I don’t know how mums do it.
Left alone day after day to care for a small child whilst on maternity leave is a responsibility most mothers treasure and enjoy, albeit occasionally through gritted teeth.
It is their job more often than not, when dad is at work, to take sole charge of their child’s needs – physical, emotional, spiritual etc etc.
And they lap it up!
However, I have since discovered that being left alone with an angry child is no laughing matter.
Last Saturday, Jess gave me the job of looking after Sophie for the day while she went “out with the girls” (code for doing some craft, having a giggle and going out for dinner!). She was not to be disturbed and Sophie was my responsibility.
I accepted this challenge with relish. How hard could it be? Jess did it day in day out. I even looked forward to it.
Yet, as the day approached, I began to become more and more nervous. So I decided to man up and do what every self-respecting, masculine bloke would do in such a situation.
I asked my mum for help.
Sophie and I headed to Leyland that morning. We successfully navigated the contact lens shop while she slept, although Matt Langton of mattefinish photography was subject to a few cries (not for the first time).
As we approached my parents’ house, she became more and more agitated and it was only then that I realised I had not sterilised any bottles (cue 15 more minutes of anguish), nor had I brought her any toys. Some Daddy Day Care!
Eventually, with the help of some cajoling from Mum and some funny faces from Dad, Sophie settled enough to allow me to eat my lunch before spending an afternoon rolling around and generally being quite distressed.
Lots of cuddles, angst-ridden feeds and frustrated grimaces later, we watched the World Cup first half before heading home. Mum and Dad must have been exhausted.
I still had bath time, final feed and change to do before bed so I clicked into gear while she scrapped on her playmat. I sorted her out, gave her some milk and put her in bed.
Ten minutes later, she was up again and I was wandering round consoling her. Life without Mum is so hard!
Finally, she dropped off to sleep and I crashed into my chair to watch yet more World Cup footy and tuck into a by now gone-cold dinner. I couldn’t do this every day…