I've spoken briefly in my posts about "Mummy Competition" and how some mums are made to feel inferior when others appear to have parenting so sussed out. Up until recently I thought it was only Mums who experienced these feelings, but last week I met a Dad who accidentally exposed a well kept secret to me - The Daddy Wars.
This Dad in particular (I'm going to call him Drunk Dad) had consumed more than a few alcoholic beverages prior to our conversation, and in doing so exposed Dads everywhere!
You think Mummy competition is bad?
You know nothing!
After hearing this guys drunken ramblings you'll realise that being in competition with other mums is a walk in the park compared to Daddy Wars.
You see, Mummy competition solely surrounds your role and abilities as a mother - their child sleeps through the night, yours doesn't; their child walked at 10 months, yours still isn't crawling. That kind of thing. But Daddy Wars run much deeper. They surround a males entire existence, they completely threaten a mans masculinity, and they evoke some animal instinct that you would think our species had long evolved from.
Drunk Dads story began with a birthday party his daughter had been invited to in which he had to take her. It was a swim party, and the birthday girls Dad was a Gym Instructor (let's call him Gym Dad). For approximately an hour I sat and listened to how Gym Dad had "purposely" stood in the pool posing with his "buff body" whilst Drunk Dad was forced to expose his white flubbery belly, and slide down water slides with his 5 year old daughter, under his beady, watchful eye. He ranted how the guy didn't even say hello to him but just stood in the pool, flexing his muscles and "judging" him, thinking he was "better than him". When his wife politely interrupted our conversation and pointed out that Gym Dad didn't actually know him and therefore probably wasn't being rude by not acknowledging him he became even more irritated, especially when she stated that he had actually spoken to her on the occasions they had met. I think his response went something along the lines of, "Oh so he speaks to you does he? You're good enough to speak to are you? Hmmmmm!"
The ranting continued, and slowly became more aggressive with phrases such as 'wait until MY daughter has a party & he gets on MY turf," and 'who does he think he is hosting a swim party', finally concluding with the biggest threat going....that he was going to show him who was boss in "the Dad's race" at sports day.
As I related this conversation to a friend a few days later she further enlightened me about the seriousness of Dad Wars, in particular the aforementioned Sports Day. According to her, she knew of a Dad who had entered the Dads Race with vengeance in mind for a fellow Dad. He raced so vigorously in order to prove his masculinity that he fell and broke his collar bone, concluding in him being carted away from sports day by the paramedics. Imagine the embarrassment.
So, it appears all this time that I've been beating myself up over the trivialities of motherhood and how my identity as a mother is being challenged, there has been a dad somewhere in the world who is having his entire identity as a male threatened.
Why is this?
I may sometimes be a little peeved that a fellow mother has managed to raise a child that eats all their veg, where as I have to juice orange and carrots and freeze them in to ice lollies in order to deceive my child in to eating a scrap of goodness; but never once have I felt that other areas of my identity are being judged. And if I did, I don't think I'd be fussed at having some sort of modern day, weird dual in the form of an egg and spoon race!
Is this just the difference between men and women, mums and dads?
I'm curious about Dad Wars. I'm further intrigued by the fact that those who have divulged their secrets have all been Fathers to girls. But most of all I am SO RELIEVED! Relieved to know that men are just as crazy as women, if not more! So be reassured ladies. When you are sat worrying at night because some sanctimummy has belittled your parenting skills, your partner is quite possibly brooding over a fellow Father....and planning their revenge at the next sports day!
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