Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Stay-at-home Dad - won't you be bored?

That's one question I got asked a lot before my son was born.

It's the sort of question which tells me the person I'm listening to has one defining principle that is the polar opposite to mine.

I look at it this way.  If I am bored, whose fault is that?  Mine.  And what would I be guilty of?  I'd be guilty of a lack of imagination, being unable to conjure up challenging and intriguing activities to occupy myself with other than the ritualistic act of breadwinning.

I don't like leaving myself open to being criticised for lacking imagination, especially from myself!  So I know I won't be bored.

And let me reassure any female readers that I am in no way lacking the traditional male machismo and arrogance that fills my very blood with knowledge - yes knowledge, not just belief - that I will meet every challenge of child-rearing better than anyone who has ever faced it before.

That knowledge does of course require no knowledge whatsoever of the details involved in caring for your offspring - that "detail" requires mere "research" and that can be done by anybody.

So to summarise, I know I'll cope with the day-to-day business of being a dad.  With time to spare.  And I know I'll think of ways to use that "spare time".  So my first task, as I embark on being a stay-at-home dad, months before the actual birth, is to write a comprehensive To Do list.

This might seem banal after the previous display of arrogance, but hear me out.

This is the To Do list.  You see, now I'm not working I'll have time to accomplish all the things I never had time for.  And what's more I'll have a "mini me" upon which to foist any of my ambitions and goals that, for myriad reasons that I'll go into later, have already escaped me.

Not only do I get to work on my ultimate wish list, but I get to re-write history through my son!

Writing retrospectively, and before I share with you my To Do list (which is, as you would expect, ever-increasing), I should share the epiphany of self-awareness that comes from planning your son's future.  Considering what you would do differently, how you would apply yourself, how you would like to be encouraged, motivated and disciplined, it all brings into focus your own faults that have spread and grown over the years.  It makes you glance just a flicker of a reflection of what you might have achieved had you not been so lazy, negative, untravelled, risk averse, fearful, weak or short-sighted at key crossroads in your life.

It makes you realise that you could have been so much better, so much more.
And that it's not too late.
So, as I approached the birth of my son and, in the many wonderful moments since, I am not merely grateful for this rare opportunity, as a dad, to be so directly involved in my son's development.

I see it as the motivation to be a better man.

And it is with that motivation, that in the face of any difficulties, any sleeplessness or sickness, any trepidation or hesitation, I will tell myself: "Just Do It, Daddy!"


  1. Oh for the chance to get bored!!
    You sound like a man on a mission, and you're right, being a Dad makes you realise your kids are in no way going to end up like yourself - like my old school reports costant mantra;
    ''so much potential, so little application.''
    (Definitely keeps you focussed!!)

  2. Sounds like a very applicable mantra for me too, DB! But that's all changed now - the mission is in progress!

  3. Spare time. What is that? are you sure you will have any? Blogging can easily help you fill that. Good luck with your blog, found you via BMB. Mich x

  4. Never sure I'm going to get any, Mich lol

    Spare time is when little one drifts back to sleep at 7am after being up at 5!

    Now he's one I'm sending him to nursery for a day a week - hopefully that'll be enough to write my book and catch up on sleep! (and to give him sufficient social integration of course!)