Scruffy Dad reporting for duty

J-John
The bold J-Bone in Elton John mode.

Hello and howdy to whomever may read this.

I am pushed for time because (as my tagline suggests) I am a full-time Dad and poorly organised. This means what little time I have to do things is not always spent wisely.

For example, while my two-and-a-half-year-old (J-Bone) has been napping this afternoon, I’ve spent much of the time set aside to set this blog up wrestling with a new Twitter account I’d started to match. Seems I made a mistake when entering the email address.

Did I also mention I make lots of mistakes? I should have put it on the tagline. Another chalk-mark in the error column.

Anyways, I am certain to come at you, reader, waving information and opinions about myself and my situation as madly as a deputation of wasp-octopus hybrids in the near future, explaining what the hell I think I’m doing both online and in the diversion I sniggeringly refer to as ‘real life’. But for now, a brief explanation as to why I am here. (Not on the chair in my wife’s study. Why I’m dipping a hairy toe in the blogosphere.)

I am a full-time parent and have been since January 2014 when it had been decided that my wife’s stellar trajectory as an early-career academic meant that it would be best for all concerned if I swapped a desk in south Manchester for a life of preparing neglected meals, blanking out kids’ TV and engaging in various levels of panic as a stay-at-home Dad in Leeds. I’ll spare you the details for now, but blogs being what they are, the details will appear here sooner and (most probably) later as well.

As an attempt to bolster our household income, any time that J-Bone is asleep doubles as money-making time. I work part-time as a proofreader, CV writer/editor and other home-based activities that are fairly flexible time-wise.

While recently doing some work with bloggers, I have discovered a world of parenting blogs of all hues and intents. A great many of them have been intimidatingly shiny and productive, but full of fascinating insights about life with babies, toddlers, teens – all and any age groups of children. They’ve got me thinking.

Also, I’ve long thought of myself as someone able to throw together a sentence or two: I got a fairly good English degree back in the mid-1990s; I write a music column for an arts magazine called Dupe about various strange ideas; and I even have a blog already, albeit a slightly neglected one, on which I tried to review 500 albums in a single year.

But actually blogging about being a parent has been a bit more complicated…

Firstly, having the time. In addition to being pretty hopeless at organising my time (as discussed), what time I have now is almost literally money. My non-parenting time is almost completely monetised and this means a ‘vanity project’ like this (for want of a better description) is an expensive hobby.

Secondly, I’ve been pretty unsure that I have the required level of opinions, advice, information and general chat to keep a blog in the water. My attempt to review albums managed to reach around 346, but was de-railed by the imminent arrival of J-Bone himself in 2012.

But! I’ve realised that if I want to write something, I should just write it. I sent the unborn J a few emails, having set him up a Gmail account, but once arrived, our little family had such a troubling experience the first few months that I felt too down to write to him. Then the habit dried up. This blog then (as many other blogging parents have written) is a chance for me to record our lives together for him (perhaps) to look upon at  a later date. Also, without wanting to be too morbid, I am a middle-aged guy (early 40s) with no health regime to speak of and there’s always the chance I might not be around to have father-son conversation with him when he’s older. This is my chance to record what might otherwise be forgotten.

Also, while I know that there are a great many Dads out there that look after their children full-time, and more children in more challenging and/or interesting circumstances than my life, I want to register my voice as a full-time parent. If anyone is in a similar situation or wants an idea of how it might be, it can’t be much harm if my experience is available.

So, with those duties in mind, I’d best be off and see to the little one and slip him some liquids, as it is unseasonably warm here in Leeds: too warm for even our customary hill-top breeze to deal with.

Hasta la vista!

Dom

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