Bad moods. Good moods. Funny moods. Tired moods. Daddy moods.
Yes, daddy moods.
And when they overtake the sufferer, get out.
Let me educate you.
The Definition of A Daddy Mood
noun: daddy mood; plural noun: daddy moods
- a fixation or obsession on bettering oneself based on parental standards
- the frustration resulting from expectation set from one’s father
- a preoccupation with replicating or doing what your parents’ think you should do
- A literal and obsessive interpretation of following in someone’s footsteps
A History of ‘Daddy Mood’
The origin of the daddy mood begins with my ex-boyfriend, Anthony. His somewhat problematic nature was endearing at the beginning of our relationship. But I grew tired of it. Especially once I discovered the daddy mood. Which happened frequently.
The daddy mood developed long before I was observing the family dynamics. Yet, I’m lead to believe that Anthony Senior was a tough taskmaster who pushed his two sons to the brink of academic exhaustion. Anthony broke, unlike his intellectual older brother.
Having failed his father’s expectations, Anthony would fall into a stupor every time anyone reminded him of his failures. I have coined this stupor the Daddy Mood.
My First Observation Of A Daddy Mood
Anthony was applying for subjects in his third year at university. Picking his schedule and working through his ‘options’.
Commanding the entire of his mother’s oak dining room table, he had papers piled high across the wood. Endless brochures and subject books covered every inch.
If this was a visual representation of his current state of mind. Helpless.
I had finished my subject choices the week earlier. Instead of watching the painful undertaking, I offered to help.
My boyfriend declared he didn’t need my help.
“I have to complete these two subjects because they’re law based. But I can’t do them because I failed the prerequisites last year. Now I’m struggling to find a workaround that allows me to complete them without doing the other subjects again. So but out.”
I couldn’t help notice this mood he was in lacked empathy for others. And a use of basic manners, such as ‘thank you for the offer.’
I looked at the subject topic names circled on the papers. Both contained words and concepts I have never heard of, and words I wouldn’t dare pronounce.
For a man who narrowly passed his high school education, I wondered why he was trying to study above his comprehension.
You can’t knock a kid for trying.
This lasted for over an hour, broken only by the call for dinner with his parents.
“How are the choices coming along, son?”
“Wonderfully.” Liar. “I have so many options, so I’m trying to find the ones best suited to my graduate degree.” Big liar. Passing his degree would be a miracle. A graduate degree? Nope.
Later in the night, when we would usually go to bed and have sex, he asked me to leave. The ordeal of sorting his degree out was ‘stressing him out’, and I was distracting him.
I called for a taxi and waited in the cold June air for my ride. He didn’t offer me a lift home, even though it was well past midnight. When I woke up, my mother asked me why I had come home.
I lied and told her I wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t tell her Anthony was in a daddy mood and kicked me out in the middle of the night.
What would that have looked like?
Diagnosis Of A Daddy Mood (A Study)
When I woke up in my bed, I didn’t feel like socialising, especially around the friends Anthony and I shared. But as one learns, daddy moods are unpredictable and can occur at the most inconvenient times.
We had an invitation to Jason Mooney’s house party. He was our mutual friend from working at the Peterson hotel together, who started the same day as us. He worked at the concierge with Anthony, while I performed reception duties. It was during the long shifts, Jason observed the daddy mood several times.
‘I’ll be late. Meet you at Jason’s’ the text message read.
We hadn’t spoken since he kicked me out. I didn’t know if he was still in his mood, or if that had disappeared overnight. I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out.
I turned up alone. After a few drinks, the best part of a bottle of wine, I couldn’t believe my boyfriend wasn’t there yet. It wasn’t like him to be late.
“Don’t be sad. He will be here soon. Let him ride out the daddy-mood.” Jason poured vodka into a shot glass and presented it to me.
“What’s a daddy-mood?” At this point, I didn’t know his behaviour had a name.
“Are you telling me you don’t know about Anthony’s daddy-moods? Please get your head out of your bottom and pay attention.”
“I’ve seen the mood changes. He did it last night. But I can’t put my finger on what causes it. What am I missing, Jase?”
He poured me another shot, and we both swallowed in unison.
