Once, while crossing the town square in Arras, I was asked by fellow author Una if I saw myself as a pan or a lid. A deeply philosophical question, the kind of thing we cartoonists delve into when we've run out of small talk about what pens we use. I immediately answered lid. My role in the family dynamic is not essential, mostly decorative, but useful if you want to boil potatoes.
I would describe my job as closer to glue. A flexible substance used to fill gaps. Or am I thinking of grout?
There are many minor parental responsibilities in raising a child once the nappy changing days are over. A mountain of admin surrounding the bigger milestones. Sick days, taxi duties, drop offs and pick ups, after school classes, homework research assistant, endless doctors, dentists, orthodontists appointments, sports days and presentations and entertainment organisation during school holidays. I've done them all. Less of a professional, more of an odd job man.
They’re kind of everyday things that are a royal pain in the arse to deal with if you work full time like Phil but easier to accomodate for a self-employed doodler like myself. A gap opens up in the calendar and I fill it. I don’t know how much of an indelible mark my parenting has made on my daughter's life but I can honestly say I was always there. And she has much better teeth than me.
In the workplace it’s expected you will accrue more responsibilities as time goes on. On the home front the opposite is true. My portfolio parenting career has been stripped back year after year. Stay-at-home-dad has given way to, “Stay-at-home, Dad.” Still, I’m proud to to have dad on my metaphorical business card even if I’m not sure I can remember how to change a nappy. One day I might have to dust off those skills as a grandfather. Hopefully not for a few years yet though.
Speaking of odd jobs, cartooning is one of them. You have to be able to do many things well and the pay is terrible.
Help me with impending college fees by buying stuff. I have a library of mini comics at my store. Each one a little sixteen page postcard sized jewel of full colour comicky goodness. Phantom limbs, lost loves, unamused muses and 17th Century Broadside Ballads. I have them all covered.