Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Days Out With The Little One...Sporting A Pink Bag

Kelis, the American singer, rather controversially sang "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" in the hit single Milkshake.  In my case, it is more like "my pink nappy bag meets all the mommies in the play-yard".  I was out with my little girl last week visiting a local garden centre with all its child-friendly attractions, baked scones with cream, and an array of English teas.  Now before you comment on the fact that I am drawn to high-tea and pink nappy bags, think again; this is a father's dedication to his beloved daughter - memories I treasure.  These little outings can sometimes really make me feel like a fish out of water; I'm sure I'd blend in far easier if I were at a rugby game or a Pearl Jam gig, but the truth is, those luxuries are slightly harder to come by than a trip down to the local garden centre and tea room.  I am literally this little testosterone floater in-amongst a sea of oestrogen.  I always feel slightly uneasy. Shame, that poor man I imagine them saying, single dad or he only gets to see his kid once a week and this is their outing.  Sometimes the looks are almost tangible...or perhaps it's just me feeling a little out of place.  

It's mid-morning, mothers are out in full force with their little ones.  The NCT ladies are breaking the monotony of their day.  Enter me.  I am armed with a gorgeous little, soon-to-be, three-year-old, pink nappy bag covered in bows which announces itself with the words "Blooming Gorgeous" sewn onto the front pocket, and a sheepish look.  I enter the coffee-fuelled, cupcake fest which seems to be a utopian haven for mothers and their young offspring.  It's practically the human equivalent of female wild animals gathering at the watering hole, checking out who has the prettiest stripes, longest neck, fluffiest coat, etc.

I often wonder why I feel so out of place.  I guess it stems back to social norms.  Despite the ever-changing world we live in, fathers who are at home with their kids during the working day are still a rarity (this is not a permanent arrangement for me, it's only during my holidays).  I met up with a friend a few weekends ago (he has a little boy and my daughter and his son really enjoy running around the local parks together) and he made a point of saying that he has a neutral nappy bag which he walks around with as to not stand out too much.  Probably a good idea!  I suppose I'm not all that fussed; and hey, it provides me with a little bit of internal satisfaction giggling to myself at the fact that I am sporting a pink bag everywhere my daughter and I go.  Social norms have a habit of changing over time; in psychology we are all too aware of this, particularly when it comes to diagnosis.  Interestingly, up until the 1950's, it was deemed an abnormal psychological disorder for women not to spend their inheritance on their male counterparts; failure to do so meant that the individual would be diagnosed with a psychological disorder - thank goodness for changes in social norms I hear you cry!

So, ladies, if you see me out there ruffling through a pink bag, please do come and say hello.

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