Full-time stay at home dad, The Stented Papa, reveals what it's really like during the school holidays with two young children.
So Christmas was epic. Loved it. Loved the break.
Ah, no early morning wake up calls for the nips. Ah, lie-ins for Mama and Papa. No daily fight over who wants what in their sandwiches for lunch. No full lunch boxes returning from school day after day. No need to have clothes and school bags in some sort of respectable order to ensure a smooth flow of each weekday morning.
Yeah right. Balls to that. Why in God’s name do nippers bounce out of bed as early as possible (on their own accord too) when they’ve no school, yet come school time, you have to practically scrape them out of bed using all kinds of bribery known to man and deal with moods flying all over the gaff? Lie in me arse!
During a school break, basically all routine goes out the window. Boom - it’s gone. And it’s immediately replaced with toys, clothes, Playdoh, teddies, nappies, lego and cushions everywhere. Where do all these extra cushions come from all of a sudden, anyway? Not to mention the extra odd socks and uncapped markers like, everywhere?
And just like that, as a stay at home parent, you long for school to restart and fast. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, eh?
Because even though you genuinely thought you couldn’t wait for the holidays to begin (and let’s be fair here - the first few days/weeks are usually fine) that said, it becomes clear pretty fast that you’re gonna be absolutely knackered because it’s relentless.
“Daddy / Dad / Dada / Daaaaaddddddd / Daaddddyyyyyy” over and over and over!
Now, don’t get me wrong here - I absolutely love being a stay at home dad and anyone who knows me knows this is the case. I simply wouldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t enjoy it.
And I have patience (I think)! But the fact of the matter is even with patience, having to be constantly on call 24/7 is extremely tough and anyone who says otherwise is living in feckin' moo-moo land. There is no other way to say it and I’m pretty sure any stay at home parent will back me up here.
Back to school = me time.
That’s it. Just me. All alone. Like right now this minute. Close to three hours to myself. Oh, the feckin' bliss! It’s just gone 10.25 am on Friday and I’m sipping coffee and doing what I do - writing.
And here’s the kicker - I’m doing it distraction-free as I’m in my local cafe. Yeah, baby yeah!
It’s also guilt-free in terms of writing while the nips are in school as opposed to writing during a school break while I give the nips a show, for example (which I hate but sometimes have to do because of deadlines).
Triple winner winner chicken dinner. How do ya like ‘dem apples’ ha?!
There’s no substitute for experience!
I remember when I was working and The Stented Mrs was a stay at home mum at the time.
One evening she was well and truly b*lloxed. It was around 11.15 pm and there she was, wrecked but still not going to bed. Instead, she was watching TV. I was looking at her thinking ‘What’s wrong with you, just go to bed no?!’ I just couldn’t understand it. If you're tired, you sleep. Then you’re not tired. Easy right?
Naively I looked at her and stupidly said "But you’re wrecked... so just go to sleep, simple. Then you’ll be grand". (I’m pretty sure she just looked at me and told me to F-off!)
She said she needed to switch off and have her ‘Me Time’ - even though it would mean she’ll be still wrecked the next morning.
….But now I get it.
When you’re a full-time stay at home parent - those minutes where you haven’t a smaller version of yourself, pulling out of you constantly, requesting your help/input/advice with XYZ 24/7 - are an absolute must.
Those moments are essential, in fact.
Now I get why wifey needed to have a break by watching some mind-numbing shite on the telly box at that time of night. She just needed to chill on her own, all by herself.
Now I get it.
Chat next month folks.
Ross - The Stented Papa