Dad life or parent life is much like Groundhog Day the film where you repeat the same activities as you perfect your routine and love for your daughter. With Shared Parental Leave now a month in I am starting to get in to a routine and not think as much while doing it. I think for most stay at home parents this is where the challenges of keeping yourself and your baby entertained.
So the day goes much like this
- Wake up about 6am
- Get bottle for Sofia, tea for me and Em
- Em is off to work around 7
- Breakfast for me and Sofia (choice of toast or cereal)
- Watch TV and Play till 8.30-9 when she will go for a nap
- You then have 30-60 minutes of get chores done
- Sofia wakes up and you change and dress her, she has a snack
- Go out, this involves a local class, soft play, park, coffee shop with toys, you have 1-2hrs for this
- Get home before noon for lunch or eat out another 30-60mins
- Second nap somewhere between 1-3 for 60 minutes, you might get some me time over coffee or is stuff round the house
- Play time from 3-5 while also thinking about dinner for Sofia and for me and Em.
- Sofia has dinner at 5 for 30/40mins
- Then is play while wait for mum to get back just after 6
- Bath time and bed, this is where Em usually takes over (I did this before I swapped roles), this is 6-7
- Then hopefully from 7 onwards you can relax after cleaning up the days mess
- Sleep 6 hours, start again
There is not much variation within this or time where you can switch off. At the moment Sofia is only just walking and is exporting her world so you can’t leave her alone. The day is one long 1-2-1 with her on what is right and wrong in her new world, while encouraging her throughout. You have to rewire your brain to a different way of thinking. It’s less problem solving and more routine and safety management. That’s a bad description but it’s taken time to get use to a new way of thinking.
You are left with a number conflicts through the day. For example do you sleep when she does. You are tired, you’d happily sleep but for 60 minutes you can do what the hell you like. As long as stay within the same building, have constant surveillance of her room on. At the moment I haven’t had a period where she has slept while out long enough to have a coffee. Poor me.
At the same time you have to get various small chores around the house done, hoover, wash up, wash clothes, clean house, gets finances sorted (this has been a benefit of being off in getting some time to sort finances and pension out). Then you have to work out what dinner will look like. Food prep is important, ensuring there are snacks, backup food and then adult dinner ready is actually the hardest part. Time quickly ticks round to the next meal. Having a food menu is important and Em has a set which she has handed down for me.
There are variations where you go out and she naps while out or you do a day trip. Meeting up with friends and other babies is important. Just to keep the brain ticking over and to have some sensible conversations. Not saying all my work conversations made sense. Otherwise it is trying to make sense of various cries, hand waves and screeches (or the words dada, woof, Go Jetters and worst case mama).
It’s weird being what seems the only dad in town. The only other one I know of is Michael from our NCT group but not met up with him yet. The rest of Hitchin is mainly women and babies. A wander round Hitchin between 10-12 confirms this except on pension day. However strangely on a Friday all the men with babies suddenly come out; they are probably working from home, nobody actually works on a Friday these days do they?
Outside of that, some new friends on our new estate and our NCT group I am likely seen as bit of a novelty and also viewed with suspicion In a woman’s world. I certainly don’t get much random chat outside of the fact Sofia is very young but walking everywhere. Nobody asks about what I am up to. Visiting parents definitely helps getting away from the routine and helps Sofia getting to know her cousins and grandparents (outside of FaceTime). It also helps with variety to the routine.
- A holiday
- Something I get paid for, we’ve had to save for this
- Paternity, this is Shared Parental Leave which nobody seems to understand, I am also going back to work in a month
- All coffee shop and cake, although this is a part of it
- Watching TV, I haven’t watched much TV outside of children’s TV,
- An easy life, there is a lot of work involved but it is a different form of work
- Boring, although there is a routine she is always doing something new or funny