It’s been just over a week since me and my pink chinos sauntered out of the office for the last time, sticking a big middle finger up to ‘the man’ as I left behind the cosseted world of the 9-5 to jump straight into the arms of uncertainty and madness as a stay at home dad. Eight days in and I’ve already learned quite a lot about myself, and my children. Here are my top 9 learnings so far…
- Every fibre of my being aches with fatigue. When I get up at 2am to feed my 5-month-old daughter (one of her two night feeds), my joints pop like pouring milk onto Rice Krispies. Aside from the joint and back pain, the tiredness is all consuming. The hours between 4pm and 6pm are the hardest. I’ve already fallen asleep in front of a Peppa Pig marathon, while my eldest daughter ran riot, taking off her nappy, knocking over a vase full of water and throwing wooden building blocks at her younger sister’s head.
- Kid’s TV theme tune earworms are the worst. I’ll have at least one floating around my head at any one time, at all hours of the day. Current favourites are Thomas The Tank Engine, Paw Patrol or Go Jetters.
- I can only watch Traffic Cops/Police Interceptors. Anything else demands too much attention. Netflix is a waste of money as I’ll fall asleep within 15 minutes of any character arc.
- I live in constant anxiety that one of my daughters will be seriously injured. It’s only a matter of time – and it’ll definitely be on my watch. Falling off the swings, burning herself on the iron, falling out of an upstairs window, cutting herself with a kitchen knife, falling down the stairs…
- Lunch is no longer a concept. If you actually find the time for lunch, it will be cold and eaten with one hand.
- Screen time will save your life. However, it’s a love/hate relationship. Nothing shuts them up like a tablet. It’s the easy option but the guilt you feel sitting them in front of CBeebies for hours on end is crippling.
- Children are all consuming. You won’t be able to do anything else with your life. Try writing anything longer than a text and your kids will magically appear, demanding all of your precious time. For example, I’ve been trying to finish this post for about three days.
- My daughter eats snails. No garlic butter, just raw snails from the garden. She’ll often toddle in with a mouth full of earth and slime and a triumphant smile on her face. Absolutely disgusting.
- It still beats working or a living. Finally, despite feeling like I have the body of a 89-year-old man who continually wonders into rooms without a clue as to why he went in there in the first place, it’s better than getting the 8.14 to Moorgate every day…
I still have weaning and potty training to come in the next few months, so I expect this list to just grow and grow. ‘They’re two they’re four they’re six they’re eight, shunting trucks and hauling freight…’