Based on situations being as they are I’m now looking after Eve on a full time basis. Keeping any toddler fed, entertained, happy and alive is a tough job. I spend a huge amount of time with her now. Some of which is spent having to remind myself that the time with her is a blessing. But that’s my choice. Some fathers may not choose to do so but again it’s a personal choice. It’s a question of finding a balance with what suits the situation best. Let’s just say I’m not well suited to capitalism or indeed having a boss.
As a result I’m spending time with other parents. In parts of Tottenham I’ve never seen before. In old, decrepit rooms with toys that deserve to be melted into something else. I want to start meeting other dads so poor Eve has to be dragged along.
One thing I’ve noticed as a parent in the field is that I am constantly judged. Mostly by women. It’s fair to say that I do have a slice of paranoia to my personality but I know when I’m being spoken about. I’ll give you an example.
Soft play. Eve is two. I have to go in with her otherwise she won’t climb the stairs. A group of boys were whooping like rabid gibbons which Eve found quite terrifying. The thing about kids is when they spot a weakness in another child, and they’re at that pokey, vindictive age, they’ll exploit it. So we spent twenty minutes trying to find our way through a brown edged, piss soaked maze while being howled at by ten year olds. Not quite Apocalypse Now but I would not have been surprised to get home to find faeces on my back.
I was the only dad there. I was the only parent talking to their kid and showing her around. I think each woman on the premises either sneered or leered at me at least once. I’m sure not one of them smiled at me. I don’t like being stared at but if you have something to say I’d rather hear it from you. I don’t like being whispered about and I have very good hearing. I don’t appreciate being treated like a piece of meat. Most of all I will not tolerate being judged. Especially for acting weird in public just to make my daughter laugh.
Also when did parenting become a job? Why do people hide behind their children, using them to define and fill their repulsive little lives? The garden furniture tables, weak tea, sad plates of cold oven chips and stale crisps, piggy little poisonous eyes, strange lies, horrible conversations, sickly judgement, dead air. Parenting is a way to meet other people just like you? What a hideous thought. I’d rather meet someone who makes me feel alive.
Step outside the norm. Live your life the way you want to. Cut out guilt and self judgement. And you can judge me all you like. I know I walked out of there with my head held high. My daughter’s laughter filled the cold, empty warehouse like she was pouring in sunshine. Until some little shit stole her balloon.