“Voicemail has 1 new message. Please dial 121”.
For some reason, probably lodged deep within my psyche, this innocuous text message never fails to fill me with dread. I’m usually getting on with my day quite happily and then… Someone needs to talk to me. I have no idea who it might be. They will probably want me to do something. Or at least need me to call them back. It could be urgent. Maybe it’s bad news.
In an instant my blissful, carefree world is punctured by a nagging doubt; a psychological stone in my shoe.
I avoid listening to the message for as long as a can, keeping my attention on the kids and pretending that I can get on with life for a few more hours as though nothing had changed. But I can’t help not knowing.
Inevitably I give in and listen. Continue reading
Yesterday Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet, wrote an article for the Financial Times about how companies could do more to encourage men to take paternity leave.
Some of the reader comments at the bottom of the article really made my blood boil.
Many were along the lines of women being born to do childcare and men being born to provide. Some implied that men were unfit to do childcare, or shouldn’t have to. One even suggested that most childcarers are women because they are pre-programmed to choose partners that are superior to them, and that men’s dedication to work is what makes them attractive as a mate.
Needless to say, I don’t believe any of this.
I drafted my own comment in response, but it turns out you need to pay money to comment on FT articles. So I’ve posted it here instead. Continue reading
Back in November in my first blog post, why I’m taking six months off work to look after my kids, I talked about some of the reasons for me deciding to take shared parental leave. One of those reasons was that I hoped it would give me a chance to be an equal parent alongside my wife. Without wanting to sound too sanctimonious about it, the idea that I would head off to work every day while leaving all the childcare stuff to her never seemed quite right. I didn’t want my role to be a bit-part: I wanted to be in the thick of it, getting my hands dirty (often quite literally). Continue reading
Last week was my wife’s first full week at work since before Christmas. For me and the kids it meant a return to the stay-at-home dad routine that I had sort-of established back in early December but had since wholly forgotten in the frenzy of Christmas activities, enforced absences from home caused by plumbing and heating issues, and a much-needed family holiday. With the baby (and accordingly, me and my wife) now sleeping much better and our lives feeling more back to normal, I wasn’t too daunted by it.
It turned out to be a week of highs and lows. Continue reading