Dear Dave

Monday 23 November 2009

Always have a back-up plan

Dear Dave,

Last week was the week.

The week when I didn't have any school holidays to contend with. When my calendar was free of tradesmen and essential errands. When I didn't have parents staying, cleaning to do or school trips to help out on. Barring a quick visit to Iceland to pile a trolley with food and arrange a home delivery, last week was the first week in nine years when I was totally free to concentrate on getting some writing done and plan for the inevitable future in which I'm no longer a housedad.

With fear and trepidation, I sat down just after nine o'clock on Monday morning and began to type. Time was spread out before me, rich and fertile and filled with seemingly infinite possibility. At last! A chance to think and create, an opportunity to -

Whirr. Click.

At five past nine, my screen went suddenly blank.

It would be nice to say that this was due to some sort of epiphany on my part - that I realised I should really have a lie down and then go for a coffee somewhere in celebration of my freedom. There would be something almost inspiring about me switching the computer off and walking away to enjoy a well-deserved rest from all my housedad labour. It would be a simple lesson to all the crazy, over-stretched people out there run-ragged by the goading of self-imposed expectation. Just relax, take a deep breath, think about what you're doing, go eat a muffin...

Unfortunately, the reality was that the hard drive in my laptop died.

As you can probably imagine, this wasn't very relaxing. By the time I'd figured out the problem, replaced the drive, re-installed everything, recovered as much data as I could and sobbed into my coffee, it was Wednesday. On Thursday, Fraser woke up with symptoms which, when described to other parents in the playground, had them backing away, making little signs of warding and muttering about swine flu.

Then Sarah got it. Then I got it. Now Marie has it.

It's Monday again and Fraser is still off school. Lewis appeared slightly disappointed to be the only one fit and healthy and able to go. He cheered up, however, when I pointed out the alternative was to stay home with his brother and sister and listen to them grump and whine all day about not feeling very well. In fact, I suggested a swap - I offered to go to school for him if he stayed behind to look after the others.

He was out the door like a shot.

Ho well. Maybe I'll get some writing done next week. You never know, perhaps I'll even have a lie down or go for coffee instead.

(Assuming Lewis hasn't come down with this by then, of course...)

Yours in a woman's world,



To all the American Daves and non-Daves out there,

Ally at is looking to talk to housedads about their experiences in order to write an upbeat article about involved fathers. You can contact her via the site. (Her email address was one of the things which I didn't manage to save!) It's a nationwide directory of local businesses run by self-employed parents, so it's worth checking out.

No comments: