from here to paternity (leave)
Love & Writing

From Here To Paternity (Leave) Week One

It’s all change here at Pembroke Cottage. After five months of maternity leave, I’m back to being a working mum – and the husband is in charge of both children. Alone. For a whole month.

Four weeks is the longest time he’s ever had out of the lab and away from the office since he started work after university. I’m a little concerned that he won’t know what to do with himself! (So far, it mostly seems to be watching Homes Under The Hammer.)

Still, after the first week, things seem to be going well, with hardly any tantrums or meltdowns from any of them (including the husband).

Here’s a day by day summary of our week:

from here to paternity (leave)


Husband knocks on the door after fifteen minutes alone with the baby. “What do you do when he wakes up after twenty minutes?”

“Rock in the corner and cry,” I reply helpfully, turning back to my computer screen.


I’m still storming through the work, and only needing to pop out for baby cuddles every thirty minutes or so. Which is an improvement.

Husband manages to wash daughter’s white PE top with the black towels. Am called in to find the spare. And, while I’m at it, a variety of other things that everyone else in the house appears to be blind to. Feel needed, which is nice, I suppose.


Daughter has a Science Morning at school which husband gleefully trots along to, baby in tow. He quickly learns that science is harder when holding a squirming, twenty pound baby. As are most things.

In the afternoon, he drags me out of the office to the garden centre, to get my opinion on the great cyclamen vs. pansy debate. I work in the cafe while he and the baby line up the contenders. By the time I meet them again, the husband has taught the baby to say Dada.

Somehow, this feels mightily unfair.


Husband has walked approximately ten million miles (may be a slight exaggeration) this week, getting baby to go to sleep. Has also visited the coffee shop four times in three days. One of my mum friends from the school gates asks him to go for coffee.

“Is that weird?” he asks.

“I think it’s a pity coffee,” I reassure him. “It’s fine.”

We go out for dinner for our anniversary while said friend babysits, and the husband has that flash of panic in the car that I’ve experienced before, when you realise there are no children in the backseat. I think it’s truly setting in that this is his life, until November 30th.


It’s nearly the weekend. Even at 8am I can see that desperate anticipation on the husband’s face. After a week locked away in my little study ploughing through the mountains of work that have built up while I was on maternity leave, I can afford to be magnanimous.

“Do you want to take the daughter to the school bonfire this evening, or would you rather stay here and put the baby to bed?”

“Fireworks!!” he yells, before thrusting the baby into my arms and rushing off for a shower.

Which is fine by me. I’m down to only a cuddle an hour at this point and, quite frankly, it’s not enough.

Besides, Monday 8am he’s back in charge for another three weeks…