When being a stay-at-home Dad is no pushover

Dave Diebold pictured in Skerries. Pic:Mark Condren 12.2.2020

A FORMER journalist turned stay-at-home dad has put his misadventures of being thrust into the deep end of parenting into a new book titled ‘Diary Of A Wimpy Dad’.
David Diebold, a father of four teens at the time, admits he thought his new role would be a pushover compared to the stresses of nine to five in a busy national newspaper.
“How wrong I was,” he tells The Kilkenny Observer. “It quickly became clear that I was in way over my head,” he admits, adding: “When your teens outnumber you, you’re in big trouble.”
David says that, after 12 years in a busy news room, he felt he was missing out on his kids’ lives. “I wanted to experience for myself what I was only hearing about at the end of the day.”
He kept a weekly diary of the resulting triumphs and challenges – “mostly challenges”, he says – some of which were the stuff of award-winning columns, all of which ended up in the book.
‘Diary Of A Wimpy Dad’ spans a year at what David describes as “the coal face of parental ineptitude” – a year in which David learns that keeping the well-oiled machine of a busy family home firing on all cylinders requires, well, oil . . . and a machine.
“I won’t sugar coat it,” chuckles David. “I’ve done some crazy stuff in my life, but giving up everything to be at home with my family was probably the toughest and craziest thing yet.”
If a family of six in a rapidly degenerating house weren’t enough – “none of us are much good at housekeeping” – there’s Molly the ancient, toothless, perpetually moulting dog, hell bent on murdering the postman. It’s not all missteps and pratfalls, however. Amid the comedy and chaos, David and family must contend with the trials of teenage angst, and the death of a loved one.
So is he really such a ‘wimpy dad’? “The title is a play on the Wimpy Kid books, obviously,” admits David, “but this is essentially a book for grownups who don’t feel anything like grownups.
“I’ve always suspected my children are braver, smarter and more mature than I am, and I was right,” laughs David. “In the face of how simply staggered I am by all of them, yeah. Call me wimpy.”
The second-time author was a guest just last year on KCLR’s ‘The Way It Is’ with Sue Nunn, in which he talked about his remarkable life recounted in ‘This Is How We Dance’.
“I have danced with the Kirov, cooked for Senator Ted Kennedy, clashed with Shaolin Kung Fu fighting monks (for real) and dressed as a woman as an investigative reporter,” recalls David.
“But nothing prepared me for the stress of negotiating parent/teacher meeting day alone, or having one of the kids’ new boyfriends or girlfriends to tea and being sworn to my best behaviour.”
* ‘Diary of a Wimpy Dad’ is available soon at all good bookshops, and online from www.MonumentMediaPress.com

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