Yes, there are plenty of great blogs out there written by other stay-at-home dads, and a fair amount of newspaper and magazine articles, too, but none of them have quite mirrored my own experiences.
So here I am, and this is my story.
Let’s start at the beginning.
My wife and I had always agreed that, if we were lucky enough to have children, she would continue to work full-time, because she had an established career which she loved, whereas I didn’t, so I would be the one to give up my job and stay home to look after the baby.
We were both happy with our agreement, and were subsequently thrilled when our first child was born in 2010.
As any parent will contest, nothing can prepare you for birth of your first child. Sure, we had vague notions about what it might be like; you know, cute ideas about baby clothes, bottles and burping.
But the truth is, a tiny, crying and hungry stranger comes to live with you, with no instructions, and it is up to you to look after it, nurture it, and to love it, twenty-four hours a day.
My wife had just six weeks maternity leave.
Yes, you read that correctly; six weeks. We lived in America then, and that was all the maternity leave that my wife’s employer would give her, which was comparable to the norm.
For the first couple of weeks we had help from all four grandparents, but after that we were on our own; or rather, I was on my own.
All I remember from those first few weeks was the sheer exhaustion; I had never been so tired, so sleep deprived, in all my life.
I went shopping in the supermarket and felt so utterly exhausted that I could have slept right then and there on the floor in the cereals aisle; it took every last ounce of will power to plough through it and make it to the checkout without collapsing.
Suddenly being the primary caregiver to a six week old baby is daunting for anyone, male or female. In those early weeks, other than being awake for feeding, our son was usually sleeping.
This was relatively easy.
I made myself comfortable on the sofa, with a pile of DVDs, snacks all around me, and our son asleep either on my lap or close by. I barely had to move all day.
It was fun at first, but the monotony of the situation soon began to creep in; feeding, burping, changing, getting him ready for a nap, washing bottles, on repeat, every day.
How was I going to maintain my sanity?
part two to follow…