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I’m not entirely sure of purpose for this post but I suppose the first post has to start somewhere. I am a dad of 2 children living in Scotland, UK. I work as a Family Support Co-ordinator for a charity named Home-Start Glasgow South. I suffer from anxiety and have panic attacks on a very rare occasion. My daughter has Tricuspid Atresia, a heart condition that means she effectively has half a working heart.
So today I sit at home with my 2 kids in my sole care. The car is in the garage, it’s freezing outside and I’m a tidy freak. We’ve got 8 hours to kill until mummy gets home, what are we gonna do?
My initial thoughts are let’s paint, let’s build a den or let’s craft something. In reality I just want to chill out and not have the urge to tidy or clean every 2 minutes. I obviously don’t propose any of these activities to my son as he’d jump at all of them. So the question remains the same, ‘What are we gonna do?’
Well first we need a plan, so let’s put Paw Patrol on for Ray, my 3 year old son. Hope, my 1 year old daughter, usually naps about an hour either side of lunch so that’s my housework and relax time scheduled in. Lunch can take 1-1.5 hours so that’s me up to 3.5 hours accounted for only 4.5 to fill now.
I’m feeling bold so I ask Ray ‘what do you want to do?’. The reply ‘watch Paw Patrol’, brilliant I’m another hour off the clock and Hope is now asleep. TIDY TIME. I spend almost the whole time she’s sleeping dividing the toy boxes into categories such as noisy toys, light toys and soft toys. It’s both a thankless and meaningless task as it will all be mixed back together before bedtime I’m sure. Before she wakes Ray asks to play with the play-dough, my heart sinks, that’s messy. However, introducing a serving tray and all is good. Hopes slept longer than I thought she would but is awake now. It’s lunch time.
3 x Cheese & Ham Toasties
1/2 Punnet of Grapes
1 x Yogurt Each
And We’re Done!
We’re down to 4 more hours and there is a nap still to come, this is looking good. Knock at the door… JACKPOT! Grannies here to take Ray to her house. Half the kids a half the work, except Ray’s the easy one. Don’t get me wrong I love spending time with my kids, but there mother just seems to have taken all of this in her stride. She is a queen and I feel like a joker. I mean let’s be honest guys that’s our role. We play, we laugh we joke, we come in at the end of a long day and reap the rewards of mummy’s hard work keeping the kids from destroying one another. She is an expert in all things motherly whether she feels/knows it or not. She’s awesome!
So, I sit in the middle of the living room floor and try to engage her with the noisy toy box. No joy, she just wants to eat paper, stand on the chairs and chase the cat. I give her so free reign and peruse my top websites HotUkDeals, GeeksOfDoom and Instagram. She wanders back and forth for my attention and she gets it but ‘hey, she’s not interested in me right now’.
It’s time for the all important afternoon nap! It’s a battle, nothing like Waterloo or Afghanistan but trying to get a tired 1 year to sleep can be a nightmare of its own magnitude. As long as she sleeps at least an hour we’re plain sailing from here.
20 minutes later… Loudest knock in the world at the door… ‘I’m here to read the metre’. Hope screams, Ray asking 27 times – who is it? why is he here? what is gas? why? And of course Hope is now awake. I’d like to tell you that she went back to sleep, but I can’t. We rode out the rest of the afternoon on caffeine and tears. Hers not mine.
Now I have to be clear, I love my kids dearly, I chose to be at home with them rather than send them to childcare. I do all of this because I want to. Though I find it hard as hell to navigate a day alone with my kids I want to, I enjoy it, it’s important. Without these times I wouldn’t get to know my daughters communications, her little nuances that tell me that she wants a snack, the signs she gives that she wants a drink, her tired face, her hungry face, the poo cry, the bored cry. His mischief face, his pride when he makes his hearty laugh when he facts, his care and attention to her when she’s upset. Though it feels like a military operation to navigate a day alone with these 2, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being a SAHD is not easy, it’s expected and its not exactly pretty. But being a Stay At Home Dad, even one day a week, is so truly rewarding that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m no great father, I’m simply trying to do my best. It’s all you can do too.
Thanks again for reading