Soppiness and sobbing are important patriarchal privileges.

It's great to be a dad on Father's Day. You feel so proud and grown-up. It's also important to reflect on what a cheesy wuss you have become.

Parenthood will cause you to get emotional in movies that you used to think were lame. You find yourself excitedly rushing home to see the kids after work instead of sticking around for drinks. Saving money where you used to spend it on fun.

My pre-kid self would hate my post-kid self.

Before you have children the world is full of boring people, family films and soppiness. After you become a dad, everything makes sense.


You start to care about things. It's an instinctive change. You quickly become soft and wussy.

At the same time parents need to appear tough. Rule No1. Dads should never blub in front of their kids.

Last week I broke that rule.

I was playing my guitar while my 7-year-old sang Father and Son by Cat Stevens. Our little boy is a great singer and he knows all the words. I held it together till the second verse. But the pride was overwhelming. Tears started pouring down my cheeks. I turned away but there was no hiding it. Such poignant lyrics. Such shameful crying in front of my boy.

In retrospect, I was asking for trouble. Father and Son is an emotional song at the best of times. Slammed in the middle of a father and son bonding moment it's dangerously heartwarming.

"Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry. Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy." It's a brutal explosion of love and worry for a parent.

I recorded the couch sing-along on my phone and played it to a friend at work. He also has young kids and immediately welled up.

Embarrassingly, a younger workmate caught us. He stomped out in disgust, yelling, "What have you two become?" Fair enough.


Imagine if my pre-fatherhood self caught me blubbing to a Cat Stevens song sung by a 7-year-old. Or worse, recording it and taking it to work to show off. I'd have ripped myself to shreds.

I have become a cheeseball.

But I'm not the only one. I saw Queen at the Vector Arena the other night. Drummer Roger Taylor had his son up on stage playing with the band. It was great.

But junior was a sniff ahead of the beat. He was pushing where Dad sits right in the pocket. Roger is a great drummer. You can't underestimate his influence on Queen's sound. I'd say his beats are equal in importance to May's guitar sound.

He is also a good dad and he didn't care about the microsecond his son was out. When their eyes met I saw that familiar cheesy look of parental joy.

Father's Day is a good time to reflect on all the childless friends who you've turned your back on. You've changed and they haven't. They can stay out for days after you have gone home.

How can they be expected to understand you ruining Guy Fawkes Day with new safety measures? They rightfully spit on the ground at you spending 90 per cent of your weekends at Bunnings.

Children are a dangerously addictive drug that takes over your life.

It's sad but some people get left behind.

Of course, some men become dads and don't change. Some do far worse. Those people are malfunctioning units.

I hope they didn't get presents yesterday.

I know I deserved my impressive array of Father's Day gifts. But there should be balance. A good parent is rewarded for becoming cheesy and soft. A great parent finds ways to party. Luckily our society has rituals to help. The barbecue, for example, is a fantastic way for parents to act like they used to.

No one is more fun than a dad who has been barbecuing for 12 hours in the backyard. Fence in the kids and you may even get loose enough to reconnect with old friends.

Doing the right thing, going home early, hugging people. These things make no sense to the pre-parenthood human. Father's Day is a day for the world to show appreciation for the complete deconstruction and rearrangement of a man's life.

For our part, fathers should do what they can to rein in the cheese.

Which I'll do - right after I have another blub thinking about my son's singing.