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Just stop making excuses and change the damn nappies, Russell Brand

PUBLISHED: 21:52 27 January 2019

Russell Brand at the launch of his new DVD 'Scandalous - Live at the 02' at HMV on Oxford Street, in central London (C)  Yui Mok/PA Wire

Russell Brand at the launch of his new DVD 'Scandalous - Live at the 02' at HMV on Oxford Street, in central London (C) Yui Mok/PA Wire

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Changing nappies isn't something that a proper parent opts out of - no one is too spiritual to get their hands dirty looking after their own children, even you, Russell Brand: appreciating your daughters' "beauty and grace" just isn't enough.

As I remember, looking after a two-year-old 
and a baby is about as easy as nailing mayonnaise to a wall.

As a mother, not only are you partly or wholly responsible for the physical, mental and spiritual care of two tiny humans, you’re also operating on eight minutes of sleep a night, leaking from various unseemly places, dealing with a stream of tea-guzzling visitors, waging war with treacherous hormones and wondering whether you’ll ever go to the toilet alone again.

Hopefully, beside you will be a partner who shares as much of the load as possible (although the leaking is probably all yours) and if there isn’t someone beside you sharing the load, hopefully that will be your choice and therefore you’ll be at peace with that fact. The worst scenario of all is discovering that instead of having two children, you’ve got three, one of whom you didn’t give birth to and whose contribution to parenthood pretty much ended nine months before the birth.

Of course, there are lots of great fathers who are either doing their share of parenting, more than their share or doing it all on their own and, frankly, I salute any parents, male or female, straight or gay, who can truly say that both are happy with the amount of childcare the other one does.

Russell Brand has just given a mind-boggling interview to The Times in which he admits that despite his public battles with the numerous demons that once ruled his life, the one thing he absolutely can’t get his head round is changing a nappy or being responsible for both his children at the same time.

While fatherhood has been “the perfect antidote to thinking ‘Oh God, I’m magnificent’” it hasn’t been quite enough to change his daily routine, which involves a back-breaking schedule of prayer, meditation, writing, ‘jiu-jitsu and generally being a revolutionary mystic. It’s a full-time job: one that doesn’t involve spooning mashed banana into someone’s gob.

When interviewer Decca Aitkenhead asked if he’d looked after both his children (Mabel, two and Peggy, six-months) for 24 hours on his own, he was clearly shocked: “That’s a good question, isn’t it? Well, okay. The two of them? Well, not long, not long…Um, I’ve done like, a night. But they’re asleep then.”

We’ve had other high-profile braggers admit that they don’t take part in any of the unpleasant business of keeping their own children alive, of course: paragons of manhood including Guy Ritchie, Jim Davidson, Pharrell Williams, Simon Cowell, Eddie Murphy, Donald Trump, Will Ferrell and Matthew McConaughey.

And then there’s professional empathy vacuum Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose past hate crimes involve being anti same-sex marriage and abortion in all circumstances (to these I say – no one is forcing you to marry a man, Jacob, or have an abortion, so pipe down), voting against any rise in welfare benefits, not believing in climate change legislation, wanting to repeal the Human Rights Act, mocking regional accents and calling his sixth child Sixtus Dominic Boniface. He added frosting to the excrement cake when he admitted he’d never changed a nappy.

Loathsome as he is, at least he doesn’t cloak the chauvinism in a mystic mist of self-aggrandising drivel.

“She wouldn’t go away for 24 hours, Laura [Gallacher, Brand’s wife]. She respects and cares for their safety too much. Yes, I’m very, very focused on the mystical connotations of Mabel’s beauty and grace. Not so good on the nappies and making sure that they eat food,” said Brand.

“She is extremely well-versed in the nuances and complexities of child-rearing… able to sustain and maintain domesticity in a way that’s astonishing. When I looked after Mabel on her own, she dropped two social classes in an hour. In no time at all, we’re in a coffee shop, she’s just got a nappy on and she’s covered in stuff because I’m not willing to fight any of the battles. I’m sensitive and awake and aware, so I have to dial a lot of s**t down to go through normal life.”

Where to even begin? According to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index, published just over two years ago, UK parents officially the worst in the developed world at sharing their childcare responsibilities, so Russ is in good – or rather, bad - company. It’s not charming and quaint to admit you’re a half-hearted parent, it’s not acceptable to only participate in the easy bits of parenthood and everyone knows the revolution begins at home, so if you create a child together, take responsibility for it together and change a damn nappy rather than verbally channelling its contents in interviews that do you no favours.

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