The Day I Lost My Shit

The honeymoon period ended last week. My previously impenetrable facade of cool, calm and collected SAHD didn’t just crack. It came crashing down like it had been hit with a Miley Cyrus wrecking ball.

It started with a fairly typical weekday trip to the local supermarket with the little fockers.

There I was, strutting through the supermarket in my #activewear, two kids in the shopping trolley, browsing the selection of fresh kale. Essentially, looking every part the modern SAHD. And that was when it started. As if by some previously agreed secret signal, Focker #1 started rapid-firing irrelevant and unrelated questions at me. Simultaneously, Focker #2 started taking exception to anything and anyone within arms reach, and lashing out indiscriminately.

“Daaa-AAA-aaad” (seriously, how the f*ck does Focker #1 manage to make a three letter word into a three syllable word?) “Daaa-AAA-aaad, will veggies make me big and strong?”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, what does that sign say?”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, Lucas says that fire can put out water, is that true?”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad can we get a puppy? I want to call him Steven.”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, Focker #2 just slapped that baby on the head.” Ok, so this wasn’t a question, but Focker #1 is also very good at giving me a running commentary on anything remotely naughty that #2 attempts.

And then Focker #2 chimed in.

“Daaad-deeeeee” (only two syllables for this kid, but equally as f*cking annoying).

“Yes bubba?” as I leant in towards her beautiful, innocent little face to better hear what she might have to say.

“Poke Daaad-deeee!!” she exclaimed as she nonchalantly jammed her index finger deep into my eyeball. Instant searing pain tore through my skull.

Even at this point, writhing on the supermarket floor in extreme agony and wondering if I’d ever regain my sight, I thought I might still be able to rescue the situation. And that was when the little fockers changed gears. First it was Focker #1 starting with the old one-two punch of “Daaa-AAA-aaad I’m hungry” and “Daaa-AAA-aaad I’m sooo bored.”

Focker #2 then chimed in by reaching out of the trolley and grabbing one of those large chocolate Easter eggs from the middle of a beautifully stacked display at the end of the aisle only to bring the whole display crashing down.

Even at this point, busily re-stacking the display with one eye closed and tears (or possibly blood) streaming down my face, I was taking some deep breaths and managing to keep a lid on the simmering pot of rage that was bubbling away inside of me.  But they weren’t done yet.

The killer blow came just as we joined the queue for the self checkout. The finish line was in sight, and I was congratulating myself for surviving what was my most turbulent experience thus far as a SAHD.

And then it happened.

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, I need to go to the toilet.”

“Well son, you just need to hang on for a couple more minutes and then we can go.”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, I’m busting.”

“Just hold on would you?” (there was a hint of panic in my voice as I frantically began scanning items and throwing them haphazardly on top of my kids in the trolley).

“Daaa-AAA-aaad, I think I need to do poos. My tummy hurts.”

“Ok buddy we can go in a minute. Just hang in there.”

And then a third voice joined the fray. The pleasant, but slightly smug and condescending automated voice of the self check-out.

“Please place the correct item in the bagging area.”

“But Daaa-AAA-aaad…”

“Please buddy, just hold on for a few more seconds.”

“Please place the correct item in the bagging area.”

“Daaa-AAA-aaad…”

“FOR F*CKS SAKE, WOULD YOU JUST SHUT UP AND WAIT FOR TWO MORE SECONDS? AND MY ITEMS ARE IN THE F*CKING BAGGING AREA SO JUST SCAN THE F*CKING THING!!!!”

I erupted.  I completely lost my shit. A stunned silence ensued. Not just from my kids, but from everyone in the checkout area, as well as the entire fruit and veg section who’d all turned to look at the one eyed crazy guy who was yelling at the checkout machine. I felt the weight of everyone’s judgement descending on me, and was wishing the supermarket floor would open and swallow me whole. That is, until I finally plucked up the courage to squint around at my new audience. My one good eye met with the eyes of a woman standing nearby who had clearly been there before. She gave me a look. A look of camaraderie, recognition and shared suffering. A look that said, “F*ck yes, I feel your pain, I’ve been where you are right now, and goddamn I respect you for it.”

That woman and that look saved me that day, and enabled me to walk out of the supermarket with my head held high.

After a timely trip to the public toilets to ease Focker #1’s load, we finally got to the car and unpacked the trolley. It was then that I discovered that things had taken a turn for the better. Focker #2, bless her little cotton socks, was sitting on a sizeable stash of Easter eggs that she had slipped into the trolley and smuggled through the checkout.

I’d like to believe that at 2 years old she couldn’t possibly have known what she was doing. Blinding her daddy, and then taking advantage of his incapacitated state to launch her shoplifting career. But then, I also know how cunning this kid really is. Ordinarily, I would have gone straight back in to the supermarket, explained the situation, and returned the stolen property, but this time I didn’t. F*ck you automated checkout machine. Stick that in your bagging area.

