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How handy *should* a dad be?

(19 Posts)
Spannerface Sat 13-Jun-15 20:59:52

I asterisk the word ``should`` as I'm really asking how handy you think you should be as a dad (or husband, if any ladies are reading), compared to how handy you actually are....

I consider myself to be a novice but I can do most car jobs (oil change, brake pads etc), and I've re-done our bathroom from scratch including plumbing and soil pipes, electrics etc... yet I still think I'm not as handy as I should be.

I was wondering whether you think a well rounded card-carrying dad should be handy... if so, is it the handier the better?

Obviously no one wants to be utterly un-handy, but the journey to becoming handy is paved with time and practise that could potentially be better invested in career-ing (to pay someone else to be handy) or days out with the family.

Is being non-handy a sign of failure in a dad these days? Or maybe being super handy is an antiquated badge of honour??

griselda101 Sat 13-Jun-15 22:31:30

i'd love for my DS to have a handy dad! you sound like you're doing a great job and your family should be very grateful. You're doing a damn slight more than a lot of dads by the sound of it!

as it is my DS's dad (now my ex) does sweet FA handy stuff, I always end up doing it all myself so I guess you would call me a handy mum (am learning anyway).

It would be great if I could ask (when he's here, which he is sometimes to help with DS, we still get on ok so spend some time together) as I have no-one else to ask. Just to be able to ask him to help with something like how to attach things to plasterboard walls (tried but miserably failed today!), put some of DS furniture together, or give me a hand with a curtain rail, or fix my bike chain.

As it is he hates DIY and actively avoids it. That and cooking, cleaning and basically anything practical (or anything at all). So since I was pregnant I have had to be super handy (and super busy). It is very frustrating and tiring!

You should be proud of yourself for being so proactive!

SAHD63 Sat 13-Jun-15 23:49:07

Blimey, wish I was such a 'novice'! I enjoy basic DIY but not to the extent of a bathroom from scratch. I think the important thing is to be able to cover the essentials and basics - anything else is a bonus. I renovated a house that had not been lived in for years but left the important things like gas, electric and water to the professionals. Partly because I did the career thing so could afford to get someone in and enjoy family time, partly because I know others can do some things to a higher standard than me and partly because I saw a friend's house damaged by fire after some DIY (unknown if it was caused by the DIY) and the thought of a mistake of mine destroying the family home is not a responsibility I want.

I have made sure my DDs are aware of the basics for being self reliant and being able to cover emergencies and it amazes me that many of their friends can not do something simple like change a plug, bleed a radiator or even know where the fuse box or stopcock is in their house. With minimal guidance DD1 redecorated her room and put up shelves and DD2 designed and built an aviary. Maybe not super handy, but as you say, time and experience (and confidence) accrued. I would hope any family member is handy to some degree but the enjoyment and satisfaction of a task completed well is a something to be savoured.

I'm not sure about being non-handy as a sign of failure as not everyone is practical but to leave yourself helpless over simple jobs seems self sabotaging. However, being handy to the exclusion of all family life is too far in the other direction. I certainly do not think being super handy is an antiquated badge of honour and you should wear yours with pride! And when the zombie apocalypse arrives we will all be round to yours for the best chance of survival...

griselda101 Sun 14-Jun-15 00:12:46

can you both come to my place and help me with my many DIY quanduaries please? Show DS's dad how it's meant to be done? :-)

GladysTheGolem Sun 14-Jun-15 00:29:47

My DH is handy, I'm resourceful but nowhere near as handy as he (will blame that on his advanced age!)

Our DC are young (3 is our eldest of 3), but I'll expect, by the time they leave home, they'll all know how to;
Put up shelves/curtain rails
Fix a water leak (at the very least replace a washer!)
Hang a door
Change a tire & basic car/motorbike mantience
Paint/decorate a room properly
Tile and grout
Plumb in washing machines/dishwasher and understand how to maintain white goods
General gardening
Change fuses, repair a socket.

As well as properly cooking, good financial management etc

I want our children to grow up confident in their abilities to maintain a household, and definitely think there's major bonding time/learning opportunities when it comes to DIY, our eldest was very proud when he helped DH to measure & replace some floorboards, granted it took twice as long as he's a typical 3yr old, but the pride & confidence boost he took from doing a job with his dad are worth the extra stress!

SAHD63 Sun 14-Jun-15 12:24:56

griselda101 I think you should have a badge of honour and wear it with pride too! I shamelessly ask anyone when I am stumped by anything and it is surprising how helpful shop staff can be sometimes. Stores occasionally have demonstration events that can be useful as are colleges or community centres that do taster or 'essential skills' courses. Then there is the internet - loads of knowhow and lots of videos too. Failing that just give it a bash (literally sometimes...). Although I appreciate time and energy are in short supply in your case. Have another attempt with your ex or get your son to ask him to help with something?

