Beta Daddy Series – Introducing Man of my Family

Welcome back for the third guest post in my Beta Daddy Series, where I shine the spotlight on the failings and celebratings of Beta (or Alpha) Dads, and deflect some scrutiny away from my own shortcomings for once.  As I explained previously, I have been asked many times about whether or not there is a Beta Daddy.  The short answer is no, not in my house, but just as there are many many Beta Mummies, surely there must be plenty of Beta Daddies out there too…?
This time I’m pleased to introduce Chris from Man of my Family.  If you haven’t before, do check out his blog – his posts are a lovely balance of humour, honesty and sentimental.

Over to Chris as he explores whether he is an Alpha or a Beta:
“In preparation for this article I thought about what defines alpha males and beta males. I’ve always considered myself a beta; a worker, a team player, not sure of myself. Applying that to parenting, I think a Beta Dad is probably best described as a dad in a constant state of chaos due to a lack of confidence, a need to consult with the Mummy, and a fear of things going wrong. Think Basil Fawlty and Manuel in one body; knocking things over, getting things wrong whilst saying (in Spanish) “Yep, got it [whilst under breath] what are lentils and since when did my daughter eat them. I don’t even know what they fucking are”.

So what is an Alpha Dad? He is in control, he looks cool, his kids follow him. There will be no flustering. Think James Bond, where the sick on his shoulder looks like it’s meant to be there. Calvin Klein sick! The question is; which one am I?

This question is in the muddy water for me, because since I’ve been a parent I think I’m a lot more alpha. I’m still a team player, I still care what others think and I definitely still want all the answers. But now I’m comfortable with the opposite sex, I’m more comfortable making decisions, I’m more direct and commanding. Unfortunately the other sex isn’t necessarily more comfortable with me, the decisions I make are wrong and I still don’t get my own way! Let’s just say I’m an alpha work in progress.

I have a friend who I think ticks both alpha boxes; and he really nailed it recently. He was in town with his 3 year old daughter and 3 month old son. After a few hours, disaster struck; the daughter wanted to toilet, the son filled his nappy and both hit “the hungry” all at the same time. What did he do? Smashed it, that’s what; straight into the bathroom, he plonked his daughter on the toilet, changed his son’s nappy, back into Early Learning Centre to let his daughter play with the trains whilst he whipped out some milk for his son. At this point he realised he was sweating and felt shaky. Then his daughter walked back over “Daddy it’s ok, you play with the trains, I’ll feed the baby”. To be alpha you have to have followers, and this man’s daughter follows him and cares about his well-being. My daughter will barely leave the house with me!

I’m going to share with you my alpha experience too; and it is better than his because it starts with explosives! We went away this year, and we had “speedy security” passes, brilliant. My wife queued with our daughter and left me in charge of the seven grey trays that you have to use at the airport (3 bags, 1 laptop, 1 full of liquids, 1 with meds and one with metal belt loops and watches). I was all over it, and I stopped “oh, this queue is getting longer”, I didn’t worry. Another five minutes later and the queue was longer still, until a member of airport staff walked up to me “are you Mr X, come this way…….your wife has tested double positive for explosives; can you look after your daughter”.  Aside from thinking “of course I bloody well can” there wasn’t a lot else time to think.  My wife and her passport were magicked off to elsewhere.  Now I had a daughter to look after and seven bits of our luggage to get back…laptop, iPad, 3 iPhones, my wife’s rather sexy undies (maybe).  I spent 45 minutes trying to get those bits and keep my daughter safe and entertained whilst I growled at the two or three idiots who complained about our pushchair being in the way.  I was a genuine pro; and of course there were no explosives (probably) so I got my wife back too.  My point is, I was alpha but my mind was all over the place; and apart from insisting we had Burger King like the alpha I briefly was, it took me hours to calm down.

So “What’s your point?” I hear you ask.  I’ve had plenty of beta moments, including the one where my 3 month old cried at me for 3 hours while my wife met with the other ante-natal Mums; what did I do?  Panic, a lot.  I’ve also had my share of alpha moments, but all of those have been accompanied by a feeling of stress, helplessness or panic.  So my point is this; it’s all an illusion, you are more alpha than you think.  Being a parent makes you take control; and mime “fuck off” to the interfering old bag who points out your child is chewing the shopping trolley.  Being beta is how we feel, but if we define alpha as “having your shit together” then alpha is how we act.”

EPSON MFP image

Chris’ Bio:
I’m the Man of my family, and the plan as a husband and father is to be honest, positive and maybe even helpful on all things parenting, marriage and masculinity. I’m blogging for fun and to make sense of parenting for myself. Sharing my thoughts, epiphanies, and a few trials and tribulations seems a fun way to do it!
You can track Chris down here: 
www.manofmyfamily.co.uk
@manofmyfamily
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