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DouglasBy Douglas Cohen who has one wonderful wife and two awesome kids.  He believes there are plenty of amazing people in Jozi, his hometown, and that there’s still lots of great things left to do.

You may remember seeing a series of charts summarising some of the various preconceived notions and generalisations associated with a particular occupation, for example Scientist, Teacher or Engineer. These so-called, What people think I do – What I really do,  series compared varying impressions about one’s profession held by others, by oneself and the often rather mundane reality of the actual job.

As we approach Sunday, Father’s Day in South Africa, I thought it an appropriate approach to reflect on and assess the job of being a dad.

What do friends without kids think?

This is a trick question. When you have kids and are drowning in school fees you have lost touch with most of the friends who are without kids. Any FOMO (fears of missing out)  you may express through Facebook is regarded as a cry for help.

What do friends with kids think?

Any rare form of socializing will include friends who have kids. They therefore have no need to think, because they will quietly judge all wrongdoing first-hand and upfront. But in case something significant slips through, it will get back to them via communal offload on the mom’s network.

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What do dad’s parents think?

Parents want you to exceed how they were as parents but they don’t really expect that you will or even can. They will be outspoken in judging all your misdemeanors by extracting them from their grandchildren using promises of ice-cream. They are not ashamed about their rather laissez-faire approach on the very same rules they enforced when you were a kid.

What do teachers think?

Dads are a necessary irritation but are often easier to manage and manipulate than the mothers. Dads should be responsible for strict quality assurance of children’s homework projects.

What do moms think?

Fathers activities include (i) the fun stuff with kids (ii) spending alone time on the loo and on the couch (iii) providing questionable advice on most things (iv) enforcer of selected house rules and (v) trusted adviser when the time comes for serious disciplinary action.

What do your kids think?

Someone who will suffice if #1, aka mom, is not around, but who is also nice to hug. Controller of the TV remote, Netflix account, wifi password and the braai. Relatively easy to manipulate when not fully conscious, especially in the early hours of a Joburg winter morning or anytime they are on holiday. Alternatively just ignore all their advice or commands until they offer you a marshmallow as a reward.

What do dads themselves think?

Picture a mashup of President Barack Obama and  Bill Murray in Ghostbusters(1984) as well as anybody who has successfully completed the Comrades Marathon.

What do dads really do?

  1. Dads stress. Despite all the signs or the words of advice, nothing really prepares you for the responsibility of being a dad. It’s tough to accept that you cannot service every family demand or need and that your best just has to be good enough.
  2. Often yet discretely yearn to be their kids’ unsung hero as well as their biggest fan.
  3. Never think about being a dad until its Father’s Day. Just kidding.

Happy father’s day!

 

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