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Opinion: How old does it take a man to be ready for fatherhood?

PUBLISHED: 13:59 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:59 24 October 2018

Liz Nice and her parents at football

Liz Nice and her parents at football

Archant

Liz Nice has no problem with older fathers, like Daniel Craig. Maybe they just take a bit longer to get it right?`

Photos of an exhausted and befuddled looking Daniel Craig with his newborn daughter will no doubt reignite the debate about ageing fathers.

Craig has already been lambasted by Piers Morgan for carrying the child in a papoose which Morgan, always an expert in all matters, decreed as not very James Bond.

It is one of the irritating quirks of nature that men can carry on fathering children for as long as they like, Charlie Chaplin and Mick Jaggger at 73, Rod Stewart at 60, while women have a biological clock that booms like a thunderstorm and can lead some into unfortunate ‘sperm donor’ choices, such is the desperation to pop one out within such a narrowly allotted time.

Craig’s wife, Rachel Weisz, has done pretty well – giving birth to their little girl at the ripe old age of 48 - and of course with IVF anything is possible, but the thought of giving birth at my age, and the sleepless nights that go with it, is not appealing.

I feel happy that I have been there, done that, and that my weekends are spent at trampoline parks or playing pool with children I don’t have to watch every second with the terrifying sense of dread that a Madeline McCann situation is only one glance at one’s watch away.

Elderly parents, like grandparents, do offer many advantages.

Not for them the shock, horror of, ‘Well, we had a very nice time together but now this seems to have happened, so we’d better make the best of it.’

Elderly parents have usually planned to give up the next five years to insomnia and accept this with grace.

They are also wise enough to know that there is no right ‘way to do it’. Dr Spock. Gina Ford? Who cares? And it turns out that you don’t need to leave the house with a refugee-sized bundled after all. A breast, a nappy and some wipes will usually suffice.

There is the danger your will die before the child is out of those nappies – Les Dawson for example, who had a child at 61 but died at 62 - so later fatherhood maybe a bit on the selfish side, but Craig, exhausted as he looks, is James Bond after all, so will probably last a while.

And as I discovered at the weekend, sometimes it takes a little longer for dads to really nail this parenting thing down.

My Dad and I have bickered a lot over the years, so we’ve not always had the full ‘Daddy, my daddy’ Railway Children experience I fancied I might have preferred in my youth.

But as I took my seat next to him at the football on Saturday, a massive, rough-hewn hand took mine and a gruff voice said, ‘Love ya.’

And yes, knowing that I haven’t had the easiest time of late, that was my daddy, who, at the age of 82, has finally worked out about fatherhood everything he ever needed to know.

Women say sorry too often

I was out with a friend recently who got cross over something I said.

‘Sorry,’ I said, instantly. She looked surprised.

‘You don’t need to apologise,’ she said, ‘Just because I don’t like it, doesnt mean you shouldn’t have said it.’

I honestly believe that from the moment a woman is born, the need to apologise is programmed into her soul.

‘I prefer women with blonde hair,’ a man might say to his brunette girlfriend.’

‘Oh,’ she will say, ‘sorry’. (As opposed to, well, bog off and find one who likes narrow minded idiots then.)

During a pizza meal with my son on Saturday, he complained that the pizza was not what he had thought it was going to be.

Naturally, I apologised profusely.

He was bewildered.

‘How is it your fault, Mum? You didn’t make it.’

Thanks, son. One thing I’ll never be sorry about is raising a boy like you.

Marriage is ‘hard work’

David Beckham made headlines at the weekend after telling an Australian TV show that marriage is ‘hard work’.

His marriage may well be, bearing in mind he is married to a woman whose face falls off if it cracks a smile, while she is married to a man every woman in the world finds attractive (though would not exactly keep around for the conversation).

I wish them both well, admiring how they have both dragged themselves up and made a success of their lives, while raising four beautiful, and by all acounts polite children.

I do wonder why people consign themselves to ‘hard work’ for life though, rather than thinking that, if it is always hard work, maybe you married the wrong person?

Perhap I am example of the ‘throwaway generation’? Or maybe the grass sometimes really is greener with someone who finds you delightful, rather than disappointing, most of the time?

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