received a bunch of e-mails from acquaintances and total strangers to say that they really empathised with me having read the piece. I actually got much the same response from the newspaper articles I wrote before the Guardian piece, not just from readers but also the editors who, with one exception, were women"

And yet here are a bunch of women who, almost to a person, think your article was self indulgent drivel. Which group are you going to believe?

Actually, I just wonder if you can quote mumsnet on your book jacket...

"so true to life" Nick's editor

"Self indulgent drivel" Mumsnet.

grin grin

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 12:54:38

No, Libras, the Guardian piece was an extract from my book, and so I stitched these three separate segments together, from three separate chapters, in order to give an idea of - at the risk of sounding like an American self-help wanker - my journey into fatherhood. So it's not taken out of context at all, and it all is first person...

I may be meeja, Slug, but I don't live in North London. Have you seen those house

What's the popoulation of MN compared to the population of other websites who think MN is a nest of vipers? Slug's book jacket might actually help sales grin

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 12:56:26

Thanks shineon - that's exactly what I was getting at! (You is more real than me!)

slug Fri 08-May-09 12:56:41

Ahhh!!!! I knew it would come out eventually, an obsession with house prices. There's your middle class credentials!!

smee Fri 08-May-09 12:57:15

Libras, I think you're being a bit harsh. Nick was writing from personal experience. Nowt wrong with that. nowt wrong with that, as his experience is as valid as any other. Nothing wrong with it appearing in a national newspaper either. But did the Guardian Family editor think, aw that's lovely, or did they put it in to provoke us - as it most certainly has. Any idea Nick? Can you see why some were a little annoyed by it at least? Are you amused or horrified by us. Go on, let rip..

smee/nick it is out of context, in the first post here you said it was in reaction to your fathe leaving you and you not wanting to follow the same path, this wasn't mentioned in the article.

You still haven't explained the "initially reluctant father" thing.

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:02:24

Okay, sorry, just reading the various posts and, yes, I do type slowly. Two fingers. I edited the piece myself, and what I wanted to convey was this: fear for father-to-be goes on the biggest learning curve of his life convinced he will fail and, for the time being at least, doesn't fail but rather grows to love his new role with an enthusiasm that surprises him. Do I think it was successful? Yes, but then I guess I'm biased, aren't I?

And as for those that empathised, or at least suggested they did, I guess they experienced similar feelings. Two mothers I know, who don't necessarily like me very much and therefore don't need to suck up, told me upon reading the book that they had felt precisely the same as I had. To a lesser degree, so had my own wife.

I don't for a second expect everyone to empathise, sympathise or even care really with a southwest London meeja type who, if he could afford it, would move to north London like a shot, but then it would be impossible to appeal to everyone. I was given the opportunity to tell my story. I felt incredibly grateful to be able to do so, and I did it.

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 13:03:12

I identified with Nick Duerden's piece. My ex husband once climbed out of the window and went for a walk leaving DS1 screaming after I told him to just 'change the stinky nappy for crying out loud'. I once arranged to play in an old girl's hockey match and then attend a school reunion afterwards. The trip involved a 6am start and an overnight stay. My ex husband rolled home at 3am, the worse for wear and I felt unable to leave my baby with his own father.

I read the article and I did think 'tad self-indulgent and totally m/class' but that is the very nature of first person pieces - you can hardly avoid self-indulgence - so that really is unfair criticism nor can one individual be blamed for the wankery of the Guardian Family section - I still read it every bloody weekend!grin - so who is the true wanker - me for buying it!!??

