Tag Archives: Stay-at-home dad

A Day In The Life Of A Stay-at-home Dad

tommyI have been pretty hands on dad when it comes to raising our 6 month old son, Kizzy Ray. I have always felt comfortable as I had helped raise my two younger brothers and have also spent lots of time with my nephews, aged 10, 5 and 2. So when my girlfriend suggested that I take 3 months off of work (paternity) when she returned to work at the end of her maternity leave, I felt quietly confident that it would at LEAST be a bit of a rest bite from the hectic pace of life working full time in a busy London restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I know AND appreciate what my girlfriend does, but she makes it look and seem effortless! I mean, how hard could it be taking my son to the park every day, giving him some tummy time, keeping the home tidy? Being off work I’d surely get to watch some great movies, keep up to date with all the summer football transfers too…? EASY! Right…? Or so I thought….

It Starts…

Now Kizzy Ray is a pretty good sleeper. His mother and I have been blessed that he likes his routine, and will regularly sleep in excess of 10 hours a night. So when he wakes at 8am and has his 1st feed, I would usually still be sleeping after a night shift and not notice. I would normally be woken up around 9ish for some “Daddy time” before I would jump in the shower, eat breakfast then off to work again all before 10:30am. (depending on rota’s). So in my mind, that was always a switch off point for me where I could concentrate on other important “non-baby” related issues. (Mostly Facebooking and Sky Sports news updates)

Now all my prep had been done the night before, bottles washed and sterilised, I’d got some food bits in to make breakfast for my girlfriend before she went to work, and a mental list of all the movies I would be watching over the coming weeks. SWEET! And I swear to God, all was going according to plan until my better half informed me that I would also need to make our son his organic carrot puree for his tea, feed him his breakfast solids, cut his nails, do the weekly food shop (she had already emailed me the list), fix the pushchair I had broken when we were on holiday and to make sure that I taken the meat out of the freezer so I could cook our dinner later. WHAT?!!? All this on top of Tummy Time and making sure I take him out for fresh air and play time? A joke. Surely…?

Honestly, I did NOT know where to start!  So I just sort of, stood there! Looking at the pile of dirty breakfast dishes standing in front of me, my son laying on his play-mat, and all the time in my head trying to figure out (logically) which of the two needed addressing first, when it suddenly dawned on me… I was in deep s#!t! Quite literally. The God awful whiff expelling from my sons nappy meant that the decision had been made for me. Dishes it was! Kidding. After dealing with my sons gift and getting him into his daytime clothes (his Arsenal kit that I had bought before he was even born) I placed him on his play mat for Tummy time and started defrosting his solid foods. I have to hand it to myself, I even managed a bit of multi-tasking and did the dishes at the same time while also keeping a paranoid little eye on the rug-rat, who had somehow managed to get himself under the coffee table even though he cant yet crawl?!!?

After feeding/wearing a fair amount of Kizzy’s solid food, I decided that I needed a quick time out to re-group so I put him in his Jumperoo, a total God-send piece of equipment that was to become my Alli over the coming weeks when I needed to be doing something and needed to have him somewhere that I knew would A) keep him safe. And B) entertained. This bought me a GOOD 25/30mins. Time enough for me to peel his carrots that I would be pureeing and take the meat out of the freezer. I had planned to do something really special for dinner to kind of show off how well I had handled and easily adapted to my new role, but feeling slightly stressed out already (it was only 11:50am) I went with my trusty old fail safe. Spag Bol. (every mans specialty) At this point little man started whinging. I was a little confused as I had fed and changed him so he should’ve been good. When I picked him up and asked him what was wrong, he responded by rubbing his eyes… A-ha! Nap time. YESSS!

Now, I had planned on using his nap times, as my daddy time, but I was to soon work out that his nap times were to become my “getting stuff done” times. So with him down for an hour or so I successfully finished his carrot puree and began freezing it, put a load of washing on and prepared to hit the shops and park when he woke up. Again. I had totally under estimated just how much effort and forward planning goes into getting everything together in order to be able to leave the house with an infant. Its kinda like packing to go away for a whole weekend! And even though I had checked, double checked and even did an idiot check, I still managed to forget his “muzzie”. So when he made a mess after feeding, I had to use my sleeve to clean it up. Nice.

The day was fast fast slipping away, and by the time I had finished my calamitous shop in my local Sainsbury’s having fun trying to push a buggy and pull a shopping trolley at the same time (bumping into a few disgruntled OAP’s along the way) all the time trying to reason with an 8month old who despite me telling several times in my best soothing ‘mummy’ type voice that we were “almost done, baby…” continued to voice his frustration and anguish at what I can only assume was his complete and utter dismay at how incompetent a buffoon Daddy was. I swear, it was almost like he was mocking me from his pushchair as I once again rammed him into a supermarket display… Ooops!

