What exactly does my day entail now that I’m a stay at home dad? Ever wondered what exactly it is your missus does whilst you are at work?
Well this is how my day goes….
Wake up is generally somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 depending on the kids.
First things first, the kettle goes on. A milk or 2, depending on who is up combined with 2 coffees. 1 instant to drink straight away and 1 Polish coffee which takes a few minutes before it is ready. A Polish coffee is where you put a good teaspoon, or 2, of ground coffee in the bottom of the mug, poor freshly boiled water on it, let it settle for a few minutes, give it a light stir so that any coffee not settled at the bottom will find it’s way there, leave for 30 seconds and add milk. It’s pretty bloody strong. By the time I finish the instant the Polish one is good to go. Then it’s nappy changing time. I look forward to it being simply a ‘wet’ nappy as opposed to a ‘dirty’ nappy for the first one in the morning, just to ease myself into it. These are the little wins I now look forward to day to day!
Chill out a bit and just relax, until Ewelina goes off to work at 7:30. After that it’s make the kids brekky. This morning it was toast for Tanami and carrot and banana for Ori. Then there’s the clothes change, although sometimes I will leave this until later, depending on what I’ve got planned for the day. Whilst they are up I try to do some chores, this morning it was folding and putting away some clothes, I generally try to do this sort of stuff whilst they are awake.
Between 8 and 9, Ori goes down for her 1st nap. This will generally be for 45mins to an hour and a half. This is where I get my time to do things such as writing this blog right now (hopefully she’s down long enough I can do it in 1 go!). When she wakes up we have a quick snack, or I prepare something to have on the go and we go for a walk. Kids loaded up in the pram which can seriously take from 10 mins to 30 mins. This can be food prep, water bottle prep, milk bottle prep, nappy bag prep, change of clothes, change of nappies, sometimes twice! Shoes on… Unbelievable how you can lose 20-30 minutes when they are both in their moods lol.
Finally, out the door and fresh air. Earphones in, podcast on. We live close to town so a lot of the time we’ll go down there to the fresh food market to get some vegies, fruits or things for a salad. I love buying food from the fresh markets, I always get too excited and buy too much, struggling to fit it all in the pram. If the weather is good sometimes we’ll go to the local park, although the weather is generally better in the afternoon and there are often more people there in the arvo too. So often we go to the little indoor playground in the Shopping centre to wear them out a bit and pick up other grocery items we may need such as milk, more nappies or wet wipes.
Generally 45-60 minutes at the indoor playground, sometimes longer, sometimes a lot shorter- last week it was 10 minutes. 1 day Tanami kept pushing everyone out of the little doll/cubby house. Had 5 minutes in the pram ‘time out’, got put back in, 2 minutes later pushing everyone again.
After that we are back in the pram and on the way home. Usually this is between 11:30 and 12:30.
When we get home it’s either milk and straight to bed for Tanami or quick lunch and straight to bed. Depending on how tired he is from running around at the playground. I’ve now got him to the stage where I can tell him to go upstairs and go to sleep on mummy and daddy’s bed. It is brilliant and makes life so much easier.
Once he is down I usually chill out with Ori and keep her occupied, she needs a lot more attention than Tanami and doesn’t like to be left alone. After 30 mins- 60 mins Tanami has gone down, I give her some milk and put her down. I’m now at the stage where I can give her the milk and walk away and she’ll settle. That’s brilliant too. Daddy’s tough love stance has paid off! Tanami will sleep from 2.5-3.5 hours. Ori will only sleep 45-90 mins. So it is important for me to get him to go down first and make sure he is down before I put her to sleep. I WANT/NEED this peace and quiet time to myself to do what I want. It is crucial.
When I get the wake up call from the little one it’s upstairs to take her out of the cot and we generally have a wrestle on the bed for 5 or so minutes or just chill out. This is one of the great joys/benefits of being the stay at home parent, these moments like this are what it’s all about.
