So this is a blog – my first (and probably my last) attempt at one and the odds of me finishing it are only slightly shorter than the odds of you actually reading it, but never mind. As you may know, I have recently left the Royal Navy and come to an amicable agreement with my wife whereby she will go back to work as a teacher (after nearly four years away) and I will shoulder the burden of full time childcare* for two young daughters. What could be simpler, or so I thought? This question is somewhat answered via the title of this instalment – intended to be written before (hence “Prologue”) I had even begun as a full-time dad, life so far has been somewhat hectic and so it is a week late even being started, never mind posted. So this is Prologue / Week One.
So what is the point of this vaguely regular waffle bulletin? Over the summer I came to the conclusion that I am an incredibly lucky bloke, on several counts: two beautiful, mischievous, intelligent little girls; one beautiful, mischievous, intelligent wife who has agreed to leave me to look after said girls (with no formal training); and the means to survive for a while without having a paid job, largely thanks to the MOD’s generous 1975-vintage pension scheme (life expectancy in 1975 was just 69). This is an opportunity that few fathers will ever get; I have many friends who have looked back at their children’s formative years and struggled to remember it, nine times out of ten because they were busy / away working / “it just all whizzed by” etc. I have the chance to avoid this potential regret and I really want to make the most of it – but most of all not forget it. There is of course the diary option, but I have never been one for diaries and have terrible handwriting. Then I thought about sharing some of my experiences, perhaps with family and friends, or anyone who might be interested. Well, family and friends anyway – there is probably a follow button or similar on this page somewhere if you want to keep up.
I will not be writing very often, a couple of times a month at most (not least for practical reasons), and I still have scant idea of what I will even write about. The only certainty is that it will be about my time with two very special little girls and how they make me laugh, inspire me to do my best and generally keep me honest and on my toes like no-one else can. Week One brought a special visit from Grandma, her first to our new house, and a masterclass from Daughter #1 in taking charge of adults and making us all laugh. It also provided my baptism of fire of being home alone with two people wholly reliant on me for their sustenance, comfort and safety. I have started to develop my ability to leave the house on time to reach an activity (that has normally cost money in advance), although there is some way to go on this. But most of all it got me thinking about what I will have to do to keep them interested and on-side, to challenge them and help get them ready for the next big steps they will be taking soon (i.e. primary school and nursery for #1 and #2 respectively). It will be these sort of things that I imagine I will be spouting about, but all suggestions are welcome of course. I will not use any names but will sprinkle in a photo here and there.
Finally – what is Deputy Dadd all about? Well, I am a fairly consistent shunner of social media, having long ago tired of the incessant waffle, endless adverts and reports of where people are having cocktails or that they have just had a terrible poo. I do use Twitter (although mainly to check the Donald is actually saying all those crazy things, and to raise my morale with the Darwin Award feed). But then I realised I needed a Facebook account for keeping up with a cycling group I have joined and, combined with wanting to write a blog about being a stay at home dad, Deputy Dadd was conceived (as I am merely deputising for the expert parent around here, plus I suppose I have to keep the peace from time to time). So there is now a Deputy Dadd Facebook alias (Facebook won’t allow “Dad” as a surname) but he has no friends – and he won’t be getting any, just doing plenty of cycling. And trying to live up to the high standards set by his predecessor, of course.
*(Apart from Tuesdays when both kiddos are in childcare, as I am frequently reminded).