GladysTheGolem Agree with all you say. I cannot understand parents who seem happy enough to bring children into the world but not equip them to survive in it.

griselda101 Sun 14-Jun-15 22:05:36

thanks SAHD63! I do try my best and am getting better...I'm one of the more practical ladies I know but there's def room for improvement!! I've all but given up on the ex and DS is only 2.5 so not really at the stage where he can ask! Sadly courses are beyond my time means but I do Google or ask the hardware shop man! I just get really frustrated when I set down to do something and find I don't have the right screw or drill bit or obscure glue or whatever I need as it's another few days and a trip to town before it can get sorted!! I'm sure you know what that's like. If you can recommend any really useful all purpose tools let me know. I got a dremel the other year and have only used it a couple of times but it did make life a bit easier :-)

Drew64 Tue 16-Jun-15 14:05:28

I think at a minimum Dads should be able to;
Garden (maintaining tools)
Fix bikes
Change a tyre

These are key skills that should be passed down to children

I'm really comfortable with spannering cars and motorbikes
Decorating incl wallpaper hanging (I will call in a plasterer, that's an art)
Fitted my own kitchen from scratch

Drew64 Tue 16-Jun-15 14:12:19

Oh and map read/navigate

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 16-Jun-15 14:14:36

Your post made me laugh. How many handy's is it possible to include in one paragraph grin

Obviously no one wants to be utterly un-handy, but the journey to becoming handy is paved with time and practise that could potentially be better invested in career-ing (to pay someone else to be handy) or days out with the family.
This. Someone of any gender who can make basic repairs or do a task competently is handy to have around the house. Someone who doesn't recognise their limitations and will bodge a job rather than pay a professional, or will actively use "DIY" task to avoid family work/activities is a royal pain in the ass.

You sound pretty handy on the DIY front. I mean this nicely but how well rounded are you at the "wifework"?

Nolim Tue 16-Jun-15 14:25:58

Is being non-handy a sign of failure in a dad these days?

no, being a failure as a father has nothing to do with being able to change the oil etc.

If you enjoy doing it, great. If not pay someone to do it for you.

Spannerface Tue 16-Jun-15 22:11:52


Sorry, I'm new to mums net speak - what's wifework?

I do my own ironing, have put the boy to bed the last 5 nights in a row, do my half of the cooking, ironing, cleaning etc, do all the nursery runs and sorting finances etc ; but I'm not sure whether any of those would be considered gender specific either way.... ?

SimpleSi Tue 16-Jun-15 23:14:11

I don't know. How handy should a mum be? FFS.

SignoraStronza Tue 16-Jun-15 23:35:49

DH is awesomely good with his hands. wink He's worked in the motor trade, as a labourer, property maintenance and IT. He can change oil/tyres on the car, tile, lay carpet, paint and decorate, put up shelves properly, hang/fix doors, re-glaze windows and turn his hand to most diy tasks. When I spill gin on the laptop he can take it apart, dry it out and put it back together properly too!

He also likes growing stuff, cooking and making booze - and between him and MIL has a tool/powertool library that would rival the local Jewson!

Doesn't mean that I can't do some of this, it is just quicker and easier to let him get on with it. I'm pretty good at flat pack though.

GiddyOnZackHunt Tue 16-Jun-15 23:44:17

DH is Mr Practical. He can fix almost anything. But he has a wife who can rewire a room to IEEE standards, offer advice on car maintenance, tile and paint, assemble flat pack and wield a drill.
Parents should be who they are. We aren't going to produce ballerinas but we probably will produce practical types.

SignoraStronza Tue 16-Jun-15 23:52:42

I don't necessarily think that anyone 'should' necessarily be handy, although there is nothing worse than leaving jobs half finished or breaking things in the process and refusing to hire someone to do it properly. The previous owner of our house has been nicknamed 'Mr Bodgit' for the atrocious attempt at kitchen and bathroom fitting.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 18-Jun-15 11:33:37

It's a book but a universal term on MN to describe the post marital state of life where for some reason the work of organising family life, essentially an often horribly timeconsuming and unvalued set of activities leaving you emotionally exhausted and wondering if you were run over by a bus in the morning would your partner remember to feed the dog/children; is often passed to the female partner even though her male partner managed to competently do most of these things when they lived alone.

Debatable whether you need to read the book - just search on "wifework" within MN and you will find a hundred threads from women who are literally shaking with rage at the husband who has arrived home from work on a Friday, packed a bag in 5 mins flat and sat himself in the car tooting the horn wondering what is taking everyone else so long to be ready for the 2 week camping holiday or whatever.

There's a reason most divorces happen in January I think. It's because women all over the world have managed all the utter shite detritous of prepping for a family Christmas and then watched a partner swan in and take all the credit by carving the turkey. grin

I'm not having a go - just something to be aware of. grin You could be the handiest most competent person in the world but having to ask a spouse to do everything because they lack the imagination to anticipate a set of tasks will kill a marriage stone dead.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 18-Jun-15 11:34:41

The pic is in reference to this

Purpleflamingos Thu 18-Jun-15 11:40:20

I guess its practice. My FIL showed me a short cut to turning off water to the washing machine in a pipe without going for the stopcock when I had a leak. DH works away but is good at all that stuff. My own dad never attempted it, but he always said it didn't matter because we had money to pay someone else to do things for us. Now I don't have money to pay someone so I'm learning from DH.
I want to make a window seat that incorporates a storage area underneath, which means learning how to use a drill. I'm definitely in the novice category.

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