A credit to you

At a very early age I started holding The Boy to a high standard of behaviour. It paid off, and continues to – he is incredibly well behaved.

The Girl is a little more challenging, which isn’t surprising. While I gave The Boy clear boundaries from an early age and consistently enforced then, he didn’t get the same from his mother. All too often it was down to me to deliver discipline.

So while The Girl was very young, one effect of her mother denying her all but a very small amount of time with me was that she didn’t receive the same discipline as The Boy. We have almost daily battles now as I try to get her up to the same behaviour as The Boy.

I’m constantly conscious of this – I want the kids to grow up well behaved, considerate and respectable people.

That’s why I was so pleased while on holiday recently to receive praise from strangers for how good the kids are.

One was our neighbour at our campsite. The woman, who told me she was a primary school teacher, was absolutely gushing with her praise saying repeatedly they are, “a credit to you”. Comparing them to the hundreds of kids she told me she sees in her job, she told me over and over how well behaved they were.

We bumped into her again just as I was getting into the car to leave for home we chatted briefly. Again, the very last thing she said was, “they take are a credit to you.”

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too hard on them, and I probably am on occasion. But it’s also wonderful to have that validation that what I have been doing is working, and is raising two brilliantly behaved children.

I’m very lucky.

A credit to you


Since separating from my partner over two years ago I haven’t really been interested in finding anybody else. All my energy has been poured into the kids, and into my job so that I can give them security and well being – I struggle to see how I would fit anyone else in!

Over time though I’ve noticed that the thought of having a partner again does pop into my mind more and more often. I get occasional moments where I think “yeah it’d be nice to have someone” but they are still pretty infrequent.

However, when I do think about it, the idea of more kids pops into my head. As I approach 32 years old it makes sense that I’m more likely to find someone who is probably within 3 years of me. That person may well already have kids, or desire kids of her own, or both.

I recently spent some time with friends visiting their newborn baby girl. Memories came flooding back of what that was like (mostly only the good bits, though) but mostly I was in awe at how The Girl reacted. She was completely absorbed by this little baby – wanting to sit right next to her, kiss her and stroke her hair.

If someone new were to come along then, would I have more kids? Probably.

Despite never having wanted kids in the first place, I can’t help wanting to experience that wonderful feeling again. I’m also aware that the relationship I had with the mother of my kids wasn’t great and so I imagine that if I were to find someone else who I loved and wanted to have kids with would be that bit more special.



A friend recently expressed their exasperation at yet another battle erupting with their ex partner over their children. The stress and the anxiety of having to deal with an ex who seems incapable of being an adult can be overwhelming.

Just two years, and multiples breaches of the court order, since I separated from my ex, I shared how I’ve coped and I thought it worth sharing here for others trying to figure out how to cope with an uncooperative ex.

For me, the key has been principles.

Principles help to guide our actions. Without principles we have nothing against which to measure our actions. And when we act according to principles, we achieve integrity.

After a separation it can be easy – as my ex has done – to be bitter towards your ex and take actions to spite that person. This can take many forms from speaking poorly of that person to withdrawing contact with the children.

This is wrong. Plain and simple.

Behaviour like that will have two definite outcomes; a further breakdown of the relationship between the ex-partners, and – most importantly – damage to the relationship between child and parent.

So the principle that has guided me all along is simple – what is best for the children?

I measure my every thought and action against that principle. I ask myself if I am truly doing something that gives them a better outcome, or whether it is merely to satisfy my own needs, or to take a swipe at my ex.

While that sounds great, it’s also not enough. I am biased, and I can’t help but be biased. It’s very, very hard to think and act objectively unless you are an outsider. Because of that I’ve leaned on family and my good, honest, friends to help hold me to my own principles.

They have openly criticised and questioned me throughout the entire period. They have helped me to maintain my integrity.

