The first of our new weekly column - family life from a dad's perspective.
Sometimes I feel more half-dead than dedicated. It's like that, trying to keep up with the demands of my family who mostly think that dad really isn't good for very much at all.
I know in modern Britain there's supposed to be a loss of identity for men as the pivotal role of breadwinner has become diluted. But I've always brought in a reasonable income, spend a lot of time at home and I'm proud my wife has a good job.
No, I think the trouble is we're expected to still act like dynamic cavemen, while combining the skills of a master carpenter, chief computer engineer, top chef, footballer and bottle washer (spot the two that Gordon Ramsey does).
Sitting quietly in my home office, earning a bob or two, there's a succession of visitors.
Oldest (teenage) son: "You said you'd do that [insert gadget fix here] last week, Dad – what the problem?"Wife: "The shelves won't put themselves up you know."
Twin boys: "What you doing, dad? Why, why, why, why?" (They're only four so there's never a good reason why). Me: "No, don't touch that switch! Arghh...."
Small children are a constant delight but also a constant menace if you're trying to get something done. They want you there – wherever there is – now. And there's plenty of noise when you don't move fast enough.
So, use number 1: who would they complain about if I wasn't there?
Do you ever feel your role is to be complained at? Or are you a chief complainer?
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