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By Under-Fives Mum Father’s Day


EVERY Monday is Father’s Day in our house. That’s the day I retreat gratefully to a nice office to drink coffee and think thoughts, occasionally even writing some of them down, while my husband looks after our two children. One in four dads doesn’t take paternity


leave, according to a recent report, so I realise I’m lucky to be married to someone who shares the childcare, and whose employer allows him to work flexibly. My own dad also had a flexible employer −


the Church. Apart from Sundays, when he couldn’t really avoid working, he was master of his time. When we got home from school he’d desert his typewriter for half an hour to chat. When he was in the office – well, it was only down the hall - we could always pop in. But, being an old- fashioned type, Dad didn’t help much with the practical aspects of our care. The only time he cooked was when Mum went into hospital once and then it was pretty much chips and tinned soup. We didn’t mind. Kids adore their dads however much or little they help out − it’s mums that are really affected by what they do around the house. And in the eight months since we started Dadly Mondays, I’ve certainly noticed a difference in ours. I’m happier because I have a work routine. Sunday nights aren’t doleful anymore. My husband has gained useful skills – unloading the dishwasher while holding a baby, tidying as he goes rather than facing a bombsite at the end of the day, scrambling eggs in two minutes flat, getting everyone out of the door in time for our daughter’s nursery (I always arrive late). The other day I even taught him to plait her hair, a lesson rendered necessary by her lopsided appearance one morning – one


“ made MAY / JUNE 2014


ILLUSTRATION: SAM MILLER www.sammiller.co.uk


now I feel that he understands what I do, day-to-day


less bothered by colour co-ordination than I am. But he’s better at making sure they eat their veg and brush their teeth. And, if I’m being honest, he makes far less heavy weather of parenting than I do – something I envy. The biggest change, though, is less tangible. One Monday I got home and recognised a weariness in his eyes and voice, a patience stretched thin, that most mothers of young children will identify with. He hasn’t got as far yet as finding wee socks, hairclips and half biscuits in his coat pockets, but now I feel that he understands what I do, day-to- day. A mum can’t really ask for more from a dad than that. n





Cathy Tingle is editor of Edinburgh for Under Fives, the family-friendly guide to Edinburgh www.efuf.co.uk


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plait had survived from the day before, the other was more of a loose twist because he hadn’t realised he should use three strands, not two. Thankfully she’s not too self-conscious yet. And dressing the kids? Let’s just say that he’s


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