Friday, 18 March 2011

Stay at home Dad - by Theo

When Kate and I first met she was a Senior Broadcast Journalist at the BBC, earning a tidy if not extravagant salary, while I was a freelancer with an overdraft, only managing to feed myself because I was living rent-free in a student hall of residence. It was therefore a matter of simple economics, rather than any true altruism on my part, when I suggested that should we ever have children, I would be more than happy to be a SAHD (stay at home dad) while Kate brought home the lentils. (No bacon please, we're veggies).

"Not on your life", was Kate's reply. Despite being a feminist, Kate was in no way enamoured with this women-empowering option (though I'm sure she was pleased to have the choice). As she put it "You're my pension plan, so you'd better start earning one!" So, sure enough, when Rosie arrived, I was back at the chalkface after my two weeks paternity leave had expired, while Kate slipped seamlessly into full-time motherhood.

However, last week, I finally got my chance to find out exactly what things might have been like had Kate taken up my offer. Kate had to suddenly go into hospital for a relatively straightforward procedure - nothing life-threatening, just one of those things best done sooner rather than later - and I was left holding the baby. Thankfully, I have an extremely understanding boss who had no objection to me taking the day off work - I think the fact that he's also a father helped - as with barely 24 hours notice we had no way to make other arrangements for Rosie, who has never been in non-parental care for more than a couple of hours (usually spent asleep).

Kate was admitted at 9am and though we had thought she might have to stay the night, she was discharged at 7pm, everything having gone smoothly. This was a huge relief, not just because it was great to have Kate home again, but also because I'd been dreading having to put Rosie down for the night by myself (well, not being able to lactate puts me at something of a disadvantage). As it was I was still pretty knackered, having done all Rosie's meals, both naps and her bath, all nappy changes as well as feeding myself (beans on toast) and doing the laundry and washing up.

It was wonderful spending so much time with Rosie and she really was a little angel, not complaining as I switched her from buggy to car seat to sling to high chair, but by the end of the day I appreciated Kate like never before!

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