My new routine

So now I am a househusband. I stay at home and look after the baby, while my wife goes out to work to earn a living.

There are two reasons for doing it this way:

So, my typical weekday goes something like this:

0700: Wake up as Barnaby wakes. Kate changes his nappy while I put the kettle on.

0715: Kate feeds Barnaby while I eat breakfast, then go for a shower.

0815: Barnaby should have finished his feed by now (the morning feed is always the longest), so I take him for winding while Kate grabs some breakfast and gets dressed.

0845: Kate leaves for work. Barnaby is getting sleepy now, so I put him back in his cot. Now I have a precious half-hour. If I haven't got dressed before now, I do that. If I have, I can get on with putting yesterday's nappies in the washing machine, and sterilising today's feeding bottles.

0930: Barnaby will be awake by now, and wanting attention. Time to change his nappy again, then dress him in some fresh clothes for the day.

0945: Put B in his bouncy chair in the kitchen. Radio 4 is on while I do some washing up, and make up today's formula milk feeds in the freshly-sterilised bottles. I also fetch some frozen food (pureed carrot, swede, parsnip, sweet potato, etc) from the freezer to defrost.

1000: With B in his chair or lying on his playmat, I might get time to check my email. What happens in the next hour depends on Barney's mood. If he's feeling awake and lively, I'll encourage him to play on his mat, or read him a story. If he looks sleepy, he might doze in his chair while I potter about.

1045: Barney will be lively by now, hungry again. He will be fretful until...

1100: Elevenses! Time for Barney to have a bottle of formula milk and several ice cubes-worth of solids. He's usually very hungry and will gobble the whole lot in about 20 minutes. Then we will spend another 20 minutes winding him, and making sure that any resulting sick is out of him and not all over me. Although usually something yuk ends up on me, or the sofa, or the floor.

1200: Barney starts feeling sleepy again. If possible, I'll keep him awake as long as 1230, but he will usually drop off at this point. I carry him upstairs and put him in his cot for his midday nap. Now is my chance to go online and get some work done if possible. I also make myself a quick sandwich for lunch and eat it while I work.

1330: When Barnaby wakes up yelling, I abandon the computer and go to fetch him. Another fresh nappy later, and we go downstairs. Now we have to decide what to do this afternoon. I'm very keen on him having some fresh air every day, so we look at the weather and choose either a trip out somewhere fun in the car, a quick walk around the village, or a mooch around the garden. If it's the latter, Barnaby will sit in his pushchair and watch me as I do a spot of gardening.

1500: Whether we've gone out for the afternoon or stayed at home, Barney wants feeding again now. This shouldn't take too long, and if he's hungry it will all be done and dusted in 20 minutes or so. Then it's play and exercise until...

1715ish: Kate returns from work and takes over. I hand her the baby and she deals with giving him his bath, yet another nappy, and then his final feed of the day.

1900: By now Barney will be in the final stages of his feed. Most evenings, if all is well, he will be feeling very sleepy by now. We carry him upstairs and put him in his cot, and he's normally out like a light. He should stay fast asleep until the next morning. That means we have a few hours to relax, eat, and clear up all the mess, before going to bed at about 2230, or maybe 2300.

This is, of course, just a rough sketch of a day. Most days, something happens to upset the normal flow of things. Something as simple as a dirty nappy at an awkward time can end up changing the course of a whole day.

What's more, this is just a snapshot in time. Barnaby is now five months old, and the daily routine is based around his needs. In another month, things will have changed again as he continues to grow, and his needs continue to change.

(15th January 2003)