A good dad is only disgusting if you're a monster

THERE is a carefree joy that comes with being a father of a very young child.

Women look at you with a nod and a smile that suggests you're some rarefied creature. They're just so happy to see a man and child together having fun.


Dad called 'disgusting' for feeding daughter in shopping centre parents' room

That means the kind of horrifying judgements they throw at women with children don't come anywhere near you.

You're the dad and your trying your best and that's enough.

I've never noticed anyone side-eyeing me for picking up, throwing around or cuddling and kissing my little girl.

Even the condescension doesn't worry me. My daughter and I have a blast together.

Journalist Owen Jacques with his daughter.
Journalist Owen Jacques with his daughter.

However, there are places where dads are tolerated but never welcomed.

These are the "mothers' rooms" at shopping centres, now politely renamed as "parents' rooms".

It was not so long ago that these were physically attached to the ladies' toilets and I suspect some are holding on to a residual angst that times have changed.

Men changing nappies?! That's ladies' business!

What if these men see a wayward breast while a mother is feeding?

(Sidenote: I'm so focused on my bub's foul nappy, I wouldn't notice if there was a whole stage show going on in the corner).


Anyway, I feel it every time I walk in. The eyes fix on mine and then fix on my daughter, and there is a slight relief and a begrudging tolerance.

"Oh he has a little girl. That's OK then…"

That's what froths my blood about this tale out of Central Queensland that a father was called "disgusting" and "a dirty old ----" for being so bold as to take his little girl for a quiet feed.

I'm a confident and I have zero worries about what any man, woman or child makes of my behaviour with my daughter. If she is healthy and joyous, then mission accomplished.

But not all fathers are the same.

Many are self-conscious, aware that people still consider caring for a child the domain of our wives, girlfriends or partners. The subtle "What are you doing here?" looks are not lost on them, just as they're not lost on me.

But instead of ignoring the ignorant, perhaps they decide to call an end to their day together and take baby home instead.

Maybe they hesitate when their bundle of smiles burps or wants a kiss in public, or wants a wrestle at the park.

Making a snide, judgemental comment at a dad won't make anything better, but may make things worse.

And any tarnishing of the beauty and wonder that comes with a dad and child is unforgivable.

If you want to see what happens when a child isn't loved truly and openly, take a look at the person who decided to take a swipe at a father caring for his child.

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