Next up in my ‘Tales of Parenting’ series is an honest account from a dad’s point of view of looking after 2 children solo for the first time. You are going to love Luke’s story, a proud daddy & director of Music Monsters.
I like to think of myself as a very hands-on dad. Since our first child was born, we have been fortunate enough through the work we do, to be able to parent equally. I was never one to dodge a nappy change, I enjoyed the chaos of the bath/bed routine and would happily sit on the floor in the middle of the night when one, or both of our children were struggling to sleep.
However, nothing and I mean nothing, could have quite prepared me for my first 10 hour day ‘flying solo’ with two under-twos.
Now, on the morning in question, I don’t want to say that Lauren ran out of the house slamming the door behind her…it could have been the wind I suppose! As she screeched away from the house in a cloud of smoke like a formula 1 driver, a very small part of me thought that she may have secretly been looking forward to getting back to work and having a ‘few hours to herself’!
No problem, we got this, I thought. It was 7:45am. T minus 10hr15mins until mummy returns. The countdown was officially on!
As our car disappeared into the distance, I turned round to see J (almost 2) looking at me with that ‘so come on then big guy, what have you got planned for us today?’ look all over his little face.
I had nothing. I don’t plan, I live for the moment. I don’t need a plan, let’s just see what happens.
8:15am. Right, enough of this I thought, we’re going out! I mean, it’s only 8:15, so the shops won’t even be open when we arrive, but we’re definitely going to go out anyway. There will be somewhere open to get a coffee. ‘Let’s go!’ I said, momentarily forgetting that it takes on average, 836 years to get out of the house when you have children.
Much running around, many nappy changes, a handful of snacks and some extra grey hairs and we were ready to go. It was 9:45. Not bad I thought, we can work on improving this next week.
After squeezing into the straps of the sling, attaching baby A to my chest, and getting J into the pram, we were off.
It felt a little bit like I was wearing a ticking time bomb that could have exploded at any time, but I was just happy to have made it out of the front door.
I am a very sociable person, I love chatting to people and meeting new people all the time, but the number of people who approached me was quite amazing! It was quite incredible to see how many people would come up to me and comment on the fact I had such a young baby and toddler in tow “all by myself”. I was commended on multiple occasions for ‘looking after the children’…something I’m pretty certain my wife has never been praised for. I got bought a coffee many times, which was lovely, but Lauren DEFINITELY never received such treatment. People were so kind and helpful and it was really refreshing to chat to strangers, instead of people walking by with their heads down!
However, it got me thinking…Lauren would often comment about feeling in people’s way when she was out with the pram. About the challenges of breastfeeding in public, alone with a baby and toddler. About how lonely the days often felt. And yet, as a Dad out on my own, I had ample help, and so much company and conversation.
What is the moral of this rambling? As Lauren returned home on the evening of her first day back at work, I had found a new admiration for what it is to be a Mum. To juggle it all, and to be expected to be ok because that’s what Mums do. Hats off to all of you lovely Mums – you are amazing!”
Luke and Lauren Elliott are founders of Music Monsters, a family-run music school with a learn-through-play approach to teaching. We nurture a true love of music from a young age, taking children right the way through their musical education.
Director of Music Monsters