with Avi Spivack
Hi, I'm Avi, and I try to put the work and the dad together, with mild success. This is all about trying to give you a view from what it looks like on the dad-man's side of the world, and I hope you find my ruminations humorous because I try not to take myself too seriously.
As a follow-on to Nigel Marsh’s interview, which I posted a few days ago, following is his first (hopefully of many) guest blog posts. I reacted strongly the first time I read it, and I am very curious what your reactions will be.
My father only hit me once. I deserved it. I was being an idiot.
I now have four young children of my own and I have never hit them.
Actually, that last sentence is a lie.
There was an incident 9 months ago, which I’m still guilty and shamed about that I would like (?) to share. Perhaps someone out there will have some good advice for me…
It had been a particularly hard and stressful day at work. I got home later than usually and my wife Kate was clearly nearing the end of her tether. She immediately asked me to take all four of the kids to the park. I didn’t really want to but I could see she needed a break so I agreed.
Now, at the best of times getting my kids ready to go out can be a tiresome chore, but today was a new record. It took an age just to get all their shoes on. They argued about who would take the dog. Eve (one of my twin daughters started crying as Harry (my younger son) pinched her. I had asked them to go to the bathroom before we left yet when we got out the door, Alex (my other son) said he needed to go - then they all said they needed to, so we had to go back inside. When we got inside the phone rang - it was the office saying they really needed to speak to me. I told them I would call back in 5 minutes. I got the kids outside again only for it to start raining, forcing us all inside once more to find and put on coats. They were bickering and whining. My patience was starting to wear thin…
When I eventually got them to the park I sat on a bench and put my head in my hands. I just wanted to calm myself and collect my thoughts before calling the office like I had promised.
A hand tugged at my sleeve. “Dad?” one of my young daughters said.
“Not now sweetheart, Daddy’s resting, just give me a minute,” I said without looking up.
“Daaad,” the voice went again.
“Leave me a second,” I muttered.
“Dadddyyyyeeee” the voice whined with another tug on my sleeve.
“If you don’t give Daddy a minute I’m going to lose my temper,” I said - head still in my hands.
“Daaadddyyyeeee,” the voice said again this time, with three quite violent tugs on my arm.
“Oh for the love of God would you just give me some bloody peace for one minute!” I shouted as I grabbed my daughter and smacked her on the back of her leg.
It was my daughter Grace. She looked at me with trusting incomprehension and a trembling lower lip and said: “Daddy, I’ve picked you a flower to cheer you up.”
Sure enough she was holding a daisy in her hand.
Brilliant - she had picked me a flower to cheer me up and I’d repaid her by hitting her.
I tell this story because the gap between how I want to be as a parent and how I actually am can be terrifyingly wide.
I wonder if I am alone?
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