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:04:59

Re my middle-class credentials, Slug: born and unfortunately bred in Peckham, single-parent family, council accommodation, no shoes on my feet till the of 16. But, yes, a screaming toff now…

Voltaire

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 13:05:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slug Fri 08-May-09 13:05:48

I'm not surprised many women felt the same as you Nick. The point is, it is simply not sociably acceptable for women to ask, as you did, for sympathy and validation, in such a public way, for something millions of people do every day. They are simply told, as I wanted to shout at you all the time while reading your article, to 'grow up'.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 13:07:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slug Fri 08-May-09 13:07:20

Feck off Nick, I can out-deprived-upbring you any day of the week. I'm quite proud of my collection of degrees and unashamed intellectualism.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 13:08:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

messymissy Fri 08-May-09 13:11:14

'parenthood has finally become fun' !!!! so he threw up when his partner told him she was pregnant and sounds so very reluctant and has the cheek to say at 16m parenthood has finally become fun!

what was he doing for the first 16mo of his daughters life not to notice how amazing babies are?

I have very rarely left my dp with dd as he is an idiot perhaps he gave this man some stupid tips.

I long for a partner who would love his dd more than he loves himself.

seems the pathetic excuse for a man isn't alone, there are oh so many out there.

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 13:11:22

But ex husband was/is a very decent and lovely specimen, just hopeless at fatherhood.

That is rubbish Voltairesad

My dh would probably identify with Nicks piece too.

So perhaps you could help me Nick and explain why Men (a lot of them) seem to think women have an innate ability to iron and look after children? It still riles me that after spending my twenties in drunken depravity (some of it with my dh!wink) dh thought that I would immediately turn into the mother of the year when ds1 was born! I did not have that faith!?? Enlighten us please?

Fennel Fri 08-May-09 13:16:33

I would like to see an article by a woman with a "decent and lovely specimen" of manhood as a partner, who happens to be bad at fatherhood. I want to know why any self-respecting woman would find such a man appealing as a partner and co-parent.
Rather than hearing from a man how scary this parenthood business all is.

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:16:57

Hello Smee. I didn’t expect it, no. Naïve, I’m sure, but there you go. I think my response to the pregnancy was shameful, but that was the point at which I realised my world was about to change, and I reacted instinctively.

And you are right, Slug, I needed to grow up, at least in terms of being mature enough for children. Before my daughter came along, I wasn't. And now? Well, now I am working on it.

Libras, I was initially reluctant for all sorts of reasons. I come from a tiny and now virtually non-existent family. None of my friends had children. No peer pressure and, frankly, no real interest in settling down with kids. I explain this more fully in the book, but I don't want to bore you with that here and now.

mrsblanc Fri 08-May-09 13:17:02

Nick, thanks for coming on here.

My problem with articles/books such as yours are they make me want to shout NO ONE ELSE'S FAMILY IS THAT INTERESTING.

You can't pick up a middle class paper these days without being subjected to an article detailing the minutia of someone else's experience as a parent.

I am going to have to swear here.
The details of MY family life are so bloody dull why would I want to read anyone else's?

And what would you have done if that reluctance hadn't disappeared? I just find it odd someone would TRY and have a child whilst not being sure they wanted one, THAT is a selfish attitude.

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 13:20:03

How much did you get paid for the article Nick? And does the fact that you have now discovered a revenue stream in parenthood mean you are warming to it a little more?

Libras - I read it that although he agreed to the idea of having children, the actual positive pregnancy test is still a shock because it makes it real.

Not sure how that ties in with his own description of himself as a reluctant father.

Trillian you might have got that from the article but he then shoots himself in the foot here:
"Libras, I was initially reluctant for all sorts of reasons. I come from a tiny and now virtually non-existent family. None of my friends had children. No peer pressure and, frankly, no real interest in settling down with kids"

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:23:06

I do think that most of the fathers I know are totally competent.

Lots of them are farmers, mind, so well used to udders and birthing.

I would not worry too much about being tiddly in case of a baby - as long as the baby is sober - otherwise my entire social life would be dead on its feet.

I loved Cusk, although I think the more common theme for fathers is the experience of women gate-keeping baby tasks and making fathers FEEL incompetent. I would be interested to know more about how THAT is experienced. And the idea that it takes 16 months for you to experience normal parenting responsibility is very sad IMO.

