Mark Tales of Parenting, Rants 3 Comments

Seeking Sanctuary on the Toilet

I’ve decided to embrace my inner grumpiness through a series of posts I’m calling ‘the mutterings of a middle-aged man’. And before you say it, no, it wasn’t always such; at least not officially.

And where better to start than this.

I’ll leave you to ponder this photo for a few seconds, although I should probably warn you, look away now if you’re easily irked…

Are we done?

I’d like to assume you share my horror, although judging by those I share a house with, maybe I shouldn’t be quite so presumptuous.

I’m talking about the ring of ire which, given the subject matter, possibly isn’t the best choice of phrase.

It has nothing to do with last nights curry and everything to do with what surrounds the toilet.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 4 Comments

Resolutions of a Stay-at-home Dad

I’ve never been one for resolutions, new year or otherwise. Much like anything left on the shelf I resolved to put up last year, they’ll gradually slide until falling down the back of the sofa never to be seen again. And besides, I like to keep an element of surprise in our relationship so to brief Janet on her impending disappointments would only be counter-productive.

But that’s not to say I haven’t set myself some goals for the year ahead. Not life-changing goals, mind. I’m not planning to save the disabled donkeys of Djibouti or scale Kilimanjaro on a quest to find myself. For a start, I don’t even know if Djibouti has disabled donkeys in need of saving, and if I did decide to find myself I need only look to the sofa, in bed or on my hands and knees in Poundland scavenging for the last packet of Chocolate Cheerios.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Short Stories & Poetry 1 Comment

The Penny Pincher

Strange things are afoot. Tales are emerging of a grim creature intent on frightening children and adults alike. So terrifying it would give a killer clown the willies.

Rumour has it he’s the result of an experiment that went horribly wrong. An ambiguous mix of chemistry and alchemy. One part stay-at-home dad, many parts don’t-make-me-get-a-job.

Some think it the stuff of urban legend. Others claim to have witnessed his devilment first hand. All know him as ‘The Penny Pincher’.

One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have experienced his presence on numerous occasions.

Jeanette (not her proper name), takes up the story.

“It was early October. The temperature had dropped into single figures so I went to turn the heating on.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 10 Comments


I’ve started running. I’d like to say it’s part of a wider health kick or due to a sudden epiphany about my own mortality, but I’d be lying.

Truth is, a couple of weeks ago I lost a race with Luca. Not a proper race, mind. There was no starting gun, agreed finish line or post race drug test.

And if this sounds like I’m making excuses, I’ve barely even started.

He was wearing his PE kit. I was carrying two school bags and a coat. I gave him a head start and he set off running at ‘get set…’

But as anyone watching will tell you, I wasn’t catching him. If anything he was pulling away. And if I’d dropped the bags, which I did consider doing, it was still highly unlikely I would have won.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Tales of Fatherhood 4 Comments

Confessions of a House Husband

Not those kind of confessions, get your mind out of the gutter.

If you were expecting this to begin with a rugged plumber knocking at the door I can only apologise. The most excitement you’d get from me in that scenario is if he didn’t condemn our boiler for another year. And if I’m naked it’s only because the kids let him in without telling me. Again.

Seriously, were you really expecting some kind of 70’s style smutty soft porn? Really? I mean, I can give you 70’s style smutty soft porn if that’s what you want…


Happy now? No, didn’t think so.

The confessions I’m talking about involve domesticated deceit. They’re a glimpse into the dark arts of house-husbandry. Secrets that could easily see me shunned in the playground or worse still, ostracised from the SSSP (Secret Society of the Stay-at-home Parent).… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 10 Comments

Pop-Tart Dad

You know the whole ‘I’d always put my kids first’ malarkey.

You often hear it said on the Jeremy Kyle show, just before it’s revealed they went on a six day bender to Benidorm leaving their kids home alone with some Pop-Tarts and a Fruit Shoot.

Or a blurry meme on Facebook that looks like a greetings card bought in Woolworths circa 1978 and overshared to within an inch of its life.

But whilst you’ll not see me announcing it on daytime TV or social media, I’d like to think I do at least share the sentiment.

That I’d always put my kids welfare before my own.

Were they to step out into a busy main road without looking for example, I like to think I’d be the one who saved them, scooping them up with both arms whilst somersaulting to safety, then lifting them above my head as a trophy of my heroism while a school choir, that just so happened to be passing, sang Westlife’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ from across the street.… Read the full post