Standing in the rain, clapping
Standing in the rain, clapping
Scott Dunlop

Good morning, friends!

I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about parenting styles, skills, methods or tricks. Mostly I think about coffee. Being a parent isn’t all tactics and strategies; mostly it’s just about looking after your kids.

This weekend I spent five hours at a sports derby day at my kid’s primary school. Standing in the rain, clapping. That was parenting.

I tried to fix their tablet as it wasn't working, and failed. That was parenting.

I made supper on Friday and we had leftovers on Saturday. Parenting again.

I quelled arguments, shared most of my chocolate, laughed at their ridiculous jokes (as they did at mine) and searched a room for a pair of shoes that had vanished as if they had belonged to Liam Neeson’s daughter. Yep, parenting. By the way Liam, at least it was only my daughter’s SHOES that disappeared, Mr "Superhero Dad".

Someone I know said recently that parenting isn’t an actual thing. They contend that it’s something passive that happens whether or not you’re involved, and that is true, but your presence is important. It does just “happen”, and we do tend to sweat more small stuff than we should, but it’s also an accumulation of thousands of tiny tasks, moments and words that makes up who we are as moms and dads.

Take a look at parents on TV and in movies. The writers seem to be at a loss for how to portray this role in their lives. Mostly they are either cooking pancakes for their kids or driving them to school. If you’re lucky you may see them at the park, only they don’t try and bump each other off the see saw like my family, they’re always pushing the swings as if they’re heavily sedated.

TV parents have their own bed where they retire after their kids have settled down in the nursery.

TV parents wear whatever they want and don’t worry about snot stains at waist height. Related: have you ever wanted to re-wear something only to notice it’s got blobs of food all over it, and you realise you were wearing it like that previously? No? Me neither.

TV parents sit down with their kids and have earnest discussions about things. That’s it. The child is then considered wise and the parent has won an imaginary battle. Their kids never repeat the same mistakes, over and over and over.

It’s hard to say just what makes us parents (apart from the mini humans milling around the house, obviously), but you realise that’s exactly what you are when you’re standing on a field at 8am on a Saturday, in the rain, clapping.

What would you say defines you as a parent? Share your stories with us at and you could feature on Parent24!

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