As a 9 month veteran of the stay at home dad business I have convinced myself and the old lady who thinks Max is a girl, that I am quite the expert. Join me if you will as I reveal some of the Do’s and Do Not’s of Dadding.
Do: Be a supportive partner, do your fair share of the night shift and treat your partner to plenty of lie ins. Sooth your baby back to sleep with some gentle rocking and a lullaby
Do Not: Pretend to be asleep when the baby is stirring, the fake snore is over-acting and will blow your cover every time. Never become embroiled in a late night debate/argument with your partner about whose turn it is, you may lose more than the argument #case of Bobbit vs Bobbit. Do not show a total lack of will power, renege on an agreed parental policy and return triumphantly with an insomniac baby holding an invite to the sanctuary of your bed.
Do: Expose your child to a rich and varied diet. Encourage them to try new flavours, to finish their meal and to eat with their spoon.
Do Not: Expose your child to a rich and varied range of fish fingers, yes they are quick, yes he likes them and yes his pooh will develop a fishy odour. Do not leave your child unattended in his high chair, unless of course it’s to take a very amusing picture of the ensuing mess.
Do: Mix your routine up a bit, one special day trip a week keeps both you and your child engaged. Remember that your role is not only looking after your child, you also need to carry out the more practical aspects of staying at home by ensuring things are ship shake for your partners return.
Do Not: Base yourself at the park, the same park, day in day out, park, park, park, nothing but park, parky, parky, park, park – you will go insane. If you do decide to go on a day trip make sure you check the opening times, bring water and food, this way you will avoid spending 40 minutes in a car park with a malnourished, dehydrated child that was expecting to be getting his Einstein on at Scienceworks, for example.
Socialise With Other Parents
Do: Share your experiences of parenting with others who can relate. Stay socially active, happy Dad = happy child.
Do Not: Become a social recluse, shunning the offer of adult company in favour of staying in to compile your Top 10 Favourite Max Moments, boring Dad = bored child.
Do: Allow your child to guide you, look for them to show increased awareness and a desire to have a go.
Do Not: Try to enlighten your child (who has just learnt to walk) in the delights of using a toilet, there is a very good chance he will walk into the line of fire and you are helpless to stop him……………yes I peed on my son.
Do: Stimulate your baby’s playful side with a range of environments, toys, music and company. Allow them the opportunity to discover things for themselves and don’t stifle them.
Do Not: Stimulate your own playful side at the park, know your limitations – jumping off a rapidly accelerating swing and landing head first in tan bark will not endear you to your parent peers. Do not take the puzzle from your baby and marvel at your own brilliance in slotting the circle through the circular hole, just don’t do it!
Do: Devise a strategy to ensure that your house is a safe environment for your child to enjoy and explore.
Do Not: Revel in the brilliance of your dad joke that “it’s too late to child proof the house as one of the little blighters had already got in” whilst leaving meat cleavers lying around at baby height……..yes I did that too.
Bonding with Your Child
Do: Give your child your undivided attention, smother them in love and smiles
Do Not: Give your blog your undivided attention, smothering it with love and smiles.
Transporting Your Child
Do: Ensure that your child is safe, warm and comfortable in whatever means of transport you use, pram, car seat, rucksack, bike carrier, etc
Accept Your New Role
Do: Accept that your life will never be the same again, the sooner you embrace your new role the quicker you will realise that it’s probably the best job in the world.
Do Not: Convince yourself that a night out with the boys is a civilised evening of sparkling conversation, fine dining and camaraderie – you will in fact remember it is a thoroughly uncivilised evening of beer, kebab and being pushed home in a shopping trolley.