A man’s work is never done

Clearly this blog has hardly even started – I’ve only managed one full day of overseeing childcare alone and haven’t done a full week yet – so I’m really pleased, if not a little surprised, by the response. The feedback so far has been universally supportive, I’ve had a ton of positive comments on Twitter and friends I haven’t heard from in years have felt compelled to get in touch via Facebook to voice approval.
Within hours of the first blog going live I even had a Russian broadcaster inviting me to take part in a panel debate on parental leave. Sadly I couldn’t make it. You know, childcare responsibilities and all that.
Anyway, while I’m enjoying all the attention – and I am clearly vain enough to be wary of doing anything that might jeopardise the adulation I’ve been enjoying these past few days – it has occurred to me that everyone being so interested is a bit weird when I’m only doing what millions of women do and have done without any attendant fuss.
I cant help thinking that, if a woman were writing this, some of you would probably not have bothered to read it, dismissing it as just another of those exercises in navel-gazing that pass themselves off as blogs. Why should a man doing it be any more interesting?
Maybe everyone has been attracted by the inevitable hilarity that will ensue from the range of new things at which I am now able to be incompetent. But I’m sure some interest has arisen purely because I am male and the novelty value that brings. I can’t stress enough how chuffed I am that you are all reading this, but I can’t help feeling it might be more valuable to take time to find out what millions of women who take maternity leave go through?
As a culture we’re pretty dismissive of maternity leave. In the corporate world that I usually inhabit I hear frequent references to maternity leave as a holiday, usually made as a joke, but the sort of joke that the teller seems to believe holds some underlying truth.
Conversely, the expectations on me seem very low. I was being facetious when I said in an earlier post that I just needed to stop the kids from dying, but I don’t feel under any pressure to achieve anything beyond looking after them. Obviously they should be my main priority, but they are my only priority. When Helen gets in from a tough day at work, the house is a mess and she is more surprised if I have done anything towards dinner than if I haven’t. Any spare time I have during the day is spent fannying around on Twitter or writing this blog. My shambolic inability to organise anything means I am clinging to a strict timetable of feeds, drop-offs, pick-ups and lunch, largely improvising the bits in between those regimented times. I spend so long enjoying any free time that does materialise between appointments that the next deadline is upon me before I’ve had the chance to do anything more with my time than waste it.
It’s early days, but so far I generally don’t achieve anything more than keeping the kids entertained and intact. For the moment at least, nothing more is expected of me. I suspect many women who do this do not enjoy the same luxury.

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