More Climbing Frame Than Man

There seems to be something of a crisis in male identity and it’s easy to see why. Long gone are the traditional male roles, replaced by technology or increasing equality. I don’t blame either of those things but they have led to what might be viewed as societal emasculation.

For example, hunting has now been replaced by lazily clicking on a supermarket’s website. Warfare, whilst still happening, is not encountered by the majority. Bands of brigand soldiers don’t come roving through town slaughtering everyone in sight and taking all the good cutlery. Now we have epic RPGs to replace this experience. Or, if becoming a warlock isn’t your thing, Game of Thrones.

This extends to the idea of the man bringing home the money. When your wife earns pretty much the same (if not more) than you, it’s hard to declare grand-eloquently that you are working all the given hours to put food on the table and therefore you shouldn’t have to clean out the cats again. Not unless you want to be wearing said food.

This shifting lack of role is only emphasised by fatherhood.

It seems like you should have a role so secure that it is written in italics. I am aΒ dad.

But when you start deconstructing it a bit more you realise that there is no such thing as a dad. And frustratingly, even if there was, the role of aΒ dadΒ keeps changing.

To begin with, I was some kind of late night service station on the motorway of childhood providing food and toilet facilities. I also overcharged for beans on toast and smelled of urine but that was for only tangentially connected reasons.

Later though, I became an entertainer. My range of silly noises, funny faces and all round levels of jocularity would put any courtly jester out of work. Unfortunately, this has spilled over into my professional life and so I will now inadvertently make little robot noises when handing out work to my students. They don’t find it as funny as the boy does. Or I do.

There is no hiding place.
Amuse me fool!

I’ve maintained my clown status but also added protector, preventer of falls, cook, life guard, cleaner, bard, comforter, chamber maid, tickle monster, soothsayer and chauffeur. It’s honestly like being a squire to a demanding and boorish lord.

Most recently however, my role has been quite clearly defined.

Climbing frame.

Daddy Surfing
This is actually quite painful. Both physically and emotionally.


And whilst that might not be as adventurous as defending my farmstead from an orcish warband at least I have a purpose in life.

That is what drives a lack of male identity, a lack of purpose. Sometimes we can define our roles ourselves. More often than not, we need someone to shape it for us.

Nine month olds seem perfectly placed to do just that.


28 Replies to “More Climbing Frame Than Man”

  1. I love your essay on how gender roles have changed, including parenting roles. Blame it on the 1960’s cultural movements and societal changes, in my not so humble opinion. No more Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best. Good and bad have evolved. And becoming a climbing frame is a good thing. It makes for a very happy climber. Purpose is a good thing whether you are a man or a woman. Being a dad is a highly important purpose. You don’t have to be a Lord or warlord to be a man. At least you won’t suffer the fate of Ned Stark πŸ™‚ Being a climbing frame is painful, but, on the bright side, you still have your head. Bravo to you, Dad! It is where you get to pass on what it means tho be a good man. Talk about purpose. It’s too bad there aren’t more climbing frames out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Daddy makes the best climbing toy EVER. And you know what? He’s better than any store bought toy.

    Great piece.

    My husband and I have “traditional” gender roles, which is, like you said, becoming very rare if not extinct. He works and earns all the money, I’m home raising kids. I haven’t had a job outside the home since we got married. And we are young. (Under 35) It isn’t always easy, but we’ve found that we both like it this way.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t know how many times in the last few months, I have had to look at my daughter and say, “Shakespeare, you have the sharpest elbows on the face of this planet…” She has zero regard when using me as a climbing frame…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Take it from someone whose husband took a pass on helping out at all when my boys were babies and then when he became my ex took an even bigger pass on even seeing my boys regularly, you are a great dad! Keep it up. My boys are grown and doing great, and even have a relationship with their dad, but I think it is so important that both the father and mother are there for kids the way you are with yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Made me smile πŸ™‚ In our family, dad is also known as a sporting partner for any kind of rolling around on the floor games, he fixes things the best, he tells the best fairy tales and is a ninja level hide-and-seek player, however, he’s also got stronger nerves, when it comes to discipline, like temporary chocolate bans. Dad’s are awesome πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’ve yet to get to the whole telling off stage. I do have years of classroom experience so I’m hoping that will come in handy.

      Although generally with the boy I am a weak-minded and spineless sucker. Damn his dribbly grin and saying Daddy…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure your experience would be a great help πŸ™‚ And when you have a headstrong 3 year old stumping a foot and throwing a tantrum you could feel different than you do when you see a smiling baby :)))

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “Sometimes we can define our roles ourselves. More often than not, we need someone to shape it for us.”
    Yes, our children define us. Then they grow up and we need to re-define ourselves. Enjoy this special time.
    Thank you for liking my post. I really enjoyed yours.


  7. When discussing the noble profession of Fatherhood, I believe, ” …(b)umbling and covered in baby food…” will serve well as a definition of the word, “great”. So there, you’re stuck with it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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