Before the announcement of this year’s Most Mentally Sexy Dad – Sunday 11 September – we’re going to get into the minds of the Top Five Dads. Their entries rose to the top of an elite group and so the Mentally Sexy staff and judges thought it’d be a great idea to learn a little bit more about them. Today Sam responds to their questions.



Damon YoungHow have you failed as a parent?

I suppose the thing that most concerns me is the way I dealt with my daughter’s intransigence when she was a small girl. She was very strong willed and I would carry her to her room and lock her in when she misbehaved. I used my superior strength and I wonder if that has had a detrimental effect on her. On the other hand the example I set in doing housework and the ironing hasn’t rubbed off on her at all!

Paul Gooden: Who is your favorite Wiggle and why? You must name the Wiggle and color.  

I do not have the slightest interest in the Wiggles.  I thank god that my kids had grown up before they came along!  Now my favorite Playschool presenter was definitely Noni Hazelhurst. 

Maureen Matthews: Do you feel equally confident parenting boys and girls?

I feel equally confident with the two sexes. I think it’s the individual characteristics of the child that may give problems not the sex. I strived to avoid sex stereotyping.

Kate Hunter: Do you ever wish you were a father in an earlier generation? Which one and why?

No I don’t wish to be a father in an earlier generation, but I’m glad I’m not the father of a child of the current generation because of the incessant marketing to young people now-a-days. I would refuse to buy them a mobile phone for example and as a result would be in constant conflict, I presume. I would probably get rid of computers in the home just like we got rid of our TV’s when our kids were young. 10 TV free years was probably the best thing we did when they were growing up.

Steve Biddulph: What is the biggest satisfaction you get from being a father?

Seeing my children growing away from me in their own lives, and making their own decisions about what sort of lives they want for them selves.

SamandCatherineJack Ellis: How does your parenting compare with the parenting you received?

I was the last of 7 children and my parents were “over” parenting by the time I came along. They had tried out all the theories on the other six! As a result I was left very much to do my own thing and from my point of view it seemed like my parents didn’t care about me. I realised later that they did of course, but didn’t want to tell me. So with my children I always made sure they knew what I thought of their actions and activities. That way they would know that I cared about them even if my views annoyed them or were different from theirs.

Dan Barron: Is there anything that you think the Government, or employers, could be doing to encourage other fathers to take a more active role in household chores, and the direct care of their children, like the Mentally Sexy dads do?

I can’t see how Government or employers could influence fathers, or even if they should.  It has to come from the man himself.  All though the early years of my children growing up I made sure that I came home from work as early as I could to take part in the tea-time and bed-time routines.  Even if it meant that I had to go back to work after they were in bed asleep.  That may have restricted my career, but I didn’t care.  My father did the same thing, he was always there to help at meal times/bedtimes and that probably restricted his career too.  I suppose if employers encouraged fathers to go home at 5 pm that would help.

Reservoir Dad: What’s your favorite Rick Astley song?

Who is Rick Astley? Now if you asked me about my favorite Rolling Stones song or Elvis Costello song I could help you. Don’t forget I’m 60 years old!!

By the way, I read that one of the other five selected Reservoir Dads was being praised for doing the washing, hanging it out and bringing it in again. Phooee! I do the washing, hang it out, bring it in again, do the ironing and put it away! I can remember a long time ago; when my wife used to do the ironing more that we found a maternity smock at the bottom of the ironing basket and she hadn’t been pregnant of 10 years! That’s when I decided to do the job properly.

(Disappointed I can’t go searching for your Rick Astley song, Sam. But I’ve gone back to your response to Paul Gooden’s question and found something that I think will make you very happy. Get ready to play with Noni! – RD)