Mackindergarten: This is my time

OPINION: What men really mean when they say they should grab a beer one of these days

One of the worst things about being a parent is having to spend time with other parents. People you have nothing in common with – except that you successfully procreated around about the same time. And that’s it. One thing. One simple mistake.

It’s not enough. It’s not enough on which to build a friendship. You don’t see this in other situations. Dangerous criminals don’t make friends in prison just because they share the same crime.

“What are you in for?”

“I killed a guy with a hammer.”

“ME TOO!! We have so much in common. We should go grab a beer!”

But what we really mean
That’s what us dads say to each other: “We should go grab a beer.” 

We both know it’s not going to happen. We’re both thinking the same thing: “I have maybe one night a month where I can go out. I’m not gonna waste it on YOU.” 

All we’re really doing is telling each other that we still know how to have a good time. Or that we’re really into self-medication.

So when we say “we should go grab a beer”, we really mean “we should go to our own respective homes, collapse on the sofa, wait until everyone else in the family has gone to bed, then pour a massive whiskey and watch ‘The Lord of the Rings’ alone for the 200th time. Alone. Because that’s MY TIME.”

Wanna be all on my own
I do that. Dads do that. Constantly searching for MY TIME. It’s a quest. The quest to be alone. I need MY TIME. Even though you know you’ll pay for it in the morning. Because being a parent never stops. It’s a rollercoaster ride and you’re not allowed to get off until you are dead.

It’s the same old story. We’ve been at work all day, then the kids have to be picked up, we get them home, we cook dinner, get the kids to have a bath and then bed – but not before at least one of them has had a meltdown. 

Finally they’re asleep. We’re both back on the sofa. We talk about our days. We stare at the TV, trying to work out what to watch. We fail at that. We stare at our phones. We stare at each other. 

Time for bed
And then…THEN my wife says those five magic words: “Well. I’m going to bed.”

This is it! My chance for MY TIME. Finally.

I know, as soon as she’s gone, I’m breaking open the scotch and watching ‘Star Wars’. ALL OF THEM. 

And the worst part is, she knows this too. Who am I kidding? 

This is why we don’t deserve nice things.


“Good idea, you do that. You must be tired.”
“Are you not coming?” 
“No you go, I’m going to stay up a bit.”
“But it’s almost eleven. Aren’t you tired?”
“No. It’s weird, I thought I would be, but I’m not.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“Oh, I’m gonna watch a bit of TV.”
“For how long?
“Just a few more minutes. I’ll come to bed in a bit.”
“You’ll be shattered tomorrow.”
“No, really. I’m good.” 
“Come on. You look tired … we can snuggle?”
“Please … don’t do this … don’t make me choose …”
“I just thought -”