It's that time again. The time of month that I share a day in the life of another parent blogger. Previously, the "Day in the Life" blog series has been all about the day in the life of a mother. So to switch things up a bit (and it's only fair), I interviewed a Dad. That Dad is....(drum roll)....Dave from www.occasionalblog.net.
Dave is a stay-at-home Dad, father to two little girls (big M - 4 years old - and little m - 21 months). He blogs about things including parenting, cooking, cycling and great pubs in Surrey.
This is a "Day in the Life" of Dave...
How old is your son/daughter?
I have two little girls (big M and little m), M is 4 years old and m is 21 months.
Describe their birth in three words.
I perhaps need to expand here. As there was a known complication with M’s birth (vasa previa), a planned c-section was performed. Then as my wife was in her 40s when little m came along, the planned c-section route was the recommended course. Both births were very busy for me as the mobile partner running and fetching and organising things.
What is usually the first thing you do when you wake up?
See my wife off to work (the alarm goes off at 5.30am so she can get her train into London) then shower, dressed and jobs in the kitchen before getting the girls up.
In a small paragraph, tell me how your average day with your daughters goes to plan (bullet point is also fine).
I’m lucky as the girls sleep well and I have to wake them up at 7am. Then it’s the usual rush of getting breakfasts made. At the moment I’m going through a bit of a stressful patch getting M ready for school. She’s at that willful stage when either she won’t let you help her or she wants you to do everything for her. Either way, it usually is a battle and invariably we are not out the door before 8.30am. Drive M to her pre-school.
After that, back home with the little one. I manage to get a cuppa and some breakfast myself before thinking about what to make the girls for their dinner. Me and m then do something together, either gym class or swimming lessons for example. Back home for lunch, m does get really “hangry” so it’s a race to get some food in her before the wheels come off. Nap time after lunch and I get an hour or so to either relax and/or do some jobs. Little m wakes up, milk/snack then go to pick M up from pre-school.
Back home, the girls play for a bit (if I’m lucky) while I finish off making their dinner. Tidy up, try to persuade them to tidy up the playroom (usually to no avail) then we all jump in the car at 6pm to drive to the station to pick mummy up from the train. Back home, and it’s bath-time/bedtime for the girls.
Then, it’s time for the two of us. We prepare some food (usually soup!!) time to relax for a little bit on the sofa. Bed early and repeat. Phew! Things usually go to plan but it’s never relaxing!
Where do you recommend for a family day out/holiday?
For a “treat” we took them to Peppa-Pig world at Paultons Park last November and they loved it, especially M. It’s clean and at that time of year there were hardly any queues, plus we were lucky with the weather. It was our first experience of going to a kids theme park and it was successful. I’m sure there will be a lot more in the future.
Otherwise, the girls love going to visit the RHS gardens at Wisley. Lots of space to run around and some interesting things to look at, especially in the glasshouse where there is a model hippo in one of the ponds, I’m sure M is half convinced it’s real!
Has your little one begun weaning? If so, what’s their favorite food so far?
Both girls when they started weaning really liked food they could eat themselves. Little m has a really great appetite and seems to like most things but I find the most successful meals are usually the simplest; pasta, steamed veg and cheese….she loves cheese!
Where’s your favourite place to buy baby clothes?
We have a lot of stuff from JoJo Maman Bebe partly because we get given it as gifts from relatives but also because it is good quality. The leggings for M for example really last. It’s worth spending a little more for the longevity, especially with an active pre-schooler! Otherwise I find Sainsburys do great cheap basics like pants and vests.
What’s the best baby-related item you’ve bought? And why?
When M was a baby we lived in London and found that the pavements there were actually pretty poor condition even for the “urban” buggy we bought. So we splurged and bought a big “offroad” buggy, a Mountain Buggy ‘terrain’. It’s brilliant and as the name suggests, takes all terrains in its stride. Now little m goes around in it and despite its size it really is the easiest buggy we’ve had to manoeuvre around, town or country. Well worth the expense.
What do you usually do to relax?
I find it hard to stop and relax. When little m was born I gave up work to be a stay at home Dad and find that even when I’ve not got the girls to look after, I’m thinking of jobs that need doing around the house. But when I do have some time it’s either out on the bike for a spin (if I’ve got a few hours to spare) or sit and listen to music and read. I love my HiFi which I’ve owned since my 20s and love playing my old vinyls.
What do you/have you struggled with most about becoming a parent?
Where do I start! Before kids I was quite an organised person (I was an accountant!) and liked to know when things were happening and at what time. What I’ve struggled with the most is the unpredictability of having children. Kids love a routine but even with the best of intentions, something usually happens to throw this off track (as most parents will know!). It’s dealing with the unexpected that I’ve had to get better at.
Me and my wife got together later in life and things have happened pretty quickly with having kids (we got pregnant within a year of meeting). So we both sometimes feel we have missed out somewhat in just enjoying being a couple. I have certainly struggled with that!
Oh and potty training – big M really struggled with it and took almost a year to get it. It was the most stressful time for both me and my wife!
What is the best thing about being a parent?
Giving up work to spend my days at home looking after them! Even when things are stressful I stop, make a cuppa, have a biscuit and think about my previous life tied to a desk surrounded by spreadsheets and reckon I’ve got the best job in the world now.
Describe you as a parent in three words.
What advice would you give to other parents?
Try not to sweat the small stuff, as a new parent you often worry about all the little things but more often than not these don’t matter in the end. Having said that I have found that instilling a good routine around meals and nap times has been invaluable in getting our girls to sleep well and cope with times when routine is not there.
Oh and don’t rush the potty training! I think I started M too early at 2.5yrs old even when asked she said she was ready. You need them to fully buy into it and they will definitely let you know when they are ready. They will get it in the end, they won’t be starting reception class in nappies that’s for sure!
A huge thanks to Dave for being a part of this month's "Day in the Life" blog. You can find Dave at any of the below:
Blog: Occasional Blog
Facebook: Occasional Dave
Pinterest: Occasional Blog
If you’re a mummy or daddy blogger and would like to be a part of the “Day in the Life” monthly blog series, please get in touch.
My idea for this blog series is for it to bring lots of parents together, through tips and advice on the mad world that is parenthood. As well as gain an insight into the hectic lives of other mummies and daddies. You’ll soon learn that you’re not alone on this crazy roller-coaster ride!