Welcome to Best Dad I Can Be – a weekly look at the funny side of family life from a Dad’s point of view. This is a blog that answers the questions all parents are asking themselves…

  • What do I do if my seven year old is arrested as a terrorist?
  • How do I react the first time my teenage son comes home drunk?
  • And – inevitably – is she really going out with him?
  • Best Dad I Can Be covers nine years of family life – from nativity plays and party bags to teenage angst and slamming doors. The latest posts – and some of my favourites from the early years – are below…

    Blogstock 2014: The Son Also Speaks…

    Is he a better public speaker than his Dad?

    Is he a better public speaker than his Dad?

    The speeches have been written. Rehearsals have started.

    And I am incredibly privileged. And more than a little frightened.

    Blogstock – the world’s first blogging festival – is taking place on August 8th and 9th. At 10:15 on the Saturday morning I’m going on stage to speak. And around 25 minutes later the next speaker will step up to the mic. It’s Ben – my teenage son.

    I suppose this is the moment to come clean. His real name’s Alex. [Read more...]

    The Christmas Tree

    Can there be a more joyous family occasion in the whole year than decorating the Christmas tree? Of course not. The family all gathered round. Happy, smiling children, desperately wishing the sleeps away until Santa arrives. And Mum and Dad, arms around each other, secure in the knowledge that their love is the glue that holds the family together.

    “I hate you all,” screamed my wife. “You’re just selfish, ungrateful, lazy $%&*s. And if you think I’m doing any more for any of you you’re damn well mistaken.” And with that she grabbed the nearest set of car keys.

    “Where are you going?”

    “Out!” [Read more...]

    My Wife? Or My Towel?

    Regular readers know that I like to be up and about quite early. Alright then. Ridiculously early. In time to greet Tom and Jessica as they stroll in from a night out.

    This has its disadvantages. Specifically, I am frequently on the go before our central heating system. And the wind that starts its journey on the Siberian steppes likes to finish it in our bathroom. Just as I’m coming out of the shower… [Read more...]

    On Being Embarrassed…

    I remember it well. I’d taken Tom to visit St. Karen. Back to school and time for a haircut. I also had an eight year old Jessica with me: taking her into town for some new trainers if memory serves. At the time I probably thought I was spending quite a lot on her. Little did I know…

    (And thanks for asking: we’re on the road to recovery after Jessica’s off-to-university shopping list. The IMF told Greece they’d found a more deserving cause.)

    As we waited for our turn – and as I exchanged a few blisteringly funny jokes with Karen – the door opened and a middle-aged man came in, towing his son. “Morning,” I said. “How are you?” [Read more...]

    Five Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Want to be Married to Me

    I was stumbling back from the corner shop the other day – something heavy was on special offer – when I bumped into an old friend. She started having a rant about her husband. But it was a resigned rant. ‘Twenty five years; magic not there any more; nothing to talk about now the kids have gone…’

    I did my best to cheer her up. I pointed out that while her husband is not perfect – he supports Liverpool – things could be far worse. “Look on the bright side, Claire,” I said. “You could be married to me.” [Read more...]

    Domestic God

    We have 1,000 books in our house. Possibly more.

    Incredibly, all these books would take up one-third of my wife’s Kindle. That’s just magic isn’t it? I mean apparating and flue powder and co are neat little tricks and I’ll be glad when they’re invented. But they’re not a Kindle. 3,500 books on that tiny little thing? Sorry, magic is the only explanation.

    Sadly our 1,000 books weren’t on the Kindle; they were in our house. By the side of the bed. Stacked up in the dining room. Cook books cluttering the kitchen. And on groaning, protesting, over-filled bookshelves.

    “Go and see your parents,” I said to my wife. “Come back, we’ll make a start on the books.” [Read more...]

    The One List to Rule Them All

    On the third Saturday in September Jessica will arrive at university. Sometime between 11’00 and 12’00 apparently: that’s her ‘designated parking time.’

    Oh dear.

    She’s going to a fine university, no doubt full of very intelligent people. They just don’t seem to have teenage daughters…

    It’s easy to see what’s happened. [Read more...]

    The Kiss

    You may remember this moment. It may still be part of your life. If it is, I’m jealous. But either way it was/is beautiful. One of the very best things about being a parent…

    You’re taking your angelic child to school. Of course you’re holding hands. You arrive at the school gates. “Big kiss.”

    “Not a big kiss, Daddy. The biggest kiss in the whole world.” [Read more...]

    Jessica’s Greatest Hits

    The Angel Gabriel

    The winger – fast, tricky, skilful – picks up the ball on the halfway line. Beats one. Beats another.

    “Cross it,” yells a voice from the touchline.

    Keeps going. Beats another. Still going…

    “Cross it, for Pete’s sake!”

    Still going. “Cross it, damn it!” Into the penalty area. Shoots. Goalie has no chance. Scores the winner. Mobbed by team-mates. Runs back to the centre circle. Huge grin. Turns to the middle-aged bloke who kept shouting ‘cross it.’ Waves to him.

    Then – in full view of at least three teachers – raises the middle finger of her right hand. [Read more...]

    MasterChef No More…

    Been a while since I’ve eaten a slice of humble pie and had to apologise to one – or more – of the family. Still, no worries: we can put that right here and now.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a small rant at Ben and Jessica. They hadn’t tidied the kitchen. School holidays. Home all day. Make the simplest thing possible while Mum and Dad are out. Leave the mess. Mum and Dad return. Cue rant.

    Well pass the humble pie, ladies and gentlemen. [Read more...]