D.A.DDY Day Care?
I can’t begin to count how many times that I have been asked, “Are you still at that Daddy Day Care thing”? It was actually only a few weeks ago when I was asked this question again, out on a pack walk with Sally and Carlsson the Poodle. The person posing the question was an ex-colleague and I would like to think that he is just a huge Eddie Murphy fan. Unfortunately, it is more likely that he believes I am currently just ‘babysitting’ my child and the most shocking thing of all, is that this lad is a good few years younger than me! 🤨
There is no doubt that I am currently in the minority as a Stay at Home Dad but my contention is that I am definitely not in the minority as a Stay at Home Parent. Parents have stayed at home to rear children since the beginning of time, granted the role was traditionally filled by the mother. I came from a household where my Dad worked long hours and my mother was the primary care giver but she also worked herself, as a Nurse. She was an incredibly strong woman and we were inseparable but most importantly, she treated me like an equal. For me, I learnt growing up that the primary care giver or parent was more akin to a best friend who you could always rely on and would always have your back. Since those days, I’ve always wanted to step into the shoes of that figure.
Many believe I took the role on because of Sally’s milk and egg allergy and so I was best placed to look after her. The truth is I never needed this justification because I always wanted to do this. I believe respect should be given to all – children and adults alike but also, to those who choose to stay at home and those who choose to work.
I understand that not everybody had the same childhood experiences as I had and there is no doubt that in terms of equality, society has a long way to go. However, for me personally, I am still astounded by those in society who do not recognise rearing children as a job – possibly the most important and demanding job in the world. Parents who stay at home (and I don’t even like that terminology) are still asked “So what are you up to these days?” or “How is work?” As I’ve mentioned before, I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse and have the luxury (if you can call it that) of being able to work part-time with an agency. However, I am ashamed to say that I still feel the need to validate my role and confirm to those who ask that yes, I am still ‘working’.
It was always my desire to play a more active role in my child’s life but equally, it has not been easy. The learning curve was steep, just like it was when I got Carlsson the poodle as a puppy (times ten!) but being honest, I think the hardest part was self-doubt. Those words, “Can I really do this”? I am sure a lot of people can relate to this, both male and female. You can’t beat good oul’ Peter Pan for a quote and here’s a humdinger,
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
Self-doubt is the most common reason why people fail. Whoomph there it is 💪 I speak from personal experience! When you self-doubt, you essentially think about something too much, over-analyse it and then procrastinate until you begin to talk yourself out of it altogether! This, in turn, erodes self-confidence and given that low confidence itself drives self-doubt, you are then slap, bang in the middle of a vicious cycle.
All the meditation and mindfulness in the world won’t stop the opinions of others or indeed, those opinions being voiced! But its the power you give those words which decides whether they affect you or not. My response to my ex-colleague that day (as I held my daughter in my arms) was pleasant and courteous. That is the best response I could have given as there is no point trying to change others, you can only change how you react to others. Think of it as a stream, with loads of opinions and words floating in it – just let them float past you as best you can ☝️ Not always an easy thing.
Best thing to do is hop in to your car, roll down those windows, get some “Let it Go” on Spotify and belt it out like you’re James Corden and you’ve got Idina Menzel beside you, riding shotgun 💪
“D.A.DDY Day Care” ? - Let it go, Let it goooooooooo 🎶 🎤 😂