‘Doesn’t It Sometimes Feel Like Father’s Day Is Every Day?’

'In one year, I figured out men in general, spend 10 days on the loo...'

Louise Boyce Mama Still Got It book

by Louise Boyce |
Published on

In an exclusive extract from her book Mama Still Got It, author Louise Boyce assesses Father's Day...

June is, I think, the only month of the school year where there isn’t a half-term or any break off school. A whole month of a good routine.

However, June is pretty much all about (my husband) Jesse. He has dedicated part of this month to himself. Yes, you heard me correctly. It’s his birthday and Father’s Day on two consecutive weeks in a row, so Jesse laps this up and calls this period ‘Dad Week’. He’s claimed it as his national holiday to a point where the kids actually believe this is a real thing, like Christmas or Easter. They even make cards saying ‘Happy Dad Week’ and ask him, ‘Are you enjoying your Dad Week?’ One year, Basil even made a banner saying ‘Happy Dad Week’, and on the last day of this so-called national holiday, Jesse actually did a speech at the dinner table. The man is either a psychopath or a genius.

There is more.

Jesse likes to tax the children when they have a sweet. If they are lucky enough to get a small party-size bag of Haribo at a birthday party, Jesse will actually, legitimately, hold his hand out to the children and say: ‘Daddy tax’. And the kids have to give Jesse a sweet from their bag. Why? Because Jesse has a tooth sweeter than the boys do, and this is his way of having a small sugar injection. It has nothing to do with teaching the kids to share, learn about paying taxes or care about the state of their teeth.

Taking a leaf from his book, I tried ‘Mummy tax’ when they were eating a 99 ice-cream during the heat wave of July 2022, when temperatures hit 40 degrees for the first time ever ... ‘There isn’t such a thing as “Mummy tax”, Mum.’ Eye roll. How does Jesse do it?

Father’s Day arrives first, on the third Sunday of June, and of course we do the cards and tea in bed and all the lovely cuddles. But I realised something recently that I think a lot of us can relate to: doesn’t it sometimes feel like Father’s Day is every day? The small things that we get on Mother’s Day – finishing a coffee without a child needing you to find a teeny tiny piece of Lego, or going to the loo without any children asking for a snack whilst you’re reaching for the loo roll – feel to me like the kind of luxury fathers get on a daily basis. (And sometimes twice a day, for 40 minutes a time. Yes, I’ve done the maths.)

In one year I figured out (with two other mothers by my side, to triple check the maths) Jesse, and men in general, spends ten days on the loo. TEN DAYS of pure peace and quiet, just on the loo! And for me and the other two mums? We figured out we spend 15 hours on the loo in a year. Ten days vs 15 hours. There it is, ladies. Actual man vs woman loo stats.

Then, of course, Jesse has a football season ticket to Crystal Palace, which involves a pre- and post-match pint. Add to this the 90-minute game time, plus an hour of travel to the game and back – that’s 6 hours of me being alone with the kids on a Saturday. Hmmm. When I think that this happens almost every Saturday when it’s football season ... Then there are drinks after work, a quick gym session in his lunch break – the list goes on.

And I also work, but it seems that I don’t get these luxuries. OK, OK, I do sometimes have a photo shoot in Italy or Portugal which will take me away for three or four days but GENERALLY the ratio of hours for mum vs dad on the parenting front is 10:1.

When lockdown struck, I actually hoped this would be the time Jesse understood how parenting is RELENTLESS and so demanding of every ounce of your soul. I hoped he’d find a new respect for me and mothers everywhere. I’m not sure it worked, though. He still always managed to disappear for a poo or have a Zoom call in the most inconvenient times, and once I even caught him having an afternoon nap when on a ‘Zoom call’ in our bedroom-turned-office.

So you see my point – Father’s Day is every day. But despite all this, last Father’s Day I wanted to give Jesse something really special; something that he’d remember. So I gave him the kids all day while I took myself off for a coffee and pedicure.

‘I’m babysitting?’ Jesse asked.

‘No, darling, you’re parenting.’

And they had the best day ever. Some one-on-one father’s time together. Jesse took them out on a really fun day and they all came back buzzing, which of course had my mum guilt creeping in and I had a pang of wishing I had been with them too. Damn you, ‘mum guilt’!

Louise's book, Mama Still Got It, is available to purchase now.

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