Name: Stu Elvin
Age: 39 and a bit
Family Members: Vanessa, Lily (3) and Ruby (1)
How long have you been a stay at home Daddy for?
I left my job Christmas Eve 2007 What was your previous occupation and how did you find the transition from that job to caring full time for an infant? I was (am) a graphic designer and found the transition ok. I’d freelanced in the past so was used to waking up and not getting washed and dressed until lunchtime. Vanessa and I had a ‘handover period’ of about three weeks before she returned to work to I was up to speed with the weekday routine.
Did you plan on being a househusband prior to having your children?
Apparently, when I first met Vanessa I told her my ideal job would be that of ‘house husband’. I can just about remember as I’d had a few drinks that night so may have said it to woo her!!! But in all seriousness, yes we’d planned it as it meant that I could still do bits and pieces of work from home for ‘pocket money’.
How has your life changed since you made the transition?
Time is very peculiar! I used to have loads. I’d listen to loads of new music, read papers and get through books quite quickly. Watching a film could be done in one sitting at home. Now I’m lucky if I get to finish my Sunday paper by the following Sunday. I still have a book on my bedside table from a few weeks ago that isn’t two chapters in and I have about 50 records (yes – I still by vinyl as I DJ every so often) that remain in their sleeves. Wouldn’t change it for anything though.
How do you fit in with other parents and have you found it easy to build up a network?
Luckily for me a few other Dads in our NCT group were going to be stay-at-home-Dads too, so I’ve never felt like I’m the only one out there. In this day and age it’s not that weird for a Dad to want to be more hands on is it? For the first year I’d meet with some of the other Mums from NCT and never felt like an outsider. I was asked to go to a few playgroups on several occasions but it’s not really my thing so I made my excuses and just got on with building a good solid bond with Lily.
Have you at any point considered going back to work?
Vanessa has recently been made redundant so to bring in a few more pennies I had a Christmas Temp job at a high street retailer and have continued doing the odd bits of freelance design. So you could say I’ve never stopped working really – just fewer hours, not in an office and a salary about the tenth of what it was.
How have you found the facilities for fathers when you are out and about?
I’ve never really had any problems. As long as you play safe and go to the larger stores for nappy changing facilities etc. then you can’t go wrong as they’re more geared up for unisex facilities. What do you think is the best baby/family product invented? Tough one to answer! I think we take most of the things we use for granted. The things that get packed first when we go away are travel cot, monitor, portable high chair and Calpol!!!
What do you think has been your biggest learning curve so far?
That looking after children isn’t a walk in the park (although we do try to get to the park a few times a week – badoom tish). I find I never switch off nowadays even when the girls are in bed
What has been the best highlight for you over the last few years?
Obviously all the milestones but the thing that brought tears to my eyes (and for lots of different reasons) was when after listening to Grandad’s Dolly Parton CD endlessly and learning the words to Island In The Stream, Lily started singing it one morning and without ‘rehearsing’ Ruby joined in with the ‘ah ah’ bits of the chorus. I have so much fun with them though that it’s hard to put highlights into years. Weeks may be easier.