“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.”
Being a dad is easy. But being a good dad? Phewee, now you’ve got us. In our defence, the job description is sketchy at best. Key performance indicators seem to change with the seasons. And the tools passed on to you by the last bloke in charge are missing their instructions, or frowned upon by social services.
By contrast, the gaggle of mums in your local Costa Coffee knows that a parenting problem shared is a problem that everyone can chat about. The flow of wisdom from one generation to the next is well-established, too. And then there’s always the venerable mumsnet.
Without putting gender stereotypes aside for one second, that approach doesn’t always cut it with dads. Rather than talk at length about how the problem makes you feel, men would rather explore its comic potential before giving it a bash with a metaphorical hammer, preferably one that can be bought online or knocked together with duct tape. In other words, they’d rather use a dadhack.
So it’s for dads only, right?
Nah, of course not. It’s for anyone who’s looking for a quick fix. Anyone who wonders if there might be a better way. Anyone who’s happy to try something different, and share the tricks they’ve learned. If it’s po-faced health advice you need – and sometimes that’s exactly the right tablet to take – then jog on. But if you want to know how to fish a poo out of the bath, you’ve come to the right place.
Guess what? I’m a dad. To date I’ve only sprung forth X chromosomes, but that might change. I’ve dabbled in primary education – as a tearful six-year-old forced to play ‘unlucky dip’ in the school pants bag, of course, but also as a wannabe teacher (which, in the end, I didn’t wannabe). My own kids enthral me and test me, enrich me and enrage me – the usual, in other words.
Dadhacks was an idea originally cooked up between me and @stevejalim. As dads we bumble and fumble our way through parenthood. The hope is that by doing it together, we’ll make fewer mistakes. And have more fun.
PS The perceptive quote is reputedly from John Wilmot, a randy courtier to King Charles II. He spent his latter years under the moniker of ‘Doctor Bendo’ to give him intimate access to patients in need of his own special fertility treatment, and died from venereal disease aged 33. He was a man in need of a distracting dadhack, if ever there was one.
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