I’ve titled 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 Been Doing 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 might think that has nothing to do with babies. But it’s an incredibly monotonous job. 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. That’s just life as a stay-at-home dad.
Week as a Stay-At-Home Dad: Day One
I’m not going to write a whole lot about this day purely because it has its own post. 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 steady on her feet.
Week as a Stay-At-Home Dad: Day Two
I’ll admit that the novelty 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 is now done with maternity leave, and this is going to become a regular thing really did dawn on me. I started to hate the idea of it. I realised that my days off were now going to become babysitting days. Which I know I shouldn’t use the phrase babysitting, as a dad looking after his 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.
Week as a Stay-At-Home Dad: Day Three
Wednesday morning I found myself really struggling, as I knew I would. I was short with Isabelle, I didn’t really enjoy being this stay-at-home dad, 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.”
Then I got rather stressed whilst changing Isabelle after her bath. I got to the point where I felt like I had to put her in her cot so I could just have five to myself. So I grabbed the camera and tried to take a few photos, and ended up getting one that I love
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. This is why opening up and talking about how you feel is so important!
Week as a Stay-At-Home Dad: Day Four
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 her 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.
Week as a Stay-At-Home Dad: Day Five
I’ll be honest. Friday felt like just another day. It didn’t suck, and it wasn’t awesome. The true reality of being a stay-at-home dad (or parent in general) 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. I even managed to capture quite a few moments throughout the week and put them together in a vlog. It’s around 25 minutes long, so I’m not sure you’ll really want to watch it. But it’s more for me and Rachel to watch back when we’re a little older. Here’s my week as a stay-at-home dad: