With everyone back to school this week I thought it was time to pass on some advice. For some of you, parent politics is something you are more than familiar with. For those of you who have deposited your little darling at school for the first time this week there are some things you need to know.
You may think you have only brought your child to school. You'd be wrong. You are now very much back in school yourself, except your lessons are 15 minutes long and happen in the car park.
Fear not. Here is Hapless Dad's guide to parents. Learn to recognise the types so that you can make sure you are in the right gang and most importantly, get to know your enemy.
Let's start with the dad's first as there are only a few variations of the breed. I'll produce a follow up post on the mums.
Overview: Grumpy Dad does the school run because there is no other possible choice. He has already tried to join a cult just to escape the ordeal but with no success.
Appearance: You cannot tell Grumpy Dad by his clothes, only by the look on his face which says "for fuck's sake get me out of here"
Behaviour: Runs into school dragging child behind. Throws through gate. Runs off. If forced to attend a school function or kids party he will bring a book.
Favourite phrase: Jesus Christ Harry will you get a shift on, Daddy's got to drive to Bristol.
Positives: You will NEVER be forced into a polite conversation with Grumpy Dad. He has no intention of chatting to anybody.
Negatives: If you are the wife of Grumpy Dad you will know nothing about what happens in school. He will not know any of the parents, the names of any of the other children, the date for Harvest Festival or who your daughter's teacher is.
Overview: Randy Dad enjoys doing the school run on account of the female to male ratio. He suggested to his wife that he would 'shoulder the burden' to 'give her a break'
Appearance: Randy Dad may work or be a stay at home dad which can dictate his appearance. Either way he will put in a special effort before drop off and pick up. Possibly with a little too much Old Spice liberally sprayed around the groin area.
Behaviour: If he is being subtle he will bring cakes for the mums to share at the gate. If he's being blatant he will continually mention a voucher he has for a local coffee house that he simply can't find anyone to use and which runs out in an hour. "Can I tempt anyone?" Chatty, friendly, smiley and complimentary. He understands that most new mums self esteem is on the floor and knows that paying some attention can pay dividends. He also knows your kids names and will tell you how wonderful they are.
Favourite Phrase: Don't be so hard on yourself. You look in great shape. He needs to appreciate you more.
Positives: Randy Dad will offer to baby sit so that he can tempt you in for coffee.
Negatives: If he comes on a parent's night out you'll have to spend the night beating him off with a stick.
Overview: The Dad's Dad was one of the sporty ones at school. He craves the company of other dads and will gravitate towards them at pick up and drop off.
Appearance: Straight back, chest out, stomach in. Will stand with arms folded along with everyone else in the Dad's Dad group.
Behaviour: Loud laughter, as if from a 'special' joke that only the Dad's Dads know. It will feel like they are laughing about you. If he is not the Alpha Male he will gravitate towards him. Dad's Dads are pack animals and feel safest when protected at the flank. Only talks to other Dad's Dads.
Favourite phrase: Did anyone see the Spurs game?
Positives: Dad's Dad will welcome you into the pack with open arms if you are a Dad's Dad yourself. He will invite you for a beer or to watch some rugby.
Negatives: Will talk loudly about his weekend away on a rugby tour or stag do or golf weekend while you spent your weekend at four kids parties or steam cleaning the house after a bout of stomach flu.
Hopefully this guide will point you in the right direction. The mums will follow shortly so stay tuned.