It was a brilliant day to be a Brilliant Dad yesterday. It was the hottest day of the year so in the morning I decided I’d become the Hottest Dad of the Year. And, d’you know what, it was BRILLY-ANT!
I packed a picnic for me and my two sons and we set off, football bouncing, for the local park and woods. We had a kickaround, had jungle adventures, climbed trees (them, not me), ate ice cream and ended four hours of pure pleasure drinking lemonade (them, not me) in my local pub.
I may be a Reluctant Housedad, but I’m a very Willing-and-Able-Messing-About-in-the-Sunshine-Dad.
I sort of paid for it a bit later because the boys were very tired and grumpy, but when I communicated this to my Successful Other Half while chained to her desk at work, she had little sympathy. She didn’t say, ‘It’s alright for you,’ because she never says, ‘It’s alright for you.’ She’s more stoic than me. She just gets on with it.
But when she got home, I asked her to write up a Diary of Her Working Day to contrast it with mine for this post. To give her diary some context, she is the Editor of a women’s weekly magazine, which covers everything from triumphant and tragic human interest stories, to fashion, beauty and cookery.
I’ve juxtaposed her timeline with photos of what we were getting up to around about the same time. No captions required.
DIARY OF MY SUCCESSFUL OTHER HALF, aged 42 and 1/12
9am: have been in work for just under an hour. Trying to secure an interview with a woman who had 8 miscarriages then a baby born at 23 weeks. Thankfully her baby survives. Eat a bacon roll and drink a cup of coffee
11am: Approve the magazine cover which goes to print in 2 days
12 noon: Editing copy about a mother forced to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off her baby’s life support system. Am fighting back tears all the time. The things people go through in lives and their resilience in the face of tragedy never fails to humble and move me.
1pm: Discussion over pictures for a feature. Pics are poor quality. Need better ones. Another problem to solve. Feeling frustrated. Gorgeous day outside but there’s no chance of me getting time off for a stroll.
2pm: Quick dash to get a sandwich and a bit of sun. Use my 10 mins away from my desk to check in with friend who’s looking after Daisy, and with Keith and the boys. They all sound like they’re having a great time. On way back to office I bump into the Art Director – he’s broken a finger. Needs operation tomorrow.
3pm: Call ad manager to see if the ad she’s waiting for has been booked for the issue that goes to print this week. She’s still waiting for news. I remind her time is running out. There is never enough time. We’re then hit with a series of setbacks in which stories hit a variety of snags. Lots of distractions and I realise I am still editing same piece of copy from the morning!
4pm: Listen as my deputy editor tells me about an interview being conducted by one of our writers with a mother battling cancer. She is supported through it by her young daughter who teaches her to love her mastectomy scars. Then, just as the mum begins to recover, her little girl becomes suddenly very ill and falls into a coma. Mum sings their favourite song to her: You Are My Sunshine. Heartbreakingly, her daughter does not pull through. 400 people come to her funeral and they all sing You Are My Sunshine.
She then tells me about another story we are interested in – about an Elvis impersonator who punches a man he suspects is after his wife. All human life is here.
6pm: Almost home time. Almost time to see my little gang. I can’t wait. I feel incredibly grateful for my life. It feels like it’s been a really long day. Final proofs read, pages OK-ed, stories commissioned, written, edited, laid out and subbed. Another day spent fully immersed in the astonishingly varied real life of our fantastic readers – while my real life goes on elsewhere.