Dealing with a SAHD


It’s been strange adapting to life with a stay at home dad.

Whilst I am generally happier at work, I do feel like things are slightly the wrong way round, and it’s hard not to be a control freak about things.  You know things like:

  • Yeah I got locked out today when the baby was inside;
  • I just left him with the neighbours for a few hours, he likes it;
  • He was asleep so I left him in the car and powerwashed the pavement;
  • I can’t watch him all the time, sometimes he’s in a different room


I have to let things be sometimes, but it is a challenge.

I also know how difficult it is to be at home by yourself, so I don’t go out much and struggle to leave work on time so that I can give the Turk some relief at tea time and beyond.

I definitely think that he finds it harder than me in some ways, multitasking isn’t a skill he has so he is really struggling to get anything done, which means that his default position tends to be making sure that the task is done at the expense of supervising Jem.

The upside to this is that the boy is definitely more independent than he used to be, his tolerance for entertaining himself has increased massively, as has his love of CBeebies.

There are some things he finds easier, he is much more patient than me, he takes the time to enjoy play when there isn’t housework to be done, I always feel that there’s something ‘better’ I should be doing.

There is no right answer, there are just words.

A sticky situation…


It’s a bit tiring now the boy is on the move so much.  He is fascinated by cupboards and this has been an issue.  We don’t have any safety things to tie them together (…are you really surprised?) and sadly some of our cupboards aren’t technically attached to anything…

We had an incident at the weekend where a floor cabinet fell on the boy, luckily he wasn’t hurt (it was terrifyingly close) but shocked (chocolate buttons helped…) but it really did demonstrate how complacent we have been about the dangers of our half finished house.

We now have elastic bands round some of the door cupboards, but this won’t work with the single ones so I’m at a bit of a loss.  The doors have only been on a couple of months and I’m loathed to put holes in my new kitchen if I can avoid it.

The point of this story (no, seriously, cabinet falling on child wasn’t the point) is that when I came home from work today I was met by a delighted boy and a red cheeked Turk.  The story was that whilst the Turk was making a salad (dinner was in the oven – see my journey to having it all!) he had his back to the boy who promptly went into the breakfast cupboard (yes – it needs it’s own cupboard – if you haven’t read the post then don’t ask!) and feasted on the honey jar.

I can just imagine the look on the Turk’s face when he found the boy eating his stash!  He was licking it off the silicon stirrer / drizzler thing apparently and there’s honey EVERYWHERE!!! Including all over his sticky sticky face.  What is pretty impressive is that he got my ceramic honeypot out of the cupboard without dropping it – I totally know he can walk he just doesn’t do it when anyone is looking!


…if he gets his grubby paws on my nutella there’s going to be a fight…

Bath avoidance


It’s no secret that as a child I was not a fan of the bath.  I still avoid washing my hair and have been known to only do it once a week if I can get away with it.

Since Jem was born bathing has largely been an activity for the Turk.  When he was first born it involved a baby bath (from Freecycle naturally) in our kitchen/living room which was filled with water from the kettle and jugs of cold water from the tap.  This might sound awkward but as we had only just got running water (albeit cold) upstairs rather than down 3 floors it seemed pretty sophisticated!

We then advanced onto being able to fill the bath from the shower with WARM water when we had an electric shower temporarily fitted up in the loft (literally the best feeling ever to have a warm shower after over 6 months of having no boiler) and carried the full bath from the shower room into the kitchen/living room…

You can probably imagine that having just had a baby even the preparing of the bath was a bit of a mission, so on days when the Turk wasn’t around I found myself stressed even before I got the boy wet.  He could clearly sense this as bathtime was a fun enjoyable experience when daddy did it…when mummy did it bathtime consisted of screaming and generally kicking up a massive fuss until it was over.

This theme has largely continued, we next moved onto showering him, which he hated but meant that we didn’t need to move a bath of water around.

When Jem was about 11 months old we finally started using a big bath (ok so the shower attachment still can’t be used, but generally it doesn’t leak too much if you just bath a baby in it…) and this seemed to be working well, although he still seems to hate me being anywhere near it.  Generally if I am doing bath it ends up with screams about 3 minutes after entry and is over 2 minutes later with both of us in a bad mood.  Bath time goes something like this:

  • mummy runs bath;
  • mummy undresses baby;
  • mummy puts baby in bath with daddy;
  • daddy and baby play and baby is scrubbed;
  • mummy prepared bedtime clothes, shuts curtains and fetches towel;
  • mummy takes baby out of bath;
  • baby promptly begins screaming and trying to escape;
  • mummy towel dries baby and attempts to dress slippery eel;
  • daddy joins us and brushes baby’s hair whilst complaining that it hasn’t been properly dried…

We don’t bath the baby every day…

I wish it was less…


Spending too much time together


Looking back on my maternity leave, my husband and I were very fortunate, although technically allegedly the Turk was rennovating the house, we were both at home throughout my 14 months.  For the first six months I found this frustrating, we never saw him.  I felt so alone.  We would hear him a lot, he would shout up the stairs “why is the baby crying so much, have you fed him?” and I would throw something at him…it wasn’t great…

He worked so hard that at 10pm in the evening I would have to go and find him and beg him to stop work and come to spend some time with us.  Aside from missing out on valuable time with his baby I really needed some support and company.

