Dear Dave

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Life after Children

Dear Dave,

You're right - I have been getting a little ahead of myself in my letters so far. I should probably tell you some more about myself and my family.

My name is Ed, I'm thirty-three and I'm a housedad. I used to be a computer programmer in a Large Banking Organisation. I met my wife, Sarah, at LBO. She works in marketing. At the point our eldest son, Fraser, was born I gave up lounging around surfing and drinking coffee all day in order to put in some really hard graft looking after him. He's now six. We also have Lewis who's four and Marie who's not long turned two. Now I'm lucky to check my email some days, let alone stir up a flamewar on a Star Trek fansite just for fun. As for coffee, I'm like that kid in Signs except I have half-full mugs of tepid cafedirect littered round the place rather than glasses of water. Any alien tries to invade my home and I'm going to pump it full of caffeine, ask it which Captain it thinks is best and then watch it explode in a convulsion of twitching confusion. (A good parent needs a back up plan for every eventuality).

Anyway... We get by. Sarah likes her job most of the time and does well for us. Her boss at LBO is a bit of an idiot who tends to favour those members of the team who go golfing with him (i.e. the men) but with luck he'll do something really stupid soon and get banished to the Swedish office. Fraser's enjoying school, Lewis starts in August and Marie might get a place at nursery from October.

People have already started asking me what I plan to do in all my spare time once I've got all three children out of the house. Obviously I'm going to eat my breakfast in peace while reading GameCentral on Teletext and then follow that up with a spot of cleaning, a chocolate biscuit and an actually hot cup of coffee. Unfortunately the same people find it mildly disappointing that I don't have a scheme for world domination ready to put into action during my two hours a day... on weekdays... during term-time... when all the kids are well.

Maybe I am setting my aim too low. Maybe I can achieve more than sorting out the wilderness beyond the backdoor or filing the bank statements from the year before last. After all, I no longer have cleaning the windows left to look forward to. (Sarah found stuff growing on the inside of one of them the other day so I had to bring the maintenance schedule forward. Still, they're good until 2010 now). Let's see... What are the possibilities:
  • I could put some more work into the script of Housedad! - The Musical. It's a classic tale of one man's struggle to be accepted into the local Women's Institute, featuring nuns on rollerskates, performing dolphins, a dream sequence involving Princess Leia in a gold bikini and the music of S Club 7. I see it as a semi-autobiographical work with myself played by H from Steps.
  • I could learn a new skill. From taxidermy to Kung Fu there are a wealth of possibilities out there. I'm sure every single one of them has some kind of practical application for childcare as well.
  • Get a job. There must be something available that runs for a couple of hours on a weekday morning. It probably involves being underpaid, overworked and getting filthy, though. I've had enough of that already.
  • I could help out at the nursery. See above.
  • Crime. Flexible hours, performance related bonuses and low entry requirements. My preference would be for some form of pyramid selling fraud or chain-letter scam. I could send out letters with six names on (mine and five aliases). The recipients would have to send everyone on the list three shares in Microsoft, take the top name off, add their name at the bottom and pass it on. If I ever needed to hide evidence I'd just give it to one of the kids, tell them it was really important and a wait approximately a minute for it to mysteriously vanish. I'd have little chance of being caught and I'd own Bill Gates. Excellent.

Or maybe I'll just have a rest. I'll be owed seven and a half years of lunch hours by then - that's an awful lot of Phil and Fern...

Yours in a woman's world,


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