I did like lots of bits of the article though

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:25:07

Hello BigMouth. I don't think women necessarily have an innate ability for that, but I do know that we specifically had children because my wife told me that she now wanted them (and once she didn't) and so instinctually she took the lead. When our daughter was born, she confessed to feelings of confusion much like myself, but she threw herself into the task wholeheartedly. I basically watched her and learned from her. She does iron much better than I do, it's true, but I do cook, I do wash the dishes. We split things fairly 50-50 not only because that is the right thing to do, but because she wouldn't accept anything less.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:26:37

that should say tiddly in CHARGE of a baby

do not put baby in a case

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:28:24

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:28:48

Message withdrawn

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 13:31:15

Fennel - The thing is nobody really knows what sort of parent they or their partner are going to make before there is a child on the scene. It's not until you become a parent that you really understand the huge lifestyle shift. He wasn't a wife batterer, absuive, lazy or anything, in fact he had much to recommend him.

smee Fri 08-May-09 13:31:16

I don't have a problem with your article Nick, honestly I don't. I read it, and found it interesting. Made me smile actually, and I know many many men who've been reluctant fathers, then fallen head over heels for their offspring, so I'd bet lots read and gave a smile of recognition. Women too for that matter. My problem's more about the Family section of The Guardian. Am genuinely intrigued to know if the Editor would be as amazed as you to hear some negative reaction to your piece. I have a vague hope that they put your article in partly to provoke (good for them if so), but I'd guess it was more 'aw this is a warm loving story for Saturday morning coffee - which indeed it was. Trouble is that the stuff in the FG is so absurdly niche and cosy that it's an insult to readers. Such a massive shame as it could be a fantastic section as there's stacks you could do with it. Having said that, I do always read it.. grin

seeker Fri 08-May-09 13:31:26

Nick, how id you react/feel when your wife's reaction to coming home and finding you in tears was "What have you done?"?

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:31:32

wow - it must be great to be so perfect mums! heard about this thread from my childfree forum. couldn't quite believe it. precisely one of the many reasons i would never have kids. i think you could even be narked that your secret club of how wonderful parenthood is to be exposed. from what i've seen it's not all roses and maybe if people actually admitted it there wouldn't be so many crap parents out there thinking it was a walk in the park. i wonder how your dh's actually feel? have you even asked them i wonder? I don't read the guardian family and couldn't think of anything worse but good on someone who is bloody honest for once. now shouldn't you all be looking after your baybees?

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 13:31:53

Just thinking about the Living With Teenagers thing and wondering whether you think it's ethical to write about your children.

Everything you have written can be read by them when they are older, including the 'reluctant parent' stuff. You might think it won't matter but to a teenage girl it probably will.

Fair point Nick. I wasn't thrust unplanned into parenthood - however I felt almost as clueless as dh when faced with our baby for the first time and in some ways it was his faith in me that helped me through the first months.

Does your dw nag you into your half of the housework or it is less acrimonious than that (I have to nag and I hate it!)?

"Nick, I see your book had had three 5 star reviews on Amazon..... That is a good start."

Probably from dads who have read the book and then gone "look I'm not as bad as I could be" to their wives/partners..

..disclaimer... I haven't read the reviews or the book..I am sure it answers many unanswered questions from the article and I hope someone else on MN is going to spend their hard-earned cash on it and then tell us...

I know Libras - was one of the things that sounded better in the article.

When women post here saying 'I want another baby but DP/H doesn't' the general response is that men don't understand a woman's physical need for another child, or something like that. So is it really so bad for a man to say to his wife 'okay, if you want a baby let's have a baby' even if he doesn't really really want one himself?

PMSL @ nonparent. Do you all sit around on your childfree forum talking about how awful parents are then? That must be fun.

rubyslippers Fri 08-May-09 13:33:19

if you think MN mums class themsleves as perfect you have NO Clue what MN is about

we all know parenthood is not a bed of roses

and eugh @ baybees

Fennel Fri 08-May-09 13:34:34

Voltaire, I would like to read an article on this by a woman though, because I do understand you can't tell beforehand whether a partner will make a good parent.

