Brush-Baby, celebrating a new age of fatherhood

Happy Father’s Day Everyone.
I’ve been working with Brush-Baby to talk about a new age of fatherhood.

You see, right now, there’s a whole generation of dads bringing up children without an instruction manual. Yes, I’m aware that there’s never been an instruction manual for parenting. What I’m saying is that we are at a point in history where things are really changing. What it means to be a dad has evolved. The ways in which things were done in the past, even by our own fathers, are increasingly foreign to us modern day dads.

Ours is a new age of fatherhood.

Chris McGuire, Celebrating a new age of fatherhood – Brush-Baby


It’s time to celebrate all the dads out there who are embracing a much more involved parenting role.
So please, if you see a dad doing well, tell him.
You’ll make his day.

For the full piece, click here.

Insights on life as a Stay-at-home-dad

Last week I had the chance for a fascinating conversation with Vicky Zuiderent, founder of Vilo SKY, about life as a stay-at-home-dad.

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the webinar, here’s a link to a recording of the discussion on YouTube.

Enjoy.

Great feedback…

It’s always rewarding to get great feedback from clients.

For the last few months I’ve been working with Inspiration Space, an amazing organisation that helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and achieve their goals.

I crafted scripts for a series of animated videos that accompanied Inspiration Space’s innovative ‘New Beginnings’ programme. I thoroughily enjoyed the project and was thrilled to receive the following feedback from Liana Fricker-Wilson, Inspiration Space’s founder.

Chris’s experience in both TV and ghostwriting meant he was the perfect unicorn to help solve our challenge of distilling MBA-level content on entrepreneurship into bite-size videos that were easily accessible to those outside of the C-suite or academia. Chris’s creativity, agility and attention to detail helped us create and deliver our flagship product, ‘New Beginnings,’ in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic (and homeschool).

I would highly recommend him to anyone thinking about creating bespoke educational videos with flair. He was a pleasure to work with a valued member of our extended team. 

Liana Fricker-Wilson, Inspirer-in-Chief, Inspiration Space

If, like Liana, you have a project you’d like me to bring my writing skills to, please do get in touch.

Dads no longer have to ‘bring home the bacon’

It’s so important that the way we view fathers, in our society, changes. If we are ever to have true equality between men and women in the workplace, the value and status we place upon those providing childcare needs to be transformed.

Here’s a column I wrote for Eastern Daily Press on the subject, click here for the full piece.

As Father’s Day swings into view once more, it’s essential we recognise that our families have changed. The roles taken by parents are no longer defined by the accident of gender. When it comes to childcare, mums and dads occupy almost identical spaces and its time our culture’s narratives caught up.

I’m a stay at home father. I’m part of an ever-growing group of men taking a ‘hands on’ role in raising our children. We are a very necessary part of the workforce – especially in a culture that claims to want gender parity for anyone climbing the career ladder.

Essentially, dads looking after children are a necessary by-product of mums taking their rightful place in the workplace.

What’s my point?

As Father’s Day arrives, too many of us are worrying about the superficial: “What can I buy for the man who has everything?” Let’s face it, it’s usually socks. Such clutter is placed in ‘that’ drawer with a multitude of similar gifts from down the years.

Instead of token items for dad, wouldn’t it be great if this year we could talk more openly about the role of fathers within our society?

The day of the distant dad has passed – so let’s celebrate the 21st century father.

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

What dad REALLY wants for Father’s Day

Here’s a piece I wrote for Mirror.co.uk, giving a guide to the perfect gifts for dad on Father’s Day. The suggestions I gave were (a little) unconventional: 

In the course of human history, more arguments have started over who’s in charge of the TV Remote Control than any other subject.

You know it’s true.

So give your dad the ultimate gift: 24 hours of the TV he wants to watch – without criticism. Yes, this may well mean a whole day of football, or West World or Ru Paul’s Drag Race (depending on the dad). It doesn’t really matter what dad watches, what counts is he’s allowed to make the decisions. I’d recommend the kids design a special ‘I’m in charge of the Remote Control’ voucher, to present to dad.

Trust me, he’ll appreciate this far more than the engraved nasal hair trimmer you were thinking of!

Chris McGuire, Mirror.co.uk

For the full piece, click here..

Looking back: Our First Father’s Day

4 years ago I wrote a piece for ‘West’, the glossy magazine for Western Morning News, giving my views on fatherhood as I experienced my first Father’s Day. Lots has happened in the years since then but, as another Father’s Day approaches, it’s nice to look back at the beginning of my parenting journey…

Suddenly you hit the water…

SPLASH!

You’ve always seen yourself as a pretty good swimmer. But the pool is colder than you expected, and just treading water is hard. You try to touch the bottom with a foot, it’s well out of reach.

It’s then that you realise you’re out of your depth and struggling under the sudden weight of responsibility that’s landed on your shoulders.

Welcome to fatherhood.

Chris McGuire, “Our First Father’s Day” – Western Morning News

For the full piece click here.

