You can’t beat a summer barbecue: meat, booze, friends, maybe even some sunshine. But how come Mum does all the work while Dad gets all the kudos? Because as I’ve clearly highlighted in the Dad versus Mum blogs so far, all things in parenting are not equal.
1. Dad cracks open a beer. This is the first step for any Dad tending a barbecue. It’s impossible to be in charge of cooking meat with flames, unless mildly to moderately innebriated. Especially when there are kids around.
2. Dad washes the congealed fat and ash from the barbecue, which could date back anything from one week to 11 months, depending on how wet the previous summer was. This is his penance for masquerading as an actual chef. A comedy apron can be worn from this point, to help create a professional image.
3. Dad stacks the ‘ready to light’ barbecue coal pack into the barbecue and breaks out his new bottle of barbecue lighter fluid. He jizzes a load on top of the aforementioned pack, drops a match – and voila! Flames. Stand back Dad, your work is almost done.
4. Dad creates a ‘keep away kids’ line using kebab sticks. Only other dads are allowed to step beyond this line. They help Barbecue Dad guard the flames.
5. Dad cooks some meat on the barbecue. Dad accepts endless plaudits from all who dine. The end.
1. Mum starts planning the shopping for the fucking barbecue at least six days in advance. Possibly more.
2. The Day of The Fucking Barbecue arrives. Mum is up at dawn, boiling potatoes for the potato salad, boiling pasta for the kids because they won’t eat any of the fucking barbecue, and nervously checking the fridge to see what she’s forgotten. Whilst feeding the kids their fucking breakfast.
3. Afternoon arrives. Mum starts making salads, and divvying out various cartons of coleslaw/humous/dip into ceramic dishes, pretending that they are homemade. Given her workload while preparing for the fucking barbecue, this is completely acceptable.
4. Mum opens various packets of raw meat from Tesco and delivers them to Dad AKA the Barbecue God, so he can lay them on his holy flames.
5. Mum plates up food for several children, delivers a fourth cold beer to Dad, dishes out drinks to guests, tops up the snack platter, slices cheese for the burgers, delivers a large plate for the cooked meat to Dad, plates up dinner for her and Dad, serves pudding for all, dishes out more drinks for the guests, puts the children to bed, collects dirty dishes and dried-out humous in ceramic dishes, puts everything in the dishwasher/bin, offers tea/coffee to all, offers drinks to all, loses her sanity, finds it again, drinks some wine, and listens to Dad soaking up all the thanks for dinner whilst silently praising the end of the Fucking Barbecue.
About Alison McGarragh-Murphy
Alison writes and edits stuff for The Motherload, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for four years.
Image credit: Alison McGarragh-Murphy