After Christmas 2013 the momentum on the money pit lessened.  Our builders had disappeared with our money leaving us in an incomplete house so it was just the Turk working on the rennovation, he had lost a lot of motivation and so spent more time with us “preparing to do work on the house” and less time “actually doing work on the house”.  This meant that we spent a lot more time together as a family, admittedly mainly traipsing around DIY stores or in front of the computer trying to work out how to fix the toilet.

This is a good thing…or is it?

I have to say for us it really wasn’t.  I think we spent too much time together, we started to bicker, and pick at each other.  Of course I think every couple does this when you have a new baby and not enough sleep, but to do this more and more as the baby was settled and slept more is a bit strange.  Suddenly my tactics for enforcing naps were questioned, someone else had a view and wanted to try putting Jem down for a nap.  There were two of us there at every mealtime – great – you might think, but actually that’s two people arguing about how much the baby eats, how much is thrown on the floor, whose turn it is to get the water and who left the bib in the living room.

Since going back to work it’s hard to hand over control, but I’ve had to let go.  We still try and have our evening meal all together and we have our weekends, but actually there’s a lot to be said for spending a little less time together.  It means we seem to bicker less, and we actually each have something different to talk about during mealtimes as we haven’t spent all day doing the same thing.  Yes we argue about how many nights out I really need, and why the housework isn’t progressing quite as well as I’d like, but I think we each now have a better understanding of the role of the person at home and give each other a little more slack than we might have done before.

Turklish travels: Ephesus, one of the seven wonders


I’m not going to lie, I have little interest in history.

I tend to only be able to last in museums for one exhibit at a time, and our past visits to historical sites tend to lead to grumpiness and boredom.  As we were driving around Turkey earlier this year we decided to drive to see Ephesus, which was pretty exciting as we don’t tend to go and “see” things when we are in Turkey.

Ephesus (or Efes in Turkish, you know, like the beer 🙂 ) was an ancient Greek city pretty close to Izmir, but the site had actually had previous historical importance too.  Anyway it was a large city during Roman times too and was thought to be the third largest Roman city.  It is most famous for having a temple (the Temple of Artemis) which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, however unfortunately this has since been destroyed through time, political instability and earthquakes.  It was one of the locations of the seven churches of Asia which are (apparently) mentioned in the Book of Revelation so it’s a pretty big deal!

It was perfect weather for our first proper day out with the boy (sunny but not too hot) and although I was a bit dubious about taking our pre-loved Freecycle buggy with it’s missing wheel that we’re too stingy to replace around an ancient monument we headed out.

The ticket price was reasonable (TL30, approximately £10 each adult – no charge for the baby), we also paid around TL8 for parking.  We had read on the internet that the charges would be much higher with separate charges for entering different parts of the site so we were expecting to be ripped off but had decided that this was a one off thing that we would be foolish to miss given we were passing by so we were pleasantly surprised, I don’t know if it was just because we went out of season or whether we were just misinformed by the internet.  Anyway we gave the museum, pony rides and tours a miss and wandered around ourselves.

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Wikipedia tells me:

Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated.  The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city’s original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theater dominates the view down Harbor Street, which leads to the silted-up harbor.

It was pretty strange to see this amazing walkway which would have led to a harbour, having driven through the mountains to reach it with no sign of water!

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It is the site of a theatre which is HUGE apparently has around a 24,000 seating capacity and is the largest known theatre of the ancient world.  It was quite awe inspiring and even had buggy (possibly not original…) access!  There were three or more entrances to explore, of course not all ideal with a baby but it was pretty awe inspiring even having visited the Colloseum in Rome.

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We followed the path along to the Library of Celsus, I am used to historical things not being particularly well identified or explained in Turkey, but there was good signage throughout (not too much info though – I like that!).

The facade of the library has been carefully reconstructed from the original and apparently was built to face East so that the light would illuminate it for reading.  Jem had rather lost interest by this point so we took the opportunity to ruin his clothes stretch his legs.

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We next  wandered through one of the former Agoras where we saw a tourist giving a cat some water (adorable) and a section of the site set aside for those with visual impairments, which was a great idea…although I’m not convinced it was that great:

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There are other things on site:

Basilica of St John;

Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world although only one column remains – we may have seen this…we may not…we’re not sure!);

The Odean (a small theatre);

The Temple of Hadrian;

Ephesus Archaeological Museum;

The Temple of the Sebastoi;

The Tomb of Pollio.