How to WIN at Social Media

The life of a social media Guru, like me, isn’t as easy as it may sometimes seem.

OK, to the untrained eye, it may appear that all we need do is put up a post about, oh, I don’t know… ‘Baked Beans’ every now and then, and our followers will lap it up maintaining our status as internet superstars.

If only that were true.

It takes a little more than access to a few hot Instagram filters and sick buzzwords (that the young people love) to be an international social media sensation.

Here’s my foolproof guide to being a smash-hit on Facechat, Snapbook and the like…

1* Be REAL. Followers love ‘Reality’, especially when it doesn’t look like real life. Drop into all of your posts some references to how ‘real’ you are.

If you can fake being real, you’re onto a winner.

2* Don’t be TOO REAL. Whatever REAL thing you’re doing, dial it back a bit. Reality is like Coldplay, a little is OK sometimes, but it’s easy to drift into too much and suddenly you find yourself rocking in a corner waiting for it all to stop.

3* Be FAMOUS. If you possibly can, try to be famous. This will really help you on social media. If it’s possible to be a Kardashian, that’s a real advantage. Why not try to act a little more like a Kardashian? A good way to start is looking unimpressed at everything and using the vocabulary of a four-year-old.

4* Act FAMOUS. Try to Tweet about how hard life is for you, now that you’re famous, even if you’re not. Wear dark glasses whenever you can and stick your bum out at photographers*.

* Note, not advisable when having your passport photo / mugshot taken.

5* Get into HACKS. Hacks are the lifeblood of the social media star. Any way of making life easier is a great bit of info to pass onto your followers. But make your hacks aspirational. If you’re going to give out a hack about getting the last bit of ketchup from a bottle, use Waitrose sauce, not Tesco value.

Remember, you’re living the dream.

6* LIVE THE DREAM. Make your life look at least 30% better than it actually is. Perhaps get a more photogenic friend to stand in for an ugly family member in any snaps you take? Tell your followers that you work for the UN, rather than Pound-stretcher. Remember, even if make up a few untruths about hanging out with Kofi Annan – keep it real. Maybe blog that you were accidentally wearing last season’s lip shade – TOTES AWKS!

7* Get into CRAFTS. Ruining a perfectly decent pair of trainers with a hot glue gun and a selection of shiny objects will really endear you to your followers. Try to ruin at least one item this way every week. Followers need a regular inoculation of crafts to remind them that they hate that type of thing – you’ll get loads of ReTweets for pictures of any crafty tat like that.

8* Are you FAMOUS yet? Have you actually been trying to get famous? Perhaps write a blog where you pretend to know famous people – Elton John suggested I do this and it worked really well for me.

9* Give ADVICE. A sure way of increasing your standing in the online community is giving advice to others – especially in areas where you’re completely unqualified. Perhaps write a list or ‘method’ to becoming a social media star?

10* Quick hints to achieving social media success:

a) Be beautiful. Talk about it – but be real.

b) Be ugly. Talk about it – don’t be too real.

c) Have a bad hair day – make sure it looks like everyone else’s good hair day.

d) Women perfect your ‘no makeup’ look – make sure this includes lots of makeup.

e) Dads create laugh-free sub-Jackass videos showing how you’re ‘winning’ at parenting.  Make your tired wife the butt of the joke.

f) Drop unsubtle product placement into your blogs. Make it aspirational – like a guide to potty training in association with Habitat or John Lewis bridal.

g) Get a pet*. Make sure it’s photogenic. Or a really ugly pet. Get a sad backstory – make one up. *Not a good idea.

h) Become intolerant. Gluten is a good start, but there are other many options! Why not blog about being intolerant to pies? Make sure they’re aspirational pies though!

***

That was my guide to winning on social media. I’m sure it’s changed your life.

If it hasn’t, why not blog about it?

The Scotsman MAMIL Feature

Here’s a piece I wrote for The Scotsman, about MAMIL culture and ‘The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro’ my book with Spencer Wilson.

Have a read.

It’s that time again.
Up and down the country you’ll hear the shrieks as men (old enough to know better) hop around bathrooms trying to staunch the flow of blood after doing their legs a major mischief while trying to shave them smooth. Soon, once 1,000 tiny cuts dry, the same men are dousing themselves in talc and holding their breath as they squeeze into the Lycra outfits that make their professional cycling heroes look like supermen (sadly the effect on most amateurs can hardly be described as ‘super’). Next they’re out on the streets tentatively riding bikes that cost roughly the same amount as a starter home.
Who are these fellas? They’re MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) and this is their time.
Welcome to the age of the MAMIL.

Chris McGuire: The Scotsman

For the full piece click here.

For more of my writing, check out my site chrismcguirewriter.com

5 things every Stay-at-home-dad is sick of hearing…

Oh dear! The world, it would seem, isn’t quite ready for the concept of stay at home dads.

Many people I’ve met are totally shocked by the concept; holding the notion in the type of contempt usually reserved for door-to-door sales people and those who’ve decided to give up deodorant.

