I’m 12 weeks into my experience as a stay at home dad (SAHD) and a few people have asked me how it differs from working full time. As well as having sick on me quite a lot now and my looks and virility having degraded by around 85%, the experience has so far been more rewarding yet more difficult than any job I’ve ever had. Here I’ve compared a day of being SAHD with a day of being at work.
0500 – 0700
WORK: Two hours of glorious and hitherto unappreciated sleep
SAHD: Shocked awake by screaming in glorious surround sound through the baby monitor and through the actual brick wall. Change a nappy so full of wee it can only be lifted with industrial equipment.
WORK: 45 minutes breathing in other people’s blow offs on the train to work.
SAHD: Boingy boingy boingy boingy boingy boingy boingy boingy boingy.
WORK: Arrive at desk.
SAHD: Attempt to shovel weetabix into a mouth opening and closing at random like a late game level of Sonic the Hedgehog. Inevitable screaming fit when I can’t get it in quickly enough.
WORK: First coffee of the morning. Check emails, decide which ones are worded most politely and prioritise these for action.
SAHD: Fourth coffee of the morning. Attempt to dress a baby that would rather eat its own feet. Possible poo nugget.
WORK: As colleagues discuss their evenings trawl twitter saying “really?” every so often.
SAHD: As baby tries to eat his feet instead of going for a nap trawl twitter saying “Shhhhhhhhhh” every so often.
WORK: Trip to the kitchen for an elaborately brewed coffee.
SAHD: Give up on the idea of a cot nap. Allow baby to sleep on you quietly farting on your hand whilst you watch World’s Wildest Routine Traffic Stops.
WORK: Attend important briefing with senior management to listen to matters of vital importance.
SAHD: Listen to the baby blow raspberries directly in your face for 10 minutes.
WORK: Spend 30 minutes trying to word the opening paragraph of crucial report.
SAHD: Spend 30 minutes trying to remove a stubborn booger from little one’s nose.
WORK: Brisk walk round the block in beautiful sunshine before sampling ethnic street food for lunch.
SAHD: Brisk walk for a wee. Three minute lunch break to cram in whatever food happens to be instantly consumable (blueberries with pesto anyone?). 5 minutes feeding baby his lunch. 45 minutes to clean it out of his ears and hair afterwards.
WORK: Meeting to discuss covering all bases in terms of moving forwards on the important issues whilst ensuring that in the other part of the forest we take a full 360 view and recognise the importance of giving a warm hand off to our key stakeholders.
SAHD: Cleaning up shit and piss.
WORK: Supreme effort to gear up for an afternoon of achievement.
SAHD: Supreme effort to gear up to get to Sainsbury’s.
An extended period of achievement, engaging clients, setting targets and knocking them straight down. Quick stretch. Further attainments.
SAHD: Tummy time, oooh look at the buildy blocks, OH MY GOD a cushion!!! Feely feely feel the cushion. Waaaaah thirsty. Mook. Poo. Waaaaah don’t want to be on the floor. Waaaah want to be on the floor. Peek a boo! Peek a boo! Ride the horsey! Waaaah. Power nap. Waaaah. Feel your face feel your face feel your face.
WORK: Shut down, gentle walk to the station and a snooze on the train home.
SAHD: Witching hour. Fidgety, irritable, tired, angry. Only alleviated by the warming glow of Pointless.
WORK: Arrive home to be handed a calm and happy baby ready for cuddles on the gentle meander down to bed time.
SAHD: Welcome partner home and immediately hand over baby that has been crying and clawing at my face for the last hour and a half. Half an hour of ‘me time’ (i.e. time to have a wee).