"Even before we had our first child, it was my intention to take some sort of paternity leave... It was definitely the right decision. The time I spent with my boy was fantastic. The relationship we developed is second to none and has led to daily moments of magic that outstrip anything else I’ve done in my life."
It seems that all stay-at-home dads will have their “Double-take” story. Mine goes something like this: when I took over full time care for our son, my wife having returned to work, I thought I’d pop along to a local toddler singing club. As I entered the bright municipal building pushing a pushchair with all the usual baby accoutrements I was greeted by a couple of mums with a friendly, if not curious “may we help you?”, as if I was a delivery driver asking for directions or plumber looking for the boiler room as opposed to what I clearly was; a dad and baby. However, once inside we had great fun at the group and returned every week. It may or may not surprise you, but I was the only dad.
Whether dropping off or picking up at nursery, picnicking in the park or going for vaccinations you will usually be the only dad amongst a sea of mums. Every so often there’ll be another dad who has managed to sneak a day off work or a grandparent helping out, but more often that not you will be the only guy. This is no bad thing. In the long run you will look back and realise that you were part of the vanguard; a pioneer boldly going where few (men) have gone before. And the healthy respect that you no doubt already have for mums will be increased 100 fold.
I can safely say that going to work each day is a walk in the park compared to looking after an 8 month old baby, day in day out, for 12 hours a day (unless you are in fact walking in the park with the pushchair, which is actually quite pleasant). Looking after a baby and doing all the house work is pretty relentless - this of course is not news to millions of mums all round the world but probably is for a fair few dads.
Even before we had our first child, it was my intention to take some sort of paternity leave. In the end I took a sabbatical, primarily to follow my wife’s career with one eye on being able to take over once my wife went back to work. It was definitely the right decision. The time I spent with my boy was fantastic. The relationship we developed is second to none and has led to daily moments of magic that outstrip anything else I’ve done in my life.
Duncan's Top Tip:
Don’t tell your partner that your child achieved a significant milestone during the day. If your child takes their first steps or starts saying their first words, keep it to yourself and wait till they do it again with mum present. If your partner has gone back to work she’ll probably feel guilty (she shouldn’t, but she will) so she won’t want to hear that her baby started walking while she was stuck in a meeting!