I’m on notice. In September Sonny starts school, Luca Nursery, and I’ll be a year closer to my early retirement; or actively looking for work if Janet asks.
Obviously we’ll need to discuss my retirement plans, just not before my six month Saga cruise has left port.
But it got me thinking about what I’ve learnt from my 18 months as a stay at home dad, and what tips I’d give another dad thinking about a career change. Turns out not a lot, but here are a few random thoughts;-
Where most stay at home parents can be found searching for their sanity after spending too long in the house.
Learn the rules of the roundabout. You never want to be the nearest adult to the roundabout. That’s a mistake you’ll only make once; some of those kids aren’t yours! You’ll know it’s happened when you hear the collective snigger from all the other parents who’ll have suddenly found something of interest far, far away from any risk of roundabout responsibility.
There isn’t one. If ever you doubted the laziness of the male species then just take a look around any Playgroup and spot the stay at home dad without a beard.
Be aware that with toddlers you’ll adopt positions on the floor not practised since you were a kid yourself, and with it open up a Pandora’s box of possible wardrobe malfunctions. Last week I found myself sat cross-legged at Playgroup. Not the place to discover gaping holes in the crotch of your jeans.
Did anyone highlight my plight?
Nope. No-one. Was it really too much to expect a quiet,
“Please could you put your penis away”?
A fundamental part of being a stay at home parent. Often a time when my parenting skills can be properly judged by the amount of glitter found in the following days nappy.
Avoid Mr Maker, the arch Nemesis of all things crafty. What he calls his ‘doodle drawer’ is little more than the landfill of Narnia. You’ll spend months collecting yoghurt pots, pipe cleaners, and coloured card only to hear him say,
“What you’ll need is the teardrop of a Congolese anaconda, the faint whisper from a fairy, and two googly eyes.”
The days of the week when being out of the house before 9am isn’t just a fanciful dream.
Don’t confuse the late book with an honesty box. They really don’t need to know the reason you were late was because of an argument over why it wasn’t appropriate for him to turn up to Nursery in his mothers knickers.
A time when you realise that as the only adult in the house the healthiness of their diet becomes your sole responsibility.
Obviously it would be wrong to just give them a lump of cheese, so instead, dress it up in a sandwich with a token piece of cucumber then turn a blind eye while they strip it apart and just eat the cheese.
It’s in the small-print and not to be confused with the panic tidying reserved for when you realise your other half is due home in a matter of minutes.
Smear the kids in paint and glitter then pretend your activities are the reason zero housework has been done.
I’d probably best cross-reference my tips against those proffered by Gina Ford in her parenting book I’ve never read, although I’m pretty sure we’ll be singing off the same song-sheet.