Today Phil tells us his thoughts on being a stay at home dad, something that is becoming more and more common.
What made you decide to be the parent to stay at home to care for the children?
Both Kath and I had jobs that involved a lot of travelling, when she was pregnant with our son (now 5 years old) we talked about the best way of bringing him up. We both felt that it was important to have a parent at home with the child. My partner has always been the major earner at work and when we looked at the cost of childcare (and also the logistics of arranging cover when we were both working away quite a lot) it quickly became apparent that my wages would effectively all go on child care and we would not get so see our child as much as we wanted to. Coupled with this was when he eventually started school how we would manage during school holidays etc. We were in the fortunate position we could afford for me to give up work and become a full time stay at home dad. The plan was I would return to work when he started school however along came our daughter who is now 2 so that pretty much put paid to that idea.
It was pretty much how I expected it though I was surprised at how tiring and demanding it is looking after a child. I had no idea how much washing there would be to do, its relentless!!!! How people cope when they are a single parent never ceases to amaze me.
We don’t tend to get a lot of coverage on the media though I have noticed that most baby product ads are aimed at mothers, this is fair enough, though I find it a tad annoying when little or no mention is made of stay at home Dads. The Pampers ad used to really irritate me.
I don’t have a problem being in the minority. I’ve always found any groups that I have gone to have in the main being very welcoming to me, I guess I’m a bit of a novelty!!! I have never been anywhere where Dads are in the majority.
I don’t think that we differ in our approach to child care though I guess I tend to be a bit firmer and not spoil the children as much as Kath. I think I’m also a bit over protective watching them all the time and being careful what they play with. Also I like to stick to a routine and get a bit annoyed if Kath breaks the routine!! I try and plan meals, clothing and everything ahead for the week as I find this helps to try and keep things under control.
I think the children have gained comfort in having a parent at home 24/7 and so far things seem to be going well! I know that we are in a very lucky position to be able to do this.
I just like being around the children, yes its exhausting and demanding but ever so rewarding and good fun now they are at an age where they can communicate and we can get out and about a lot more without having to take a mountain of baby equipment food nappies etc etc.