Stay at home dad subtext

Mark Parenting 6 Comments

So it turns out that beyond the headline of keeping the boys alive there was some subtext to being a stay at home dad; to do with housework or something, I don’t know, the words are already beginning to blur as I type them.

Well, the reminders have long gone beyond what could be described as gentle or subtle, they now scream out at me from a whiteboard in the kitchen. I’ve saved the easy ones for a quick fix of success when the day is going backwards, which is great if I ever got round to doing them, but in reality it just means another month passes with only one solitary lighbulb keeping the kitchen from eternal darkness.

That was until I hit upon the idea of involving the boys in our chores, and if ever there was an example of many hands making lighter work then this most definitely wasn’t it. Our ‘to-do’ list continues to grow by the hour, but what we have discovered is a whole new world of distractions along with a new shared responsibility for getting nothing done.

It started with the shopping as the supermarket had recently begun to be perceived as an all you can eat buffet. We now painstakingly draw out our shopping list, twice, as heaven forbid they’d share a piece of paper. We then debate what is on the list as apparently my picture of a cucumber looks identical to a packet of biscuits, and nappies somehow resemble a chocolate cake. We then invariably arrive home to make our vegetable lasagne short of both vegetables and pasta.

Laundry always begins with good intentions as we make a group decision on which pile each item belongs too, but this quickly descends into a clothes fight whenever I leave the room, or den building if we’ve washed anything large enough to hide under.

The boys have quickly taught me that to tidy up as we go along is counter-productive as it just frees up more floor space on which to drag out the same toys we’ve tidied away along with a new wave of mess.

Washing the dishes will always end with me clutching my head in despair as for every pot I wash they’ll have pulled out another two to form part of their make-shift orchestra that plays a mean symphony of headache inducing noise.

Invariably Janet will return home from work to be met by a mess not too dissimilar to the one she left in the morning. Her frustration is not appeased by the boys proudly confirming they’ve helped daddy clean the house, nor by my explanation that the mess may look the same but the location of the offending items is slightly different, therefore proving we did indeed tidy up … before making a brand new mess immediately afterwards.

eating breakfast together

In other news, we now have their cousin Ben staying with us for the next few weeks while his mum completes her internship in Glasgow. This has been met with great excitement by the boys and I, although Janet has been at pains to explain I now have three boys to look after and in no way does he represent a free childminder (I don’t know what she means?!)

Having a ten year old with us opens up a whole new world of exciting places we can go to without me having to justify its educational benefits for a toddler. Ben will also be guest posting on the blog to give a different perspective on the chaos that is our days. I do however reserve the rights as editor-in-chief to censor anything that could dispel the myth that everything we do is either productive, educational, or in any questionable.

Comments 6

  1. I love how you’ve chosen ‘housework’ and ‘introducing Ben’ in the same post!!! I get that he can ‘help’ you with the childcare…but seriously, he’s on holiday man!
    I also had an image in my head of the boys making dens with your dirty pants! (yes, I know you said ‘anything large enough’)
    Pop over to mine to see photo of Cleggy in stripy dungarees…penalty for leaving me alone on our wedding anniversary!
    fee x

  2. I often include Bug in the daily chores. What this means in practice is me saying ‘do you want to help me hang the washing out?’ and Bug saying ‘no’ repeatedly.

    She also loves to stand on a chair by the sink while I’m washing pots. I wash a pot, she pops it back in the sink. We go on like this until Bear returns from work and gives us both ‘The Look.’

  3. I see laundry hanging neatly in the background and shelves clear of clutter. Methinks the gentleman protesteth too much!

    Mark replied….

    Janet, please take note!… hang on, was that the washing you did at the weekend that I’ve yet to put away? …

  4. I think that rack of washing was there when I came round last week? So I may have lost control ( thanks for your support on that by the way) but Mabel does do alright in helping with chores. I find flexibility just has to be built in, ” this is a white wash so let’s leave those black socks out…no…o.k let’s see how it pans out”. Oh my god have a just described another example of lack of control…

    Nelly x
    P.s check me out with a new blog, link me up please xx
    Notjustnelly.blogspot

  5. OK, here are a few tips. Do Internet shopping, let the house go wild all day and do a mass clean up half an hour before J comes home and the kids are watching Cbeebies, put something really lovely smelling in the oven (anything with garlic works), line up all the art work and list the achievements as SOON as J comes through the door and pour a glass of wine immediately. Works for me – a sort of stay at home mum.

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