Expat Dad: Organised parents don’t make no sense

Expat Dad: Our regular ‘parent in Shanghai’ columnist, freely offering what Dads love to give – advice, warnings, guidance and general lessons in life!


You know those kinds of parents that are always inviting other parents and kids to their house? They all open the door with flair and panache; it swings quickly open with a “Helloooo!” – what they are really saying is “we’re better than youuu!”


Every inch of their house of clean, their sofa is new (not just very clean – they told you it’s new), their toilet paper is a special kind of quilted silk that gets right up there and leaves you feeling spring-fresh. They’ve ordered in a delicious selection of Norwegian salmons and Chilean melons for all to enjoy, their house has a very clear zonal delineation: child’s play area maintained in one place, other area for adults to sit, ruminate, and generally be beard-strokingly sophisticated. You know that they like their lifestyle to be a little ‘compartmentalized’. Because they told you. They actually say things like that (while they glance distractedly at their iPad, swiping with distinction).


The same batch of Jeremys and Tiffanys can also be found organizing, or rather ‘hosting’, picnics in local parks. Their children are better dressed and more fashionable than most adults. They’ll bring other insanely well-groomed parents along, each of whom brings enough outdoors seating and barbecue paraphernalia which would allow them to build a small but proud village. Where do they keep all this stuff? Do they live inside a shopping catalogue?


It’s not quite at that level of shop-bought organization at our house. If there’s toilet paper next to the toilet in the morning then I congratulate myself for the forward-planning that must have gone into that.


If there’s food in the fridge, clean clothes ready to wear and the heating is working then I feel like the boxes are ticked and I can just sit back and wait for the Father of the Year award to come through the post. Amongst the sprawling epic of daily parenting business, such as ensuring that your child both behaves itself and has a correct and varied intake of vitamins and roughage, how do these strange people find the remaining shreds of energy to adhere to every single last page on the parenting guidebooks? If anyone has any tips, please share.


Now I have to reply to the latest invite, to go to the latest parent’s lunch. Of course I’m going. Excellent salmon.




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Categories: Expat Life


Foreigner in Shanghai


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