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Becoming a House Husband
Since the beginning of time, women have always taken on the role of looking after the household and children, these days though more and more men are taking over that role and becoming stay at home dads.
There are many reasons for this change of circumstances.
The long fight for women's rights and equality is at last starting to bear fruit especially in the workplace where women are earning just as much as their male counterparts and have an equal chance of promotion to higher level jobs.
The economy is in recession which has led to a lot of redundancies and fewer job opportunities leaving some men with little or no choice to stay at home whilst their partners go out to work.
Choice some couples decide long before any children come along the roles that they will play at home.
Whatever the reasons, there are more men staying at home raising their children than ever before.
Redundancy became my introduction into the life of a stay at home dad, a week before Christmas last year I lost my job.
Stay at Home Dad
Life as Stay at Home Dad
Starting my new role as a stay at home dad was a real eye opener for me. I thought it would be so easy, after all how difficult can it be to do a few chores around the house and keep an eye on the children. That first week was a real learning curve for me.
Having been used to a routine at work I thought that it would be a matter of doing the same at home get up, make breakfast, see children off to school, make beds, do washing, vacuum, then take a break with a cup of coffee. After break polish and do any other cleaning chores that need done around the home then I could put my feet up and watch TV until the kids came home from school.
Make dinner, let kids go out to play for a while before shower and pyjama's supper and bed ready to do it all again the next day.
Simple as that, it all looks good on paper and it would have worked perfectly if the children were not a part of the equation, especially when I realised that one of my children was still too young to go to school and I would have to work around him and his needs.
It wasn't long before I realised that having a toddler at home with you 24/7 makes your job almost impossible. I also discovered that my other 3 children were not the perfect little angels that I knew from the 2 or 3 hours that I used to be with them after work.
Daddy I'm Wide Awake!
The Reality of Being a House Husband
Having a routine seems like a great idea but in reality when you have children routine flies out of the windows along with your notion of how simple your new role will be.
Firstly I got up washed and dressed in plenty of time to make breakfast for the children and see them off to school, all was well on track breakfast was on the table and I went upstairs to waken them.
Children I have discovered are not at their best when they have just been woken up, especially the teenage ones. They are grumpy, argumentative and they love to fight with each other from the race to the bathroom, to sitting at the breakfast table, dig, dig, dig, "Dad, She done this", "Dad he did that" but of course that is only half the story.
Children getting dressed for school is an adventure, even though all of their clothes had been set out the night before they all seem to have disappeared into thin air, " Dad Where are my socks?", "Dad I can't find my skirt". "Dad my shoes have gone missing".
By the time they have all been dressed, washed, brushed their teeth and sat down to breakfast, which they have to rush, because they are running late.
So off to school they go after a panic of bus fares, lunch money and a frantic search for bags. Letting me get on with my job of tidying up the house and doing any shopping that was needed for the day.
Just as I was about to start picking up the breakfast dishes to wash, I heard a noise from upstairs. Jason was awake, oops silly daddy forgot all about him.
It was at this exact point in time that it became perfectly clear to me that the routine I had planned for the day was dead.
Jason is such a Good Eater
Shopping with a Two Year Old
When going Shopping with a two year old child, I would strongly advise that you take a stroller, you have a little more control and you can use the handles of the stroller to carry bags.
With a stroller baby won't get tired and you won't have to carry him and your shopping.
Jason on Tractor Tom
House Work Around a Two year old
With Jason out of bed cleaned up and changed I thought that while he ate his breakfast in his highchair I would be able to get at least something done and I did.
I managed to clear up and wash the breakfast dishes and I managed to get a load of clothes into the washing machine.
Then I turned my attention to Jason who was sitting in his highchair with an innocent look on his face, it would have been a perfect picture if he wasn't covered head to toe in his breakfast, his plate was lying on the floor and his food was scattered all around the floor and there was even some on the walls. Who knew that you had to supervise a two year old while they were eating?
After bathing and changing Jason, I decided that to get it out of the way we would go out shopping for the things that we needed for the day.
Shopping with a two Year Old
Shopping with a two year old, is an adventure, do you take the stroller or do you let him walk with his reins?
I decided to walk with Jason, big mistake, reins are ok if you are just going for a walk to the local park but if you are going shopping I would advise the stroller.
Jason really is a good walker, actually I would say he is more of a runner pulling me along happy as Larry, until you get to the store then he wants to pul everything from the shelves.
It was a complete nightmare, trying to hold Jason back from the shelves, holding a shopping basket and trying to pick up the shopping that I needed, I am surprised that we didn't get thrown out of the store with the amount of Items I had to pick up from the floor and put back on the shelves.
To give me a break for just a few seconds I decided to let Jason have a ride on the moving toy he loved it so much that when the ride ended he screamed the place down not wanting to come off.
We made our way back home bags of shopping in one hand and Jasons reins in the other, then Jason decides that he has done enough walking for the day and wants carried the rest of the way home.
The shopping trip was a good idea, at least something I did was right, it tired Jason out so much that within five minutes of getting back home he fell asleep giving me the chance to get on with some chores.
The washing machine had finished its cycle so I took the washing and put it in the dryer, I tidied up Jason’s mess from breakfast and I managed to get another few small jobs done before he woke back up.
Jason has two gears fast and sleeping, when he is not sleeping he is all over the place, he is great fun to be around and 99% of the time he is a happy baby but boy does he make a mess, toys everywhere, books everywhere and when you try to pick them up he takes them from you plays with them for a few seconds and throws them away to play with something else.
The problem is that when Jason is awake there is not much chance that anything will get done around the house.
My idea of having a coffee break was now a pipe dream and all that I would see on TV would be an episode of Sesame Street
Jason Enjoys Playing in the Grass
Home from School and Work
When the children came home from school and my wife came home from work, although I still had a few chores left to do, it was a huge relief. I could get on with things and some one else could watch over Jason.
The children got on with their homework, then tidied up their bedrooms, changed their clothes and then went outside to play taking Jason with them.
With mum home we worked together to get everything done and by the time it came for me to go to bed my head hit the pillow and I was giving it big Zeds.
Being a House Husband
Being a house husband is hard work, but it is rewarding spending more time with your children and getting to know them a lot better.
It takes a while to get into a routine, but you get to know your child's sleeping patterns and to work around them.
I am settling into the role of house husband now and beginning to enjoy it more, They say that "A womans work is never done" and now i am beginning to believe that.