 

 

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Man Points – The Definitive Guide for SAHDs

Man Points – An imaginary list of points that men award themselves and each other for completing certain feats of manliness. 

As a SAHD I do lots of stuff every day that isn’t considered to be very ‘manly’ in the traditional sense. Food shopping; separating lights and darks in the laundry and plaiting my daughter’s hair are just a few that spring to mind. I can also hold my own with the school yard mums in discussions around toilet training, nappy brands and sleep routines, but have stopped short of wearing those brightly coloured yoga pants to do the school drop-off (although they do look comfy I’m not sure that I have the figure for them). Does this make me any less of a man than all of the ice road truckers, steel workers and steer wranglers?  Probably.

Even though I can say hand-on-heart that I’m completely comfortable with my own masculinity; there are times when I feel some deeper primal need to go and do some more manly stuff – just to top up the reservoir of man points that every bloke carries around with him.  Here are some of my favourite go-to mantivities.

1.Lifting heavy things

Nothing is more manly than picking up heavy stuff. I like to pop out to the garage while Focker #2 is sleeping or otherwise contained, throw a shitload of weight on the barbell, and keep picking it up and putting it down until I just can’t do it any more.  Deadlifts are best for accruing man points, with squats coming a close second. Stay away from treadmills and cross trainers.  Science has proven that 20 minutes of moderate intensity running on a treadmill will almost certainly put you into deficit man points.

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As well as clocking up some serious man points, lifting heavy has many other benefits like avoiding the curse of the dad-bod, catching the amorous attention of your significant other, and getting lids off jars.  It is also excellent conditioning for those occasions when you take your kids out for a bike ride, only to find that at the furthest point from home, both bikes and / or both kids decide that they’ve had enough and you have to carry them all home.

2. Growing a beard

They say that if a man’s character defines his manliness, then the beard is the exclamation point.  Every man should sport a beard at some point, and I’m not talking about some carefully manscaped cheek fuzz. I’m talking about those full blown lumberjack / ZZ Top / I don’t give a f*ck beards.  As a SAHD, we’re ideally positioned to grow the most majestic of man-manes without risk of judgement.

When you think about it, in some ways being a SAHD is a lot like growing a beard.  Both take a lot of patience, both can be extremely irritating at times, and both give you a smug sense of personal achievement that permits you to look down on others from time to time.

A word of warning however, before you allow for your unfettered awesomeness to sprout from your chiselled jaw. Always take care to avoid being confused for a vegan hipster, in which case all of your man points will be instantly revoked.  Also, beards are not to be confused with moustaches.  Moustaches make you look creepy, not manly.  Don’t be that guy.  Especially if you’re doing the school pick up every day.

3. Taking a trip to Bunnings

Bunnings and other hardware superstores of similar ilk are places of worship for blokes. We know this already. What you probably don’t know is that you’re automatically awarded 500 man points just for walking in the door – even if you’ve got no intention of doing anything other than buying a sausage and a can of drink from the charity sausage sizzle out the front.  Extra man points are on offer for those SAHDs that buy a power tool, or reverse a trailer into the trade section.

The benefit of being a SAHD is that you can go to Bunnings on a weekday when the place isn’t heaving with the crowds of weekend DIY-ers, and the staff are well informed and dedicated to assisting you.  This is as opposed to the weekend crew who avoid eye contact and sprint in the opposite direction as you struggle to choose between the 25 different types of tap washer on display.

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4. Attempting a DIY project

In order to justify your frequent trips to Bunnings, and to take your scoring of man points to the next level, you might even chose to tackle a DIY project yourself. Just remember, you legally can’t classify it as a DIY project (and therefore claim the man points on offer) unless you’ve had at least three separate trips to Bunnings.  The first is to buy everything that you need, the second is to return the wrong things that you bought first time around, and the third is to buy all of the stuff that you forgot to buy (or didn’t know that you needed) on the first and second trips.

Maximum man points are awarded to those DIY projects that involve an extension ladder, more than two power tools, and result in something awesome for your kids to play with.

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5.Cutting down a tree

There’s something that’s nice and manly about felling a tree. Obviously, as a suburban SAHD it’s a bit tricky to just pop out and clearfell a forest while the kids are having a nap. I’ve always found that some overzealous pruning of the pittosporums, or lopping a few branches off the tree that overhangs from the neighbour’s place (that thing grows like a f*cking weed) is enough to get the man point counter ticking over. Bonus man points may be awarded for using a ladder and a chainsaw – electric ones don’t count – in a semi-dangerous manner, and man points are automatically tripled if you’re sporting a lumberjack beard at the time.

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So there you have it.  Five nice simple ways for us SAHDs to keep the man points ticking over.  If you’ve got any other suggestions on how to keep the man points rolling in, I want to hear from you.  Drop me a line at Daddingeveryday@gmail.com and tell me how do you stay manly?