9 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 since Eli is now less dependent on the boob, I am passing the childcare baton into his very capable hands for a day or two a week. I call it daddy day care and we are all very thankful for it.
Together with Eli’s superstar daddy, I’ve devised a checklist of must-haves for when your little bundle's dad (or perhaps another caregiver) takes the childcare reins.
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 are awaiting the arrival of your own special delivery or already have a bouncing bub, consider buying or upgrading to a changing bag that dad doesn’t mind taking out and about.
Socialise with other dads.
As with the nappies comment, men go to playgroups these days too, high five for breaking down all those gender stereotypes! If dad is the sociable type, find out if there’s a dads group near you that he could join. The Dad Network, which also has a really exciting mush-style app for dads launching soon, may be a good place to start. If the rumours of custard creams and coffee in a plastic cup puts dad off, suggest rounding up some male friends, fellow dads or relatives to go on a boys trip out. Soft play is calling you!
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.
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 is in charge. Find something special that dad and kiddies 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 a good musical toy, or get messy with a crafting project.
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 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!