Modern Man

There are times when I look at my childless friends with envy.

Like when they are discussing the endless parties they seem to go to (without a party bag or a musical chair in sight). Or when they casually drop into conversation that they are learning a language, building a guitar, or hand-stitching an outfit for one of their never-ending parties. I marvel at the amount of spare time that must be available to those who are "deliberately barren" or just haven't met the right set of genes to reproduce with yet.

After nearly 10 years of this parenting caper, I find that inevitably I, and most of my friends, have fallen into that most sought-after of demographics - "working families".

As a voting block it seems those in Canberra think we are a political force to be reckoned with, but after another day's work and another night getting kids fed, bathed and off to bed, I've barely got the energy to change the channel on the TV - let alone change the world.

But beyond the exhaustion there are, of course, times when having kids brings joy from the most unexpected of places and you wouldn't sell 'em on eBay even if you could.

Last Friday I agreed to take my eldest daughter and three of her friends to a Halloween disco at Repentance Creek Hall. This was my compromise for not letting her go 'trick or treating' and I went with about as much enthusiasm as I have for going to the dentist. I was being the dutiful dad and I thought I'd sit around until they were ready to go home, but after a bit of an awkward start, the DJ pulled out some sure-fire crowd pleasers and I was up dancing with my daughter and her friends, making a fool of myself and having a ball.

I was singing along with John Lennon to Twist and Shout, doing all the moves to the YMCA, the Time Warp, the Chicken Dance and the latest dance craze to sweep the world, Gangnam Style. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face with Psy's sweaty white socks.

Then on Sunday a friend set up a 40m slip and slide on a steep grassy hill. Having kids was my licence to be silly and go tearing down the plastic on a boogie board while my kids followed me down on an inflatable crocodile.

It was good clean family fun and I'm sure if any of my childless friends were there, they would have been looking on in envy.

Topics:  opinion

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