“Anthony goes through these daddy-moods. That’s when he becomes fixated on significant parts of his life and re-measures his decisions based on what his dad will say. Haven’t you put it together yet? His dad is a lawyer, so he is studying law. His brother worked at a hotel while he studied, so he works at a hotel while he’s at uni. Do you get the point?”
Oh, I got the point.
It was clear now it was staring me in the face. His father’s opinions tortured Anthony. What his father wants him to do with his life. How he should earn a crust. A sad life that isn’t yours, I mused. There was little wonder he got into these moods. He couldn’t live his life. And he was hurting.
I was jealous of Jason. It wasn’t his problem like it was mine. He could walk away at the end of a shift and leave Anthony to stew over his daddy problem. I had to endure the middle of the night exists and the unapologetic cold shoulder.
As I downed my third shot, Anthony walked into the party. I studied him from across the room, trying to gauge whether he was miserable, optimistic or still locked in the same mood.
Anthony approached, putting his hand on my shoulder. I felt a disingenuous tap with his fingers. He seized the bottle of vodka, grabbing it by the neck, and drunk straight from the opening.
I exchanged a knowing look with Jason and downed another shot.
That night, I learned that daddy moods last for unspecified amounts of time.
Daddy Mood Equivalents
I was looking online at used cars, trying to find a little town car for work and university.
I didn’t have the money or desire to buy a brand new car, nor did I see the point. Crippled with university loans, I wasn’t keen on further debt. Despite this, Anthony was insisting I buy a brand new Audi, a small hatchback in the space grey colour.
“You will love it, I promise you.”
The next day he took me to the dealer. He claimed we were going out for lunch, but we were making a quick stop first. Liar.
When greeted by the suited salesman with the gel slicked hair, Anthony extended his hand. “Chris, so good to see you again. Thanks for seeing us today.”
They were on a first-name basis.
“Anthony, I was happy to get your call. How’s your mother’s car going? All well, I trust?” They exchanged smiles. “Well, my girlfriend wants to look at the same one for herself.”
The call? He planned this.
Chris led us to the collection of Audi hatchbacks in space grey, the cars lined up in great lengths. The price tags well above my budget. As we walked along, we stopped at the very same model of his mother’s car. “Let’s get the paperwork.”
I pulled Anthony to the side. “I can’t afford this car. And you know I can’t afford it.”
“Finance it. Mum loves this car. And so will you.”
Am I your mother? Do I not get to have my choice or freedom? Why do I have to do what your mother does? Why do you have to do what your mother does? Why aren’t you an individual?!
I politely told Chris I would think about it, and Anthony told me off for not taking his advice.
We didn’t speak for a week after that.
Two years after the car incident, Anthony was attempting to move out of his parent’s Toorak palace. Attempt, because it never happened.
Though he said he wanted to find a place because living at home was “driving him insane”, his pursuit was long. For nine arduous months, he rejected over a hundred available places. Every reason was unreasonable or for minor details. The colour of the door handle in the bathroom was ‘unacceptable’.
Then he gave up the hunt.
When I asked what was wrong with options ninety-four to ninety-eight, he declared they weren’t acceptable for one reason. None of them “are on Rigby Road.”
That’s when I realised Rigby Road was the street his brother lived in before buying his first house. A rite of passage Anthony built in his mind.
I immediately stopped helping him try to find a place.
Do You Suffer From Daddy Mood?
Sufferers of daddy mood aren’t a rare breed but are prone to denying the condition exists. You won’t die from daddy mood. But the realisation that you’re basing your standard on your family’s ideals can be confronting. Daddy moods are often unidentifiable by the sufferer. Most attest to diagnosis from outside sources, such as significant others and divorce lawyers.
The treatment is usually an extended reflection of your life choices followed by a midlife crisis. After the crisis, when the little red sports car phase is over, most people return to normal. Or as close as they can get.
Is there such a thing as survivors of daddy mood?
Like most conditions, recovery is possible, but not for the first documented case.
Anthony now works at a law firm, not as a lawyer, but as a research assistant.
The research on whether he’s happy about his career choice is still in progress.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. My want is for a better opportunity for writers, especially fictional, in an increasingly technology dominant world. I write about figuring about love and relationships through fictional-reality.
The anecdotes might not always be true, but the lessons learned sure are!