But I think the woman's perspective as the partner of such a man would be more interesting than hearing about yet another man finding parenthood hard.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:34:48

Nonparent: Shouldn't you be busy touring South American in your VW campervan or something?

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 13:34:51

You sound very busy nonparent.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:35:28

Message withdrawn

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 13:35:53

<Thinks nonparent has kind of missed the point. Must be all that selfish wine drinking and Japanese takeaway eating enabled by being a nonparent that has addled brain>

grin (us parents are v. good at passive/aggressive grins btw)

OOh MN can we have a live discussion with 'Nonparent' one day that really would be fun! grin

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:36:14

Message withdrawn

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:36:54

no ladyg we just like to see what we could be missing out on, some people jump ship and become parents. alternative views and choices are allowed you know

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:36:56

Libras: when I was researching the book, I spoke to several other fathers and the occasional child psychologist, and many told me that it is entirely common for men not to be so initially enthusiastic about starting a family. I loved my girlfriend and I wanted to be with her, so when she told me that she wanted to start a family - with me - I tried to come around to the idea. I really did want to want children, and I imagined/hoped that the feelings would follow through - as eventually they did. If I overanalysed my feelings - in my head as well as in the book - it's because I didn't want to make the same mistakes so many people make. I didn't want to be a bad father. I didn't want my relationship with my girlfriend to end. I wanted everything to be good. A baby, for me, represented a step into the unknown, and it scared me. I'd say that's natural, no?

I'm inclined to agree that not everyone is going to be interested in every last detail of everyone's family life, but the very popularity of mumsnet rather suggests that it is a topic of, actually, real interest. There is a division between me and some of my old friends now because I have children and they don't. We have made new friends with people who also have children, and we spend much of our time talking about them. And by the time they hit two years old, I find them completely fascinating. They are learning their way in the world and, in the case of my daughter at least, asserting herself in ways I still don't dare to. This, of course, is stating the bleeding obvious to all parents out there who have already been through this. But I never have. It's all still new to me.

smee Fri 08-May-09 13:37:04

Methinks I smell a whiff of troll nonparent

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 13:37:58

Nonparent - Please link to your childfree forum so I can wade in and rant a bit whilst entirely missing the point.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:38:00

Nonparent you are missing out on a vagina like Kent's cavern and years of bitterness and toil

does that help at all?

jujumaman Fri 08-May-09 13:38:10

Nonparent

The problem mumsnetters have with Nick D is not that he says parenthood is not like a Pampers ad, because we all know that but that he says nothing that hasn't been said better, more concisely and more wittily in this forum 10000 times over.

I think you are confusing mumsnet with babycentre smile

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:38:47

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:39:10

Message withdrawn

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:40:19

Seeker, hello. I didn't mind her reaction when she came home to see me in tears over the film at all. She has always been incredibly encouraging and, I hope, confident in my parenting abilities, but still, she is a mother, she worries. If she had any real fear, she'd never have left me with my daughter in the first place.

JulesJules Fri 08-May-09 13:41:23

<idly wondering if nobaybeeshere.com has a Pedants' corner> grin

smee Fri 08-May-09 13:41:24

Ah of course Nick, you can't say owt about FG in case you blow a chance of another article commission. most sensible wink

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 08-May-09 13:41:25

nick aer you still here? i am somewhat late, you know, young children getting in the way and all that.

i know it's been said before. you come across as a real jerk in your piece. that doesn't necessarily mean you are a jerk, perhaps you just need a better editor.

it's not the drunkenness that bothered me- we've all been there- it's more the "give me a medal" attitude.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:41:29

somewhat harsh jujumaman

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:42:39

Troll? Have I called anyone names because i disagreed with them? I'm sorry, i'm really not that. I will leave quietly.

