Random House AUS
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
When youth worker Clint and his wife decided to have children, it made more sense for Clint to resign from his job and take on the primary caring role. This was nine years ago and now Clint is the stay at home dad to four boys living in Reservoir in Melbourne’s north. He wrangles breakfasts, the kinder and school drop off, hangs the washing and tidies the house. All the while his wife balances life between her academic commitments and her private practice.
In this memoir, Clint tackles the stigma of being a stay at home father and deals with such issues as the mad rush to get out the door on time each morning, living with his in-laws, negotiating a dad’s playgroup and how to keep the romance alive with his wife Tania through four kids. I’m mostly the stay at home parent in our house although my husband’s irregular working hours actually mean that he’s around until at least lunchtime almost every day. He deals with the breakfast shift and the school drop offs and occasionally pick ups as well if he’s still at home. He also cooks and would no doubt handle being a full time stay at home dad with ease, should that opportunity ever arise. It’s not something you encounter very often though and I think my favourite experience in reading this book was how much Greagan’s love for his children shine through on every page. Four children in about seven or eight years is a huge commitment and Greagan cycles through sleepless nights and early morning wake-ups in a fog of exhaustion but manages to maintain his sense of humour.
I have to admit I got a little clucky reading this book every time Clint and Tania welcomed a new baby boy and – the smell of a newborn should be bottled and even reading about it had me thinking about how nice it’d be to have another baby! My husband and I have two boys who are almost-6 and almost-3 and I always wanted 3 year age gaps for my kids and I always wanted 3-4 kids. But life gets in the way and kids in theory are a lot easier than in practice!
I did really enjoy reading about parenting from a father’s perspective and he’s quite brutally honest that he’s not the best housekeeper (neither am I) nor are his methods always the established norm but he’s an extremely dedicated father and husband and that’s always a joy to read about. I think I would’ve liked a little more of his wife’s thoughts on what it was like going back to work after each baby, just to get a more fleshed out picture of their family dynamic.
All in all, quite an enjoyable read and something that I think most parents would really relate to, be they a stay at home parent, a working parent or a combination of both.
Book #146 of 2014
Counting this one towards the Aussie Author Challenge – it’s book #11