Metropolitan Mum – A London mum's lifestyle blog

A new breed of yummy daddies

A completely average Wednesday morning, around 9:30AM. Rushing around my local Sainsbury’s with little L screaming, juggling piles of grocery shopping on the pushchair. Queuing at one of the few tills that hasn’t been turned into a ‘self-checkout’, I dare to look up and count annoyed co-shopper’s looks against encouraging fellow mummy-smiles.

Result: one cashier who looks like wanting to kill me, a drunken dosser who just about manages a smile, two annoyed grannies disapproving my parenting abilities, four silently smiling mums and six dads. SIX DADS? Now, what is going on here?

It’s too early for summer term break, so why are they shopping at Sainsbury’s at mummy time? This being the UK and not Sweden, paternity leave can be ruled out in the majority of cases. So who are these smug looking, corduroy-clad guys with the three-day stubble?

A recent article in Grazia magazine named them SUGs, i.e. smug, unemployed guys. And with men being hit harder than women by the current recession, the yummy mummies are in for some new teammates. The rise of the yummy daddy is nothing new as such. There have always been and always will be couples that decide to share the childcare between them or to reverse the traditional roles. And some of the male carers copied, imitated and even perfectionated the art of yummieness: carrying little Sunshine-Lou in her fair-traded organic cotton wool sling to and from yoga classes, chai tea latte in one hand, iPhone in the other hand.

What’s new is that this particular spawn of daddies doesn’t only have time to spend with their children; they also have quite a bit of money to spend. Being laid off by one of the bigger companies often goes hand in hand with taking an interesting amount of money home. But in contrast to the average mummy that works hard to leave the house before 2PM, preferably fully dressed and combed, this kind of yummy daddy is all about looking sophisticatedly neglected. A creased shirt (Etro), a pair of distressed jeans (Replay), designer shades and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ (model’s own), et voila: you’ve got the look! Their approach is more laissez-faire than Gina Ford, and they – unwillingly or not – mock the efforts the army of stay-at-home parents make every day.

Where so many mummies struggle to leave the house in clean clothes, preferably without the missing breast pad sticking to the bottom of their jeans, it just isn’t fair that these men make no attempt whatsoever to keep up their appearance and a certain countenance. They turn all the effort made by their mostly female counterparts into a joke. Their look screams ‘I can afford being messy’ and reminds me on the grunge trend in the 90’s, when spoilt middle class teenagers thought wearing worn out clothes would manifest their being bored with society. And instead of thinking about which home cooked meal to fill their family’s bellies with in the evening, they reportedly fill their own with beer in the afternoon, leaping the laundry pile on their way in.

In this case, emancipation again means that men have discovered the upsides, i.e. afternoons at Starbucks, of a former female dominated domain, without picking up the downsides, i.e. the dirty socks. Let’s see who is looking smug when the paycation is over.

19 Responses to “A new breed of yummy daddies”

  1. Home Mum of 2 (or 3 if you count their Dad)

    Fantastically written post, Met-Mum, and so acutely observed. Clearly firing on all cylinders gal! (you and your unbroken nights/fully functioning brain…grrr…)

    Not so many of the Yummy Daddys here on the Isle of Wight – but I like the sound of the new breed. Almost worth moving back to London for…

  2. Kat

    They have been made redundant, not into singletons. They still have all the perks of ground support (la Mama) with the added bonus of free time…

  3. zooarchaeologist

    I have to agree its the same around these parts too, especially at the park. Some of these men also display an alarming lack of mum etiquette when it comes to queues at the playground and cafe. Send them all back to where they came from :)

  4. Brit In Bosnia

    You’ve already said it, but they have the mother also helping out – which makes life a whole lot easier! Willing to bet they don’t do the laundry and a quick floor mop before going out meaning that clothes are then filthy and there are at least 2 socks stuck to their clothes somewhere. I could look good (kinda? almost?) if all I had to do was wheel the buggy out of the door…

  5. MM

    @Home Mum: Coffee. Lots of coffee!
    For the SUGs: we should do a house swap. You can hang out at my local Sainsbury’s and I finally get to know the Isle of Wight…

    @Kat: Life’s a lemon… ;-)

    @OMG: You wait until you swapped the belly against a pushchair. It changes your perception. At least that’s what it did to me. And all of a sudden… an army of pushchair pushers around you.

    @Margarita: I would prefer one of your chocolate cupcakes!

    @Zooarchaeologist: Maybe it’s because they always had to use their ellbows to move forward, and now they just don’t know how to behave? You know, like the animals that have been living in a zoo all their lives long and are all of a sudden left by themselves in the wild. The poor things. Sobb, sobb…

    @BiB: Haha. We should call ‘having things stuck on you’ the new trend for 2010. I will have moved on from breast pads to more exciting stuff by then, I hope.

  6. Home Mum of 2 (or 3 if you count their Dad)

    Coffee hah? So that’s your secret weapon…(and where this caffeine-free blogger has been going wrong all these years!

    Like the idea of a house swap – you’re on!

    Also…update on eye candy on the IOW. Ok, so still no YD’s to report (other than hubbie OBVIOUSLY!) but walking down the cobbled pedestrianised stretch of Cowes High Street yesterday, I couldn’t fail to observe how many more rugged, tanned, sun-bleached blonde, charmingly cheeky sailors were out and about in the windy weather (mucho wind + sunshine = top sailing). So am not totally deprived….;-)

    Just something for you to think about when you’re planning your holiday down here…

  7. SandyCalico

    Great post!
    I’ve seen a few of these SUGs. They must have a few spare designer crumpled shirts by the front door. I usually have to change before I go out. My clothes are normally covered in snot and porridge!

  8. MM

    @DancinFairy: Ahhhh, Grazia, a weekly escape into the other world. Good to meet another fan.

    @Laura: Have a close eye on them! ;-)

    @Home Mum: Myumm. Sailors. I am a sucker for beach bleached blondies, hehe.

    @Sandy: Snot and porridge? Not bad. Am looking forward to upgrade from babysick to porridge. Could do without the snot. Although, it looks almost the same…

    @Hi Jenny, thanks for stopping by. A cocktail is always a good idea :-)

  9. nixdminx

    I noticed a few of these at the gym in January – probably then they were still overweight and stressed because they all looked appalling – so maybe paycation has given them time to chill out? btw all a knackered mum needs is a 4-step makeover before heading out: a pair of big big shades, sequin flip flops, a simple dress and a dash of lip gloss – works for me everytime x

  10. theGentleman™

    I am one half of the picture being painted here… unemployed and out and about with my 18 month old.

    Unfortunately i got absolutely nothing above the legal government minimum redundancy pay after over 5 years in the job, so not so sure i tick the smug box!

    Effortlessly cool….. yeah probably ;-) there’s no point looking all depressed about the situation.

  11. Wife of bold

    Such a great post met mum! Although the north west hasn’t seen an influx of the yummy daddy as yet….here’s hoping they start a flocking soon as i could use some eye candy to while away the days :) x

  12. Wife of bold

    Yeah i have finally managed to post a comment on your blog…you do not know how long that has taken me!!!

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