Here’s how that helps me cope – knowing that I have checked my thoughts and actions against sound principles, checked also more objective friends, I can be confident that I am doing the right thing.

When I have to – soon – I will be able to waltz into the court room with the self-assurance that I am doing what’s best for the children. My mind is able to rest, my heart rate stays low and I can continue with the rest of the duties of my life without being consumed by anxiety or stress because I am sure of what I am doing.

It’s not easy, and it took some time to get to this point, but it gets easier every day.


Glimpses of joy amongst sadness

With The Boy having been ill twice recently the poor little soul has been a bit sad.

My normal happy chatty man has been withdrawn, glum and pained. You cannot help but feel sad when your child is poorly, or so I’ve found. My empathy gauge goes crazy.

This is especially the case when you’ve dished out as much medicine as you can, delivered comforting food and drink, and made your best effort to break cuddle records but nothing is quite enough. It’s heart wrenching and your helpless.

So when you get occasional moments of joy it’s like a drug rushing through you.

Recently, while ill, The Boy was slumped on the sofa looking glum and whimpering when his sister hit one of those pre-recorded tunes on the keyboard.

All of a sudden, a little smirk appeared on The Boy’s face and he did his characteristic little body twitch to the music. It was a miniscule little action but there, amongst the sadness of being ill, there was that joyful little boy I’m used to.

I could have squeezed him 😍

Glimpses of joy amongst sadness

Holding two toilet empty toilet rolls to his eyes like binoculars, The Boy said,

Daddy, I found a scary water monster!

Then, moments later;

No, it’s just a train.


Kiss it Better

It’s a great tactic for defusing upset after a bump, fall or other upsetting inconvenience in the whirlwind day of a todller.

“Kiss it better”

“Daddy kiss it better”


You never think about all the myriad of situations that might prompt the request, though.

Cue stepping on a tiny toy traffic cone.

Apart from “rubbing it better” and realigning the floppy, falling off sock, I didn’t know what to say other than “I’m not going to kiss your foot better.”

Kiss it Better

No girly things

Being the father of a girl and an egalitarian I’m now more conscious of gender bias in toys and little people clothes.

Today whilst talking to my Mom about Christmas I mentioned how many of The Boy’s toys will simply move to The Girl now, so there wasn’t much I could think of to get her for Christmas.

Mom suggested that I might want to get her “more girly” things.


Of course I immediately said “no” very firmly and made it very clear The Girl would, as far as possible in our culture, be playing with non-gendered toys and wearing non-gendered clothes.

Unfortunately it looks like we’re off to a bad start. Despite having said the exact same sort of things in the past, her mother has already been dressing her in plenty of pinks and purples.

Little steps…

No girly things

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’ve Become My Parents.”

When I’m holding The Boy’s hand I find myself moving my little finger backwards to rest on the other side.

My dad did the same to me and I remember at least one time getting very annoyed by it!

It’s funny, and nice, when having your own child reminds you of little insignificant things like that 🙂


Giving Children The Freedom To Dream

This reminds me of a line from one of my favourite films, The Pursuit of Happyness, “Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me.”

Dad Without A Map

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s a question all children are asked by their parents or teachers. And there are a few classic choices: a doctor, a firefighter, police officer. And the biggest one of all – an astronaut!

NSPCC Alfie the Astronaut _hero shot. Photography credit Jac Martinez. The child pictured is a model 15.09.15

But how many of us go on to follow the career we dreamed about when we were children?

Today a YouGov survey for the NSPCC has revealed that the UK’s most popular childhood dream job – for one in ten adults – was to be a doctor or nurse, followed by footballer, and teacher.

And nearly a third of adults who wanted to be a medic achieved their childhood ambition. Others who got their dream job included teachers (27%), writers or journalists (9%), police officers (6%), and actors (5%).

The survey results are revealed as the NSPCC unveils a new film; Alfie the Astronaut.

This is a heart-warming story…

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Giving Children The Freedom To Dream