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 08-May-09 13:42:42

but other than that, kudos to you for coming on here. you've got balls, i gives ya that. still won't buy your book, though, i am afraid...

Fennel Fri 08-May-09 13:43:50

One trouble I have with men finding pregnancy and parenting hard is, don't they get it, it's HARDER for the mother? Really, by far the worst bits, the only bits you can't contract out, are the bits the mother does. I was absolutely terrified of giving birth. All 3 times. and hated pregnancy. And wasn't that keen on painful intrusive breastfeeding either. And on top of that women also have to give up their habits of touring South American in a campervan, like the men might have to.

That's why, to me, this sort of article seems particularly self-indulgent. The mothers have all those worries the fathers have, and all the extra ones (which to me were the worst bits).

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 13:44:07

Nick - have you enjoyed yourself here today?

smile

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 08-May-09 13:44:12

(aside: as a loyal grauniad reader i think PW's idea of guest-editing the FG is bloody brilliant!!!! it's just not been the same since Julie Meyerson was outed, her teenage column gave me so much relief from the toddler/baby hell)

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:44:31

Message withdrawn

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:44:42

Aw you are no fun nonparent

tell us more about the campervan and how can you trampoline without disgracing yourself

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:45:22

Message withdrawn

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:46:39

i'm sorry shineon, i was just shocked at all the nasty comments and name calling and i thought parents were supposed to be sensible?

Voltaire Fri 08-May-09 13:47:06

Fennel - Great post. I totally agree.

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 08-May-09 13:47:31

sensible doesn't have to mean mushy-brained nonparent...

whodathoughtit Fri 08-May-09 13:47:48

Is this your baybee free forum nonparent?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 13:47:51

Message withdrawn

There's a nonparents forum? Where? I'm outta here!

wink grin

smee Fri 08-May-09 13:51:39

Aw Trolls can be fun Nonparent - really didn't mean to insult you. Stay and stir, it's fun grin. + hey wasn't it my idea to guest edit FG. Pwonk always has loads of good ideas, so am claiming htat as mine smile

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:52:01

Thanks shineon, it's all education i suppose. it ceryainly has been an interesting read!

smallorange Fri 08-May-09 13:52:48

I share the frustration at the Guardian Family section. It seems that any half competent writer can whack out a few thousand words about their (or any relative/friend's) experience of parenting, or being a child, and the job's a good 'un.

There is no pesky need to get the facts right, no concern about being sued, no danger of being controversial in a way that might piss off your boss. Easy to edit, pics provided.

All very cosy. And pretty fucking lazy if you ask me. But what do I know.

<shrugs and goes to look after her baybee>

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 13:53:38

oops, i meant certainly. eek, i'm a bit outnumbered and can see how scary you can be!

MN guest edit of Guardian Family section such a good idea I can't believe it hasn't happened already.

Nonparent, you are very funny. What drew you here today?

NickDuerden Fri 08-May-09 13:56:18

Yes I have enjoyed it here, MerryLegs, it's been interesting and very lively. Thank you for all your messages. And spiky Smee? Lunch one day, yes?

By the way, to anyone who thinks the article was my plea for being such a good daddy, let me assure you, really, that that wasn't my aim at all. My wife was away for a weekend and couldn't help but worry whether I'd cope all alone. Pathetic, I know. Men. Anyway, once the selfish friends were out of the way, I realised that I would rather now spend time with my daughter than anyone else. The fact that my daughter responded positively to me alone, without her mother on hand, came to me as a great relief. Self-indulgent? Hell, yes, but if you can't be self-indulgent in a memoir, where can you be?

Bye everyone.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 13:56:24

Nonparent- you appear to have gone from complete nonce to good egg in the space of minutes.

Hats off to you!

And thank you for introducing the word baybee.

Am liking it muchly.

MollieO Fri 08-May-09 13:56:41

Wish I'd seen this earlier. My question would have been whatever possessed you to write such a stupid article? I assume the answer is money but as it was published in the Guardian I wonder if you had some other agenda?