As a SAHD, I’m beginning to feel like a Betamax owner in a VHS world – ask your mum. To be fair, I do try to be quite ‘zen’ about the stupidity I encounter daily from members of the public. But there’s only so much idiocy one man can take…

Here’s 5 things EVERY SAHD is SICK of hearing…

1: “Are you Babysitting today?” 

Deep breath. Count to 10… Or maybe 100.Think of a pebble in a stream…

Ladies and gents, it’s not ‘Babysitting’… it’s PARENTING!!!

Why do people, when they see a man pushing a pram, assume he’s engaged in childcare at the same level of proficiency as the 16-year-old neighbour who occasionally comes round to sit in your front room (while the kids are asleep upstairs) so you can nip out for a curry with your other half?

‘Parenting’ is a demanding, committed and important activity.

‘Babysitting’ is being paid to watch ‘Take Me Out’ and eat Pringles.

OH AND, FOR THE RECORD, YOU DO NOT ‘BABYSIT’ YOUR OWN KIDS. 

For those of you who think I’m being extreme, why not think of it this way: next time you pass a building site, why not find the fore(person) – busily at work – and ask: “Are you doing a bit of DIY?” See what reaction you get.

2: “Taking the EASY option, are you?”

I’ve genuinely had people say this to me.

The presumption is that being a SAHD is the equivalent of being a minor member of the royal family or working in PR – in that it’s easy, merely a case of showing up and looking the part.

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, even remotely easy about looking after a child.

Childcare is nowhere near easy, it’s not even within a commutable distance of ‘easy’. Juggling chainsaws while attempting to train sheep to play the clarinet is ‘easy’ compared to parenting.

To say anything else is to show you have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t decide to become a SAHD in order to take it easy. I became a SAHD because it was (holistically) the best option for my family.

3: “Do you change nappies?”

Nappies?

What are they? (For our American cousins, ‘nappies’ are diapers.)

No, I don’t change nappies. I just let them become fuller and fuller until either

i) They explode

ii) I persuade a passing woman to do it for me.

Of course I change nappies.

How else can you look after a child without doing this simple task? I’ve changed thousands and it hasn’t turned me into a female yet.

Seriously people, how on earth has our society get this far while allowing it to be a common belief that men shouldn’t need to deal with baby poo? Men will proudly announce to me: “I had seven children, never changed a nappy in my life.” As if this is something to proud of. Pathetic. 

4: “You’re brave!*”

This is a surprisingly common (unwanted) commentary on my position. If nothing else, it shows a common misunderstanding of the notion of bravery. For me being brave is taking on a risk or discomfort that you didn’t cause or anticipate in order to put the needs of others first. The arrival of my son wasn’t a surprise to me, in fact I was very much part of his inception. Looking after my child is a VERY ordinary task – or at least it should be. So why am I considered brave? Is it because I appear happy to be involved in activities traditionally synonymous with women? Or is it that I’m willing to demonstrate in public that I’m prepared to parent my own child?

Parenting requires no bravery. There are brave parents out there, but that’s a different matter. Doing a basic duty to your offspring, no matter what your gender is, should be seen as run-of-the-mill.

I long for the day when this is the case.

5: “Oh…”

I get a lot of this. A funereal ‘Oh…’ The type of response that in other circumstances would be followed by: “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “He was never right for you.”

Essentially, people respond to my saying that I’m a SAHD with the same type of tone you’d give if on receipt of bad news. The assumption is that some kind of perfect storm of life has occurred leaving me in the utterly undesirable position of providing childcare. As a litmus test, I listened in on some female friends telling others they currently full time carers to their young children. In these cases smiles and congratulations are given.

Yet I get “Oh…” as if I’ve just announced to the neighbours I’m trading in the house cat for a tiger. People look concerned, then worried and then make excuses to get away.

***

So there are my 5. Some may think I’m being oversensitive. They’re entitled to their opinion.

Perhaps I am?

What I do know is that as our government pushes to make shared parental leave a ‘thing’, men won’t take up the role in any great numbers until real change to the way SAHD’s are viewed (finally) happens.

Vilo Sky Webinar – Insights from a Stay-at-home-dad

I’m one of those strange people… yes, yes, I’m probably strange in many ways, but what I’m referring to is speaking in public.

I actually enjoy it.

I know many people would rather do lengths in a shark-infested pool or break it to Jeremy Clarkson that the kitchen is out of ribeye, rather than talk in front of a crowd. Thankfully, I’m not one of them.

So I was pleased when the amazing folks at Vilo Sky asked me to take part in a webinar discussing life as a stay-at-home-dad (or SAHD). The event is online on June 17th (2021) and can be registered for here.

I should be a fun evening of me pulling no punches in discussing what it’s REALLY like to be a man in a world that was until recently the sole preserve of women.

In the meantime, if you’d like to hear more of my SAHD experiences, check out Outofdepthdad.com.