Nine months of glorious maternity leave have come to an end - but stuff isn't going back to the way it was before. Aside from the obvious addition of a small child demanding my attention, there's also the rather large matter of 150 miles between The Valleys we now call home and my trend forecasting job in central London. So, without much of a choice, I had to make a difficult decision to leave my job and start afresh as a freelancer.
But that’s not all that’s changed around here recently. With my husband having midweek days off work and Eli being less dependent on the boob, I'm passing the childcare baton into his very capable hands for a day or two a week. I call it Daddy Daycare and we are all very thankful for it.
Together with Eli’s superstar dad, I’ve devised a checklist of must-haves for when your partner or another caregiver takes the childcare reins.
1. Buy dad friendly products.
Dads change nappies these days – WAHOO! But they don’t seem to have a say in the changing bag; the baby list must-have that women seem to strangely lust over (I blame the hormones!) Whether you're awaiting your own special delivery or the baby's arrived, consider buying or upgrading to a changing bag that dad doesn’t mind taking out and about.
As with the nappies comment, men go to playgroups these days too. High five for breaking down all those gender stereotypes! If dad's the sociable type, find out if there’s a group near you. Dadsnet also has a really exciting mush-style app for dads launching soon, which may be a good place to start. If the rumours of custard creams and coffee in a plastic cup puts him off, suggest rounding up some male friends or relatives to go on a boys' trip out. Soft play is calling you!
3. Be adventurous
Men and kids both seem to love exploring the great outdoors even when it’s Baltic cold. (Weirdos!) Take advantage of this on dad days. Whether it’s a muddy ride to the local park or a hike in the hills with friends, ensure they are well equipped for their great expeditions with a good, solid back carrier or a seriously cosy footmuff for the buggy.
4. Build lasting memories
Little people love making special memories with their big people and it’s great for their mental development too. With a dad who is a singer and musician, Eli is creatively entertained when Steve's in charge. Find something special that dad and kid can get excited about together. Whether it’s sharing a passion for art, language or music, invest in products that will encourage and build special memories for them both, like good musical toys or crafting materials.
5. Don’t forget the boring stuff for bonus points
Adulting is hard but parenting is even harder and there’s a lot of mundane stuff to get done! Take small, manic children; add daily living and your home can become an eyesore rather quickly. But, drumroll please, chores can actually keep kids entertained for longer than you would think. Steve often hoovers with Eli in the carrier; in fact he seems to prefer the Dyson over the TV. Plus it’s one less job to do when he is in bed. Now we just need to strap some feather dusters to him to polish the house when he’s zooming around in his walker!
Keep parenting like heroes!
Header pic credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash