Parenting Talking Point

What kind of Dad (or Mum) are you?

Top Dad
Written by Stuart Wickes

What kind of Dad (or Mum) are you?

Stuart Profile SmallIt was just a passing comment on the way home from school, but it obviously said something about how she sees me as a Dad. Which got me wondering about what kind of Dad I really am? So, come on kids, spill the beans…  

He’s not that kind of Dad

“Can you carry these for me?” asks Hannah’s friend, pushing his lunchbox, coat and bookbag in my direction as we leave the playground.

Hannah looks at him and laughs, then scolds him. “He’s not that kind of Dad you know.”

I’m not quite sure what she means but I like that she thinks I am not that kind of Dad.

Although it makes me wonder what kind of Dad I am. I know what kind of Dad I want to be. But wanting, trying and being are not the same thing.

I am not that kind of Dad

I didn’t intend to have a handful of extra kids around for a fancy dress party that afternoon. I didn’t intend to wear a wig, make a party tea, dance, play musical chairs and hand out party bags; it wasn’t even anyone’s birthday and it makes no sense to have an impromptu party, not when Kirstie’s gone out in the car, Cameron has to be at a piano lesson in an hour and I have a stack of work to complete. No, I am not that kind of Dad.

Cup cakes

I’m not an impromptu party kind of Dad.. or am I?

But boy we did have fun that afternoon.  Unexpected fun.  And I liked it.

Not like trainspotting. I’ve never liked that. I only ever went once. Long ago, during Matthew’s Thomas the Tank Engine obsession; we only stayed for one train. I am that kind of Dad.

Are you sure?

Hmmm, so why did I just spend two hours with train spotters at Carnforth station? I only went to put Kirstie on a train, but when I saw them all waiting, curiosity got the better of me. So I stood watching them, as they stood watching and waiting for something. Until I’d been watching so long I felt I couldn’t leave until I’d seen for myself whatever it was they were waiting for.  Is that how trainspotting begins? I am not that kind of Dad.

Trainspotters at Carnforth Station

Watching them waiting. But what are they all waiting for??

Am I that kind of Dad?

I watched and waited for ever until with a whistle, clatter and clank a shiny old steam locomotive hissed past, sputting smoke from blackened funnel. It was but a fleeting moment, of shutter clicks, video whip pans and soot in the eye. And then it was gone. Over. And soon the trainspotters too. Disappeared.

Steam Train at Carnforth Station

So, this is what they were waiting for. Not my thing at all. Or is it?

Who are these people that spend their time studying timetables, travelling cross-country to stand around, watch and wait, just to capture a fleeting moment with a click?

I may not be a trainspotter. But I think I am that kind of Dad.

Talking Points

What kind of Dad or Mum are you? Are you sure?

Join the Conversation

Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo and post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Do leave a comment with your thoughts.




About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


  • Hello:

    My dad split when I was a year old, so I never knew him. When we first had our two sons, now 11 and 15, I often wondered what kind of dad I would be since I did not have a role model to follow. I want them to have everything I did not have, especially somewhere there for me no matter what. I try my best. Our boys are definitely the most important things in out lives. We make every major decision with them in mind. I have turned down career options several times because the job would take me away from them. The job will always be there, but they will not. Hopefully, I am doing an OK job. Time will tell.

    • Curtis, I so agree about putting family first, especially while they are growing up. There’s more to life than career. Thanks for commenting.

  • Its always a nagging question that one asks themselves almost every day. Its even more when your kid does something extremely naughty. What kind of a parent am I? In think in most cases we flog ourselves too much when we did just fine…

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow Us

We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


Trips100 - Travel Blogs   Trips100

© Copyright: Stuart Wickes & Kirstie Pelling 2000-2018