Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Between football and beer how will he find the time for Father's Day?

It might have escaped those women whose week has been busy picking the kids up from school, making their dinners, helping them with their homework and ironing their uniforms, while their dads have sat on the sofa drinking beer and watching European football, but this Sunday is Father's Day. So pull your fingers out ladies!

Of all the annual events contrived to make shopkeepers and cards manufacturers money, Father's Day has to be the most outrageous. After Christmas, of course (ha, just keeping my Christian readers on their toes - like Cristiano Ronaldo bouncing around in the penalty box, they're always primed to respond within a split second).

Bearing in mind that Mother's Day was originally intended as a day of recognition and leisure for women who run around after their families for the other 364 days of the year, the notion that the men who generally benefit from this arrangement warrant their own day of self-indulgence is patently ludicrous.

The former is provoked by a set-up which, by its very nature, makes the latter unnecessary.

I happen to be in the frustrating position of not having as much to complain about as many of my friends - my husband is a dab hand when it comes to washing and ironing.

But even I have had to laugh at the idea of squeezing in Father's Day between the long periods of watching him experimenting with new continental beers while shouting 'You're an idiot!' at Alan Shearer, which has characterised the whole of last week.

Coincidentally, though, this week has in fact offered much food for thought regarding modern fatherhood.

And though I'm tempted to make fun of the way David Cameron's dogged pursuit of Dad of the Year title ended in tatters with his abandoned eight-year-old daughter gazing dolefully round a pub whispering 'Doesn't my family love me anymore?', more serious issues have been raised elsewhere.

In the week in which ministers are proposing children's access to both parents should be guaranteed by the courts after marital breakdown, it emerged that Myleene Klass's husband Graham, the man she often described as her rock, has reportedly seen his kids just once since walking out on the family in April.

Despite persistent press attempts to get to the bottom of the break-up, nothing has arisen to explain Graham's sudden decision to apparently announce on his wife's birthday that he no longer loved her and was packing his bags.

TV presenter Klass, it is said, was knocked sideways by the revelation; her recent unnerving weight loss would attest to her genuine despair.

Like so many other women who believed they had chosen a good, responsible chap to have children with, she must now be asking what kind of person he really is. Could any decent man voluntarily disappear from his own children's lives?

I can't believe such a thing is possible, but Paul Weller has spoken interestingly this week about how long it takes some men to grow up, especially with regards to fatherhood. Now 54, Weller has seven children, ranging from 24 to four months, with four different women. He says he was struck "only the other day" as he fed one of his baby twins, "F***ing hell, I'm properly responsible for this little person! It was ... wow."

So maybe there's hope for the Graham's of the world yet. Though by the time they've grown up, their children will be emotionally long gone and the chances of a Father's Day card popping through the letterbox will be small indeed.

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