Can't believe that you have also written a book about being a reluctant father. How lovely for your poor children to discover that at some stage you didn't want them. Are you really Julie Myerson?

dustbuster Fri 08-May-09 13:57:33

Fennel, I too would welcome a discussion like that. My partner (now ex) was one of the ones who couldn't really cope. Despite all his feminist principles, he pretty much abandoned me to it. Now DD is s bit older he is getting more into it, but sadly too late for our relationship and we have separated.

I feel incredibly sad that our previously quite equal relationship collapsed so comprehensively - and that was with a very easy baby, coping mother (if I do say so myself), and otherwise favourable circs.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:58:39

oh nonparent we are terrifying with our baybees and foiled careers and sex lives and general incontinence

but if we were naked you would DIE of fright

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 13:59:50

dustbuster: that's so sad

grin grin mp

FredWorm Fri 08-May-09 13:59:56

smallorange, I agree completely. I'm amazed that this article has attracted so much attention on here, given that exactly the same article has been written by every bloody journo that has become a parent in the last 15 years.

When you become a parent it is easy to make the mistake of believing that no one has ever become one before-- presumably because you have no interest in reading those cloying pieces until you actually have a child.

But the commissioning editors should know betterm, shouldn't they?

smee Fri 08-May-09 14:00:15

MollieO, N just mentioned lunch, so he most definitely must have been paid. + to think we write all this for nothing. Must go raid the fridge..

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 14:00:53

haha thanks merry. i must admit i threw myself into the fire here without thinking. maybe you aren't all as scary as the cf forum would like to think. will report back. it's some how easier to be a nonparent on here than in rl. sad but true.

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:01:55

Round of applause for our guest speaker. I'm sure it's given us all something to think about. <revs up for future role in the WI>

'PW's idea of guest-editing the FG' Why thank you, but wasn't my idea, it was smee's.

apostrophe Fri 08-May-09 14:03:11

Message withdrawn

Whoever had the idea of guest-editing, it is brilliant!

<covers all possibilities>

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 14:05:09

POlicywonk: itn's it enough that you took over the G20, without taking over the Guardian AND the Women's Institute? I think you are being greedy.

Thanks Nick, you were very nice really

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:07:15

Well surely nobody minds.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:07:37

Fucksticks I missed this, I had loads to say. Sigh.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 14:08:02

well at least you got "fucksticks" in

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:09:40

MollieO the Article was to promote the book, all writers do hat, some lay it in the hands of editors as to what is published and why.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:10:17

Yeah I do feel better for that morningpaper

smee Fri 08-May-09 14:11:15

fucksticks.. like that.

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:13:01

You know what the world really needs? The MN Book of Inventive Insults and Invective. On this thread alone we have 'arse gravy' and 'fucksticks'. And then on today's Roundup (nice one MP) we have 'like watching a cow with a gun'.

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 14:14:03

Yes, smee's Big Idea. And mine next. PW third.

I think the guest editor spots should be allocated in order or, um, noticing this idea grin

Has he gone? He didn't answer my Very Serious Point:

'Nick, you must see behind your individual reflections, that there is a much bigger question here about gender relations that your article (have not read the whole book) rather trivialises?

And by making your experience so public, you are bound to be under scrutiny about this?

'Shit it's hard' is fine: most mothers feel that too. But I think the indulgence of the double standard is what many of us find hard to take. The number of times I have had to take one of my many ill babies into work and been tut-tutted at by colleagues, the same colleagues who fawn and mutter 'oh isn't he a good dad' about my partner doing the same is just fucking galling to be honest.'

AND

'It would just be more interesting, actually, and novel, to read about a bloke recognising what underpins family life and relations between men and women. Hapless bloke coming of age is not such a new theme for most of us TBH and I still think women are going to be your main audience. '

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:14:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:14:42

Fuck the fuck off would have to be in there too?

midnightexpress Fri 08-May-09 14:14:56

Aww, see now I've taken pity on nonparent.

