It’s now been a month since I took my last train home from work and bid the big city goodbye. It’s been a sudden and significant change, ending many years of travelling on busy trains into London and working full-time. It’s been an enjoyable few weeks, spending much more time with toddler Tilly as she makes rapid advances with movement and communication. Yet I know that this just a honeymoon period. The real challenge is yet to come and time is running out to make sure I’m prepared.
We’d planned that the shift in our arrangements would be gently introduced over the summer, while my teacher wife is at home. It’s been a real treat for the whole of the family to spend so much time together and we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with friends and family across the country, who we’d normally struggle to schedule in time to see.
Of course as the new stay-at-home dad, my real work will kick in from September, when my wife returns to work full-time. No more sharing the workload, it’ll be single-handed toddler care for most of the week. A big part of this will be structuring our days around toddler groups. Most of these haven’t been running over the summer, so I’ll be checking them out and signing up to one or two that run by the term.
At home we’ve been making space for more intensive play time. It actually feels like most of the house is now a toddler play area but it’ll help ensure that boredom is kept to a minimum. We’ve also tried a couple of messy play sessions with painting, which we’ve managed without redecorating the house – a good result.
One area where my wife has long taken the lead is cooking, which she loves doing, while I find it more of a necessary chore. Tilly enjoys a varied diet, however to keep expanding her culinary range I’m going to have to step up and get back into practice with making a range of meals, while keeping her out of trouble.
Keeping Tilly busy over the summer has been a timely reminder that having plenty of ideas to hand for all-weather activities and food are essential to keeping things running. With a week to go, it’s high time to start putting together some plans and lists that will see me through the first weeks come September.