Monday 31 August 2015

Being a stay at home dad

Hello everyone, I'm Paul - nice to virtually meet you all! Well, some of you might feel like you know a bit about me already - Allie sometimes mentions me in her blog and when she does it's always something nice...well, one of her many talents is seeing the best in people, so I'm very especially grateful for that :P

The first thing I want to say is how proud I am of Allie - hopefully you all have a sense of what a wonderful and caring person she is from this blog and she is genuinely all that and more in person. Her new business, nuno and stitch, reflects this - attention to detail, always doing her best and consideration and care for others are central to her character and I'd like to thank each and every one of you for supporting her and us.

Allie has kindly agreed to let me jump on her blog to share a little about my experience over the last two and a half months. For the ongoing followers here and our friends and family, you're probably already aware that I've been lucky enough to be a stay at home dad over this time. Well, what an amazing time it's been! I've been able to be a central and everyday part of Nico's growth and development, but I think I've grown and developed almost as much.

The last two and a half months have been the happiest and most wonderful time of my life...and also the most challenging. When I got extended leave from my work, there was a bit of a view among my friends and colleagues that there would be a bit of R&R involved. I think I even started to believe this myself! I'm a pretty lazy guy by nature, so two and a half months of just having to look after the little fella sounded, at least during the "down time", kinda relaxing...until realised there was no down time!

Nico is a beautiful, amazing, happy little kid and the absolute joy of our lives. He's also a never-ending ball of wriggling energy who needs to be monitored the whole time he's awake...and even when he's not awake. Is this the same for all 10 month olds??? Okay, dads can feel free to shrug their shoulders here, mums can feel free to roll their eyes...

Father's Group on Friday-my bro, brother in law and me (and the kids)!

Here's some things I didn't realise before, but now understand at least a little bit:
- I didn't realise how difficult it would be to make dinner, wash clothes, do the dishes, clean the house or do anything much while Nico was awake;
- I didn't realise the exhaustion I'd also feel as soon as he went to sleep and hence the difficulty with all of the above tasks even when he was sleeping;
- I didn't realise that his "two hour" naps were almost never two hours;
- I didn't realise how much carrying 10 kg (and growing) around half the day would exhaust me physically;
- I didn't realise that I'd look forward to afternoon tea time so much with my parents...almost every day;
- I didn't realise that thinking of something different to make for dinner every day would require every ounce of the brainpower I had left;
- I didn't realise I'd do this much realising!

I only did these things for a couple of months or so, but I hope I understand all this a little better now. It's the hardest job I've ever done...but also by far the most rewarding! I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to learn and appreciate all the things involved in looking after the little guy five days a week. So, thank you to Allie, to my mum and to everyone responsible for caring for someone else - you all do an incredibly amazing job! And thanks to my work for giving me this chance to understand all this a bit better.

Allie has been working extremely hard while I've been looking after Nico too. It's a huge thing to start your own business and she's done it as only she can, in the most thorough, efficient and thoughtful way possible. I'm sure it'll be even more of a challenge for her when I'm back at work, but I hope that with my new understanding I'll get home a little earlier, will make the dinner a little more often and will generally have more genuine empathy about what's been going on during her day.

Finally, when I was thinking about what to write in this entry, I had an idea that I might include a quick and easy recipe or two that I've made during my time off - I've always liked cooking, but it was more as a hobby than as an everyday necessity for the family (and there's quite a difference - another realisation). I think this entry might be more than long enough already though, so with Allie's permission, I might post a collection of recipes in a subsequent blog entry in a couple of weeks or so.

The other thing I wanted to write about was some tips for stay-at-home dads, but I'll hold off on these for now too.

Oh and thanks for reading "stitch by stitch" everyone, I hope this entry has been interesting. Allie's blog entries always come from the heart and I really love reading them (actually, I'm always the first person who gets to read them), so I hope you don't mind me crashing the party this time and maybe occasionally in the future.

Ah, I nearly forgot - Father's Day is coming up, so have a great day dads! There's some really great presents at nuno and stitch for the blokes (my personal favourites are the business card holders and the sports towels) and there's some more things that are super cool (but I can't tell you about) being announced soon. Stay tuned!


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