<clutches her to childbearing bosom>

We listen to woes of all sorts on MN: childless-but-don't-want-to-be; childless-because-want-to-be; bechildrened-but-wish-I-wasn't; husband-is-useless-twunt-who-doesn't-look-after-the-children; wife-thinks-I'm-useless-twunt-who-doesn't-look-after-the-children, you name it.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:15:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:16:31

I'd blanked cocksniffer out, it upsets me.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:17:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

smee Fri 08-May-09 14:17:58

Let's add 'twunt' to that list. Always makes me smile

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:17:59

Tosspan?

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:18:34

'tiny wanker'

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:18:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:19:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-May-09 14:19:59

Well who'd have thunk it? Mumsnetters slag off a book extract from the Family Guardian in a perfectly routine way, and next thing you know we've got the wife, the publisher, the author and random nonparents joining in...
Have to say, way back when we were see-sawing between blue and green colour schemes for the site we never foresaw this...

Of course we will politely enquire whether the Guardian Family section would like to submit to being taken over by Mumsnet for an issue - can't think whey they'd object, after we've all been so nice about them here grin. But you never know...

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:20:01

'Tiny wanker' grin

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:20:44

Ooh sorry, not you Justine <ingratiating>

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-May-09 14:22:15

<<That's the last time we send her to the G20>>

Lio Fri 08-May-09 14:22:21

nonparent, you will not be surprised to learn that the 'This column will change your life' bit of the Guardian last Sat was saying that non-parents are happier than parents smile I can't dispute this, although I also decided not to show it to a friend who wanted to have children and can't. I suspect it wouldn't help her. Welcome to MN.

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 14:22:41

Thanks Midnight Express. We are not all bad. Do you think this could mean a truce betweeen the parents and non-parents? what will we talk about on cf? ;) on a more serious note, we don't sit around bitching about parents (well some do) more just about the venom we get when we openly admit we might make a different choice in life, for whatever reason. And ways that we can defend ourselves when attacked. anyway sorry for hijacking the thread. will go now. maybe if i ever feel brave i'll come back one day

NoFurtherQuestions Fri 08-May-09 14:23:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:23:39

'last time we send her to the G20'

I have actual tears now

(should be cleaning, ah well, such is the life of mumsnetters)

Nonparent Fri 08-May-09 14:24:50

Thanks Lio, i suppose it's all relative. I might look that up.

Fennel Fri 08-May-09 14:27:07

I like the Family Guardian section. blush Though I know I shouldn't. It's like my secret enjoyment of chicklit, it's a bit of frothy diversion which my sterner Feminist self knows should be critiqued and ignored.

morningpaper Fri 08-May-09 14:27:47

Nonparent you are always welcome

Unfortunately the blessing of Being A Wanker falls on both breeders and non-breeders

It is not necessarily part of being a parent though

MollieO Fri 08-May-09 14:27:55

dustbuster - same here and no contact at all between ds and his dad since early days unfortunately.

I suppose the Guardian wouldn't have a problem with MN as guest editor. They could pass off all the inappropriate words that would no doubt be included - fanjo, twunt, wtf etc- as spelling mistakes smile

policywonk Fri 08-May-09 14:29:27

<sways drunkenly>

I haddid all, but I frewidall away with a carelesh crosh-posht

Lio Fri 08-May-09 14:29:27

link about people being slightly less happy once they have children for nonparent and anyone else interested. Was two Saturdays ago.

midnightexpress Fri 08-May-09 14:30:44

Perhaps we can lure the fishy one back - she'd be an ideal Guardian editor with her spelling.

dustbuster Fri 08-May-09 14:33:36

MollieO - poor you and DS. My ex-P could have written the Nick Duerden article, and I think that is what irritates me. That it becomes a "journey of self-discovery" for the man without any recognition of the pain caused.