I am not sure what we saw and what we didn’t, but there was a lot of stuff and if you’re interested in the history I would really recommend going with a guide.  For us we did what we could manage and didn’t try and worry too much, just took in the views.  There were plenty of paved areas but it is an ancient ruin so not the smoothest of rides, but I’ve seen much worse.  Of course the advantage of bumps with buggies is sleep!  As the boy was in the land of nod we walked over to the Church of Mary (Meryem Kilisesi) which is an important religious site close to what would have been the Harbour.  Once we got up to the church we had to carry the buggy up and down some steps and the pushing got a little more difficult, but we managed as we wanted to see it (even if Jem didn’t!):

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After this we decided to call it quits and headed back to the car and had our packed lunch.  We introduced Jem to some of the horses in the car park and trundled off to Izmir.  We did pass this amazing plant on our way back to the car – any ideas what it is?  There were loads they are really large!

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The Journey to “Having it all” part 1, background & preparation


The background

I’m going to try and keep a mini-diary of my return to work.  I am attempting what many see as “having it all”…although I think the truer description is perhaps “not really having anything properly”.  In short after 14 months maternity leave I am returning to work, full time.  I will compress hours so attempt to work only 8 hours a day (which involves being out of the house between 7.30am and 6pm) for 9 days and have the 10th day off.

This fortnightly day off has arisen as a result of my initial application for flexible working being refused.  I am not allowed to work from home on a regular basis, and if I wanted to compress even further and have one day a week off I would face not seeing the boy at all for four days a week.

This has not been a difficult decision.  I was more than ready to return to work.  Truth be told the final few months have led to me feeling rather depressed.  I enjoy working, part of me thrives on the stress and the whinging about it.  Whilst I have been on mat leave I have socialised little and really struggled with the lack of interaction with my friends.  Whilst I have met other friends with babies regularly, I started to shun this as what I really craved was baby free time.  In the whole 14 months I can count the instances I have been baby free on 2 hands, and the majority of these occasions were for voluntary work for a couple of hours in the evening.

We are in the fortunate position that the Turk hasn’t had a “proper job” since being made redundant over 2 years ago.  Whilst he wasn’t the most hands on Dad over the past year (particularly the first 6 months when we barely saw him as he was working over 12 hours a day on the house).  Jobs that he could apply for seem to pay significantly less than they used to and certainly it would mean that he was working effectively just to pay for nursery.  Given he hates doing what he used to do it seemed an obvious decision.

The plan

I am a domestic goddess…

I am a supermum…

I can handle ANYTHING….

This is my plan:

6.30 I will wake, shower, dress (in clothes and jewellery I sorted out the night before)

7.00 The boy and Turk will wake, dress and meet me downstairs for…

7.15 joint breakfast before I head out to work

lunch for me I sort out the night before but the Turk sorts out the boy and himself (unless there are leftovers)

6.00 I come home to dinner on the table (prepared by me the night before with minimal work for the Turk, although Wednesdays the Turk will make a simple dinner so I can have an evening off) and we all eat together

7.00 bathtime

7.30 bed

8.00 I cook and prepare the meal for tomorrow night, my lunch, plan my outfit, drink tea, Tweet…blog…crochet…sew….erm yeah, maybe a tad optimistic!

I have a big spreadsheet for planning meals (close observers of Silent Sunday saw this in progress) so I can plan meals 6 weeks in advance and the Turk will look at this to do the weekly shop.


Once a fortnight we will have “fortnightly family fun day” usually on a Friday…which will be extra exciting because it will be 4 Fs!  So far we have rarely done anything interesting as a family.  Interesting things cost money which has been tight, and time, which has been guilt ridden as the Turk has to spend the majority of our days “working” on the house.  One of the problems with us both being off “normal” working hours is the lack of fun time.  It sounds like we would have more time together but in reality without a weekend each day just merges into the next.  There is nothing to look forward to and nothing to make an effort for, I am hoping that work will change this.

In addition to this I have grand plans for a beauty regime, I am determined to wear every single item in my wardrobe (and if not I am getting rid of it) as I make the most of all the clothes I have gazed longingly at whilst pregnant or recovering.  I am looking forward to having a reason to leave the house and justification for nail varnish and make up.

There are some things which aren’t quite so organised, we have the following questions (among others) still up for discussion:

  • Cleaning and other housework – seems that this will all be down to the Turk but this seems a bit unfair.  It might work if he can manage to do it whilst looking after the boy.
  • Decorating and other remaining building work – other than doing this in 45 minutes a day whilst the boy naps it seems we might need to set some money aside each month to get someone in to help with this.  Whilst there is no longer anything super urgent there are still quite a few irritating things, for example it would be nice to have work surfaces in the kitchen and to be able to use the shower in the main bathroom…#justsaying
  • Tidying – the Turk doesn’t tend to tidy and I’m not sure I will be much inclined to in an evening.
  • Routine – I have said the Turk can set Jem’s routine, but he doesn’t really do routine himself, or timekeeping, so this could effect night sleeping…so who will then be the one to get up in the night?
  • Playgroups – I have prepared a list of activities the Turk can do with the boy, but he’s not really into organising things and I am slightly worried they might just spend all day sat at home…

Whilst I still think “having it all” is a myth I’m going to have a jolly good go at having all that our family wants!