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My week with Martha: Tuesday

As my crash course in fatherhood gathered pace, here’s a post all about Tuesday – a.k.a the ‘difficult second album’… Monday had gone far better than I’d expected, and it had given me an air of hubris. When my wife got home and asked about my day at the helm, I adopted an air of insouciance, as if it could be taken as read that a man of my years and experience could look after a 10-month-old baby without a second thought....

My week with Martha: Monday

A few weeks ago I had a week off in-between jobs. Instead kicking back and relaxing, my wife thought it would be a great idea if I spent three days of my much-anticipated holiday looking after our daughter while she went to work; the proviso being that we could spunk the money we saved not hiring a nanny to do something together sans child for once. I agreed/acquiesced to this arrangement — after all, I’m dandy Dad and if anyone can show my daughter a good time then it’s me, right? ...

I have some awful news…

It was a bright June evening but I remember the air was completely still, not even the familiar cloying scent of jasmine from next door’s herb garden was able to penetrate the atmosphere. I was slumped on the sofa in the living room, sipping at a beer and beginning to decompress after another long, underwhelming day at work. My wife Emily was putting our 9-month-old daughter Martha to bed after I’d given her the usual lukewarm, shallow bath. This part of the evening was our much-cherished downtime, where we could unwind, have a drink and talk away the working day before I got busy rustling up something in the kitchen for supper. ...

Dandy Dad’s Heroes: Stuart Heritage

Ah, the internet; so much to answer for. The democratisation of media for one. In my very limited experience of blogging, becoming a parent does not a good writer make. In fact, one of the main reasons for starting this blog in the first place was the lack of quality being pumped out into the parenting arena of the blogosphere. So much poor writing, so many dull lives; or so it would seem......

Lessons learned from an unconventional upbringing

I’ve heard a lot of guff spoken about the importance of the traditional nuclear family unit, usually from right wingers. I remember this from Iain Duncan Smith in 2009:
“We now know that children suffer hugely if they don’t get the balance of two parents in their upbringing. Those with two parents are less likely to take drugs, more likely to do well at school, more likely to get jobs.” Hmm... I’m not so sure myself. I was raised by a single mum. Not only that, but a single mum with a serious heroin habit. And miraculously, I have a well-paid job, a degree (albeit in the performing arts) and not even the slightest hint of a drug habit, yet! I’m not even sure that the notion of a traditional family unit even exists anymore. In fact, in my experience, one-parent families are just as likely to produce bright, intelligent and emotionally stable children as other clans are. ...

Don’t be another Crouch End parent

For those of you not part of the sneering, metropolitan elite, Crouch End is a much sought-after hamlet of north London, and home to many solvent, middle class, bohemian families. And as such, it exhibits some of the most extreme examples of attachment parenting anywhere in the UK. The one single event neatly encapsulates the area's unique combination of insouciant parents and entitled children. My wife and I were having Sunday lunch recently in a pub called The Maynard Arms – think battered, overstuffed Chesterfield sofas, original timber flooring, and a single wilting gerbera in an old milk bottle on all the tables. Anyway, in keeping with the rest of the décor, there’s also a working upright piano in the corner – how authentic. This particular afternoon, the place was heaving and an unfortunate couple had been seated on a hastily assembled table next to the piano. ...

When Jamie Oliver met Dandy Dad

So it’s official – I belong to the blogosphere. Be careful what you wish for hey?! I started this blog three months ago, largely as a reaction to the poor quality of the mummy blogger content that I was editing for my clients, but also because I thought that it would be funny to talk about pocket squares and tweed blazers instead of weaning and sleep training. Fast forward a few months and an invite arrives in my inbox from the lovely people at the Huffington Post asking if I’d like to be part of a blogger discussion panel on parenting, chaired by Jamie Oliver. ...

5 things you’re told you need that you don’t

Checklists – how bloody organised. Unfortunately, you’ll have to make loads of them when your baby is born. Between mumsnet, midwives, your parents and the NHS website, you’ll have a list as long as your arm of essential items you have to buy. Some will be invaluable, others will be as useful as Captain Hook at a gynecologists' convention. ...

Should I join the 1%?

Having a full blown row with your partner in front of your baby is reprehensible but sadly sometimes inevitable. And in the heat of a particularly virulent argument, you’ll often hear my wife and I return to this tired parenting trope: “This place is a mess; you do NOTHING around the house to help!” “Give me a chance I’m knackered, I’ve been at work all day!” “I’d LOVE to go back to work. At least I’d actually get a lunch break! Try looking after a bloody baby all day; you’ll see what tired really means!” “I’d love to!” “Yeah right, you’d last a week!” ...

“Coming down the pub?”

There are only two kinds of people in this world...those with kids, and those without. It’s very simple. Either you’re a sleepless drone who’s merely a slave to a tiny dictator…or you don’t have children.