I never wanted to wear a purse.
I knew I was a real man, even though I was staying home with two young boys and an infant boy while my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Bringing Home The Bacon, worked. Sure, that was at the time a traditional female role, but I was OK with it.
Still didn’t mean I wanted to wear a purse. Fortunately, I had a secret weapon, for just such an emergency.
As a stay-at-home dad, I’d never used diaper bags with flowers and just-oh-my-gosh-how-cute designs. Instead I used a well-designed, man’s man’s, manly type school backpack. Which worked just fine with our two oldest boys, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy, since they were so close in age.
Since Hyper Lad, who came along five years later with his own baby stuff, lived in the Baby Bjorn on my chest, I couldn’t carry the backpack and lacked trained sherpas.
Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy were the untrained sort. When I needed what they were supposed to be carrying, I’d usually be handed a Transformer or appallingly sticky Buzz Lightyear instead.
I had a problem and an answer. My secret weapon: a White Wipe in Dad Fu, the dad-centric martial art. I used the Flex, Pop, Bend, Tilt technique. By the time I finished that first beer, I had my answer.
The next morning, Hyper Lad and I purchased my first pair of cargo-pocket pants – first, but not the last, much to a certain someone’s chagrin.
Those things are amazing, wonderful and great. I packed in a change of clothes, diapers and wipes, zip-loc bags, bottles, breast milk or formula, a spare binky, my own regular carry, and assorted bits and bobs.
I swaggered around town, baby in Bjorn, thigh pockets full of the necessaries and almost completely unable to negotiate narrow aisles without knocking over everything at thigh height. Sure, it looked liked I’d decided to become the world’s first full-sized double watermelon smuggler, but it was worth it.
Eventually, cargo pockets were on every pair of pants I owned. The tailor said I was crazy, asking to have a pair sown on to my good suit pants.
Crazy like a smart guy, I thought, right up until my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Saying Something Important Because Her Face Is Turning Purple And Loud So I Really Wish I’d Been Listening Earlier, convinced me of the error of my ways in that one respect. I wore a lot of cargo pockets, is what I’m trying to say.
One of the central tenets of Dad Fu is this: Find A Way. Through years of screaming, crying, temper tantrums and even some misbehavior on the part of my kids, I’d managed to elevate my skills. It all factors into how well we can cope with the obstacles (and occasional poopy diaper) life throws at us.
This is Dad Fu.
Welcome to the dojo.
Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer are the authors of A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook, a fast and funny how-to book to help new dads cope with being responsible for a smelly, loud and very messy life. And also their baby. Follow Richard on Twitter @dudesguide and Barry on Twitter @brogator.