Columnist: Who’s The Daddy

When you’ve been around the block a few times eventually you learn that there’s very little to be afraid of.

Experience teaches you how to laugh in the face of death, redundancy and cancer and tell it to pucker up and kiss your well-muscled behind. Like Bill Hicks said, life is just a ride. And nobody gets out alive. However, there are two things in this world that are truly terrifying. DIY and your children’s homework.

I don’t know about you but whenever our kids ask for help with their homework I make a noise like a small animal fighting for its life. Particularly maths, now they’ve reached that age when numbers are replaced by letters and everything’s written in Klingon.

Now both of our kids are at big school their homework requires them to find out about stuff and actually know things. You don’t get any extra points for colouring in nicely any more.

For instance, this week daughter #2 needed to find out what was in soil, apart from rocks and worms and that. “Er, I haven’t got a Scooby. Google it?” was the best I could manage. Now here’s the thing. When they were little, your kids thought you knew everything about everything. Now they’re older the penny has dropped and they know you know nothing about nothing, that you’ve been winging it all along.

As if being hopeless at children’s homework isn’t bad enough, just prep a room for painting and open a large cardboard box of flat-pack furniture and watch my face crumple like the skin on a pensioner’s elbow.

Last week the boss mentioned in passing that our hallway and staircase “needed doing” and reacted with horror when I suggested that we pay a professional painter and decorator to do the work.

The Outrage Bus that’s doing the rounds then made its scheduled stop at our house. Apparently the boss resents paying a pro to do something she could do herself.

And, just to spite me, as a warm-up she painted the bathroom, drove to IKEA, trudged round it, bought and assembled a six foot tall bathroom cabinet while yours truly cooked Sunday lunch.

That’s my role in DIY. Make supportive noises, make tea and applaud once it’s all over.