We then come down stairs and generally just hang out. I might prepare some food for her, or for when Tanami wakes up or start preparing for dinner even. Once the little man is up it’s time for him to eat. He’s always hungry after his big nap, although not always immediately. I either sit him down and make something for him such as a toasted sandwich or have something prepared already and throw them in the pram with a plastic container full of food to eat on the run as we head back down town or to the park in the playground depending on the weather. 9 times out of 10 the wet weather cover is packed in the pram. I’ve been caught out twice before, not a good position to be in!
If we aren’t in a rush a lot of the time I’ll make a smoothie. The kids love when I make them fruit smoothies, they genuinely start to bounce and clap their hands with excitement and anticipation, that also always brings a smile to my face, knowing that what I am doing is making my kids happy.
When Ewelina was finishing work at 5:30 she would generally get home about 6 and I would try to make sure Ori had been bathed and dinner was ready, as she would generally come home hungry, or if not ready it was in the process of being cooked, as I know personally it’s great coming home from a long day and walking in the door to a freshly cooked dinner and tucking straight into it. Recently though she has had a change of role and has been coming home around 5. The sun is very much still up around this hour over here so we either meet up with her or wait ‘til she comes home and I don’t bath Ori in case she wants to play with the kids, take them out the back or for a walk to the park, making the most of the rare occasions when the weather is good and she has the extra hour to spend with the kids. She has definitely found it harder than she would have imagined being away from the kids for so long. Especially when she was working later, she would only get to spend an hour with Ori at home before it was her bed time, and any parent can vouch that it’s much better to spend time with a child in the morning when they’re refreshed, rejuvenated and happy than just before bed time when they are restless, grumpy and tired.
I am always relieved when Ewelina comes through the door. I was going to write happy, but sometimes I’m anything but happy by the time she has come home haha. Sometimes I’ve simply had enough, the little buggers have pushed me to the edge, not defeated, but very much nearly broken and there’s been a few times where she’s walked in the door and I’ve informed her I’m going upstairs. I’ve simply had enough. I need some me time away from the gremlins.
I’m glad I’ve put myself in her shoes and can now relate to the times when I would walk in the door home from training and get snapped at for apparently no reason. I get that now.
Not everyday is awesome and fantastic and full of joy. 2 days ago we had a pretty good day, yesterday, well fuck me dead, I just about started looking in the classifieds for new jobs haha. I was that exhausted/drained I had dinner cooked by the time Ewelina got home at a quarter past 5, and by 6 I was in bed. This used to happen to me once or twice during pre-season, and generally once again during the season where I would come straight home from training, maybe quickly have some toast for dinner and then crash, aiming to get anywhere from 12-14 hours sleep. Not sick or crook, just exhausted. This was usually due to physical exhaustion. Yesterday was mental exhaustion from the kids, they had been whinging and needy AAALLLLLLLLLLL day, didn’t let up. If it wasn’t one it was the other. Ewelina woke me up about a quarter to 8 as she was printing off some documents. From there I got up and chilled out with Tanami, still pretty exhausted. Unfortunately, after that little nap, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Oh the joys of being a stay at home parent.
Thankfully today has been a lot better. We went down to the indoor playground and there were no other kids there so I got to go in with them and play on the soft play area and generally just wrestled and mucked around with them. It was great and that’s when all the other stuff is forgotten. Hopefully this afternoon is just as good as this morning.
It’s fairly different to the old professional rugby lifestyle, but it is what it is. It can be pretty lonely at times too, not having people around everyday like you have been accustomed too. There aren’t any other fathers that I regularly get to hang out with and talk about the footy with. Fortunately for me I’ve found my other releases that help me mentally. Podcasts and books.
Thankfully also, the cavalry arrives tomorrow. Ewelina’s parents are coming from Poland. God I love having the grandparents come and stay!!!
- On a side not it has taken me 4 efforts to finally finish and publish this, so not all of this happened in the one day, that happens, life can be hectic with 2 little ones.