Matt Knox asked me this over breakfast the other day,
“What’s your favourite thing about being a dad?”

My brain spun. I didn’t have an answer. I think I fluffed a reply with something like “it’s not something you have favourites for, it’s something you live for.”

Yeah, that’s a bit lame. But it’s a tough question. I could’ve easily worked out a top-ten list of the things I didn’t like doing. Like emptying a potty. Ever tried that? Not pleasant. Not fun at all.* But favourite? No, too hard.

Anyway, I thought about it later.

What’s best about being a dad is being married.

Yes, of course, there’s all sorts of heart-warming moments with the baby. The arrival. The first smile. In fact, every smile. Talking, walking, crawling, holding. Just being able to hold and cuddle. Seeing parts of you. It’s a reason to live.

All that is granted.

But I couldn’t do this alone. I couldn’t manage. I’m shattered just feeding at nights and doing two playgrounds in a weekend.

Knowing that I have a soulmate to entrust with the little one’s upbringing is everything.

And actually, getting married is excellent preparation for having a baby. The stress, the organisation, the planning; coordinating relatives; coordinating jobs. It you can get through that together, you’re well prepared for the shock of having a baby.

Mind you though, what I miss most is: being married.

I miss whiling away the weekends doing nothing. I miss snuggling up on the sofa watching TV late into the night. I miss the lazy Sunday mornings in bed.

For now, for us, those times are gone. We’re in bed by ten at the latest, too tired to talk much. We don’t watch TV for fear of waking the sleeping one. Besides, it’s too much noise for us.

I miss my wife. I love my wife. I depend on my wife. Every day.

* Top ten worst things:
– emptying the potty
– lack of sleep
– dealing with escaped poo
– waking baby
– lack of sleep
– fear of the future
– lack of sleep
– lack of social life
– lack of sleep
– lack of sleep

Debt and deficit

I love the language of economics. It sounds so simple in the news reports. It’s easy to get het up about the facts and figures they present, but often – no, let’s be honest here, always they’re presented without context or definition.

Two common words of the moment are debt and deficit.

If you earn $1000 this month, but spend $1500, then your deficit is $500.
After one month, your debt will also be $500.
After two months, your debt will be $1000.
So “deficit” is how much you’re losing, while “debt” is how much you’ve lost so far.

When politicians talk about reducing the deficit, they are saying two things:
1) they spend more than they take – they are losing money
2)they want to lose less money next time.

They are not talking about paying off the debt. That would require a surplus for many many years, and is considered so far-fetched that nobody is even suggesting it.

The country has so much debt that nobody is talking about reducing it.

The USA has $16,000,000,000,000 of debt.
The UK has £1,000,000,000,000 of debt.

Now, obviously, as a top customer of the banks, we’re getting a good rate here. We’re paying just over 4% on that.

That’s $640billion and £40billion respectively. Paid out. Every year. To banks and investors.

The only reason we’re not all bankrupt is that this is considered an affordable sum. But is it? Do those numbers look reasonable to you?

Maybe they do. If so, could you lend me a billion dollars?

When the media talk about “getting a grip” on the deficit, and having “control” of the economy, they are just looking at the detail. Cut the deficit by even 50% in ten years, and you’ve still just got more debt.

What you want to do is cut the deficit by more than 100%, so you’re taking more than you’re spending, and you can stop paying some of that huge interest bill.

Death or serious injury

When you become a parent, you suddenly acquire this immense feeling of responsibility and protectiveness. This tiny little baby is yours, yours forever, and so it becomes your job to guard it from the world.

The mere thought of any harm coming to your baby is enough to put you in a cold sweat. You cushion everything in the house, you invest in crashproof car seats with built-in parachutes, you do everything that you can, and more.

A baby typically wears about four layers. And we live in California. They get wrapped up in a cocoon so warm and snuggly that no harm can possibly come to them.
Bubble babies, that’s what they are.

I think I’d go for the eyes. If anyone broke into this house, I’d be taking their eyeballs, no excuses. I’m having none of it. My home is my castle, and my treasure is for keeps.

Some nights you wake up in a sweat, just at the mere possibility of harm. You don’t sleep for hours more. Not that you really get the chance to sleep very often.

Really, parenthood is all about trying not to think of what might happen. What if, I took my eyes off for a second. What if, I let him play with that. What if, I don’t strap him in tight enough. What if, what if, what if.

I don’t want to think about it.
Please please please let me remove these damn permanent labels.