I’ve title this “My Week as a Stay-at-Home Dad” but what it really should be called is “My Single Week of Doing All the Stuff That My Wife Has Done for the Past 8 Months But With Added Moaning” but I felt that would be a slightly long winded title.
Looking after a baby is actually a lot like my day job. I’m a postman. I can see why you would think that has nothing to do with babies. But I like my job, even if it can be pretty difficult at times. It’s also incredibly monotonous. I do the same thing over and over again, and when I come in the next day, I basically hit repeat. That’s essentially what I’ve done this week. A lot of repetitive, monotonous, occasionally enjoyably work.
I’m not going to write a whole lot about this day purely because it has its own post. So if you want to read about that, then feel free to head to the above link. So in lieu of writing a repeat, here’s a picture:
That’s basically how I have things set up with Isabelle in the kitchen. You can’t be ready to catch them all the time, and giving her that ‘Zone of Safety’ as I’ve called it, helps protect them from the inevitable fall. Although in fairness, she doesn’t fall all that much these days due to the fact she’s pretty used to being on her feet.
I’ll admit that the novelty very quickly wore off as I entered day two. Instead of all the nervous excitement of wondering what it was going to be like, I was left with the feeling of “oh, I have to do all of this again.”
I also had the added aspect of having a lot of visitors, which, although it does break up the monotony of the day, does have the added part of giving me something else to think about other than what to do with Isabelle and when. Isabelle was, however, gifted with a Unicorn hat, here she is showing her excitement:
I also realised that just because Rachel is home, it doesn’t mean that I’m done for the day. I still have to actually continue doing the whole ‘dad’ thing for the rest of the day. Not only that, I think the idea that Rachel was now done with maternity leave, and this was going to become a regular thing really did dawn on me, and I started to hate the idea of it. I realised that my days off were now going to become babysitting days. I know I shouldn’t use the phrase babysitting, as a dad looking after is daughter isn’t babysitting, it’s just… well it’s just parenting. But in that moment, that’s how I felt. And I didn’t like it. That night, I knew the next day was going to be tough. I had already set myself up to fail.
Wednesday morning I found myself really struggling, as I knew I would. I was short with Isabelle, I didn’t really enjoy being at home with her, and I remember lying on the kitchen floor in the early hours of the day thinking “I really don’t want to be doing this.”
I also got rather stressed whilst changing Isabelle after the bath. I got to the point where I felt like I had to put her in her cot so I could just have five. I did grab the camera and try to take a few pictures, and this is one of my favourites:
In the end, I did what I always do these days, and turned to the blog to get some sort of release. Instead of writing about it, which would be difficult to do with Isabelle when she’s seeking danger, I did some videos and put it up on the Facebook page. All of a sudden I was getting quite a few comments of support and plenty of others being in the exact same mindset as I felt. Here’s the video:
After I posted it and got talking to others in the same boat as me, I started to feel better. That and a visit from Rachel’s mum which helped break up the day. By the time Rachel got home and we were into the night, I was actually looking forward to the following day instead of dreading it.
I knew going into today it was going to be a good day. I had learned so much from the previous days, and I was going to take all that I learned and apply it to today. The main thing I had learned was centred around nap time. On Wednesday I was a little bit irritable when Isabelle would seem sleepy but then not sleep when I held and rocked her. I would pursue the nap, rather than allowing Isabelle to do something else until she was actually ready. But not today. Today I simply let her be. I allowed her to dictate what we were doing and when she was actually visibly tired, I would start with the nap routine.
I’ll be honest. Friday felt like just another day. It didn’t suck, and it wasn’t awesome. The true reality of being with a baby all week is that a lot of the days kind of repeat themselves. At this point in Isabelle’s life, and with no car, there’s not a whole lot we can actually do.
We did manage to get out and about again, which I’ll admit, I mostly do for selfish reasons. I walk a lot as part of my day job, and when I don’t get that exercise I do feel worse for it. So getting out, and listening to podcasts, does help me to reset and relax. It also helps that Isabelle tends to nap during this time, so it really is a win-win.
I also managed to nail the ‘dressing the baby’ part that most dads tend to struggle with. If you want proof, then here’s this:
Well I guess that’s it. I think I managed to mostly enjoy this week, even if I did have the odd rough patch. It’s currently Sunday evening and I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little stressed. I’m having some issues with the vlog version of this week which is really starting to get to me. I put quite a bit of work into making and editing the videos for this week, and to not have it uploaded is a little frustrating for me.
EDIT: It’s now Monday night and it’s now uploaded! I can sense your excitement. Here it is if you’re interested. It’s a little long, but I think it’s the best one I’ve done thus far, even if that isn’t saying too much:
Anyway, I’ve already rambled more than enough. I guess from here on out our lives are going to be different. Rachel is back in work, maybe she’ll do a post about that, and we’re lucky that for the next few weeks she has a lot of annual leave to take and won’t be in all that much until March/April, so I’ll get to ease myself into her doing 12 hour shifts. She has one this week. So already I have the prospects of a full day of me and Isabelle on the horizons. I dare say I’ll be fine.