Jan 9 2013 By Steve Knight
Steve Knight, Simply Charlotte blog
A NEW blog from a new dad about the trials and triumphs - and a few tears - that are part of life on paternity leave
Steve Knight is a 45 year old shipbroker from Ruislip, and married to Helen, who works for the same employer.
In July, 2012, their daughter Charlotte was born. Steve is now primary carer, on six months' paternity leave, while Helen has gone back to the office to support the family.
Steve also has an eleven-year-old son from a previous marriage.
AT 5AM on January 2, 2013, I woke to the sound of my alarm. No, not the mobile, but my six month-old baby girl Charlotte. It dawned on me that I was starting paternity leave, so my wife could go back to work, making me Charlotte’s primary carer.
I remembered what my sister-in-law wrote on her Facebook wall the night before; she too is going to be alone now her husband goes back to work and she copes with her newborn.
She had written: “OMG, how scary is the prospect of going out alone with a baby?? The car seat, the massive buggy with all its levers and buttons, the obstacles to manoeuvre around, the crying, nappy changing, feeding in public. I really have to do it though – any tips, mums?”
Then I remembered I had also received a message from one of my old city acquaintances when he heard I was going on paternity leave: “What a slacker! You’re meant to 'hunter-gather' son.”
I leapt out of bed to tackle Charlotte head on and tried not to let any doubts creep into my mind. I would have been lying if I had said I had none; the comment from my sister-in-law and the quip from my old acquaintance had spurred me into action.
I managed a quick nappy change and a bottle feed before I put my daughter back to bed.
"That should do the trick," I thought, but no, Charlotte wanted to babble. Three times I got out of bed.
Finally I decided to remain in her room on the spare bed. Charlotte continued to babble for a bit before she drifted off to sleep. Result!
Oh well, I got through the first day of paternity leave. Only five months and 30 days to go.