14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Free School Founder Toby Young Reveals He Hates Spending Time With His Children

Toby Young confesses he hates spending time with his kids

As co-founder of the West London Free School, you might have author and journalist Toby Young down as a doting dad and huge fan of kids - but no - the father of four has admitted he actually can't stand spending time with them.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Toby, 49, claims that he is not alone and that many men feel the same way.

Questioning whether men with successful careers feel a similar guilt as working mums about not spending enough time with their children, Mr Young concludes that no, they don't.

'I always say no,' he writes. 'That's partly because, for me, the difficulty is the other way round. I worry about not spending enough time on my career.'

Toby, who works from home, goes on to say that he is 'lucky' if he can devote 10 minutes to the day away from his kids - while acknowledging that it 'doesn't help that I have four of them, all under 10'.

He says that his thoughts are 'difficult to admit in public'.

He admits: 'That sounds brutal but I don't think it's just me. I think it's true of most men, at least when their children are as young as mine.


Few fathers would 'fess up to this in front of their wives but, in private, among themselves, the main topic of conversation is the sheer horror of having to look after young children.


Toby goes on to reveal that although there are some 'good moments' (he cites swimming and sitting down to a dinner - cooked by his wife - as a family) but that for the 'majority' of the time, being with his kids is 'pretty horrendous'.

He says the evenings are the worst - particularly bath and bedtime:

'I've been doing it every night for the best part of 10 years. At 6.15pm, no matter what sort of day I've had, Caroline turns over responsibility for the kids to me. By 6.16pm, she's uncorked a bottle of wine and started watching Gray's Anatomy.'

He says his kids are 'not merely reluctant. They are hell-bent on resistance' on getting into bed, and that he finds this whole process, and that of supervising homework, 'pure purgatory'.

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Any dads willing to admit to feeling the same way?