Tone it down celeb dads, you’re ruining it for the rest of us

Ben Pobjie has had enough of hunky Hollywood dads like Chris Hemsworth and The Rock looking all buff behind their BabyBjörns.


I’d like to think that as dads, we have a certain amount of solidarity with each other.

I know we don’t all meet up every week to hold hands and swap recipes, but surely there is a vague, loose feeling of community that fatherhood fosters between dads everywhere.

As I say, I’d like to think this, but it’s quite hard to do so when my fellow dads behave in ways completely antithetical to that desirable solidarity.

It’s even harder when the fellow dads who are doing so are the most famous dads in the world: celebrity dads, who should be acting as flag-bearers for dadhood, are instead betraying us in the basest way.

To put it bluntly: famous fathers are making us all look bad.

Now, I’m not saying that it necessarily takes a lot to make me look bad, but when I’m strolling through the park, holding a toddler’s hand on one side and steering a twin-pram on the other, bag of father-supplies strung around my neck, I reckon I cut a pretty impressive figure, by a certain standard.

That standard is completely undercut when you see paparazzi pics of Chris Hemsworth looming down a Sydney street on vacation, just as fatherly, just as spangled with children and their assorted accoutrements; but also as handsome as a god and as cut as a Michelangelo statue.

I mean, god bless ol’ Chris, I wish him and his ever-growing brood of angelic spawn the best and I look forward to getting lost in his eyes in many movies to come.

But how am I supposed to impress anyone with my multi-tasking daddy chops, when every time you open a magazine or go online, you can see Thor himself, wrangling three kids and looking like that?

After seeing Hemsworth in full father mode, anyone who then sees me shuffling around Coles is just going to feel sorry for me.


I mean, how can a dad keep himself in that kind of shape? I feel proud of myself if I can get through a full day of parenting without suffering any major joint pain, and here’s this guy who can not only carry all three kids in his gigantic arms like they’re bags of chips, but he’s got women fainting with desire as he passes by as well.

I don’t mean to single out Chris Hemsworth: he’s one of the worst offenders when it comes to showing up his fellow dads, but he’s far from the only one.

Yes, I see you, Mr Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with your family selfies, all adorable grins and muscles.

Your daughters are gorgeous, and happy, and will probably grow up to be able to bench 500kg, and you’re nurturing them while maintaining a major acting career and working out what must be about 12 hours a day.

“Celebrity dads, who should be acting as flag-bearers for dadhood, are instead betraying us in the basest way.”

How does a dad manage to work out at all? I need a lie-down after reading a bedtime story — a trip to the pool can leave me horizontal for days.

Fatherhood is exhausting, isn’t it? And surely, so is starring in action movies, isn’t it? How can a man do both? And if a man does do both, how is he not slouching wearily through life in trackie daks, comfort eating and falling asleep in his chair every day?

If I had to define my own personal style in one word, it would be “saggy”. That’s not entirely the fault of my children, but let’s be honest: when kids come into your life, it really makes you see how trivial so many of the things we worry about are, like fashion and gossip and healthy diet and exercise and sleep.

That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the famous dad, though: I’m still not entirely sure who Riky Rick is, but I know he’s incredibly stylish, incredibly hard-working and every time you see him he seems to be spending quality time with his kids.

It’s like it’s not enough for these men to be richer, more famous and more likely to have hot-tub parties with Sports Illustrated models than us: they also have to outshine us as dads, making mums swoon before looking resentfully at their own partner with a (hopefully) silent air of reproach.

“Why can’t you be more like Brad Pitt?” their scornful glares seem to say. “He has, like 28 kids and he manages to take them for ice-cream in full view of the world’s photographers without ever losing his impeccable jawline. Do you even HAVE a jawline?”

Well, no, not really. I’ve been too busy to develop chiselled features. Too busy making sure my kids have the best possible start in life. A start as good as being the child of a multimillionaire able to provide them with literally everything they could ever want? Well … maybe not. But that just goes to show how hard I work, right? To make the kids happy? Right?

I’m not asking you to stop worshipping the Rocks and Hemsworths of this world. God knows I won’t be.

But remember, when you see them taking their kids to Luna Park and changing their nappies on the red carpet: that’s not a realistic depiction of a dad. Real dads have curves. Real dads have sauce stains on their shirts. Real dads just want a nap.

And if any of you famous sexy dads are reading this, is it too much to ask you just to tone it down a little?

Next time you’re out with the kids, couldn’t you bring yourself back to the pack a little? Show a bit of love handle, wear the odd ill-fitting pair of shorts, drop the occasional baby on its head in public, that kind of thing?

Because right now you’re killing us, celeb dads. You’re ruining our dad cred. For the sake of daddish solidarity, can’t you be just a little bit less impressive?