Merrylegs Fri 08-May-09 14:33:56

nonparent - if you are still here??

I had a quick look at some child free forums and it seems to me they spend much time talking about kids - whether it's kids behaving badly in public, or parents who think that because they have kids they are above the law, or places that kids shouldn't be allowed in...

It strikes me that if you are childfree by choice - why would you want to bang on about kids all the time - in whatever guise? Isn't that just a tad well - boring???

You should stick around here. You sound as if you have the stamina and the wit for it. Current hot topics we are debating include The Outlawing of Burlesque Dancing in Camden, Kirstie's Homemade Home, and How to Give the Perfect Blow Job....

Never a dull moment, honestly....

TheDevilWearsPrimark Fri 08-May-09 14:34:26

There are lots of people who don't have children on mumsnet.

FredWorm Fri 08-May-09 14:41:33

And lots of people like me on MN, who come here to get away from parenthood and talk about unrelated stuff.

Lots?

Sorry that sounds all sarcastic and weird. Didn't mean it to. Are there lots?

MollieO Fri 08-May-09 14:47:41

dustbuster ds's dad had a child from a previous relationship and vascillated between not wanting another to being really keen and interested, especially once he knew ds was going to be a ds rather than a dd. Unfortunately he didn't cope at all with ds being a premmie and I didn't have the time nor inclination to deal with him and ds. I think singleparenthood is really hard most of the time but the best thing about it is everything ds has become is completely down to me and the way I've raised him and that makes me very proud indeed.

I think it is a shame that in today's society a man who takes even the slightest interest (and writes a book about it) is deemed to be a good father whereas if a woman doesn't put her children first 100% of the time she is viewed a being a bad parent.

Sycamoretree Fri 08-May-09 14:49:35

It will be like the schoolkids OZ issue grin

Ready for another lawsuit Justine? grin

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 14:50:51

Message withdrawn

dustbuster Fri 08-May-09 14:51:21

Hear hear MollieO! (Your second paragraph I mean.) My MIL used to go on about HOW LUCKY I was to have XP around 'helping'. Even he look embarrassed and said 'well actually I'm not doing that much'.

I know what you mean about not having the time to deal with a child and a recalcitrant man. That is exactly how I felt -looking after a child, working FT, doing all the housework, DIY and garden doesn't really leave you that much time for worrying about your partner's life crisis!

dustbuster Fri 08-May-09 14:51:59

(Sorry to everyone else on this thread for puncturing the jolly tone - am enjoying it!)

Sycamoretree Fri 08-May-09 14:52:42

And maybe we can squeeze in CockLodger, from Grumpymoo's thread?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 08-May-09 14:54:18

Message withdrawn

LupusinaLlamasuit Fri 08-May-09 14:57:10

<definitely DOES NOT ask whether we can expect a flood re-entry of those from The Other Place when Justine swings the FG Special MN issue>

<nope>

<no way>

grin

Some of us have been holding the fort manfully I feel and so the old gimmers can feck off.

Robespierre Fri 08-May-09 14:58:05

I gave birth to our second child six months after we had moved 350 miles because of my dh's job.

He was at the (night-time) birth, but left shortly afterwards to go to work and didn't come to see me until the very end of the day. He told DS1 that the baby hadn't been born, so that DS1 would go off to nursery without wanting to go to the hospital.

He didn't tell me those were his plans so I spent the whole day in hospital expecting DH and DS1 to show up. I had no other visitors, because of being new to area and family being so far.

He didn't take any time off work, although he could have.

He didn't have the childen for as much as 36 hours at a stretch until they were 10 and 7 years old.

smee Fri 08-May-09 14:59:46

shock

dustbuster Fri 08-May-09 15:00:46

That is monumentally crap Robespierre. You poor thing.

Robespierre Fri 08-May-09 15:02:19

Do you think it is. I really wasn't sure. I thought maybe I was being unfair on him. It made me feel awful though.