My walk home was a little slower than I anticipated, what with being laden down with shopping bags and having to stop every few meters to rest my hands and take a breather. At least Kizzy found my struggle amusing… Having accepted that I wasn’t doing too well I made the executive decision  that I would NOT be fixing the push chair today!!! Sod it! I was going to drop off the shopping, change his nappy then hit the park for some play time. We did this and I really enjoyed watching him shuffle through the tunnel in the park backwards. I think it was the 1st moment that day that I stopped stressing or worrying about time schedules or what else i had to do. It was just me and my beautiful son playing and laughing. This was the moment that I remember most about our 1st day together. it was definitely one of those father son moments that i will always cherish…

When we returned home, I must admit that I felt a lot more relaxed. I think the fresh air and a little play time really does help! He ate (and loved) his carrot puree, and was happy to have some more tummy time while I made the fastest ever Spag Bol and threw a load of washing on. And with that all done I could concentrate on getting him ready for bed. So by the time Mummy arrived home little man was bathed, ready and enjoying a cuddle on the sofa with daddy while we listened to his Bedtime Nursery Rhymes…

“How was your day babe?” asked my missus. I replied with my BEST EVER poker face… “Easy..”.      😉    Xx

*I like to add that after Merilin arrived home, she was quick to point out my failure to cut his nails, the washing that although was now clean, was still in the washing machine, the buggy was still broken AND i has failed to put Sudo-cream on his neck after bath time…

*I’d also like to add… I have (since the time this article was written) improved to almost “Black belt” daddying status!!!   🙂 Xx

6 months of Heaven or Hell?

My story of being a stay at home dad by Greg Hart (@gregharts)

When my partner first mooted the idea of sharing her maternity leave I must admit my first thoughts (refusing to believe the ‘it’s a full time job you know’ peeps) were 6 months off, hell yes. Now don’t get me wrong I know the first 6 months are not the same as the second six and I take nothing away from the dedication and hard work that our little one was at the start, but in my mind i was thinking how hard can it be? They don’t need much I thought, a bit of milk, some sleep and a little interaction now and again. My pre-conceived perceptions of what the reality of looking after a 6 month old would be like were limited as I assume most new parents’ are, but I was certain of what I wanted it to be like – cricket in the sun (preferably without the snide comments from other members), lunch and afternoon drinks at the local with friends, watching movies at the local baby cinema screenings and generally having fun. What was there to think about?

My half of the paternity leave would be during the spring and summer, after the routine and scary newness of it all had been conquered by my partner – I responded with a definite and naive yes. Money would be a issue yes, but that was probably the only real negative I could see. So membership to the cricket purchased, multiple discussions with my boss who I know was not wholeheartedly pleased about the idea (she had three out of five members of her team going on maternity / paternity leave at the same time) but who, as we work for a large multinational with plenty of processes in place for this sort of thing, knew that she had no option. Reality bites as they say and as the fateful day approached my bravado at work was countered by a slight trepidation at home. We seemed to have been given a baby who refused to go to sleep, had constant colic / acid reflux / whatever the current internet diagnosis was for a grumpy / unsettled / normal baby. Had I made a monumental mistake? Was I stupid for thinking that it would be a fun six months off work? It was too late now. And only time would tell.

Five months of my six have now past. Far quicker than I would have liked, and I can wholeheartedly say that no it’s definitely not been a mistake, in fact it’s been one of the best times of my life right up there with my seasons snowboarding and travelling the world. Don’t get me wrong it’s not been easy, and I would never belittle the effort and energy required to be a good parent. The key I found was getting Eloise to take a nap or two during the day. This took a couple of weeks of serious effort, waiting outside her door for the screams to start and then settling her again, repeating the process countless times over the course of a couple of weeks until she got the idea. Those naps saved me. Even when she was more settled at night, and I was less knackered during the day, they allowed time to do the chores or more likely have a bit of me time, alleviating the incessant attention that babies seem to demand.

The lack of money has been a eyeopener. Things were not too bad for the first 3 months with statutory pay being used for treats for us (or me, depending on your point of view), but once this ran out and we were living on the one wage things were tight. Having to budget and think about where our money gets spent was something I hadn’t done for years although I’m not entirely sure that buying the reduced, but premium items from the meat and deli counter was the best approach to saving money.

As much as I love her, El has been frustrating at times. Using a laptop is tricky when you have a nine month old trying to wrestle the computer out of your hands or randomly tapping the keys when you type (my excuse for any spelling mistakes in this piece). The painful and total lack of respect for my hangovers (although I am sure I’ll have my opportunity for payback on that one, eventually). And I have to admit that I’ve gotten a little cross when all she wants to do is destroy my wonderful DUPLO creations.

But overall I would never have given up the time I’ve had with her. I’ve seen more of the surrounding countryside and coast than I have done in the previous 15 years that I have lived in Bristol. I’ve got to see El grow from the helpless baby that stayed wherever you put her into the crawling, pulling up little person with her own personality. I’ve seen more of my family than I have done in years (and my in-laws!), and seen the joy in their faces that she brings. I have become a better person because of her. Would I do it again? As much as I love her and my time off, probably not another child, but I’ll certainly look at taking my 12 weeks of parental leave before she goes off to school – she should be old enough to learn to snowboard by then.