Is it really the end of the year already? For my 186th and last post of 2016, I’ve selected my top ten posts of the year covering everything from Brexit to reflections on a boy’s love of pink.
My most read post of 2016 is one I wrote after Mumsnet’s Blogfest conference having experienced a few too many anti-male comments for the second year running. An open letter to Mumsnet: Why I won’t be coming back to Blogfest next year was my attempt to explain why man-bashing disguised as feminism, even if men only constitute 1% of the audience, just isn’t appropriate from an organisation which claims to be the UK’s most popular parenting website and whose tagline is ‘by parents for parents’. (And it wasn’t just the dads who were made to feel uncomfortable on the day – many of the mums were too.) To date, I still haven’t received a meaningful response from Mumsnet.
A lot was written supporting both sides of the argument in the EU referendum. I penned a couple of posts following the vote but it’s the post I wrote before it, Will the EU referendum leave a broken United Kingdom for our children?, that resonated the most.
2016 got off to a bad start with a spate of celebrity deaths including David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan. And it delivered a real sting in the tail as the Christmas period claimed George Michael, Carrie Fisher and, most heartbreaking of all, her mother Debbie Reynolds just a day later. Bowie’s death prompted me to write a parody of Life On Mars as well as A few thoughts on grief and legacy reflecting on how the deaths of famous people affect us and stir the desire to leave a legacy for our children.
Speaking of parody songs, I’ve now written 15 of these (and recorded all but one) but my favourite remains my account of Isaac’s love of the colour pink and his subsequent denial of it. A Psychedelic Furs classic provided the soundtrack to A gender stereotype parody: Pretty in Pink, which I performed live on stage at BritMums’ BML16 conference in June. Tellingly, no one has asked me for a repeat performance since …
In between all my current affairs-based ponderings and musical indulgences, I have occasionally written some actual parenting content. From examining the special nature of a father/daughter relationship in The last girl I will ever fall in love with to analysing the role of an eldest sibling during a mumless weekend in A surrogate mother and a father in waiting, I’ve reflected on the ever-changing dynamic with my children as they get older and simultaneously more rewarding and more challenging.
As one of the relatively small (but growing) number of male parenting bloggers, I explored 5 reasons it’s tough being a dad blogger – and 5 reasons it’s great. And, as part of an online community of bloggers that can at times be incredibly supportive, I also posed the question Who needs real friends when you have online ones?
Finally, 2016 has been a year more than any other when I have questioned whether I should continue blogging – I started back in 2007 – and exactly why I choose to spend so much time putting finger to keyboard. In questioning myself, I realised that Sometimes passion is all you need to keep going if you’re happy doing what you’re doing. And in underlining the fact that my motivation for continuing to blog has nothing to do with rankings, PR opportunities or page views, I explained Why I’ve left the Tots100 ranking when this is something that is a key focus for many other bloggers.
And those are my top ten posts of 2016. Sometimes outward-looking, sometimes introspective. Often serious, sometimes funny, occasionally (but only occasionally) in tune. Hopefully informative and entertaining.
I wonder what 2017 will bring?