When the missus was around 5 months pregnant with Olivia, we decided it would be a good idea to head down to a ‘Baby show’: An event where all the major brands in the parenting world go to advertise, and ultimately sell you their products. Products that ‘you need’ to be a successful parent- or that’s how I felt walking around.
Stall after stall of ‘baby essentials’, from all singing, all dancing play mates, to vibration baby chairs. All of which are designed to make your life as a parent a walk in the park. After all, parenting isn’t just about tea parties, dressing up and merrily skipping through meadows.
A dad is often labelled as the unprepared one in the relationship or the person more likely to wing it and see what happens. I really don’t fit into this stereotype though. Instead, I prefer to know that I’ve got everything with me that I might possibly need to cover all eventualities.
After nearly 2 years in the ‘job’ I believe I’ve narrowed it down to 5 things, so thought I’d share with you the stuff that I think, are pretty essential that any stay-at-home dad would need to survive. In no particular order, this is what I have around the house when I’m on duty:
Ewan The Dream Sheep: For those afternoon naps and bedtimes when all you want is for your little one to go to sleep so you as a parent can warm up that cold coffee that’s been sat on the sideboard for two years.
When Rachel first bought Ewan, it was after two solid months of living on about 4 hours sleep a night. After just getting Liv to sleep through the night finally after two years, Robyn’s sleeping patterns were not welcomed! At first, he didn’t seem to do very much: you press his paw and he makes some swooshing noises- big deal? Then it happens. After about a week, this little furry hero becomes your life line. Robyn settled to sleep as soon as he started with his soothing tones. After a month, you find that you yourself can’t seem to get to sleep without that constant woosh, woosh, woosh. Then two months down the line, you notice he’s sounding a little strange, not quite his normal self. His batteries are dying! What will you do? You sacrifice every battery out of every remote, clock and toy you can get your hands on just to give the little mite a chance at life. Then that’s it. That’s when you realise. He’s the third parent, and you couldn’t imagine life without the little guy.
IPad: For when everything gets a little too much, the Valium isn’t working, the local off licence has stopped serving you and you need a little downtime. Even though the endless sounds of Peppa Pig’s whining voice, Caillou’s bald orange head and the millionth monkey jumping on the bed, are enough to send you to the loony bin, that Ipad is your only chance for half an hour of ‘you time’ and most definitely worth the sacrifice.
Wet Wipes: For nappy changes and cleaning up general sticky and ickyness. If it can’t be cleaned up with a wet wipe you’re in serious trouble. I’ve been known to clean down the whole house armed with a pack of these bad boys. I think wet wipes will forever be on our shopping list, even when the girls are in their thirties!
MAM bottles: Colic- the absolute bane of every new parent’s life! With Liv, Dr Brown bottles seemed to relieve the problem somewhat, but Robyn not so much. We bought Mam bottles more because Rachel liked how pretty they looked, but they have become by far one of the best purchases for us, for one reason and one reason only: No more bulky steriliser! Mam bottles are self-sterilising (which I’m sure is what a worm can do too), meaning that massive piece of machinery that sits on your kitchen work top for a year can be done away with. Just pop the MAM bottle in the Microwave for three minutes and you’re done. You might take the top layer of your skin off trying to assemble the bottle when it’s still 10000 degrees, but at least you’ve saved time and work-top space.
Tommy Tippee Perfect Prep Machine: A machine that makes a ready-to-drink baby’s bottle in less than two minutes. That’s right, under two minutes!
Anyone who’s been up at 3am with crying baby waiting for a freshly made bottle knows what I’m talking about! You know the one with a baby screaming down your ear for food who isn’t very patient. Well that’s where the Perfect Prep machine comes in.
What do you think to the essentials? Too much, too little or just right? What do you have around your house that you couldn’t live without? Is there anything else I should consider including?