Our Resident Stay at Home Dad – Part 3 – NOT USELESS (BUT THANKS FOR ASKING)
Image source: kourtlynlott (via flickr)
It is with a better understanding of parenting that I strike out these days – confident in my ability to not lose a toddler, nor leave them starving, dehydrated or exhausted. I’ve even managed to pass on some of these tips to other Dads.
(Still the best tip for Dads: treat any excursion with a baby/toddler longer than an hour as if you’re going camping: take food, drink, extra clothes, and somewhere to sleep. GOLD. Practical and instructional. Works a treat.)
I also maintain some semblance of order in the household, though to a standard I’ll call ‘above-single-man-living-alone-with-xbox-but-below-female-at-home-with-children’.
And I’m proud that I have achieved this level of competency. (#firstborn doesn’t seem to mind it either.)
The funny thing is, it seems to have gone almost unnoticed by our families and friends more broadly.
My wife, super-breadwinner that she is, has an opportunity to head OS for a few weeks for important meetings for her company. All good, #firstborn and I can roll pretty well for a fortnight.
But wow the reaction from friends and relatives is like… well it’s like I’m a completely single Dad. The offers are flooding in for food to be dropped off (I cook quite well actually), to extra babysitting nights for #firstborn (‘you’ll need a break mate, you can’t do it all on your own’).
Which is all wonderful, but unnecessary. I can’t help thinking that if we flip the equation, the extra assistance gets removed. Imagine a working Dad heading overseas for a two-week trip. My tip is the stay-at-home Mum would just get on with business, plan a few more playdates and catch her partner when he gets back.
That said- I reckon I could use some grown-up conversation during that fortnight, so I certainly will be phoning a friend a bit more. And maybe binge-watching a few decent crime-thriller shows while the better half is halfway around the world. (Nothing worse than having to wait for a parter to be around to watch next crucial next episode. I love you honey but hey…)
So if you know a bloke coping on his own for a little while- my suggestion would be to provide him with some practical tips and advice. Maybe a playdate.
But us men will never learn to parent well on our own if nice people keep propping us up. Time to get in the game fellas. And to family and friends- you gotta let us try (and possibly stuff up the first few times) on our own!