So I thought I’d start with an introduction to being a stay-at-home dad. It’s a strange position – you don’t really fit into any of the conventional categories, even in this modern, liberal Ireland.
The stay-at-home dad, or SAH dad (sounds like “sad dad”, which can be apt!) doesn’t quite fit in with the traditional manly-man dads who work 9-5 or shifts – if they have nothing else in common, they can fall back on the fact that they are fulfilling the hunter-gatherer role
“Grand, kept busy!”
Nor does our SAH dad fit in with the mums on the school run, for obvious biological reasons.
Old stereotypes die hard, and a man who stays at home while his wife goes out to work is still regarded with some suspicion.
I’d like to portray the SAH dad as a noble lone wolf, ploughing his own furrow. But he’s more like an old sheepdog who was never properly trained for the role. He is just trying his best not to lose any of his sheep, making sure he brings home the right ones and doesn’t get shot (metaphorically) or hit by a car (metaphorically and sometimes literally).
Myself, I’ve just crested the hill of 40, and feel every bit of it.
I remember laughing at a Billy Connolly routine where he spoke about making noises now that didn’t happen when he was younger. I no longer laugh. I make involuntary sighs and groans when picking things up; I take a deep breath before getting out of an armchair; and my knees – oh how I miss having knees that work!!
My own little slice of torture purgatory parenting heaven involves reporting 24/7 to 3 miniature managers – a teenager, a tween and one still in single digits.
To give a flavour of our regular life – this week the eldest is using full teenage logic to argue that he’ll study more if he’s allowed on the PlayStation more (he makes an interesting point. Not right, but interesting); the middle one has asked to go to his first teenage disco (hacking away at the last of those apron strings); and the youngest is practicing for the school Christmas show by playing “Rudolph the red nosed (?nose? – must look that up) reindeer” and “We wish you a merry Christmas” over and over and over on the tin whistle (even the dog looks to go outside in the wind, rain and snow when the “music” strikes up).
Still, Christmas holidays are on the way. Now just to sort those awkward Kris Kindle presents…….