I’m obsessed with newly retired David Beckham as a stay-at-home dad. It’s kind of surprising, but he and I have a lot in common. No, I’m not a soccer player or an underwear model, but kids are the great equalizer and his days — along with the minor indignities of parenting — look a lot like mine.
First of all, Beckham considers himself basically a taxi driver for his kids now. The school drop-off alone takes him an hour and 15 minutes! He starts at 7 am and hits four different schools for each of his kids. His children — Brooklyn, 15; Romeo, 12; Cruz, 9; and Harper, 3 — are spaced out a lot like mine. I’m guessing he makes stops at high school, middle school, elementary school, and preschool for little Harper. Her school lets out at noon so he’s back on the road to pick her up and then collects the boys at 4 pm. Compared to him, I’m lucky. Two of my kids ride the bus, and I’ve even got a kid who can drive. But even so, I still have drop-offs, pick-ups, Scouts, music lessons, and track practice, which means I’m clocking in some serious taxi-driving miles as well.
He went on to say he’s normally off duty after picking up his boys from soccer practice at 9:30 pm. Could it be that he watches The Good Wife and zonks out by 10 pm like the rest of us non-sex-symbol parents? I like to think so.
And that’s not the only thing we have in common. When he drops his kids off and tries to kiss them goodbye, they turn their head and act embarrassed. I’m glad this happens to super famous soccer dads, too. His oldest son has even asked to be dropped off a block away from school. Beckham’s payback? Driving by and rolling down the window to shout “I love you” to his son. Celebrity dads? They’re just like us. My older kids are past hugging and kissing and saying “I love you” in public, too. (I’m lucky if I get an ILY text these days.)
You might expect that kind of treatment from the angsty Beckham boys, but his little daughter can dish it too. Beckham told Jimmy Kimmel that while he was bathing in the tub with her, she told him he was “chubby.” I hear ya. Each one of my children have pointed out in turn my chubbiness, zits, gray hair, and (most recently) ugly glasses. Oh, they’re so precious.
Really, if Beckham and I have this much in common, it’s safe to assume that all parents do. I find it oddly reassuring. Like, if Beckham is chubby we should all be so chubby. (It’s really insulting the first time your preschooler asks you if there’s a baby in your tummy.) I like thinking that David Beckham gets asked similar questions. Makes me feel less embarrassed of myself. And the fact that someone as cool as David Beckham has kids who are embarrassed of him makes me feel good, too. It’s not that I’m embarrassing or fat, that’s just how kids are.
These details let me know that it’s not us, it’s them! Parenting kids that are in grade school and older can be a bit isolating. You schedule your life around their classes and lessons rather than hanging out with other moms at the park or arranging playgroups with your mom friends. It feels like you’re the only one putting in an hour roundtrip on the school drop-off circuit. But now we know that Beckham is right there with us. Hang in there, fellow taxi drivers! We’re all in this together, and maybe someday we’ll go on Jimmy Kimmel and have a laugh about it, too.